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New to Brewing


While I’m no newbie to either cooking or mechanical processes, I will admit I’m new to home brewing and am just exploring the subject. It seems like Northern Brewer has everything, including a cool community of enthusiasts.

I’m curious to know more about how people choose their materials. Especially the difference between grain vs malt extract. I’ve decided to make a batch of Kolsch for my first batch (it’s the rare kind of beer my girlfriend and I both agree is outstanding). NB sells an extract kit. But I’m curious about the alternative: using, cracked germinated grain. Any opinions on the difference?

My goal is to make a 5-gallon batch. I’m still unclear from the website how much beer the extract is meant to produce. OR if I choose to go with the grain, how many pounds of grain I will need.

Looking forward to people’s opinions.

Most kits are designed to make 5 gallons of beer when finished.

If you have never brewed, never watched someone brew, I would say you probably need to start with extract. All-grain requires more equipment and additional steps. Not that you could not start out as an all grain brewer - just that you would want to do substantially more research before jumping into it in my opinion.

I know a few people that never brewed an extract batch. They started out All Grain.

There are some good, and bad, videos on youtube you can watch. And some great sites to help build your own equipment.

You will get a darker beer using extracts, not saying it will be bad, just darker.

the biggest difference between extract and AG is flexibility and control of your process. AG is also less expensive for making the wort ( although the equipment will cost a little more). With extract your finished gravity won’t get as low as AG and the finished beer will be darker. Both ways you can make good beer just more choices with AG.

Thanks for the great answers. For the first round, I think I’ll use extract. Hopefully the kolsch won’t be too dark.

If you’re sure you will eventually go all grain, you can start right off with a kettle big enough for full volume boils and an outdoor propane burner. This will allow you to boil at full volume and keep the color much lighter and in line with an all grain batch.

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