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AnthonyC

I Am Considering Going All Grain. Talk Me Into It OR Out Of It... Go!

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Fiancée asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Considering the switch, but it's expensive and the process looks (to me) to be a pain in the ass.  Other than the prestige that goes along with saying "Hey, I'm an all grain brewer", what's the big deal?  Taste?  Is it worth it?  Not to be a prick, but I'd prefer answers from people who have experience with both all grain & extract brewing.  Thanks in advance!  ?

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AC,

 

First of all, my beers went from good to GREAT when I made the switch.

 

Questions

 

1.  How big of batches do you want to do?

2.  How big is your brew pot?

3.  How much wort can you bring to a boil? 

4.  Do you already have a propane burner?

 

Answers here will help my answer

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I have a complete 15 gallon A.G. set up, and haven't the time to use it yet, it's driving me crazy! have to wait til spring, for weather conditions, and ACTUAL planned time off! A/C, Go FoR IT! 

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17 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

Fiancée asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Considering the switch, but it's expensive and the process looks (to me) to be a pain in the ass.  Other than the prestige that goes along with saying "Hey, I'm an all grain brewer", what's the big deal?  Taste?  Is it worth it?  Not to be a prick, but I'd prefer answers from people who have experience with both all grain & extract brewing.  Thanks in advance!  ?

I's your Next Step Up! U Can Do IT!

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33 minutes ago, BDawg62 said:

AC,

 

First of all, my beers went from good to GREAT when I made the switch.

 

Questions

 

1.  How big of batches do you want to do?

2.  How big is your brew pot?

3.  How much wort can you bring to a boil? 

4.  Do you already have a propane burner?

 

Answers here will help my answer

Okay BDawg, here ya go:

 

1. I would like to do from 5g & up recipes.

2. Brew pot is only 6g, so that's part of the upgrade.

3. Propane heater is also part of the needed upgrade.  I have a lousy electric range and that struggles to boil 4g.

 

I really like your "good to GREAT" comment.  I don't mind spending the money for the upgrade, I just want to make sure that it's worth it.  

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Just now, AnthonyC said:

Okay BDawg, here ya go:

 

1. I would like to do from 5g & up recipes.

2. Brew pot is only 6g, so that's part of the upgrade.

3. Propane heater is also part of the needed upgrade.  I have a lousy electric range and that struggles to boil 4g.

 

I really like your "good to GREAT" comment.  I don't mind spending the money for the upgrade, I just want to make sure that it's worth it.  

AC,

 

My current brew pot is an 8 gallon turkey fryer pot.  I am going to add a valve to it to make transfers easier but it is not necessary.  My burner is the most expensive thing I had to add since I bought an Edemetal burner with legs.  My mash tun is a 5 gallon Home Depot water cooler with a ball valve for draining.  I use paint strainer bags to strain the grain rather than a braided hose, this makes grain disposal and cleanup much easier.  I also batch sparge rather than fly sparge.

 

With regard to the addition processes and hassle, the quality upgrade of the beer is worth every bit of it.  If you are already doing steeping grains with your extract batches, the process changes are really not that bad.  Mostly just a little more time.  It used to take me 4 to 4.5 hours to complete a 5 gallon full boil extract batch and now it takes about 6 hours to do a 5 gallon all grain batch.  The first few batches can be frustrating while you are working through all of your process changes from extract to AG, but I am now about 10 batches into AG and it is as second nature as extract brewing was before.

 

Your brew pot is a 6 gallon pot that will be very useful to heat strike and sparge water.

 

I was one that resisted the switch for a long time, but I am so glad that I pulled the trigger.  I won't say never but I only keep enough extract on hand to make yeast starter wort.  So in my opinion it is more than worth it to make the switch. 

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@AnthonyC I am with @BDawg62, go for it! AG allows you to refine things a little further, as mashing with different water/grist ratios and different temperatures. The aromas are pretty spectacular too! I maintain a healthy balance of extract/Mr. Beer batches going to, for the ease of it. I tend to hoard those by sheer number, but I'm a little more free with the 4+ cases of AG beer per batch. It's a little bit of a cost up front, but the money for time trade off makes it worth it. 

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15 minutes ago, BDawg62 said:

AC,

 

My current brew pot is an 8 gallon turkey fryer pot.  I am going to add a valve to it to make transfers easier but it is not necessary.  My burner is the most expensive thing I had to add since I bought an Edemetal burner with legs.  My mash tun is a 5 gallon Home Depot water cooler with a ball valve for draining.  I use paint strainer bags to strain the grain rather than a braided hose, this makes grain disposal and cleanup much easier.  I also batch sparge rather than fly sparge.

 

With regard to the addition processes and hassle, the quality upgrade of the beer is worth every bit of it.  If you are already doing steeping grains with your extract batches, the process changes are really not that bad.  Mostly just a little more time.  It used to take me 4 to 4.5 hours to complete a 5 gallon full boil extract batch and now it takes about 6 hours to do a 5 gallon all grain batch.  The first few batches can be frustrating while you are working through all of your process changes from extract to AG, but I am now about 10 batches into AG and it is as second nature as extract brewing was before.

 

Your brew pot is a 6 gallon pot that will be very useful to heat strike and sparge water.

 

I was one that resisted the switch for a long time, but I am so glad that I pulled the trigger.  I won't say never but I only keep enough extract on hand to make yeast starter wort.  So in my opinion it is more than worth it to make the switch. 

Great information.  Thank you for taking the time to respond.  This is why I've said time and time again that this forum, and the forum members, are the BEST source of information out there.  

 

Won't lie.  I am not the handiest with tools plus I don't have the tools to convert the coolers myself.  I was considering the Northern Brewer starter kit (10g).  They are having some amazing sales b/c of the Holidays.  Basically I would need that, the burner/stand, and the pot.  Sound about right?  

 

The biggest reason for considering the switch is b/c I have been a bit disappointed with some of my extract batches as of late.  Yes, they have been good (at least that's what I'm told), but to me they aren't great.  I've been steeping grains for almost a year now, so if the difference is not that bad then I'm down to give it a shot.  A local brew shop gives classes, and I think that would also be a worthy investment.  The guy is a bit of a pompass ass, but I can deal with it for the experience & training.  Wish Big @Jim Johnson had a place near me.  

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Argh...  I'm out of work sick today and the school nurse just called me to say that my son puked.  I defenitely want to continue this conversation.  Be back soon...

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52 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

Great information.  Thank you for taking the time to respond.  This is why I've said time and time again that this forum, and the forum members, are the BEST source of information out there.  

 

Won't lie.  I am not the handiest with tools plus I don't have the tools to convert the coolers myself.  I was considering the Northern Brewer starter kit (10g).  They are having some amazing sales b/c of the Holidays.  Basically I would need that, the burner/stand, and the pot.  Sound about right?  

 

The biggest reason for considering the switch is b/c I have been a bit disappointed with some of my extract batches as of late.  Yes, they have been good (at least that's what I'm told), but to me they aren't great.  I've been steeping grains for almost a year now, so if the difference is not that bad then I'm down to give it a shot.  A local brew shop gives classes, and I think that would also be a worthy investment.  The guy is a bit of a pompass ass, but I can deal with it for the experience & training.  Wish Big @Jim Johnson had a place near me.  

AC,

 

Correct, all you would need is a larger pot and burner with the NB kit.  But converting a cooler isn't really that hard, you can buy all of the parts on Amazon and the only tool you need is a set of pliers. 

 

With regard to classes, try Youtube.  There are countless videos that are done by people who are not a pompass ass.  Your brewshop owner should be willing to help all he can.  Also, look for a homebrew club in your area, probably run by the homebrew shop owner but maybe not. 

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48 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

Don't do it! We need you to buy our malt extracts! :P

I never forget my roots.  Mr. Beer is where it all started for me.  

 

Besides, my gut feeling is telling me that at their rapid pace of product expansion Mr. Beer isn't far off from offering some all grain recipes themselves. ;)

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8 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

I never forget my roots.  Mr. Beer is where it all started for me.  

 

Besides, my gut feeling is telling me that at their rapid pace of product expansion Mr. Beer isn't far off from offering some all grain recipes themselves. ;)

 

Your gut may be correct... ;)

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3 hours ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

Your gut may be correct... ;)

 

I cant wait!!

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1 hour ago, RIVER said:

 

I cant wait!!

Dammit River!  You have got to change that avatar!!!

machoman1037_1.png

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6 hours ago, MRB Josh R said:

Don't do it! We need you to buy our malt extracts! :P

 

You can still do that. Plenty of time to make a quick Mr. Beer kit while you are mashing. :)

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1 minute ago, efdbrian said:

 

You can still do that. Plenty of time to make a quick Mr. Beer kit while you are mashing. :)

Can't argue with logic, Brian.  ???

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2 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

Can't argue with logic, Brian.  ???

 

If you aren't careful your fermenting chamber could end up looking like this. 

 

@BDawg62 covered the important stuff. I'll see if I can think of more and post from something other than my phone. 

IMG_4139.JPG

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Just now, efdbrian said:

 

If you aren't careful your fermenting chamber could end up looking like this. 

 

@BDawg62 covered the important stuff. I'll see if I can think of more and post from something other than my phone. 

IMG_4139.JPG

That would be great.  Thank you.  I appreciate all the advice that I can get.  I did order this today, so I guess the decision has been made.

 

IMG_0224.PNG

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Congrats! I'm missing the second cooler to use as a lauter tun, but I make due. I think I want to build a brew stand this spring. Have fun with your new purchase! Looking forward to seeing what you think. 

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19 minutes ago, AnthonyC said:

That would be great.  Thank you.  I appreciate all the advice that I can get.  I did order this today, so I guess the decision has been made.

 

IMG_0224.PNG

 

A good friend of mine just bought this setup, too. We're doing a batch in it this weekend. It's about time, too. It's been awhile since my last AG batch.

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5 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

A good friend of mine just bought this setup, too. We're doing a batch in it this weekend. It's about time, too. It's been awhile since my last AG batch.

It definitely gives me a boost of confidence in my purchase that a brewmaster is amped to use it!

 

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11 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

Great information.  Thank you for taking the time to respond.  This is why I've said time and time again that this forum, and the forum members, are the BEST source of information out there.  

 

Won't lie.  I am not the handiest with tools plus I don't have the tools to convert the coolers myself.  I was considering the Northern Brewer starter kit (10g).  They are having some amazing sales b/c of the Holidays.  Basically I would need that, the burner/stand, and the pot.  Sound about right?  

 

The biggest reason for considering the switch is b/c I have been a bit disappointed with some of my extract batches as of late.  Yes, they have been good (at least that's what I'm told), but to me they aren't great.  I've been steeping grains for almost a year now, so if the difference is not that bad then I'm down to give it a shot.  A local brew shop gives classes, and I think that would also be a worthy investment.  The guy is a bit of a pompass ass, but I can deal with it for the experience & training.  Wish Big @Jim Johnson had a place near me.  

I would honestly suggest you try doing a couple partial mashes to "get your feet wet" so to speak. That way at least your whole brew ain't depending on how efficiently you can convert starch to sugar.(promise you it ain't going to be very efficient to start with)

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Biggest thing is time. All grain brew days take longer and youre making a larger volume so bottling day takes longer too. 

 

The pay off is your beers will taste better sooner and your batches will be cheaper after the initial investment. And people will marvel at your equipment, which will be more than your extract equiptment so cleaning takes longer and is kinda tedious.

 

Are you going to be indoors or outdoors? Propane burners are cool but you sure wont feel like brewing on a below zero day. Is there a decent water hook up for your chiller outside?

 

This hobby is not a cheap one. I would figure out what you want to do. Chances are if you start making 5 gallon batches like crazy youll prob want to start kegging too. If your like me youll never stop tinkering. Thats why i wish i wouldve bought big from the start instead of making tiny steps that do nothing but get me halfway to my goal. 

 

Im for you going all grain, theres just a lot to think about. Youve done BIAB before right? Otherwise thats where id start. Find a brew buddy to help with the lifting to get used to the feel of all grain. Buy a bigger pot and use it for BIAB now and it can be your HLT later.

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I've got a potential brew stand that was a bathroom vanity I pulled and was gonna take to the dump, but i'm thinking with all the lower door access, multiple drawer storage and rebuilding the counter top suitable for a multi level  mash tun and sparge tank. will only be stored in the shed, but has potential for success, another project for this next spring.

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32 minutes ago, HoppySmile! said:

I've got a potential brew stand that was a bathroom vanity I pulled and was gonna take to the dump, but i'm thinking with all the lower door access, multiple drawer storage and rebuilding the counter top suitable for a multi level  mash tun and sparge tank. will only be stored in the shed, but has potential for success, another project for this next spring.

...and that is supposed to convince me how?

Only 'cause I love ya, Hoppy!!

education-teaching-off_topic-school-scho

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On ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2016 at 4:52 PM, AnthonyC said:

...and that is supposed to convince me how?

ok, this should be convincing enough, wait til ur bored of the same ol' extract thing time and time again, wait til ur curiosity has you thinking again about the next exciting thing about brewing beer! and wait til ur fiancé has u an awesum gift under the tree! i'm bedazzled about going to the next lvl of brewing, I want to experience it all to all the extremes so I can relate to the " I've been there, done its!". just Friday I convinced another co worker to try out a new Mr. Beer kit I bought on sale thru Gropuon.com last summer, he's all jazzed up about trying it out! that's what it's about! keeping the Jazz going. Now of course you might be satisfied where you are now, Great! But if however, u may get bored, y not try the next lvl? buy a one gallon A.G. kit, try it out. once again, i'm not bailing out on the great Mr. Beer products, I've got enough extracts to brew close to a hundred gallons of beer varieties

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^^ That's what I've been thinking about posting. If you're wanting some All Grain experience then buy a 1G recipe kit. There's quite a few vendors selling the 1G AG recipes, Brooklyn Brew Shop is probably the most well known. You can either get the complete kit with 1G jug and accessories or just use your LBK for the fermenter. I've done several and they've all worked out fine.

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58 minutes ago, HoppySmile! said:

ok, this should be convincing enough, wait til ur bored of the same ol' extract thing time and time again, wait til ur curiosity has you thinking again about the next exciting thing about brewing beer! and wait til ur fiancé has u an awesum gift under the tree! i'm bedazzled about going to the next lvl of brewing, I want to experience it all to all the extremes so I can relate to the " I've been there, done its!". just Friday I convinced another co worker to try out a new Mr. Beer kit I bought on sale thru Gropuon.com last summer, he's all jazzed up about trying it out! that's what it's about! keeping the Jazz going. Now of course you might be satisfied where you are now, Great! But if however, u may get bored, y not try the next lvl? buy a one gallon A.G. kit, try it out. once again, i'm not bailing out on the great Mr. Beer products, I've got enough extracts to brew close to a hundred gallons of beer varieties

takes just as much work to make 1 gallon as it would to make 2. Just use the LBK

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1 hour ago, TonyKZ1 said:

^^ That's what I've been thinking about posting. If you're wanting some All Grain experience then buy a 1G recipe kit. There's quite a few vendors selling the 1G AG recipes, Brooklyn Brew Shop is probably the most well known. You can either get the complete kit with 1G jug and accessories or just use your LBK for the fermenter. I've done several and they've all worked out fine.

I've done a 1 gallon AG kit and I've done 5 gallon AG.  While the process is basically the same, the equipment is vastly different.  A 1 gallon kit can be easily done on a stovetop with a regular pot while a 5 gallon batch takes at least a mash tun, brewpot and burner.  In addition, you would need some type of means to cool a 5 gallon batch, an Ice batch just doesn't work well. 

 

I wouldn't waste the money to buy a 1 gallon kit as most of us already have the means to brew and ferment that amount anyway.  Buy your grains from your LHBS and support them.

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6 hours ago, HoppySmile! said:

ok, this should be convincing enough, wait til ur bored of the same ol' extract thing time and time again, wait til ur curiosity has you thinking again about the next exciting thing about brewing beer! and wait til ur fiancé has u an awesum gift under the tree! i'm bedazzled about going to the next lvl of brewing, I want to experience it all to all the extremes so I can relate to the " I've been there, done its!". just Friday I convinced another co worker to try out a new Mr. Beer kit I bought on sale thru Gropuon.com last summer, he's all jazzed up about trying it out! that's what it's about! keeping the Jazz going. Now of course you might be satisfied where you are now, Great! But if however, u may get bored, y not try the next lvl? buy a one gallon A.G. kit, try it out. once again, i'm not bailing out on the great Mr. Beer products, I've got enough extracts to brew close to a hundred gallons of beer varieties

Damn Hoppy!   Totally legit answer!!!

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Bit the bullet and went to ask the lhbs guy when the next all grain class was.  He was actually pretty cool (maybe b/c of Christmas?) and said that once in awhile he brews on a Sunday when he's closed, and that he'll let me know ahead of time so that I can come down and watch.  Maybe he was being nice or maybe he sees a potentially significant sale.  Either way I thought it was generous of him offer.  ☺

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2 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

Bit the bullet and went to ask the lhbs guy when the next all grain class was.  He was actually pretty cool (maybe b/c of Christmas?) and said that once in awhile he brews on a Sunday when he's closed, and that he'll let me know ahead of time so that I can come down and watch.  Maybe he was being nice or maybe he sees a potentially significant sale.  Either way I thought it was generous of him offer.  ☺

It may be because you are taking the step from Mr. Beer to AG.  Some LHBS owners/managers have a very unfounded and negative opinion of Mr. Beer brewers.  I think most of them are upset with the fact that they can't make any money off of you as long as you are using Mr. Beer products, so they treat you like crap and usually tell you to quit brewing that way and come over to their side.  What they should do (and the good ones do) is treat you as a brewer and be generous with answering any questions you may have and be willing to help.  A very large percentage of their clients got their start with Mr. Beer (even though most won't admit it) and so they should be thankful.

 

Rant done

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On ‎12‎/‎19‎/‎2016 at 9:20 AM, Jim Johnson said:

takes just as much work to make 1 gallon as it would to make 2. Just use the LBK

either way, i'm just trying to convince A/C to give it a try then not at all.

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On ‎12‎/‎17‎/‎2016 at 4:52 PM, AnthonyC said:

...and that is supposed to convince me how?

Only 'cause I love ya, Hoppy!!

education-teaching-off_topic-school-scho

BTW, I love the cartoon!! reminds me of high school, I now realize that i'm ADD, wish there was a diagnosis for that back then!! LMAO!

 

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1 hour ago, BDawg62 said:

It may be because you are taking the step from Mr. Beer to AG.  Some LHBS owners/managers have a very unfounded and negative opinion of Mr. Beer brewers.  I think most of them are upset with the fact that they can't make any money off of you as long as you are using Mr. Beer products, so they treat you like crap and usually tell you to quit brewing that way and come over to their side.  What they should do (and the good ones do) is treat you as a brewer and be generous with answering any questions you may have and be willing to help.  A very large percentage of their clients got their start with Mr. Beer (even though most won't admit it) and so they should be thankful.

 

Rant done

Even though he has been arrogant in the past, he knows that most of the brewing I do now is partial mash because I buy a lot of grains and grain bags from him.  You are 100% correct that most of his earlier criticism was due to the fact that I was brewing Mr. Beer recipes exclusively.  Water under the bridge.  Wish I had a local owner around here like @Jim Johnson but we can't all be that lucky!!! 

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26 minutes ago, HoppySmile! said:

BTW, I love the cartoon!! reminds me of high school, I now realize that i'm ADD, wish there was a diagnosis for that back then!! LMAO!

 

Welcome to MY world, sir!  I feel your pain!!!  :)

 

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My 2¢ -- I've brewed some nice 2-gallon stovetop mash-in-a-sack beers using 2-3 lbs. grain, starting with the Vienna Lager.  The limiting factor at the moment is the size of my kettle, so I'm still adding 1 or 2 BrewMax LMEs or booster to get to OG.  Mashing is fun, but then you find out how much you have to learn about hops and bittering once the HME training wheels are off!  Good luck Anthony!   

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3 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

My 2¢ -- I've brewed some nice 2-gallon stovetop mash-in-a-sack beers using 2-3 lbs. grain, starting with the Vienna Lager.  The limiting factor at the moment is the size of my kettle, so I'm still adding 1 or 2 BrewMax LMEs or booster to get to OG.  Mashing is fun, but then you find out how much you have to learn about hops and bittering once the HME training wheels are off!  Good luck Anthony!   

Thanks, BB.  ?

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11 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

Even though he has been arrogant in the past, he knows that most of the brewing I do now is partial mash because I buy a lot of grains and grain bags from him.  You are 100% correct that most of his earlier criticism was due to the fact that I was brewing Mr. Beer recipes exclusively.  Water under the bridge.  Wish I had a local owner around here like @Jim Johnson but we can't all be that lucky!!! 

My boss and the Manager who preceded me were the same way(use to give me a hard time). As a matter of fact my boss won't allow me to carry any MrB products, says he's been making fun of them too long to change now. Damn silly if you ask me, if I can get them coming in for the HMEs, I'll make other sales. This place is a toy store for adults, it sells it's self, all I do is answer questions.

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i do both extract (all sizes) and all grain (smallish batches). 

 

all grain: more work. more chemistry to potentially worry about ie balancing ph and mineral content.  you can do it in a bag tucked into a 5 gallon igloo bev cooler. you then would 'sparge' by simply draining the cooler into a vessel and adding your sparge water to the cooler..stir.. put lid back on.. let sit.. drain etc.  it's a cheap way to go. if you do it this way while mashing I open it up about every 20 mins to stir around the grain just a little to increase efficiency.  you can make a mash tun out of a square cooler with a copper manifold or even a pvc manifold.. lots of designs online... for relatively cheap.   so the biggest drawback is the extra effort required.  the nice thing is you have more control over the outcome re flavor.  you can experiment with different grains.. different mash temps/times,  with chemicals.. without..  and as mentioned you will likely make even better beer.

 

I like the ease of extract combined with a partial mash.  when making a big beer for example, all grain tends to get crappy efficiency in my case. I split the grain bill and do about half extract and half grain.. do a small mash volume and it works well enough for me.

 

if you want to try all grain for cheap..  and you have a 5 or 10 gallon bev cooler, just get a large biab bag and go that route. that way you can experiment and if it isn't for you, you still have a cooler you can use. I just use the spigot that is attached. with the bag no need for a manifold.   for the chemistry, look up EZ water calculator spread sheet.  you'll need to know your water chemistry.  if you buy mineral water write the spring source and ask for their most recent lab report.  or use reverse osmosis water and 'build' your desired water profile.   the chemicals are cheapish.  any lhbs should carry them. you need to be careful that your chemical levels stay in safe levels. the spreadsheet will alert you to potential problems. 

 

when I do the all grain I usually end up with more trub.  you can compensate by increasing water volume. or let the wort sit for some time before transferring it to the fermenter. 

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the important thing to remember when pursuing a hobby... make it only as complicated as you can stand. when it becomes a chore, a bother.. 'too much work' you are more likely to quit. me? I love tedium. I love chemistry. I love endlessly crunching numbers and weighing things.  I like the 'what happens if I dump 12 pounds of crystal 80l into this' kind of experimentation.

 

if you are like this too all grain can be fun. if youre only slightly like this brew in the bag would work. if you read that and the other post above and went 'omg what a pain in the butt! this guy is nuts! ' then stick to extracts.    extract brewing with steeping grains or not, still makes good beer.   hell, mr beer kits just as they are make good beer and are super duper easy.   less clean up too! good thing I married someone who doesn't mind washing bottles and fermenters , equipment etc.  

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7 hours ago, zorak1066 said:

the important thing to remember when pursuing a hobby... make it only as complicated as you can stand. when it becomes a chore, a bother.. 'too much work' you are more likely to quit.

It's been a long time since I have posted around here... as I just started reading again recently after a several year hiatus (#BackToMyRoots).  This topic caught my eye and I have to say while there has been a lot of great comments, the one above is the one that I agree with the most.  #Awesome!

As for the OP... keep in mind what was said above here.  If you are wanting to jump up because you feel you have to as your brewing knowledge expands, then your "quick & easy" brew days could become a hassle (chore) and you will probably end up brewing less because you might start dreading the process.  So as was said above here, "make it only as complicated as you can stand".

Others have also said that the bigger your brews, the more bottles you will need and that all amounts to more time... or it could amount to more $$ as you would then want to start kegging.  Trust me when I say that I am proof that this "hobby" isn't a cheap one.   7 years ago on December 20th I brewed my first Mr. Beer batch. I moved rather quickly from the LBK to AG 5 gallon batches, to 11 gallon batches and then I stepped back to doing 5 gallon BIAB after 3/4 year off from brewing and then just this past May, I jumped up to a 1.33BBL system.  I have seen many of the stops along the road of brewing.  I have seen my brew days go from less than an hour, to 4 hours, to 2.5 hours and now a typical brew days is 7-8 hours from flame on to cleaned up. The ins and the outs and the bottom line is that even if you enjoy the final product, if you do something along the way where you stop enjoying the process, none of it will really matter because when it stops being fun, you will probably stop all together (trust me on that).  So again, take your time, make the moves when you feel you are ready and most certainly, "make it only as complicated as you can stand."

#BrewOn!

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On 12/16/2016 at 8:57 PM, Jim Johnson said:

I would honestly suggest you try doing a couple partial mashes to "get your feet wet" so to speak. That way at least your whole brew ain't depending on how efficiently you can convert starch to sugar.(promise you it ain't going to be very efficient to start with)

 

That is exactly what I did before my first AG SMASH IPA. Three partial mash kits and I hit all my estimated mash values. Once you dial in your process brew day will be less stressful. Right now I can do a 4.75 gallon AG batch on my stove top and bottle 3.5 to 3.75 gallons. 

 

My next upgrades are a propane burner, which my uncle is giving me, and kegging system. 

 

On 12/21/2016 at 6:02 AM, AnthonyC said:

Bit the bullet and went to ask the lhbs guy when the next all grain class was.  He was actually pretty cool (maybe b/c of Christmas?) and said that once in awhile he brews on a Sunday when he's closed, and that he'll let me know ahead of time so that I can come down and watch.  Maybe he was being nice or maybe he sees a potentially significant sale.  Either way I thought it was generous of him offer.  ☺

 

Glad to hear he's now willing to teach. I missed the AG brew days at a small brewery near me so I spent a lot of time on YouTube. 

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I did all my research online .  I read palmer's guides.. asked tons of questions... did my research before jumping in.   my first batch choice? a Russian imperial stout.  oh boy... talk about going from 0 to 60!  so much went wrong.  my efficiency blew. I had tons of trub so my yield was less... but.. I had fun and still made a passably fair to tasty normal strength stout.

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On ‎12‎/‎21‎/‎2016 at 8:59 AM, AnthonyC said:

Welcome to MY world, sir!  I feel your pain!!!  :)

 

OK! A/C!!!!!! northern brewer has a free Dead Ringer A.G. recipe kit with a $50.00 purchase order! not bad when u consider it costs pretty close to the 50 bucks by itself! However, since they dnt sell middle ribbed condoms, I really have no interest. HOWEVER, it's a chance for you to get a good deal on an A.G. kit Happy Holidays!!!

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2 hours ago, HoppySmile! said:

OK! A/C!!!!!! northern brewer has a free Dead Ringer A.G. recipe kit with a $50.00 purchase order! not bad when u consider it costs pretty close to the 50 bucks by itself! However, since they dnt sell middle ribbed condoms, I really have no interest. HOWEVER, it's a chance for you to get a good deal on an A.G. kit Happy Holidays!!!

Thanks for looking out, Hoppy!  Appreciate it! :)

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Fiancée bought me 3 all grain recipes, an extra long stainless spoon, and a new 10 gallon kettle.  That's love! :)

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1 hour ago, AnthonyC said:

Fiancée bought me 3 all grain recipes, an extra long stainless spoon, and a new 10 gallon kettle.  That's love! :)

Holy hell, you must've been really nice this year... that's like an extra couple hundred bucks on top of the 200 already. Maybe that's why @RickBeer has never upgraded his equipment, he's on the naughty list. 

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15 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

Holy hell, you must've been really nice this year... that's like an extra couple hundred bucks on top of the 200 already. Maybe that's why @RickBeer has never upgraded his equipment, he's on the naughty list. 

We both went a little overboard this year on each other.  Finances are on the up-tick finally (thank God), so we went a little crazy.  Plus if I'm brewing, I'm not in her hair...  and I know that she is aware of that.  ?

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8 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

Fiancée bought me 3 all grain recipes, an extra long stainless spoon, and a new 10 gallon kettle.  That's love! :)

a brewers dream!!! my house is so engulfed with beer brewing supplies it looks like a homebrew store!!! I feel almost like a hoarder now lol! climbing over this to get to that and so on... the house has no storage or garage so it is what it is.....

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RickBeer does 5 gallon extract recipes in a 5 gallon pot on the stove just fine.

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

RickBeer does 5 gallon extract recipes in a 5 gallon pot on the stove just fine.

Tough for me to do anything above a 2.5 gallon b/c of my electric range.  1st thing tomorrow I'm off to buy a Dark Star from the local guy.  I think I'm going to head to Walmart 1st to see if they have a clearance turkey fryer before I do that though.

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

I only have max 3.5 gallons in the pot.

Gone there too, Rick.  Plenty of times.  Although I have a deep love for brewing, standing there waiting for the water to boil is like, well it's like standing staring at a pot waiting for water to boil.  ?  My range is old and in all honesty needs to be replaced.  Combine that with the fact that I'd like to expand to more girthier recipes (7-10g), and simply the idea of brewing outdoors on a Darkstar, made me yearn for that bigger kettle/Darkstar combination.  For 5g or less, I'll stick with ole reliable.  ?

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2016 at 5:09 AM, AnthonyC said:

Although I have a deep love for brewing, standing there waiting for the water to boil is like, well it's like standing staring at a pot waiting for water to boil.  ?

LOL.  My least favorite part of brewing... the waiting!  When I moved up to the 1.33BBL system earlier this year, it didn't take long to realize that the major bump in time is from waiting for the banjo burners to bring that much wort to a boil. I typically only do .5BBL at a time, but still, that's a big difference in time waiting for the boil.  Of course, I have learned to do other things during that time, like cleaning conicals/kegs or updating my brewing notes, to pass the time,  but still. :) 

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6 minutes ago, kedogn said:

LOL.  My least favorite part of brewing... the waiting!  When I moved up to the 1.33BBL system earlier this year, it didn't take long to realize that the major bump in time is from waiting for the banjo burners to bring that much wort to a boil. I typically only do .5BBL at a time, but still, that's a big difference in time waiting for the boil.  Of course, I have learned to do other things during that time, like cleaning conicals/kegs or updating my brewing notes, to pass the time,  but still. :) 

If there was some instant gratification in it then I could probably deal with it.  Think macaroni goes into water, boil water, eat macaroni!  ?

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1 hour ago, AnthonyC said:

If there was some instant gratification in it then I could probably deal with it.  Think macaroni goes into water, boil water, eat macaroni!  ?

LOL... that's why you need to keep the taps (or bottles) full, to be able to enjoy while you wait, so you know what you have coming down the line eventually :) 

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1 hour ago, kedogn said:

LOL... that's why you need to keep the taps (or bottles) full, to be able to enjoy while you wait, so you know what you have coming down the line eventually :) 

Can't argue with logic!  ???

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2016 at 5:20 AM, RickBeer said:

I only have max 3.5 gallons in the pot.

currently I use a 3 gal. kettle for my 5 gal. batches, I  know it's smaller but it doesn't scorch on the bottom bcuz of the 1/2 inch  ss plate welded to the bottom. b4 I got into brewing, it was my go-to stewing pot.

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3 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

You get your new stuff set up yet?

No, not yet & went back to work today. 

Ahem...  Big Blue vs. The Pack. 

Come Git Some!!!  ;)  Gonna be a helluva game, Creeps!

 

giants packers.jpg

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2 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

No, not yet & went back to work today. 

Ahem...  Big Blue vs. The Pack. 

Come Git Some!!!  ;)  Gonna be a helluva game, Creeps!

 

giants packers.jpg

Big blue aka boo hoo blue ?

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On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 4:51 PM, AnthonyC said:

That would be great.  Thank you.  I appreciate all the advice that I can get.  I did order this today, so I guess the decision has been made.

 

IMG_0224.PNG

 

 

@AnthonyC I'm actually considering this as well.  I found LHBS that has cheaper grains than I've ever seen.  I already have an 8 gallon kettle, new wort chiller, outside burner, and what not. All I need is this, right?  Plus NB has a 20% off on top of this deal!  Ah!  Do I take the plunge too?  I know I'll still brew partial mashes, but this is a good deal!

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I've also done some research about AG and how you can just use the mash tun and do a no sparge.  What's everyone's opinion on that?  Is sparging really necessary with AG?

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27 minutes ago, Bach's Brews said:

I've also done some research about AG and how you can just use the mash tun and do a no sparge.  What's everyone's opinion on that?  Is sparging really necessary with AG?

You're just leaving behind some of your sugars, not the end of the world.  You'll have to buy more grains per batch which drives your cost up but were probably talking about a buck or three per 5 gallon batch. You'll be doing full boils so I hope you have a chiller and a big enough kettle. That's all I can think of with a three year old discussing impact hammers with me... poor boy should've been born to a farmer or a mason

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6 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

You're just leaving behind some of your sugars, not the end of the world.  You'll have to buy more grains per batch which drives your cost up but were probably talking about a buck or three per 5 gallon batch. You'll be doing full boils so I hope you have a chiller and a big enough kettle. That's all I can think of with a three year old discussing impact hammers with me... poor boy should've been born to a farmer or a mason

 

I also read that I would need more grain. Is there a calculator to figure that out? How much more of each grain I would need if I went that route? 

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I know I would need to add about .12 gallons per lb of grain to the pre-boil volume.  It would just be nice to find a way to figure out how much more grain I would need. I have an 8 gallon brew kettle and burner.  I would just get a 10 gallon mash tun in order to do the full volume.  I found a calculator http://www.brew365.com/mash_sparge_water_calculator.php where I would just adjust the mash thickness number until the sparge water needed is at 0.  So, I've got that part down.  Haha!

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Ok. I may have found something online that talked about you would be adding about 33% more grain if you do a no sparge route.  Can anyone confirm that?  That seems like A LOT more grain. Probably 4-6 pounds more.

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Why can't you just sparge? Just use hot tap water if you have to. I think they recommend 176 degrees but work with what you got 

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Love this guy. Just went back to one of his first videos and he answered my question of "how can i mash out in a cooler mash tun" thought others might like this too

 

 

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9 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

Love this guy. Just went back to one of his first videos and he answered my question of "how can i mash out in a cooler mash tun" thought others might like this too

 

 

Creeps,

 

Great find, that is basically how I do it.  No need for a 2 cooler system.

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3 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

Great find, that is basically how I do it.  No need for a 2 cooler system.

Its pretty similar to how I started in AG brewing.  The video made me chuckle a couple of times as it took me back to my old garage with lots of good memories.  It's funny how people can complicate this whole process, but it can be as simple as this video showed. :)

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On 12/16/2016 at 8:32 AM, BDawg62 said:

AC,

 

First of all, my beers went from good to GREAT when I made the switch.

 

Questions

 

1.  How big of batches do you want to do?

2.  How big is your brew pot?

3.  How much wort can you bring to a boil? 

4.  Do you already have a propane burner?

 

Answers here will help my answer

I say go for it , better beer , more control over what you brew , and you can create the perfect beer just for you by you , but it's still nice to throw a kit together if you don't have time , or your a little low on the pipeline , also if you have the basics to start your ag adventure , the price of grains , hops , yeast make ag all the more attractive , my last ag brew cost me  2.84 a 6 pack

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On 12/16/2016 at 7:27 AM, AnthonyC said:

Fiancée asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Considering the switch, but it's expensive and the process looks (to me) to be a pain in the ass.  Other than the prestige that goes along with saying "Hey, I'm an all grain brewer", what's the big deal?  Taste?  Is it worth it?  Not to be a prick, but I'd prefer answers from people who have experience with both all grain & extract brewing.  Thanks in advance!  ?

old thread, but i say go for it! better beer awaits! hopefully the OP was convinced to upgrade 3 yrs ago....LOL

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7 hours ago, Jdub said:

old thread, but i say go for it! better beer awaits! hopefully the OP was convinced to upgrade 3 yrs ago....LOL

 

He suddenly stopped posting here about two years ago.  I always wondered what happened; he always had good info and posts to share.

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10 minutes ago, Shrike said:

 

He suddenly stopped posting here about two years ago.  I always wondered what happened; he always had good info and posts to share.

hopefully he's still brewing! happy Friday.

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On Friday, August 16, 2019 at 8:15 AM, Shrike said:

 

He suddenly stopped posting here about two years ago.  I always wondered what happened; he always had good info and posts to share.

Goingfrom memory, wasn't Anthony a middle age high school English  teacher? I hope he didn't get into trouble (he didn't seem the type. How many wild English teachers have you known ) or suffer a health issue. Hoping somebody lurking or Anthony himself can enlighten us.

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