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Making the switch from Extract to Partial Mash to Full Grain

I have about 10 extract batches under my belt and feel pretty comfortable with that process.
I want to step it up a bit, and wonder if the partial mash step is too small. Those of you who have made the leap, is it better to go Full Grain from the get go?
I have the second NB DVD and the Brewmaster software from a recent purchase. While I look these over, I thought I’d get some experienced feedback.

I’m not really very experienced as yet, but I went from extract to all grain brewing with no problems in my first five A/G batches. I obviously don’t think partial match is a necessary intermediate step, but it does serve well to familiarize one with some of the aspects of the A/G process.

I have 672 batches under my belt. I did 47 as extract or extract w grains before switching to partial mash. I think you are ready to go BTTW with all grain. Try to anticipate your ideal volume of beer for the future (per batch) and go with that size batch now. I went 5 gal, then 10, then 15 and then 20-22. I could have saved a lot of time and money going straight to 20. I really like the fact that 20+ gallons only takes me 5-6 hours complete versus the 4-5 hours it took to brew 5 gallons all grain.



Relax. Don’t worry. Have a home brew.

It’s easier than it looks.

Read again.

I would also HIGHLY recommend brew in a bag for all grain. I went from a cooler mashtun set up to BIAB a few years ago and haven’t looked back.

And to the original question, if you’ve done 10 batches with extract, you can do this. Its like asking if you can make your bbq sauce as opposed to buying it in the store. A few more steps, but if you can follow directions, you will be in great shape.

There’s no reason for you to take the ‘intermediate’ step if you have the equipment to do a full boil, chill it in reasonable time, and control fermentation temperatures.

Like Pietro I BIAB and highly recommend it for new all grain brewers.

I also have a inspired cooler mashtun and occasionally use it too.

Take the leap man!

all grain is not difficult I’m sure you will be able to make a smooth transition. I brew mostly 10,15,20 gallon batches and found there is a huge time savings per gal by brewing larger batches. The choice between which mash system to go with can depend on batch size. for smaller batch sizes BIAB is probably the least expensive and easier method. however as batch sizes get bigger the size of the pot for biab can get really large and the weight of the grains get very heavy. For larger batches you might want to go with batch sparging the brew pot can be smaller than for biab because you don’t have to hold the volume of the grains. The only added expense for batch sparging is a cooler that can hold your mash. Enjoy your new trip into all grain I’m sure you’ll love the extra control of your recipes.

For me, it’s about the volume. I don’t have space to store the equipment or a good place to do a 6-ish gallon boil.

I can easily BIAB a 2.5-3 gallon all-grain recipe in my kitchen. For 5gal batches or higher gravities I add extract, so there’s partial mashing.

With BIAB I don’t find much difference in the skill-level necessary for all-grain versus PM. I can’t imagine using coolers adds too much to the process, except more stuff to cleanup after.

What equipment do you have now? If you have a kettle with the capacity to handle the types of beer you like to brew as BIAB, go straight to all-grain BIAB. If you don’t have a big enough kettle, try a few partial mashes with the equipment you have to see if you enjoy the process and the results first.

672 batches!!! OMG. At my current 16 or so batches per year, it’ll take me 42 years of brewing to reach that. I’ll be 99 years old. Greg- you are the man!

672 batches!!! OMG. At my current 16 or so batches per year, it’ll take me 42 years of brewing to reach that. I’ll be 99 years old. Greg- you are the man![/quote]Thanks but it really doesn’t take that long to add up. I have been brewing about 14 years. I count every 5 gallons as a batch but I brew 20 gallons at a time. Still, it is more than the 200 gallons allowed by law. I split most of my brew sessions with my neighbor behind me so its not like I am drinking all of that.

Thank you everyone! I appreciate the feedback and encouragement. I am actually much more impressed that so many of you replied. I like the strength of the community.
I will read up a bit more, brew my chipotle porter and move to all grain in the spring! BTTW as you have said!

I am going with my first All Grain brew this weekend. Just got back into brewing in the last couple of weeks now that my son is of legal age and likes beer I have an excuse. Did not even look at the BIAB kits because well they weren’t around the last time I brewed!

It’s easy to make beer even decent beer. It’s a little harder to make great beer. Luckily, most of the things you need to make great beer won’t cost a dime.

  1. Establish a baseline, whether that’s something you’ve brewed before as an extract or a commercial example of the brew you’d like to brew, which is always a great reason to buy more beer. (“But honey, it’s for scientific research!”)

  2. Clean, clean and clean some more! Everything that will come in contact with wort and finished beer should be cleaned and sanitized. This includes your work space! Use a no-rinse sanitizer. Keep thermometers, auto-siphons, sampling thieves, sample jars and hydrometers in a pitcher or bucket of sanitizer so they are ready to go the moment you need them. Save the PBW solution that you used to clean your carboy after primary fermentation in a 5 gallon bucket and use it to soak your empty beer bottles as you empty them. When the bucket is full of bottles scrub each bottle with a brush, rinse, dry and store. This eliminates washing 50+ bottles all at the same time and the occasional rogue dirty bottle. Rogue dirty bottles are the enemy! They ruin perfectly good beer and are 100% preventable. A beer is a terrible thing to waste!

  3. Plan, plan some more and then plan again! And then organize! Lay out all of your equipment and ingredients ahead of time so that you’re not hunting for something in the middle of your brew day, only to discover that you are out of it, it’s missing or it’s broken. Doing a dry run is also helpful.

  4. Understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it before you do it. It’s easier to get answers to the about the things you don’t know ahead of time than it is in the middle of brew day.

  5. Pay attention to detail, use a check sheet and take notes! There are plenty of examples of Brew Day and recipe sheets on the Internet, or go old school and use a spiral bound notebook and a pencil. Record the good along with the bad so that you can repeat the things you do well and avoid the things you mess up, and even take pictures! This helps you figure out what went wrong later on, or at least allows you to ask better questions when you hit the message boards seeking help.

Beyond that it’s gadgets and time savers.

  1. You’ll never regret buying a bigger and better wort chiller.

  2. You’ll never regret buying a GOOD pH meter with a detachable, replaceable probe and which is capable of two-point calibration and adjustment.

  3. You’ll never regret buying even a mediocre refractometer or at least a set of narrow scale hydrometers.

  4. You’ll never regret buying a fast thermocouple thermometer.

  5. You’ll never regret buying a larger brew kettle.

  6. You’ll never regret making something to control fermentation temperature, whether it’s a full blown dedicated refrigerator with temperature controlling and computer-controlled temperature ramping capability to the ghetto-ist of ghetto-assed swamp cooler.

  7. You’ll never regret learning about and understanding water chemistry.

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