Top of the range Beer Kit v All Grain

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Lesinge

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Hi all. I have been all grain brewing for years now, first BIAB and then with the GrainFather and love it as it gives me scope to really play around with hops, yeast and malt etc. When I was kit brewing (and I made loads) I never got into doing the top of the range ones like Bulldog etc as they were expensive and the closest I got was Wherry, some Muntons double can kits, one St Peters and some Milestones when they were on offer. They were good but not compared to AG in my opinion - maybe its the costs I like with AG as I buy grain in bulk :cool: . Anyway, every now and then when on some of the Homebrew sites I see these top kits and wonder how they compare to AG if you have done/tasted both?
 

Hopsteep

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Hi all. I have been all grain brewing for years now, first BIAB and then with the GrainFather and love it as it gives me scope to really play around with hops, yeast and malt etc. When I was kit brewing (and I made loads) I never got into doing the top of the range ones like Bulldog etc as they were expensive and the closest I got was Wherry, some Muntons double can kits, one St Peters and some Milestones when they were on offer. They were good but not compared to AG in my opinion - maybe its the costs I like with AG as I buy grain in bulk :cool: . Anyway, every now and then when on some of the Homebrew sites I see these top kits and wonder how they compare to AG if you have done/tasted both?
I could never get rid of ‘the twang’ :laugh8: but as you say I never bought an expensive kit. Some of the kits that I did years ago were bloomin horrendous. That said some of the new range of kits look like they’ve come a long way in the last few years
 

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All grain is worth it, but if and only if (iff, for shorthand) you have the time to waste 6 hours in a lock-down.
 

chuffer

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Ive only ever done premium kits like the youngs apa, aipa and the st Peter's ruby. All have been fine and not "twangy" as others have reported for cheaper kits. To me, it seems that extract brewing would be no different from brewing with kits in terms of quality, though i prefer the former as it allows me to control the hop flavour. So i suppose it comes down to whether you prefer the taste of AG v extract (if you can taste a noticeable difference)
 

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I’m almost exclusively all grain these days ever since I found out about BIAB brewing. You can get some good kits and certain types of beer seem To work better with kits than others I.e. stouts, but I have not found a beer kit that can compete with a all grain for a bitter or mild.

Of course time is a factor I typically brew on a Saturday morning, and starting at 7 am typically finished by noon, so five hours vs 20 minutes for a kit. However they are ready to drink far faster a BIAB bitter can go grain to glass in two to three weeks (although is generally still best if left longer) a kit I find needs four to six weeks in the bottle as a minimum.
 
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pms67

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Good question
A lot of AG brewers (I’m one now) dismiss kits but a well brewed kit will beat a poorly brewed all grain imo.
Cost and time come into the equation but at the end of the day it horses for courses.
 

Rodcx500z

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I do all ag these days, i brew outside biab weather permittng, i also do kits i like the werry i slpit them and do 2 brews pimped with dme and all sorts like honey syrup and dry hop also a few wilko cheapo ones, i find if you give them time they are a reasonable pint but not as good as a good ag
 

Lesinge

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I’m almost exclusively all grain these days ever since I found out about BIAB brewing. You can get some good kits and certain types of beer seem To work better with kits than others I.e. stouts, but I have not found a beer kit that can compete with a all grain for a bitter or mild.

Of course time is a factor I typically brew on a Saturday morning, and starting at 7 am typically finished by noon, so five hours vs 20 minutes for a kit. However they are ready to drink far faster a BIAB bitter can go grain to glass in two to three weeks (although is generally still best if left longer) a kit I find needs four to six weeks in the bottle as a minimum.
I am a Saturday morning brewer too - yes I finish brewing by 12 (I too start at 7 or 8) but the cleaning etc means I am into the early PM ...kids always moan then!
 

Lesinge

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Good question
A lot of AG brewers (I’m one now) dismiss kits but a well brewed kit will beat a poorly brewed all grain imo.
Cost and time come into the equation but at the end of the day it horses for courses.
As I said I never got to try the top of the range kits but used to love the Coopers APA kit and experiment with different dry hopping - that was a good kit. Also the Simply kits.
 

Lesinge

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All grain is worth it, but if and only if (iff, for shorthand) you have the time to waste 6 hours in a lock-down.
Waste isnt a word I would use with brewing lol! I have to say though its hard work at any time...
 

Lesinge

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I could never get rid of ‘the twang’ :laugh8: but as you say I never bought an expensive kit. Some of the kits that I did years ago were bloomin horrendous. That said some of the new range of kits look like they’ve come a long way in the last few years
Yes the kits now are really looking good - I only stopped kit brewing about three years ago but even since then loads more have come out.
 

Bevvied

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Nevermind top of the range kits, I've made some bottom of the range kits that have been better than some of my AG brews LOL.
 

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I started on kits, only did a couple before moving on to AG. I did Festival kits and they were very good. My first couple of AG brews were ok, probably on a par with most kits. Now I am 4 years into AG brewing and have got the process and recipe spot on. There is now a big difference in quality from my beers compared to kits. Nothing wrong with kits at all, the premium ones are very good, but a well brewed AG beer is on another level. I also like to experiment with different grains and hops to produce a variety of different beers.
 

Bigjas

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I actually enjoy the 5 or so hours it takes me to brew. It’s a relaxing time for me in a hectic world (not so hectic at the moment). I don’t see it as a waste of time.
 

Summer Lane Brewery

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I have been all grain brewing for about 35 years having started brewing with kits - Boots was my main source back in the day. I’ve had a Grainfather since they first came out and I think the quality I can brew is far superior to any kit. Having said that, I haven’t tried any of the modern kits which I’m sure have improved substantially from the 1980s. I enjoy my brews days and the 5 or so hours it takes me are great but then I’m in the minority of brewers because I enjoy bottling and barrelling too. It’s a great hobby.
 

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I started brewing in the mid 80s, with Boots kits (oh my they were bad) Then switched to A/G. For the last 5 years or so i've brewed kits, and partial mash (pimped kits) I really couldnt go back to A/G, way to time consuming for the difference between that, and a good kit brew. As long as you have temp control, use a decent yeast, and dry hop you can get some superb results with reasonably cheap kit's.
 

obscure

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I actually enjoy the 5 or so hours it takes me to brew. It’s a relaxing time for me in a hectic world (not so hectic at the moment). I don’t see it as a waste of time.
Have to second this, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning for me, if you enjoy it then it’s no waste of time.
 
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