Moving to AG.

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Rich Moyes

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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?
 

terrym

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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?
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.
 

Rodcx500z

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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?
Yes you will be amazed at the difference, very few kits can live with all grain acheers.
 

Cheshire Cat

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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.
 

chrisb8

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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.
 

Gerryjo

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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?
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..
 

Banbeer

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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.
 

Oneflewover

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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.
 

Clint

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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.
 

Rich Moyes

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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
 

BridgeBrew

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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.
 
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Clint

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The last few kits I did were very good... Young's IPA ,AIPA and new world saison.
 

Cheshire Cat

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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.
 

Slid

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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.
 

Deadhead

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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.
 

Duxuk

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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.
 

Grealish

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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.
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.
 

Fore

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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!
 

Oneflewover

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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!
Good analogy!
 

Harbey

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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.
 
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