Author Topic: All grain jump  (Read 1658 times)

Online FLbrewer

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All grain jump
« on: June 05, 2013, 08:14:22 AM »
A few general questions about going AG...
1) what are the major components needed to jump from extract to AG?
2) is the learning curve steep?
3) how much longer are brew days?
4) is there any noticeable taste difference between AG and extract with similar recipes?
5) if not, what's the point?
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 08:25:03 AM by flbrewer »

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 08:25:57 AM »
1) Basic setup can be as simple as a large fine mesh nylon bag that fits inside your kettle, a kkettle >= 7gallons and a strong back.
2)not really. If you can check the temperature of water and stir porridge you should be all set.
3) I think there is a noticeable difference. If for no other reason than because when you buy extracts some other brewer has decided what's in your beer in terms of crystal malts and base malts. that being said I have had some outstanding extract beers.
4)It's also a lot of fun to serve a beverage you made from a simple pile of grain.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 08:33:43 AM »
1) what are the major components needed to jump from extract to AG?
       You can brew in a bag and still brew all grain. Or you'll need a mash tun and a kettle possible of doing full boils. The AHA just did a video on all grain brewing.
2) is the learning curve steep?
       Depends. Can you do it? It's not hard. Can you do it well? It takes a bit of fine tuning to get everything right.
3) how much longer are brew days?
      My extract brew days were 2.5 hrs on average. Now they are 4.5 hrs.
4) is there any noticeable taste difference between AG and extract with similar recipes?
      No. If you aren't brewing good beer with extract, don't switch to all-grain. It will likely not help. Or in other terms, riding a motorcycle makes no sense if you can't ride a bicycle with training wheels.
5) if not, what's the point?
       More control, more experimentation, more gadgets, etc, etc.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 08:53:21 AM »
My all-grain brew day is 5-6 hours, about twice as long as extract. Most of that is waiting for the mash to finish, though, which doesn't require attention.  Batch sparging is pretty easy too and can be done with minimal equipment. A mash tun is essential though, unless you BIAB.  Also, as you know, cooling a full 5G of wort is no fun without a chiller.
 
 
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Offline kmshultz

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 09:17:15 AM »
1) what are the major components needed to jump from extract to AG?
What others have said. You may want to try Brew in a Bag (BIAB) if putting together a mash tun/manifold is intimidating, or if you simply want to keep things simple.
2) is the learning curve steep?
There is a lot more to know with All-grain, but you don't *have* a lot to get started. Steep some grain in your mash tun for an hour, run it out.
3) how much longer are brew days?
I don't recall how long extract days were, but AG can be a little longer, 4 to 6 hours depending on your sparge setup and what kind of mash you're doing. Again, BIAB brewers may have a brew day more similar in length to extract brew days.
4) is there any noticeable taste difference between AG and extract with similar recipes?
Extract beers can be every bit as tasty as AG for certain styles if you have very fresh extract, but for other styles it's harder for Extract to match AG in my opinion (see next point).
5) if not, what's the point?
All grain really gives you the freedom to get more creative, as well as craft more authentic-tasting beers for certain styles that it's hard to make with extract (i.e. Witbier). It's hard to get the flavor of Wit just right using Wheat extracts, not to mention the milky pale color. For me, the gear/geek-out aspect isn't so important, but then again I'm just not a gear-head. I like to keep my setup simple rather than complicate it with gear I don't need. I'm strongly considering trying BIAB even though I've been using a more traditional AG setup for a few years now.

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Offline garc_mall

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 09:23:01 AM »
A few general questions about going AG...
1) what are the major components needed to jump from extract to AG?
2) is the learning curve steep?
3) how much longer are brew days?
4) is there any noticeable taste difference between AG and extract with similar recipes?
5) if not, what's the point?

1. I don't know anything about BIAB, but for denny's cheap and easy method, it requires a cooler (I used one of my extras) and some straining device (I use a bazooka screen, Denny uses a toilet connection tube without the plastic tube). Also a kettle big enough for full boils (8-12 gallons).
2. As long as you have the cold-side (post boil) down, All grain isn't too difficult.
3. I would estimate 2.5 times as long for your first attempt, and then it will work down to a little less than double the time when you know what you are doing.
4 + 5. The reason I brew all-grain is for the amount of control I get out of my beer. Last night at the club meeting, one of the other members and I brought in a mild which we brewed the same day (different recipes). Mine was all-grain, his was extract + specialty grains (he is normally an all-grain brewer). Top to bottom, everyone preferred my mild over his. The reason was, I mashed in at 162, which provided a large amount of unfermentables (I had 52% AA) giving my beer a lot of body, while he couldn't really control the fermentability of his extract batch (that is set when the extract is made), so his fermented reasonably dry (77ish%) and had a very thin body. This is the big benefit to all grain. That, and the ability to work with grains that require mashing (Munich, Vienna, MO), which can really change up the quality of your beer (My house APA is 30% munich, no crystal).
In a Keg: Flanders Red Ale, Rye Altbier, Cascade/Topaz Pale
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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 09:29:56 AM »
+1 to all the good advice.  Also, alot of the extracts out there are less fermentable than the wort you can make.  For some styles, it's maybe not a big deal but for example, trying to make something like a saison accurately could be a challenge with extract, as it is a style that needs to finish with a very low FG.  I say go AG when you can't wait to, not look to be convinced.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 09:36:51 AM »
5) if not, what's the point?

Since everyone else did such a fine job answering all your other questions, I'll answer this one.

The point is that it's a labor of love, and it helps to at least "not mind" the labor. There is extra time/cleanup involved. That being said, there is a significant amount more control of the flavor and body of the finished beer with all-grain vs. extract. Great beer can be made with extract, but all-grain brewing allows for more versatility in the styles that can be brewed, and the wort profile (sugar/dexrin composition). Whereas, with extract you get what you get, and it's difficult to futile (at best) to significantly alter the wort composition (sugar profile) from there.
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 09:39:14 AM »
+1 to great advice already given in this thread!  Going all grain is very easy and there are some great videos online to get started.  When I made the switch, I started doing three gallon batches on my stove.  I found a cheap 48 qt rectangular cooler on CL an turned into a mash tun (you can find lots of videos on how to make a cooler - mash tun).  I now have a burner and do all my brewing in the garage, so I do 5 gallons now. 

The main items you will need to go all grain is a mash tun, large enough pot to do full boils (8 - 10 gallons), and a way to chill your wort.  If you are thinking about it, I would go ahead and do it. 

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Offline tonyp

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 09:45:13 AM »
All of your questions have been answered, but for me, smelling and tasting the grains before I brew is one of my favorite parts of the all-grain process that can't be duplicated with extract. If you don't believe me, stick your finger in the extract and taste it :) Plus, the spent grain makes great chicken food!
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 09:49:36 AM »
[...]Plus, the spent grain makes great chicken food!

+ 1

the chickens LOVE the spent grain. They couldn't care less about the normal chicken food but give them a pile of spent barley and rye and a couple cockroaches and they are happy little birds.
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Offline the_pig

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 10:22:30 AM »
Another, admittedly less noble, reason is that it is cheaper to brew all grain. 

Online FLbrewer

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All grain jump
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 11:01:51 AM »
Another, admittedly less noble, reason is that it is cheaper to brew all grain.
How so?

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2013, 11:12:59 AM »
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: All grain jump
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 11:26:46 AM »
Another, admittedly less noble, reason is that it is cheaper to brew all grain.
How so?

grain is cheaper per unit of extractable sugar than extract.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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