So I’m still pretty new but i skipped bottling and went to kegging straight out of the gate. Im pleased although I still end up bottling for buddies so they can try it. My question is when I decide to move beyond extract kits should i skip Partial Grain and move straight to ALL GRAIN? What are the pros and cons of either… for quality, ease and cost…???
While I think it is very useful for a new brewer to try extract first (to get the back-end of brewing down pat before diving into the complexities of mashing), I don’t think you need to go through partial mashing before hitting AG. There are a few reasons why you might, but those mostly have to do with not having the equipment to do a full mash and full-volume boil. If you can afford to buy everything you need, go for it.
So are you saying it’s simply cost? and specifically what… is it overall investment of the gear? I know it’s cheaper to to all grain vs exract kits but more specifically again… is it cheaper to go all grain vs partial in regards to ingredients to beer ratio lol?
Cost and space for equipment, primarily. AG needs a mash tun with sparge capabilities of some sort, a big enough brew kettle (10 gallons for 5 gallon batches, or 15 gallons for 10 gallon batches is where you want to be), a burner capable of maintaining a vigorous boil for that big pot, and a chiller that is sized for your batch. A grain mill is also highly recommended unless you buy your grains pre-milled, but they go stale quickly once milled. Don’t forget that you also need to put all that stuff somewhere when you aren’t using it.
There is no doubt that AG is MUCH cheaper than any other option when it comes to ingredients cost, but I didn’t think that is what you were asking about.
There is only one quality reason I can think of why you might want to go partial mash, and that is that even if you screw up the mash temperatures, the effect won’t destroy your batch because you are mainly relying on the extract for your fermentables. But beer is pretty forgiving, so even if you did mess up the temperatures with an AG batch you are still likely to end up with drinkable beer, even if it is not exactly as you planned.
If you think you’ll be going to all grain, no need to earn a partial mash merit badge.
If you can’t have/store a mash tun, and can’t accommodate a full all grain BIAB in your brew pot, but really want to have part of your fermentables from fresh grain, then you may need to partial mash.
Time-wise: AG, PM, BIAB, are about the same. PM and BIAB require more attention if you are using your brew pot and not a mash tun.
Partial mash brewer here. For me it’s a space thing - I’m an apartment dweller, and just don’t really have room for the extra equipment I would need to do 5 gallon all grain batches. I mostly do BiaB, but a malt extract is nice for the times when you want to get a whole two cases out of the batch, y’know?
I went from extract to partial mash to AG. I personally found it helpful to do partial mash first, gave me a good idea of what I was getting into. With that said, I don’t think it is all necessary. Good luck! :cheers:
I started with AG right away. Did it for a good 6 or 7 years before I even tried an extract brew. The extract was fun to make because it was a lot less time and work, but I didn’t take it as seriously so the beer was garbage. Drank it all though.
+1. And if you ever have to move somewhere temporarily without your all-grain brew equipment, or if your all-grain equipment is in storage, or your all-grain equipment needs something replaced, etc., you can partial mash with a minimum of equipment and make quality beer - better than beer made from straight extract, or than with extract and steeped grains.
But ultimately, buying malt in bulk makes all-grain cheaper than partial mash, and you can control the final result more, especially fermentability of the wort. I geared making my all-grain (batch-sparge) equipment for, and do 10-gallon all-grain batches since i feel that what with the time it takes and the effort, I might as well get two keg’s worth of beer out of the effort rather than one.