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Hello,

I received a kit from my business partner and we have made four batches in our LBK (all extract).  At this point all we have are the few items that came in the starter kit, a hydrometer and a temperature controlled cabinet that we made.  We are considering stepping it up a bit and I have a few questions. 

 

Have been reading about partial grain, brew in a bag and all grain brewing and trying to figure the pros and cons.  Can you give me your opinions?

I have been reading a bit on the Mr Beer Forum and see that a lot of people have some sizable investments into their brewing.  I would think that a glass carboy would work good, but it looks like many use the LBK.  What are the advantages of the LBK?

 

One last question.  There are many books and resources.  What do you think are the best?

 

Thanks,

Dave

 

 

 

 

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Welcome!  One of the brew vets that know a lot more about this than I do will help you out as soon as they wake up. ;)  Happy Brewing!!

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Pros and cons are a matter of opinion.  I have been doing all extract batches -  steeped grains,  LME,  and hops -  for 3 years and have no plans to change.  Have you steeped grains yet or added hops?  How many of your batches were great -  and how many followed the 3-4 rule?  What is driving you to do something different after only 4 batches? 

 

 Going from HMEs (hopped malt extract,  i. e. Mr.  Beer) to adding steeped grains and hops,  and then to LME/DME, steeped grains,  and hops is a natural progression. 

 

LBKs are easy to carry and a 5 gallon batch is easily split between two.  No reason to use a glass carboy. 

 

John Palmer's How To Brew is a great start.  Old edition is free here.  Current edition here.  Also, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated by Charlie Papazian

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Moving to extract 5 gallon batches now. I looked into all grain but the price just wasnt worth it. At some point i might do all grain but for now extract is easier less equipment and still get great beer. 

 

From what i have read. Moving from mr.beer hme. Then to extract kits with steeping and hop boil would be a logical learning step. Then once vomfy with that you can try all grain. 

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I moved to extract with steeped grains and a 60 minute hop boil after about my 5th or 6th batch.  Right now I don't have any plans to go to all grain because of the time element.  Times are as follows based on starting the clock when you get out the first piece of equipment and ending when you have put away everything clean and dry.

 

Mr. Beer                      1 to 1.5 hours

5 gallon Extract              4 to 5 hours

All grain                          7 to 8 hours

 

If I also bottle a batch that day, I can add another 2 hours to my time. 

 

These times take into account that I do take my time and don't rush anything.  My equipment is put away completely clean, sanitized and dry.

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welcome to the wacky world of brewing! Enjoy ur stay! and ease thru ur brewing experience one day at a time! enjoy the scenery! and always enjoy the beer you have created! that's a reward no lottery can accomplish!!!!

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oh I was goin to add sumthing else and got distracted while I was driving, I always thot I was a noob, but realize i'm a dweeb! now that I have clarified that, I can get my car off this median and get back home where I really need to be!

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Last week I did a batch of three 2 1/2 gallon brews. All had a 20-minute hop addition and one of was an extract/steeped grain recipe. It all definitely took some time and it looks like BDawg's figures are right on the money. The steeped grain process is one I want to get a handle on because I think it's the best way to get some great beers with relatively limited equipment.

I'm lucky because when and if I ever want to try some all-grain brewing, I've got a good friend who has a totally state of the art mashing and brewing set up who's happy for me to come over and spend a day brewing. 

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i'm about to be ready for 10 gallon all grain, just waiting for my mash tun/sparge conversion kit for the 10 gal. rubbermaid, along with 4 all grain recipes waiting. its great you got friends doing that, any extra advice/influence really really helps a ton!! i enjoy every moment, either with one glass in my hand to bottling 5 gallons. its the best thing that has been created next to little debbie moon pies!!!

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8 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

I moved to extract with steeped grains and a 60 minute hop boil after about my 5th or 6th batch.  Right now I don't have any plans to go to all grain because of the time element.  Times are as follows based on starting the clock when you get out the first piece of equipment and ending when you have put away everything clean and dry.

 

Mr. Beer                      1 to 1.5 hours

5 gallon Extract              4 to 5 hours

All grain                          7 to 8 hours

 

If I also bottle a batch that day, I can add another 2 hours to my time. 

 

These times take into account that I do take my time and don't rush anything.  My equipment is put away completely clean, sanitized and dry.

I'm curious. How/why does a 5 gallon extract batch take 4 to 5 hours? I can do a 5 gallon partial mash in that time. If I'm in a rush, I can probably get an all extract batch in anew hour or two, especially if I use an abbreviated boil. 

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Heat water to steep temp (20 min).  

Steep (20 min).

Add extract, heat to boiling (40 min+)

1 hr boil

Cool (20 min)

Fill two LBKs (15 min)

Pitch yeast, wait, aerate (15 min)

Cleanup (30 min)

 

3hrs, 40 min if all goes well.  Figure closer to 4.

 

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1 minute ago, RickBeer said:

Heat water to steep temp (20 min).  

Steep (20 min).

Add extract, heat to boiling (40 min+)

1 hr boil

Cool (20 min)

Fill two LBKs (15 min)

Pitch yeast, wait, aerate (15 min)

Cleanup (30 min)

 

3hrs, 40 min if all goes well.  Figure closer to 4.

 

Carry everything from the basement to the deck or garage and then back down again (30 min)

Rest after 6 trips up from the basement because you are old (10 min):P

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11 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Pros and cons are a matter of opinion.  I have been doing all extract batches -  steeped grains,  LME,  and hops -  for 3 years and have no plans to change.  Have you steeped grains yet or added hops?  How many of your batches were great -  and how many followed the 3-4 rule?  What is driving you to do something different after only 4 batches? 

 

 Going from HMEs (hopped malt extract,  i. e. Mr.  Beer) to adding steeped grains and hops,  and then to LME/DME, steeped grains,  and hops is a natural progression. 

 

LBKs are easy to carry and a 5 gallon batch is easily split between two.  No reason to use a glass carboy. 

 

John Palmer's How To Brew is a great start.  Old edition is free here.  Current edition here.  Also, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated by Charlie Papazian

Thanks for all of the information. To answer your questions:

 

All of our batches were good, not sure that any were great.  We did 3/4 for all but the first (read the directions for the first, then started reading the forums).

What is driving me to do something different?  That one is probably a deep seated mental issue and I am not really sure.  Possibly that I want the batches to be great, not just good.

We added hops on our last batch and will be bottling those tomorrow (so we haven't tasted it yet).  First time in 12oz glass bottles.  Mainly because we would like to share a bottle here and there and the 740mls are kind of a large portion of a batch to give away.

We have not steeped grains.

 

Thanks again for the help.

 

 

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Using star San shaves at least 30 min off any brew day for me. The one step takes forever to dissolve. 

 

If im doing a MB recipe, no 20/60 min boil or hop stand, I'm in and out of the kitchen in 20 min. That's not proofing my yeast either. 

 

Mashing, proofing yeast, 60 min boil, and cooling wort is 3 hours for me. Then 30 to 60 minutes for clean up. Depends how energetic I feel. Usually it's 2 am I'm cleaning up cuz I have to brew when the wife is asleep cuz she can't handle the smell. 

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I want thinking of extract with steeping grains. I was thinking plain extract. I'll also do a shorter boil with an extract only batch. 

 

Does it really take 20 minutes to bring the water to steeping temperatures? And 40 to boil? How much water are you using? Maybe it takes that long for mashing temperatures for me, but I start it,  then take a shower and is ready when I get to the kitchen. But I know it doesn't take 40 to come to a boil. 

 

I pitch and aerate in about 5 minutes, if that (I use an electric whisk).

 

And I use a bucket fermenter, so it takes about 2 minutes to dump in the wort and top it off. 

 

I'm also pretty sure cleanup takes a lot less than 30 minutes. 

 

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Being a noob for my wife gave the kit for Christmas. My best friend has been brewing for a few years and now is taking courses at a local college. So when I'm ready I have my wizard close by. I also have three brewery's within 5 miles of me and all have small batch gathering at there places. There is also a brew club my friend is in that has several locals in it which I have been to a few.

What I like about LBK is the size for its only for me and the wife and my bro if he likes some. I don't think I want 5 gallons of the same thing on hand at this time and with two gallon you can stock pile quite an arsenal of types. I have Diablo (came in kit) conditioning and will be ready in a week and I have Heavy McWee in the keg. When that is bottled Vodoo is next.

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5 minutes ago, MikeSchulz said:

Being a noob for my wife gave the kit for Christmas. My best friend has been brewing for a few years and now is taking courses at a local college. So when I'm ready I have my wizard close by. I also have three brewery's within 5 miles of me and all have small batch gathering at there places. There is also a brew club my friend is in that has several locals in it which I have been to a few.

What I like about LBK is the size for its only for me and the wife and my bro if he likes some. I don't think I want 5 gallons of the same thing on hand at this time and with two gallon you can stock pile quite an arsenal of types. I have Diablo (came in kit) conditioning and will be ready in a week and I have Heavy McWee in the keg. When that is bottled Vodoo is next.

Damn, Mike!  Where is this college?!  I wanna enroll in BREW U!

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I really don't think about time when i'm brewing, its a hobby and hobbies usually take time to do, because its the most enjoyable ride at the fair. Time is on my side, yes it is.......

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3 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

Damn, Mike!  Where is this college?!  I wanna enroll in BREW U!

Wake Tech just down the street. In fact most colleges are adding it for NC is one of the biggest states with Micro brewers. This is no lie I have 4 in our small town. One has grown to providing along the east coast and is called Aviators brewery and another is small batch just for their little craft bar.

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1 hour ago, AnthonyC said:

I don't think I want 5 gallons of the same thing on hand at this time and with two gallon you can stock pile quite an arsenal of types.

I totally agree about the 5 gallons, but 2 gallons is about 20 beers. If you brew a batch, ferment for 3 weeks or thereabouts, cold crash for a day or more, it's most of a month before you can use the fermenter to start another batch. You could rush a little and maybe get a routine of starting a new wort every 3 weeks. Even then, 20 beers has to last for at least 3 weeks just to keep up. That's less than a beer a day...and you have to fight your wife and brother over it???

You definitely have to have at least 2 LBK's!! :D

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Now from the peanut gallery...In the FWIW department I did LBK size AG batches, as it seemed I got better efficiencies. It can be easier to work with smaller grain bills when first starting out. Again YMMV. 

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18 minutes ago, J A said:

I totally agree about the 5 gallons, but 2 gallons is about 20 beers. If you brew a batch, ferment for 3 weeks or thereabouts, cold crash for a day or more, it's most of a month before you can use the fermenter to start another batch. You could rush a little and maybe get a routine of starting a new wort every 3 weeks. Even then, 20 beers has to last for at least 3 weeks just to keep up. That's less than a beer a day...and you have to fight your wife and brother over it???

You definitely have to have at least 2 LBK's!! :D

2 LBK's??  I'm up to six of them now :)  As you can see I hardly ever have a home brew hiatus! ;)

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1 hour ago, AnthonyC said:

2 LBK's??  I'm up to six of them now :)  As you can see I hardly ever have a home brew hiatus! ;)

 

I said at least... ;)

I've got 6 myself...gotta love holiday clearance sales. I started 3 batches one week and 3 the next to get a good stock in conditioning. I figure I can dial it back to a couple every 2-3 weeks and set back enough to get through the summer and have some big beers on a long conditioning schedule for winter enjoyment.

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10 minutes ago, J A said:

 

I said at least... ;)

I've got 6 myself...gotta love holiday clearance sales. I started 3 batches one week and 3 the next to get a good stock in conditioning. I figure I can dial it back to a couple every 2-3 weeks and set back enough to get through the summer and have some big beers on a long conditioning schedule for winter enjoyment.

That's my plan as well.  

Yes, you have got to love those post-holiday sales!

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On January 29, 2016 at 6:39 PM, bpgreen said:

 

I want thinking of extract with steeping grains. I was thinking plain extract. I'll also do a shorter boil with an extract only batch. 

 

Does it really take 20 minutes to bring the water to steeping temperatures? And 40 to boil? How much water are you using? Maybe it takes that long for mashing temperatures for me, but I start it,  then take a shower and is ready when I get to the kitchen. But I know it doesn't take 40 to come to a boil. 

 

I pitch and aerate in about 5 minutes, if that (I use an electric whisk).

 

And I use a bucket fermenter, so it takes about 2 minutes to dump in the wort and top it off. 

 

I'm also pretty sure cleanup takes a lot less than 30 minutes. 

 

BP,

 

Your version of extract and mine are apples and oranges different. Rick Beer's timeline is pretty good and mine is slightly longer due to some other things I do. 

 

Because I steep my grains BIAB style in a cooler for at least 30 minutes, I am probably closer to an hour to finish that step with heating water and sparging.  My time to come to a boil is less but only because I use a propane burner. I also rack to a carboy after cooling which takes more time. 

 

I don't rush the process at all as I have found that something always slips through the cracks when I rush. I also get a great deal of enjoyment out of the whole process and so I am not in a hurry to finish. 

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On January 29, 2016 at 4:09 PM, BDawg62 said:

Carry everything from the basement to the deck or garage and then back down again (30 min)

Rest after 6 trips up from the basement because you are old (10 min):P

I think you forgot the relax and enjoy a home brew step(s)

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