As hobbies go, brewing beer is one of the most diverse past-times you could wish for. It’s totally up to you how deeply you get involved, and is open to a broad spectrum of would be brewers. Whether you like the idea of making the occasional kit beer, or want to set up a Nano Brewery in your garage, homebrewing offers unlimited choices.
There are 3 main methods of brewing;
- Extract Kit brewing: Pre-hopped cans of malt extract – you just add sugar, water and yeast. Little effort (or fun!) required.
- Extract brewing: Uses liquid or powered malt extracts as a base, you then boil in your choice of hops, and add yeast.
- All grain brewing: This is the way professional breweries create beer. There are 4 key ingredients: Malted wheat and barley (Hence “all grain”), hops, yeast, and water.
Benefits between the 3 vary, from ease of use and accessibility, to cost and quality of the final product. Most beginners opt for kits or extract brews as their starting point. Most are under the impression that in order to brew all grain beers they’ll need to invest in vast amounts of shiny new - and expensive - equipment. Plus, they’ve been told it’s difficult and time consuming...
There are many myths in brewing, and these are among the most prevalent. All grain brewing offers a huge number of benefits, and is not as difficult to get into as some would have you believe. So, whether you’re a newbie who’s serious about getting into brewing, or an extract brewer considering taking the next step up, let’s debunk the myths surrounding all grain brewing.
It’s Not as Expensive as You Think
When you look into all grain brewing, the first thing you’ll notice is the long list of strange sounding equipment you’re going to need. From mash tuns and sparge arms, to boilers and chillers, it’s an intimidating list, with a scary price tag.
In reality, you can brew perfectly good beer with equipment you probably already have in your kitchen. You only really need a large (7 -10l) pot, a stove and a sieve.
The key to keeping costs down is the amount of beer you’re looking to brew. The smaller your setup, the lower your costs. Our BrüBox starter kits contain all the additional equipment you’ll need to brew 12 bottles of homemade beer, including;
- 5L Glass Demijohn
- Airlock & Bung
You can use your large pot to act as hot liquor tank, mash tun, boiler and chiller, using your stove to heat up your water and wort. So, if you were worried about investing hundreds of pounds into all grain brewing equipment, relax! You can buy everything you need for just £40 - including your first recipe.
Better, Cost Effective Ingredients
All grain brewing benefits from being the cheapest method as far as ingredients are concerned. Grains are much cheaper than malt extract, and are of superior quality.
Malt can be stored for a long time under the correct conditions, whereas malt extracts rapidly deteriorate in comparison. The older your liquid malt extract gets, the darker it becomes. In turn, you’ll find it difficult to crack those lighter coloured beers.
Due to the way malt extract is produced, you may experience off flavours, such as the dreaded extract twang - an astringent, almost sweet off flavour common to extract beers. With freshly made wort, you’re unlikely to ever experience this issue.
Besides the benefits of malt, all grain brewers have a huge selection of hops and yeast strains to choose from as well. New hop varieties are coming out each year, offering new and exciting flavours. Extract kit beers are severely limited by the hops that have already been used in the hopped wort extract.
Similarly, you can choose from hundreds of different yeast strains to add a whole host of characteristics to your beer.
In the eyes of many brewers, having full control over the brewing process is by far the most important of all the benefits of all grain brewing. The brewer is able to manipulate a number of variables during the mash, sparge and boil stages to alter various aspects of the finished beer.
The mash in particular can be toyed with to produce desirable traits in your beer. By adjusting the ratio of grain to liquor (water), as well as the temperature, you can alter the strength of your beer, as well as the body.
You also have more control over how your beer will look. By adding a little wheat or rye, you can improve mouth feel and head retention. Your choice of malts can determine the colour of your finished beer, as can your boiling procedures - a feat that is difficult to replicate with kit or extract brewing.
Water chemistry, mash ph. and hopping schedules are all areas you can toy with as an all grain brewer. This much control over the process ultimately leads to you to creating the best beer you can, tweaking each variable until you get it just right.
Brewing in Style
Of course, you can brew any beer you want as an all grain brewer. No style is out of reach, as you have access to all the ingredients you’ll need. You’ll also be able to use the various techniques employed by brewers around the world - even on basic equipment.
It’s Easier than You Think - Try It Yourself!
So, why brew all grain? It’s perhaps better to ask, why not brew all grain?
- It’s not expensive to get started with BrüBox
- You have access to a wider range of higher quality ingredients
- Ingredients are more affordable than other methods
- You gain full control over the brewing process, leading to better, more personalized beers
- You can brew any beer you want!
It’s easy when you know how! By brewing small batches, you can easily manage to brew in your kitchen. BrüBox makes it easy to start brewing all grain. Simply get your hands on one of our kits, choose the style you’d like to make, and follow the instructions provided.
As you brew more batches, and master the process, you can begin to add your own touches, substituting malts or hops as you see fit. This first step into the world of all grain brewing will have you creating sumptuous beers in no time.
Happy brewing, and let us know why you brew all grain in the comments below!