Author Topic: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?  (Read 1955 times)

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2013, 09:57:08 AM »
Going all-grain saved me enough money to get into kegging faster. Extract is expensive.

I'd agree w/this.  The caveat would be to watch eBay & Craigslist.  If keg bargains come, snatch them.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2013, 10:03:50 AM »
Going all-grain saved me enough money to get into kegging faster. Extract is expensive.

I'd agree w/this.  The caveat would be to watch eBay & Craigslist.  If keg bargains come, snatch them.

Yep. I built my current system via Craigslist. Quite a good savings and met some cool local homebrewers in the process.
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Offline scottNU

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2013, 10:21:31 AM »
I vote for kegging.  The tedium of bottle washing decreased my enjoyment in brewing.  Now that I keg, I find I am more willing to spend more time and enjoy the longer AG day (Now that I know the bottles aren't waiting in the basement).

Offline yugamrap

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2013, 10:43:06 AM »
The answer might be "neither."  If you don't have good temperature control for fermentation, I'd get that set up first.  Whether your wort come from extract or all grain, and no matter how you package your beer, you'll get the most bang for your buck by getting fermentation temperatures under control.  A decent used fridge or freezer and a temperature controller, and you're on your way.

For me, the biggest jumps in the quality of the beers I make came from proper pitching of yeast and good fermentation temperature control.  If your primary goal is to make good beer (I think it should be), good fermentation practice is the key.  Wort production and packaging are really secondary.

All that said, I'd probably brew a lot less if I hadn't switched to kegging several years ago.  And, as others have said, jumping to all grain is really inexpensive if you're already able to boil and chill a full-volume batch.
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Online Steve in TX

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2013, 10:52:28 AM »
I love this topic.

Are you lazy? - Don't want to bottle.

or

Are you cheap? - Want to save money on ingredients.


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Offline gsandel

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2013, 10:57:58 AM »
It depends what your goal is.  If you want to keg to simplify your brewing, going all grain is not more simple, so keg.

If you just want to delve harder into the hobby, go all grain and watch for cheap kegs and equipment on craigslist (kegs are good ferm, lagering and bright tanks, as well as a bunch of other uses).

I went all grain with one converted keg with false bottom and ball valve as both a mash/lauter tun and my kettle (had to run off into plastic, clean keggle and put wort back in).  I went all grain for 10 years before I got to kegging.  I would do it the same again, unless I was rich, then I would just buy everything as soon as I understood I needed or wanted it.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2013, 11:34:27 AM »
My first all grain batches were done with about a $20 investment for a bucket, Phil's phalse bottom, and a vinyl hose with a clamp. Used that for a few years. Now BIAB is even cheaper.

Kegs? If I ever stop Homebrewing, I have a small fortune in kegs.  :)

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Offline dls5492

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2013, 11:45:33 AM »
I vote all-grain. I find it to be incredibly more interesting and fun.
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Online theDarkSide

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2013, 12:04:55 PM »
This is a tough one.  I think I would lean towards kegging.  I used to be able to get kegs for around $30-$32 refurbished, but with the supply drying up, they are now upwards of $50 (unless you can get in on a bulk deal with a bunch of people) and I expect it will go higher.

My biggest expense getting started with all grain was the bigger kettle to do full wort boils.  I followed the Denny Cheap 'n' Easy route with the blue cooler.  Built the mash tun for less that $50 I think, and the Bayou Classic burner cost me around $35.

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Offline rustyl

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2013, 12:11:59 PM »
The answer might be "neither."  If you don't have good temperature control for fermentation, I'd get that set up first.  Whether your wort come from extract or all grain, and no matter how you package your beer, you'll get the most bang for your buck by getting fermentation temperatures under control.  A decent used fridge or freezer and a temperature controller, and you're on your way.

For me, the biggest jumps in the quality of the beers I make came from proper pitching of yeast and good fermentation temperature control.  If your primary goal is to make good beer (I think it should be), good fermentation practice is the key.  Wort production and packaging are really secondary.

All that said, I'd probably brew a lot less if I hadn't switched to kegging several years ago.  And, as others have said, jumping to all grain is really inexpensive if you're already able to boil and chill a full-volume batch.


I have my fermentation down to a downright science. I have been turning out some really good beer with extract/specialty grains (except that dang Irish Stout). I have a freezer and an incomplete kegerator fridge and a temperature control unit that seems to understand exactly what I want every time. Bottling is cumbersome, but I embrace it as "paying my dues". My ultimate goal is to take this hobby as far as I can. That means always stepping up to the next level when the finances permit and I've gotten comfortable with my current methods. The biggest reason I'm even undecided about kegging vs all grain first is because I'm really looking forward to being able to just pour a pint and hand it to a friend. Just the joy of having something on draft in the house. But all grain is the ultimate brewing experience in my eyes and I'm ready for it. I've got enough money saved up to do both....but I don't want two new things at once. I JUST CAN'T DECIDE!!! LOL  But you all are making it easier. Thanks.

Offline fmader

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2013, 12:13:11 PM »
I'd say go all-grain first. Buy grain and hops in bulk. You'll save money this way. With the money you save, start buying kegs as you see deals on them. Once you get you kegs, start piecing together your keg system. I say this, because it's what I'm in the process of doing now. Craiglist is the way to go with kegs.
Frank

Offline andyi

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2013, 01:01:09 PM »
I'm taking a hybrid approach to packaging before I go to full kegging.

 I brew mostly Belgians and have always carbonated/referment in the bottle. After 8 years I just started kegging but with a three gallon keg and bottling the other 2 gallons.  My bottled beer has a different character I like than the keg but the pita factor is getting old.
I like the keg for the convince of sharing but its not the better beer.  I will have to play with some recipe adjustments and carry on till I find some degree of consistency.  Madness!

Online erockrph

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2013, 03:28:27 PM »
Honestly, it really depends on what your goals are. I got into all grain because I'm really into the experimentation and recipe design part of homebrewing. My setup for 3 gallon all grain batches cost less than 50 bucks, but you could easily do it for the price of a BIAB bag. I'll probably get into kegging a few years down the road when we finish our basement, but I don't have a real need for it right now.
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Offline fmader

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2013, 03:43:16 PM »
Honestly, it really depends on what your goals are. I got into all grain because I'm really into the experimentation and recipe design part of homebrewing. My setup for 3 gallon all grain batches cost less than 50 bucks, but you could easily do it for the price of a BIAB bag. I'll probably get into kegging a few years down the road when we finish our basement, but I don't have a real need for it right now.

This too... I really enjoy the scratch recipe design as well
Frank

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Opinion: Kegging or All Grain? Which first?
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2013, 05:52:06 PM »
Just added 4 more kegs to the arsenal - I use them for lagering and pressurize them as they bulk age/fine the beers waiting to go on tap.  I really like the convenience and ease of cleaning a keg, so I brew more often than if bottling solely.  I bottle off the keg when I need to rotate servings.  All that being said I would go BIAB and learn all grain and try to step up to a stand, etc... Before investing in a multi-keg system.  I like multiple offerings, so a single keg or even just two would not fill the bill the way bottling would.
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