Five or Ten gallon batches.

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Five or Ten gallon batches.

Post  bpear on Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:15 pm

Alright, here is the skinny been brewing extracts for the last five batch brew sessions, while I recognize the cost of extract, is it worth the cost to up grade to AG, while I only have the means to ferment five gal at a time, I would be willing to go with 10-15 gal pots for boil, I all ready have a 10 gal cooler to produce the wort, is this the best economical way to go? or am I just looking for a head ache or failure? Please pull no punches....Ben
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It's all personal preference...

Post  Whatever on Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:36 am

It's all about personal preference...period.

There are several positives and negatives to either method of brewing.

I know some people here will disagree with some of the things I am about to post...


If time is very precious to you, and you would rather spend more time drinking beer than brewing beer (and cleaning)...continue with extract based brewing.

If you love fabrication, cleaning, buying toys, a challenge, more work, wasting time, finding a way to dispose of 10-20 pounds of spent grain, and the mystique of tradition and authenticity...then going all-grain is for you.

After my 16 hour day of fabrication and partigyle batch brewing on Sunday...I am beginning to remember brewing extract batches was far more enjoyable...I'd drink a beer, heat some water, drink a beer, teabag some grain, drink a beer, boil the water, set the timer, drink a beer, add the hops, drink a beer, add more hops, pour in some syrup, cool it down, pitch, clean kettle and your done. While drinking the whole time, if I forgot to mention that...total time 2-4 hours

With all grain...there is a bit more work involved. Measuring, milling, heating water, lifting 50 lbs of heated water/grain (unless you have a pump, I don't), mashing while heating more water, vorlauf, sparge, check gravity, adjust measurements, boil wort, add hops, set timer, add hops, chill, pitch, clean mash tun, dispose of grain, clean kettle...and your done. With an occasional beer...if any. Total time...at least 4 hours...if you have it down to a science, have a nearly automated system, or preheat your water while you sleep (I will do that now that I have an electric 120v 12 gallon HLT on a timer, but it still takes 4 hours to get it to 170 degrees).

As far as final cost goes...it's a toss up. While extract does cost more...your efficiency will ALWAYS be in the upper 90 percentile. Not to mention your recipes will be more easily adjusted/repeated with extract based brewing (cue the all grain nay-sayers). Plus, there is also no fear of a stuck sparge, screwing the efficiency pooch, or tannin extraction with extract brewing...unless you heat your steeping grains at more than 170 degrees.

Brewing all grain requires extra expenses. Even more equipment is needed (milling grain or a mill, stir paddle, mash tun, hot liquor tank, hoses, screens, false bottoms, clarifying agents, double the water, double the time (at least), plus a significant increase in fuel to heat twice as much water, valves, barbs, nipples, yeah I said nipples,

Basketball

And you may still need to use extract in all grain brewing to adjust your final gravity or bottle (unless you krausen your beers like I do).

Case in point...it's all up to you, and how far you want to run with it.

Me, personally, I am seriously considering doing mostly partial mash brews for experimental brews, and saving the all grain batches for the proven-winner recipes.

Ben, you have an open invitation to come to my house and brew an all grain batch once it gets above 40 degrees outside. We'll split the cost of a 10 gallon batch of a simple beer of your choice, and we each get 5 gallons out of it. That way you can experience the expenses, both financial and physical, of brewing all-grain batches first hand. Then you will be better informed before making your own educated decision about how in depth you want to go.

Cheers,
Ben
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Re: Five or Ten gallon batches.

Post  bpear on Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:33 pm

Hey Ben thanks for the input, I appreciate the opportunity to check out an AG operation, I will take you up on the offer when it warms up.
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Re: Five or Ten gallon batches.

Post  Whatever on Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:11 pm

It's now warm.

Invitation still extended.

I also put a bit of thought into your original question of whether to do five or ten gallon batches, and my conclusion is go with the keg kettles.

You can always do a 5 gallon batch in a 15 gallon pot...but you can never do a full ten gallon boil in a seven gallon pot.

Plus, if you already have a seven gallon pot, you can always just use it for the smaller batches. I have found that it takes less time/fuel to heat 6-7 gallons in a smaller pot for smaller batches, than a small volume in a big pot. Plus boil-off is a bit more contained with the smaller surface area.
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Re: Five or Ten gallon batches.

Post  bpear on Mon May 03, 2010 9:41 pm

Thanks Ben for getting back with me, I have been so stinking busy. I'm a crazy shift worker trying to earn a dime to spend when I find time to spend it having
said that my weekends are booked for this month and next however, I could be available during the week shift permitting. Let me know when a good time might
be for you, and the where, what to bring. I'm sure you already have your set up but if a place is a problem. I have ample room. Thanks, Ben.


Last edited by bpear on Wed May 05, 2010 2:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Five or Ten gallon batches.

Post  BassClefBrews on Tue May 04, 2010 10:01 pm

I quickly grew tired of the cost of extract. Especially since I brew once a week. I made the jump to all grain and have never looked back. I do 5 gallon batches, and the cost per batch went from $40 or more to around $27 per batch!!! Now I can almost brew 2 batches for the price of one!!! Ben is right though, all grain has added about 2 - 3 hours to my brew day, but I don't mind because of the money I'm saving. To jump to 5 gallon all grain batches pretty much the only thing extra you need is your cooler converted for a mash tun, as long as you have at least an 8 quart or bigger boil kettle.
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Re: Five or Ten gallon batches.

Post  bpear on Wed May 05, 2010 2:24 pm

Wow, quite a savings....
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Re: Five or Ten gallon batches.

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