all grain queries for a beginner

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Jul 28, 2020
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hi all ive been on and off for years now making lager kits like coopers there straight forward I know .
so I fancy making from scratch just lagers and pilsners but don't have a clue at all ive been watching YouTube etc so my question is to do this as a beginner do I need loads of fancy equipment or can I get like a brewziller then use my fermenter I have, also is the ingredients pricy to make batches really don't no what too do please advise thanks ste
Rats, wrote without properly reading! I would still start with a simple AG and then look at moving into more complex types or anything which needs more particular conditions.
I've been brewing for three years, at least, and still use my original fermenting bucket I bought when making kits. Personally I am very happy my my brewzilla gen 3.1. I have no experience with the more recent gen 4 though.
You don't need fancy equipment.
If you don't mind a little inconvenience of transferring between vessels, you can do brew in a bag with just a water boiler.
There are plenty.on here making good beer with either a big stove top stock pot or an inexpensive boiler (eg Peco).

Many start their AG journey this way and their original boiler becomes their sparge water heater as they upgrade.
Tbh YouTube is fine, and will show you how, but a good book will explain why.

Brewing isn't hard, but you do need to understand it. It is not a single stage all done "make a sandwich", it's comes together over a few days. Understanding it saves it going downhill when you take your eye off it 👍🏻👍🏻

I say that as someone you had brought on a few new brewers and they really have surprised me and taught me a lot.

Also consider the guy on YouTube isn't using your water, your kit, or buying the same grain. No doubt they brewed indoors and many of us don't?
I was similar to you and made kits on and off for years before moving to all grain, I bought the following kit which comes with a peco boiler, chiller and ingredients for your first brew. I intended to use this to see if I enjoyed the process and then upgrade but I ended up using it for years before eventually getting a Brewzilla gen 4. The Brewzilla makes things easier but I would not say it makes better beer
. The Brewzilla makes things easier but I would not say it makes better beer
Spot on.
It's about the time it takes. Ask yourself if you have enough time.

Brew in a bag will probably take all day.
An all in one (AIO) machine will take 6 or so hours.
With the right machine and good process, you can get it down to 90 mins the day you boil.

I started off biab and v quickly bought a machine.
I also have a newbie question - is it much cheaper brewing from all grain vs kits? At the moment I start realising that I brewed 3 kits in about 4 weeks and will do 2 more by the end of this month. And, even more shocking, I did not drink even a tenth of what I made. So, about 100-105 litres of ale and beer made, I spent about £125
My water seems to be fine for IPA, and I can get water from Tesco for lagers, but may jump into water profiling if I start making good malt
I also have a newbie question - is it much cheaper brewing from all grain vs kits?

It depends on what you're brewing, a simple SMASH will be cheaper than a hop heavy NEIPA, an Imperial stout will cost more than a session ale.

When I did kits the decent ones cost around £25 - £30.
My average AG brew of 18L will use
5kg grain ( say £10, cheaper if you get a sack )
100gm hops ( average £ 7 )
Yeast ( average £ 5 )

So basically not much difference if you want to keep it simple.
Although making your own recipes you usually end up with extra grain/hops left over to go into future brews.
Yeah, doesn’t look like it is much cost effective. And, so far, I don’t find it interesting making my recipes. Cool, I will stick to kits for now
Just get your kit over time. I got into AG pretty quick after starting with extracts but I took about a year and a half getting my current set up together. Obviously the BZ was a big outlay but I didn't buy anything for a few months after that. Plenty of other options to an all in one but convenience steered my decision.
It's not just cost. The quality is also much improved.
That said I have an house IPA, that is under a tenner.

I would say though, if your hearts not in it, stick with kits.
I wonder how quality improves. Maybe I’m lucky for not feeling the difference, I definitely cannot say what aromas in my ales, except bitterness - it is usually tasty and carbonated, the rest I cannot tell much 😀
I've just started doing 5ltr all grain kits biab, 3 so far 2x stout/porter and 1 black ipa(tasted like a porter to me)

I've mashed 2 different ways 1st was in a pot wrapped in blankets and left for an 1hr or so the other2 I did as best I could on a stove top trying to keep the temp around 65° or so.

Question is, I've ended up with nice brews but they all have a treacle taste to them is this a result of mashing at wrong temp, mashing too long or something else I might be doing?

Ive been squeezing the bag was wondering if it was possibly the tannins I was tasting?
Well can;t say with any authority as very new to this and still learning, but I have used a Coopers Irish Stout kit, but with a few additions ie use mix of light and extra dark DME, and steeped some chocolate grains. This was simple enough and hopefully raises the kit a bit. So i think for beer there is lots of potential to make additions to kits as per your taste ie add hops or use LME or DME or steep some grains etc.

I tried a stove top kit for All Grain used brew in a bag method only had an 8 ltr pot so limited to 4.5/5 ltr batch.
Kit cost £10ish so not good value at that size but a good way to see if AG is the way ahead, I would suggest you brew something similar from kit and AG and see if you can taste a difference.

5 ltr batch is not that bad biggest issue i had was keeping the mash temp constant.
Have you possibly over boiled them ?
The black ipa asked for 90min boil the other2 60mins but I only boiled 30mins on 1 of those, so id have to say over boiling probably not the reason for the treacle flavour unless I never put enough water in on the boil ie ive ended up with overly intense wort, but that never happened on the black ipa as I watered this down some what from 5ltrs to 7ltrs, maybe ive managed to brew 3 kits with a particular malt that gives the flavour???...ive got q gamma clone to do which aint got any dark malts so will see what happens with this🤣🤣🤣
Mashing dark malts could potentially give a treacly taste. Which malts were in the recipe? Some people add the roasted malts just at the final 10 minutes of the mash for this reason.

Start simple I say until you get a feel for the processes. Single malt, single hops, something like a pale or golden ale. Once you get the hang of that (which won't be long), you can tweak things to your hearts content

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