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Hello from Indy

HoppyLady

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Hey there, brewers!

I've been reading the forums for the past few months as I research various recipes I want to create, so I figured it was time to officially say hello.

I started brewing in January, and this Sunday I'm brewing my 7th batch, an IIPA. The first four batches were Northern Brewer kits with extra hops (of course), but then I decided I wanted to create my own recipe. I took a standard Irish Red recipe and made it an Irish Red Rye. It's quite yummy, but the IBUs are probably a little too high to be a true Irish Red, so next time I'm taking it down. The IIPA on Sunday will be all first wort hopping and hop bursting. We're going to the LHBS tonight...and there's a brewery next door!

Right now I'm doing partial mash (BIAB) since my husband won't let me buy all grain equipment. He still brews with Mr Beer and for the most part gets decent beers with it. We both LOVE craft beers and the local breweries in Indy. We're lucky to have about a dozen within about 20 miles. Isn't beer great?

Vicky
 

Scott Ickes

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Welcome Vicky. 

If and "when!" you do go to all grain brewing, you won't regret it.  My scores at brewing competitions topped out around 35 and averaged just below 30 when I was extra brewing with grain steeping.  Since I've gone to all grain, my scores average around 35 and I get into the 40's regularly.  You can brew great beers with your current methods though. 

I've also gotten quite particular about fermentation temperatures and practices.  It's amazing how much difference a small change in fermentation practices can make in the final product!

p.s.
If you already have a 48 quart cooler with a drain spigot on it you can get it set up for all grain brewing for about $50.

Another argument in favor of all grain is that the grains cost less than DME and LME.  We were debating the difference in costs of brewing extract vs. all grain at a recent homebrew club meeting.  A fellow homebrewer was debating when he should make the switch and we got out my computer and converted some of my recipes from all grain to extract and compared the costs.  We determined that within four 5-gallon batches, the cost of the cooler MLT is covered with the savings in ingredients.
 

HoppyLady

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Thanks for the all grain tips, Scott. The real expense would be the larger pot, since I now just have a simple 5 gallon, and that's too small for a full boil. What I really want for Christmas is an 8 gallon with a spigot!

I haven't ventured into competitions yet, since I've only brewed 8 batches. I'm thinking about it for next year, though. I have a competitive streak in me, and I'd like to get some unbiased opinions on my beer.

V
 

Scott Ickes

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8 gallons will still be too small in my opinion.  When brewing 5 gallon batches, you'll be starting with about 7.5 gallons and sometimes 8 gallons on 90 minute boils.  Go bigger!
 

Mtnmangh

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I Agree with Scott.  If you're going to spring for a new kettle go all in and get at least 10 gallon.  I boil 6.5 Gallons for my five gallon batches in an 8 gallon kettle and it's just not quite big enough.  I know, I know, everyone has given me a bunch of things to prevent boil overs, but it's still such a headache.  Go bigger and you will never have to feel like I do....wishing I had spent that extra $30.
 
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