Author Topic: Switching to All Grain  (Read 4699 times)

Offline jrp5u

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Switching to All Grain
« on: March 13, 2013, 06:48:33 PM »
Hello,
 My husband and I are pretty new to home brewing. We have used kits previously with liquid malt extracts but I wold like to try switching to all grain method. Do any of you have any suggestions for the first route we should take? Methods? Recipes? Suggestion?

We would love some input!

Thanks!

Offline adruma

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 06:53:15 PM »
Check out www.dennybrew.com and you'll be on the right path!

Offline euge

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2013, 07:10:54 PM »
Batchsparging is probably the easiest. My suggestion is to look into the type of water you have. Some types of water and their mineral or "salt" contents are ill suited for certain styles.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2013, 07:28:32 PM »
The first time I did all grain, I said after it was all done - " that is all there is to it?". It was good beer!
 
The last 18 years have been about making better beer and doing variations on the process. Sometimes a simple single infusion mash is a thing of beauty, and quick and simple. Sometimes a double decoction is fun, just because.

Don't be afraid of all grain. You will end up making beer, and it will probably be good beer.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline sparkleberry

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2013, 07:58:09 PM »
I started all grain by doing 3gallon biab batches and had a blast. I knew I also wanted to try batch sparging and have since moved to it using the Denny link above. I love it. the last brew day I had was my best go at it and I think I've got my system just about dialed in. I still biab on occasion just to change it up. my only regret was buying a small chest freezer because I can only ferment 2 beers at a time!
cheers.

rpl
apertureales

Offline fmader

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 07:38:04 AM »
The first time I did all grain, I said after it was all done - " that is all there is to it?". It was good beer!

This statement was true for me too. First off, let me throw out there that I've only been brewing for a year and all grain brewing since last June, so by no means am I a pro. I learned the routine of mashing and sparging by watching YouTube videos. I would recommend batch sparging. It's simple, it works, and it's faster. Check out Denny's page. He has everything you need to know to get you started with the batch sparge technique. Your brew day will become a bit longer (5-6 hours total), but it is worth it. As far as recipes go, I created my own for my first all grain batch. I learned how to do this by reading Designing Great Beers by Daniels. My first was a pale ale... Something simple. I still remember taking the first drink of it and thinking, "wow! I made this! This is great!". I probably went in over my head with my second grain batch with a cherry stout, but it too was good and actually the beer I entered into NHC. But you did the first step of becoming a better brewer by asking for help. I didn't become a member of the AHA until just before Christmas. It has been by far the best investment I have made to become a better brewer. These people on here are full of knowledge!
Frank

Offline dean_palmer

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 08:10:10 AM »
Follow the simple and humble guidance on DennyBrew.com and you'll be well informed.

Literally all you need is a cooler to soak/mash the grains and some way to filter them out of the resulting wort. No multi-cooler "all-grain kit" or special equipment needed. Keep it simple as it is only difficult if you make it that way :-)

Almost 10 years ago I ran out to the hardware store and bought a cooler and some parts and have never looked back. Never started with extract, and was sparging into a bucket, and using the brew kettle (turkey fryer pot) to heat the water. Then poured the wort into the kettle for the boil. Simple, basic, cheap.

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2013, 09:09:03 AM »
Most LHBS should have some sort of all grain kit if you are wary of making your own recipe.  This is what i did for my first all grain just because i wanted the process to be as easy as i could make it for my first attempt.  Now i have 2-3 more recipes that i have found with that im confident in doing because i understand the process.  I think i spent about 600 bucks on new equipment for All grain.  New 15g kettle, propane burner(because no way am i putting a 15g kettle on a electric stove), immersion chiller, and a bunch of other stuff i probably didnt need.  So keep it simple.  make sure your kettle can handle your recipe, have your mash tun with false bottom or steel braid and keep it simple.  then worry about things likes spigots and hosing and streamlining your process.

2 cents
Jeff
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline beersk

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 09:26:02 AM »
*cough* brew in a bag *cough*, IS probably the easiest way to try it out.
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Offline gsandel

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 09:36:59 AM »
Quote
Don't be afraid of all grain.
+1,000

It is easy to accomplish but difficult to master every aspect of brewing, and that, besides the beer, keeps it fresh for a lot of us.

In so many ways, I thought that except for the time element (taking longer than extract) it was easier to just mash your own, and was a more relaxed experience (more to do, but more time to do it in).

I agree with Beersk, brew in a bag is the easiest way to try it out.  Post your experience.
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2013, 10:14:09 AM »
I'm going to go against the grain - as it were - and suggest holding off (for a little) on all grain. Instead read up on pitching proper amounts of yeast and controlling fermentation. All-grain is sexy and everyone wants to jump in to become a "real brewer" but yeast will have a bigger impact on making better beer. I fully believe that when people complain about extract flavor, usually the are talking about yeast problems.
 
Depending on your situation, better yeast management will require less or no additional equipment compared to the all-grain switch.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2013, 08:00:09 PM »
I never understood the mystique of all-grain.  When I started out I read up a lot on brewing and scouring the brewing boards and mailing lists, and many times people would make it out like it was one of the labors of Hercules, something that "I'll move up to when I'm ready."  If you are not intimidated in the kitchen, if the idea of making a loaf of bread from scratch doesn't worry you, then you'll wonder what all the fuss was about too.  Look at it like making cookies from scratch verses using the refrigerated dough from the store; making from scratch involves a bit more work up front and a bit more work in the cleanup.

Grab a recipe for whatever style you like making from extract.  If you don't want to commit to a bunch of equipment at first, do a brew-in-a-bag.  If you don't have a large boil pot, scale your recipe down to whatever your current boil pot holds and make a small batch.  If you already have a decent sized cooler sitting around, try out a batch sparge session.

cornershot

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 08:52:42 PM »
I'm going to go against the grain - as it were - and suggest holding off (for a little) on all grain. Instead read up on pitching proper amounts of yeast and controlling fermentation. All-grain is sexy and everyone wants to jump in to become a "real brewer" but yeast will have a bigger impact on making better beer. I fully believe that when people complain about extract flavor, usually the are talking about yeast problems.
 
Depending on your situation, better yeast management will require less or no additional equipment compared to the all-grain switch.

I definitely agree. With that said, I got started with dennybrew and I found that not hitting my mash numbers in a picnic cooler to be quite frustrating.  With more experience I  always hit my numbers but the idea of the hot wort absorbing toxins from the plastic was always disturbing.  Sorry Denny!
I've recently tried brew in a bag and loved the simplicity, shorter brew day, low investment, and ability to apply direct heat. Cons: more particles in wort but easily remedied by allowing more time to clear before transferring to fermenter. Can't do very high gravity beers. Messy- not a good option for the kitchen stove.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Switching to All Grain
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2013, 04:47:38 AM »
Cons: more particles in wort but easily remedied by allowing more time to clear before transferring to fermenter. Can't do very high gravity beers. Messy- not a good option for the kitchen stove.

Just to touch on some of those cons:

Even if you get more particles in your fermenter it will clear just fine, IME. You can still do high gravity beers if you are OK with brewing a smaller batch.

The messy part can be avoided if you don't start drinking until after you pull your bag  :P  But seriously, I just quickly swing my bag into an empty bucket on the floor then deal with the grains later. There's no real mess involved there.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline denny

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Switching to All Grain
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2013, 07:53:34 AM »
cornershot, I have never seen any evidence of "hot wort absorbing toxins from the plastic".  AAMOF, after a recent discussion on HBT I'm more sure then ever that there's nothing to worry about.  What am I missing?
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