Moving to AG.

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Rich Moyes, Sep 13, 2019.

Help Support The Homebrew Forum UK by donating:

  1. Sep 13, 2019 #1

    Rich Moyes

    Rich Moyes

    Rich Moyes

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    15
    Afternoon all.

    I have now done roughly 7 or 8 kits and well and truely got the bug, I am looking at buying a grainfather or Klarstein and move to AG.
    I am happy to take the hit financially, but my real question is....Is the beer any better than the kits? can you immediatley notice the better quality of beer?

    Is it worth the money and the time of a brew day?
     
    cushyno and crowcrow like this.
  2. Sep 13, 2019 #2

    terrym

    terrym

    terrym

    Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,883
    Likes Received:
    2,466
    Location:
    North Sussex
    Moving away from kits to using most or all grain will undoubtedly mean, in general, the quality of your beer should improve. However you dont have to spend a fortune to do this. There are plenty of homebrewers who brew beer by partial mash using extract or small scale AG using a stock pot on a stove, including me. I suggest you give it a try before you invest large sums of money, although in the end you may well decide that you can justify the additional cost.
     
    cushyno, GerritT and Rich Moyes like this.
  3. Sep 13, 2019 #3

    Rodcx500z

    Rodcx500z

    Rodcx500z

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2019
    Messages:
    727
    Likes Received:
    275
    Location:
    on the island
    Yes you will be amazed at the difference, very few kits can live with all grain acheers.
     
  4. Sep 13, 2019 #4

    Cheshire Cat

    Cheshire Cat

    Cheshire Cat

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Warrington
    AG done well is far superior to even the best kits. I have a SS mash tun, boiler and homemade wort chiller. Total cost £230 ish.
     
    Rodcx500z likes this.
  5. Sep 13, 2019 #5

    chrisb8

    chrisb8

    chrisb8

    Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2019
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    57
    I went from kits to partial mash to all grain as @terrym suggests. The best thing I bought in going all grain is an electric boiler, it is so much better than trying to use the cooker hob.
     
  6. Sep 13, 2019 #6

    Gerryjo

    Gerryjo

    Gerryjo

    Landlord. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Messages:
    3,373
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Location:
    Derry,Northern Ireland
    I would certainly agree with @terrym and maybe try a partial mash or an AG on a smaller scale on the stove top so as to give you an indication as to what is involved in the process.As opposed to most kits AG is definitely superior but again that is only down to how well your process,equipment,recipes,timings etc are dialed in.Kits and AG are identical from fermenter onwards but it's the process which has already been mastered in your kit that you will be trying to recreate from choosing a recipe,grains which can be pre-crushed or whole and crush yourself,water quality with the possibility of salt/acid additions,mash temps/times,wort hop additions,chill/no chill and we could go on.
    It certainly a lot more time consuming for a 23l AG batch with an average of around 6hrs starting out but when you hit it right it's fantastic.
    Take a look here and give it a go.....athumb..
     
    terrym likes this.
  7. Sep 13, 2019 #7

    Banbeer

    Banbeer

    Banbeer

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    155
    Location:
    Mkt Harborough, Leicester UK
    I do both, only in the summer though when other things need doing and don't have the time for an AG brew day but come winter I will be just doing the odd kit and the rest will be AG on my Brewster Beacon, I went from doing kits to all grain and didn't spend a fortune but bought the Brewster earlier this year and love it.
     
    cushyno likes this.
  8. Sep 13, 2019 #8

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    451
    Location:
    Dorsetshire
    The beer is definitely better, and I say that with respect to kit brewers.

    However, that's only half the story. The best bit about AG is designing and executing your beers within almost limitless possibilities.
     
    cushyno and britton like this.
  9. Sep 13, 2019 #9

    Clint

    Clint

    Clint

    Hammered.....

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2016
    Messages:
    6,729
    Likes Received:
    3,156
    Location:
    North Wales
    The biggest “cost” in my opinion is time...you need to put most of a day aside...without interruptions. I was planning to brew today but got distracted so it’ll be next week now as work will be getting in the way.
    Also as said...some cookers aren’t up to boiling 20+ litres....your standard burner is no good,wok types are better. If you are unsure...go electric.
     
    Rodcx500z likes this.
  10. Sep 13, 2019 #10

    Rich Moyes

    Rich Moyes

    Rich Moyes

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    15
    Thank you everyone! as usually fantastic support on this forum!

    Im sold!! AG it is!

    Time isnt an issue really, my weekends are always quite chilled

    thanks everyone
     
  11. Sep 13, 2019 #11

    BridgeBrew

    BridgeBrew

    BridgeBrew

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2017
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Peoples republic of Manchester
    I started brewing in the mid 80s when kits were crap, with very little choice. I soon turned to AG, and brewed some cracking beers. Now i only do kits, and the odd partial mash. The thing is kits have come on in leaps and bounds over the last 20 years, and if you can control your fermentation temperature i really dont think it's worth the time, and effort doing AG.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2019
  12. Sep 13, 2019 #12

    Clint

    Clint

    Clint

    Hammered.....

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2016
    Messages:
    6,729
    Likes Received:
    3,156
    Location:
    North Wales
    The last few kits I did were very good... Young's IPA ,AIPA and new world saison.
     
  13. Sep 14, 2019 #13

    Cheshire Cat

    Cheshire Cat

    Cheshire Cat

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Warrington
    A AG brewing day for me is about 5 hours so if you start at 8am you're finished by 1pm. However I do a 90 mash and a 90 boil and a lot of people do 60 and 60 so I assume they only take 4 hours. Not a long time and whilst you're waiting you get on with other things.
     
    Rodcx500z likes this.
  14. Sep 14, 2019 #14

    Slid

    Slid

    Slid

    Forum Friend Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Messages:
    4,381
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Bolton
    I reckon on six hours, including preparing the kitchen before and tidying up afterwards. If I had a "maid of all works" at my disposal, then 4 hours would be feasible. Sadly, none of the 2/3 women I live with has ever been quite that biddable. So, six hours it is. I only have a "celebration" beer once the airlock is fitted, in principle.
     
  15. Sep 15, 2019 #15

    Deadhead

    Deadhead

    Deadhead

    Female Brewer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Scotland
    I went from simple kits to more advanced kits and to steeping grains. I had a go at partial mash and brew in a bag. I then went to a three vessel type system with a cool box mash tun. I then made a homemade HERMS-type of system, that I was slowly trying to perfect, when boom, Grainfathers came on the market. I decided to not spend any more money on trying to make the HERMs system work and instead, managed to convince my husband that I needed a Grainfather. Luckily, I'm making him lots of nice brews, so he understands why now!

    So I have some redundant kit, but I have managed to make use of most of it in other mechanisms - e.g. the stovetop boiler is quite useful for canning , the coolbox is good for picnics and camping, and the coils are still very useful when I manage to clog the Grainfather pump and need to manually cool like yesterday (eye roll)- (Note to self: need to find a hop spider, since I'm obviously not good at tying muslin bags.... )

    I have made horrible beers to stunning beers in every single way I have brewed. I have totally messed up sanitation and not made starters and have tried to cut corners and have had some real horrifying things.
    But it's fun trying!! You will have fun trying!! :beer1:

    I typically need about 6 hours to brew, which is why I have had a long break off, but have managed to find myself with more free time and am filling all my stocks up again.
     
    Rich Moyes likes this.
  16. Sep 18, 2019 at 7:06 AM #16

    Duxuk

    Duxuk

    Duxuk

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,130
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Chorley
    I did my 145th AG yesterday. I only have about £100 worth of equipment but the AGA did cost 5 grand! I used a previous cooker but the massive hot plate is excellent. The quality and control of AG is great. Like a lot of brewers I did extract between kits and AG, which also gives quality but less control.
    I overnight mashed to save time which took 30 minutes, then 3 hours yesterday morning.My stockpot and chiller still need washing so I'll only have invested 4 hours of enjoyable time for 40 bottles of amazing beer.
     
  17. Sep 18, 2019 at 2:16 PM #17

    Grealish

    Grealish

    Grealish

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    8
    I can't get a pot that will boil properly on our AGA so I've gone electric. Even my small 10 litre set up struggles.
     
  18. Sep 19, 2019 at 9:47 PM #18

    Fore

    Fore

    Fore

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Messages:
    590
    Likes Received:
    140
    Location:
    Strasbourg, France
    For me it was like buying a supermarket pizza, or making your own. You can get some good supermarket pizzas. The first few of your own might not be so great. But the freedom you then have, to play around, just opens things up to a whole new level. Then when you hit on some recipes that turn out well, going back to kits seems a non-starter.

    I was never quite happy with the hop bitterness, flavour and aroma balance of kits. My last Cascade AG had 31 IBU, 16 of which came after 22 minutes (from end). Weight-wise, it was 20g at boil vs 75g after 22 min. That'll give a big flavour and aroma hit that I struggled to get with kits.

    Good luck with it!
     
    Rich Moyes, Grealish and Oneflewover like this.
  19. Sep 19, 2019 at 10:06 PM #19

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,029
    Likes Received:
    451
    Location:
    Dorsetshire
    Good analogy!
     
  20. Sep 20, 2019 at 6:24 AM #20

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Scarborough UK
    Do you already have temperature controlled fermentation? If not, you might want to consider that if you're looking to make your brews better. And if you do go for a Grainfather, they are quite often reduced in flash sales (got mine on Black Friday and saved nearly £100) so worth waiting if you can. I used to brew in a bag but haven't regretted investing in the GF once - if you can afford it, I'd say do it.
     

Share This Page