Why not go right to all grain brewing?

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udt89

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I understand all grain is an advanced process. But why spend the money on a kit when eventually you plan to switch to all grain?

Why not spend the money upfront for the correct equipment and just learn the all grain way right away?
 

Beerrific

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Most if not all the equipment you buy for extract recipes can be used for all grain. Of course you will need to buy other stuff, but nothing will really go to waste. Using extract kits helps nail down the boil and fermentation process which if not done properly it won't matter if the process was all grain or extract.
 
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Nothing wrong with that strategy.

If you don't quit.

Starting with extracts gives you the ability to have relatively easy and successful batches with a lower investment.

It gives you the opportunity to build good habits with respect to sanitation and wort cooling, fermentation temp management.
 

malkore

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exactly. partial boil extract brewing...you can hop in for $100 for all equipment and your first extract kit.

All grain easily adds another $100 on to the price tag between: Hot liquor tank, Mash Tun, 7+gallon brewpot, and a wort chiller.

And there's a bit more science in AG brewing...let's face it - its daunting to get into brewing in the first place. Add the complexity of AG and it'll turn off a lot of would-be brewers who would have otherwise made the 'natural' progression from extract to PM or AG if they could just absorb it in smaller bites.

That said...I know where you're coming from. Despite all the work, I think AG is superior, even with simple single infusion and batch sparging. It only took one hefty partial mash to convince me to leap into AG :)
 

the_Roqk

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IMHO, why not start out slowly and see whether or not you really are into this hobby/art. By starting out with a kit you will learn the basics of brewing. From there you can go to partial mashes and after that it's on to all grain. Besides it's hard for those to start out unless you've read just about every text on brewing. I've found that if you read first and then apply what you've read, then you should have most of your problems solved. But Murphy's law will come back and bite your a$$ sometime. That's why start off with a kit in all the while reading up on the other parts of brewing. Things work out so much better when you know what to look for after you've read about it.

By the way....unless you are incredibly rich and have a ton of time on your hands then I suppose that there's nothing wrong with getting everything in the beginning. Do a search and you'll find a thread that will show you what all you'll need for a basic start into all grain.
 

frothdaddy

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I personally can't get into all grain right now, because I live in a high rise apartment. My stove can't handle a full 5 gallon boil, and the outdoor setup on my balcony is illegal down here.

So, if doing everything inside is a priority, all grain may not be a good option.
 

rdwj

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You don't start out with all grain, because MANY more times than not, you're going to make dumb mistakes. Even if you do all the reading, there is a big jump up to actually doing it. Most mistakes that can be made with an extract batch are minimal and what you end up with will more than likely be drinkable. You can screw up an AG batch pretty easily and wind up with something that barely resembles beer. Just like anything else, it's best to start basic and take off the training wheels when you have the proper experience under your belt.

About the only exception to the rule that I can think of is if you're being mentored by someone who brews AG. If you can see it, and better yet, help with the process a couple of times, you'd probably be able to start off with AG right away.
 
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udt89

udt89

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very true froth. i could always all grain at my parents house.

i'm in a co-op and cant have propane on the balcony. but only residents make a fuss if people do use propane.

everyone that lives in my building, its kinda small, is 35 and under. So I know if I made a decent beer and gave some away they’d encourage me to make more……probably refill my propane tank if necessary. :)

I guess im just getting ahead of myself. I have some long term goals that I want to reach in 2-3 years and to get there I’m assuming I have to go to all grain eventually. Maybe I’ll just add 6-12 month to my goal and learn extract first.

but now im just really confused on what kit to get. kinda leaning towards the deluxe kit from www.northernbrewers.com and would add a scale, thermometer......anything else u think i should add? i have the kettle already.
 

niquejim

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Several weeks ago I went on many homebrew sites asking for advice on a "teach a friend to homebrew day" event I'm doing. Probably 90% of the replies suggested that I do extract not the AG I normally do, because it is easier and less intimidating.
 

EdWort

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niquejim said:
Several weeks ago I went on many homebrew sites asking for advice on a "teach a friend to homebrew day" event I'm doing. Probably 90% of the replies suggested that I do extract not the AG I normally do, because it is easier and less intimidating.
True, but I'm hosting one too and doing an All Grain. Someone will join me and do a parrellel PM brew so the difference will be evident. I have gotten interest in HB folks who want to move up to AG.
 

niquejim

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EdWort said:
True, but I'm hosting one too and doing an All Grain. Someone will join me and do a parrellel PM brew so the difference will be evident. I have gotten interest in HB folks who want to move up to AG.
I was going to do an AG but I'm on my own teaching 20-30 with no experience.
 

rdwj

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niquejim said:
I was going to do an AG but I'm on my own teaching 20-30 with no experience.
You're teaching 20-30 people and have never done this before? Seems like a REALLY bad idea. You should get a couple of sessions under your belt before trying to show others - even if it's just extract.
 

Brewpastor

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All-grain is not very hard, especially if you have somebody walk you through a single infusion batch. I wouldn't discourage any brewer with the all-grain bug from going for it. Just don't be stupid, follow the directions and save the creativity for batches yet down the road.
 

menschmaschine

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I think it really depends on the individual. If you're mechanically inclined, studious, a science geek, and realistically interested in brewing to the point that you see yourself doing it for a long time (i.e., not fickle with hobbies), one can go right into all-grain. (Oh and don't forget the money.) I only say this because that describes my situation. I figured extracts didn't exist hundreds of years ago, and with the info on today's internet, why not? I like to make things from scratch (see my pretzel recipe thread:)). It took me 6 months of research and 2 months building a 3-tier keggle system. I conjured up my own recipe for a lager (and bought a chest freezer w/ temp control) and once I was confident in the science behind it and the procedures of actually doing it, I did it. My first batch is in bottles now (primed with gyle) and, apart from being a slightly sweet due to an uncorrected high OG, tastes pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. I can sum it up like this: if you build it, beer will come.:mug:
 

frothdaddy

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udt89 said:
but now im just really confused on what kit to get. kinda leaning towards the deluxe kit from www.northernbrewers.com and would add a scale, thermometer......anything else u think i should add? i have the kettle already.
I got this kit, and, while I only have two batches under my belt, it's served me well. Now is a good time to get it, too, since NB is having a sale on their shipping costs.

And that kit comes with a thermometer.
 

cheezydemon

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http://homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=37176&highlight=unorthodox

I posted a thread showing that it was possible to do an AG batch with just the extract equipment I had and a turkey fryer. It helped that it was 97 degrees out and that I have a large kiddie pool. I would go AG if I were you, you will fine tune your AG skills sooner, just don't be too disapointed if the first batch doesn't turn out quite right!
 

david_42

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Can't add much, except to say starting with extract shouldn't impact a 2-3 year plan. My fifth batch was AG, but seven years later, I mainly do partial mashes. Not too different from learning to drive with an automatic transmission, before going to a manual.
 

joshpooh

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I think it is a good idea to start with extract b/c not everyone that homebrews sticks with it. This means less initial investment, and once you see that you enjoy brewing it doesn't seem like a whole lot more investment to make the jump.
 

Kayos

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Just my $0.02......don't get a kit. Get all the hings that come in the kit and then decide what you want. For instance....get better bottles instead of glass. No need for the carboy dryer that way. Get a grain bag. Get carboy caps instead of bungs. Pick which airlocks you want......if you know any of this. If not...the kit will teach you what you wish you had gotten... ;) . I like the midwest kits a little better myself. I ended up looking at the midwest middle of the road kit, the kit you are looking at and the morebeer middle kit and making my own for about $20 cheaper with free shipping from morebeer. I just bought the MLT (10g cooler) and am moving to AG. But for cost reasons, get into brewing this way (you can immediately do PM's if you get a $3 grain bag and an extract kit) and find more room for/have more money for more equipment later. Don't be fooled into thinking only AG tastes good. There have been many award winning extract beers. Most importantly....have fun and ask away!
 
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udt89

udt89

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why caps instead of bungs? as for the grain bag, do you reuse it? how do you wash it? why would i want to pick my airlocks?

i dont really want better bottles, im ok with glass and the downfalls.
 
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udt89 said:
I understand all grain is an advanced process. But why spend the money on a kit when eventually you plan to switch to all grain?

Why not spend the money upfront for the correct equipment and just learn the all grain way right away?
udt89 said:
why caps instead of bungs? as for the grain bag, do you reuse it? how do you wash it? why would i want to pick my airlocks?

i dont really want better bottles, im ok with glass and the downfalls.
That's why.
 
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I'm just being snarky, but yes. Extract batches will help you answer these questions in small bites. The grain bag and maybe a funnel is about the only piece of extract specific equipment I can think of.
 

brewt00l

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Everyone is different and there isn't a one-size fits all answer for this question.

With vast amount of information on how to brew online, you should be able to research the various methods and choose what's right for you. If you still need someone to tell you where to start, then you have your answer right there.
 
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udt89

udt89

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olllllo said:
I'm just being snarky, but yes. Extract batches will help you answer these questions in small bites. The grain bag and maybe a funnel is about the only piece of extract specific equipment I can think of.
well i knew that :)

the AG method just seemed like a lot of fun when i watched someone do it.
 
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udt89 said:
well i knew that :)

the AG method just seemed like a lot of fun when i watched someone do it.
If you can get someone like that, as Ed suggested, then you'll do OK with a straight to AG. It's a learning process, but there's a reward in almost every batch.
 

EdWort

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I intend to do a single infusion using a cooler MLT and batch sparging using 8 gallon boil kettle and a 3 gallon kettle to heat mash & sparge water on a single burner.

You cannot get any more brain dead simple on All Grain than this.
 

PseudoChef

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I did one extract (not counting my 1 Mr. Beer) and then moved straight to "mostly mashes." Mashing and having room for error makes brewing infinitely more fun for me. My extract brew was boring. Mashing gets me all giddy.
 

DeathBrewer

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i still have yet to do an all-grain batch myself. i've done a few partial mashes when it was necessary. why not go straight to all-grain? i live in a small carpeted apartment. i don't have the room, my electric stove won't boil more than 5 gallons (and i can't use a propane burner on my deck) and i really don't have the time.

if i move to a new place (i'm still pretty comfortable where i'm at) i would need a garage or driveway where i could brew, i nice big kitchen, a second bathroom, and i would have to be able to have a dog. throw affordability in there and i probably won't be moving any time soon. ahh, oh well...i still make great beer.
 

Kayos

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DeathBrewer said:
throw affordability in there and i probably won't be moving any time soon.

There are some on this forum that would make the argument it would save you enough to buy a house if you went AG ;)
 

Kayos

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udt89 said:
why caps instead of bungs? as for the grain bag, do you reuse it? how do you wash it? why would i want to pick my airlocks?

i dont really want better bottles, im ok with glass and the downfalls.
Caps:
because they are easier, more fun and still super cheap. Racking is much easier, too if you decide you want to use the second outlet to rack from. Also, if you need to rig a blow-off tube, you can connect to that second outlet because the tubing is the same size as your siphone tubing (usually).

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16657/102269

Grain bag:
Reuseable...check this out:

http://morebeer.com/view_product/15689/102166 resuable and rinseable to clean

Airlocks:
2 kinds...both work, but some people have fun with the different ones:

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16598/

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16599/

Don't get me wrong....they are cheap anough that you can buy the others later if you want...but again we get into cost, types.......blahblahablah


If after all this you still want to do AG...GO FOR IT! You are your own judge of how much to take on at a time. Nothing is wasted building from extract to AG either, though (can you tell what I recomment, yet?).
 

Brewpastor

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My resonal preference is the two part air-locks, They are much easier to clean then the triple bubble variety.
 

Nate

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I started off with all grain... very glad I did.
 
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