Author Topic: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?  (Read 1854 times)

Offline rustyl

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Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« on: September 05, 2013, 08:41:09 AM »
Being an extract/specialty grains brewer is exciting because I'm not even close to being done upgrading and expanding my system. I am constantly looking forward to what I'm going to get/do next. That brings me to the question:

In everyone's opinion, what should I do next: Upgrade to kegging or upgrade to all grain? I can only afford to do one or the other right now. I WILL be doing both eventually, but which one would YOU do first?

Offline beersk

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2013, 08:44:58 AM »
I'd probably keg first. If you haven't already gotten there already, bottling gets so tedious, and sometimes, kegging is the only reason you keep doing it at that point. I went all grain, first. But, if you don't mind bottling, definitely go all grain. Either way, your beer and the enjoyment of said beer, will likely increase.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2013, 08:52:14 AM »
Get the legging set up now. Kegs have been going up in price as the supply dries up. Then go all grain.
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Offline repo

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2013, 08:57:39 AM »
Considering you can go all grain for less than the cost of 1 keg, I don't see the dilemma. I mean if you can afford to get into kegging, buy 1 less keg and go all grain too.

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2013, 09:01:04 AM »
Going all-grain saved me enough money to get into kegging faster. Extract is expensive.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2013, 09:11:37 AM »
Doing all-grain is more interesting brewing-wise than packaging so I went all grain first.  I started kegging in the winter when a corner of my basement becomes cold enough (~50 F) to serve beer without refrigeration and then went year round when I got a good fridge for free.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2013, 09:12:45 AM »
Go all-grain, and do smaller batches.  This will require you to brew more often, thus gaining more experience with all-grain, but without the need for fancy equipment, and fewer bottles to fill at one time.  You can very easily brew 2.5 or 3 gallon batches using BIAB.  Doesn't cost a thing really, and in fact will save you a lot of money over extract, AND it tastes better.  Then after you gain some experience with all-grain, get the equipment for bigger batches, do a few batches at that size, and then when you get tired of bottling 50 bottles at one time, get your kegging equipment.

Or, go the other way, buy your kegging equipment now, but just keep it on the shelf for a while since you can simultaneously start brewing small batches all-grain BIAB without spending an extra dime.  Then when you've got the cash and experience to start brewing 5 gallons all-grain, you can worry about kegging, and you'll already have the stuff AND the all-grain experience.  How's that sound.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2013, 09:15:24 AM »
Get the legging set up now. Kegs have been going up in price as the supply dries up. Then go all grain.

I agree.  You can always find a cheap cooler.  Cheap kegs are much harder to locate.

All-grain will be a change in your process and may make the brew day longer.

Kegging will be a change in your packaging that arguably saves significant amounts of time.  Which you can devote to researching all-grain options.
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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 09:26:18 AM »
Get the legging set up now. Kegs have been going up in price as the supply dries up. Then go all grain.

I agree.  You can always find a cheap cooler.  Cheap kegs are much harder to locate.

All-grain will be a change in your process and may make the brew day longer.

Kegging will be a change in your packaging that arguably saves significant amounts of time.  Which you can devote to researching all-grain options.
+1.  It'll simplify your brewing process, and the time savings can go toward reading up on all-grain processes.  +1 that there are plenty of cheap coolers, but kegs are getting more expensive.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2013, 09:30:11 AM »
Get the legging set up now. Kegs have been going up in price as the supply dries up. Then go all grain.

I agree.  You can always find a cheap cooler.  Cheap kegs are much harder to locate.

All-grain will be a change in your process and may make the brew day longer.

Kegging will be a change in your packaging that arguably saves significant amounts of time.  Which you can devote to researching all-grain options.
+1.  It'll simplify your brewing process, and the time savings can go toward reading up on all-grain processes.  +1 that there are plenty of cheap coolers, but kegs are getting more expensive.

In the meantime, instead of steeping your grains do a partial mash.  You can start learning about infusion mashing, BIAB, conversion, etc. and it won't be that big of a shift in your process since you're already steeping grains in a bag.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2013, 09:30:31 AM »
I'd probably keg first. If you haven't already gotten there already, bottling gets so tedious, and sometimes, kegging is the only reason you keep doing it at that point. I went all grain, first. But, if you don't mind bottling, definitely go all grain. Either way, your beer and the enjoyment of said beer, will likely increase.

I started kegging first.  It's well worth it.
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Offline gymrat

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2013, 09:36:51 AM »
After having switched to both. I would say start kegging first. And as others have said try BIAB for all grain. There is minimal equipment purchase for that.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2013, 09:37:05 AM »
I started kegging first.  It's well worth it.

I started with all-grain first. It's cheap: I got all I needed for it for <$200. It has saved me money on fermentables versus extract.

I bought a kegging setup and have well over $1750 into it. I didn't even really like it up until 8 months ago - now I have a cleaning regimen (and tools) that doesn't take too much time, so I have come to enjoy the kegging setup more.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2013, 09:43:24 AM »
I agree with the kegging first and then all grain.  Like others have said kegs just keep going up in price.

Another point in favor of kegging first is if your boil kettle is not large enough to handle a 5 gallon all grain batch (7 or so gallons with space for hot break) you would need to upgrade that, which runs a good number of dollars.

I started all grain brewing first and then built a keg fridge but today's cost would push me the other way.

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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2013, 09:51:59 AM »
I vote AG first.
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