Well folks, I have tasted a few shots of the Steam Beer from the fermentor. It's still pretty yeasty but I think it's going to turn out pretty well. I have decided to take the next step to all-grain brewing.
This summer, I will be doing several batches using no malt extract syrup at all. Just steeped and mashed grains.
The biggest addition to my equipment arsenal is a 5 gallon stock pot:
Using this, I will be able to mash the grains and then do the subsequent boil for an entire 2.5 gallon batch. No more splitting it up!
In order to make the grains easy to remove after steeping, I also bought a 5 gallon fine nylon mesh paint strainer bag.
They were $4 for a two-pack at my neighborhood hardware store. The bag will hold the grain while it steeps in the hot water. Then I can just pull it out, dump the grain, wash the bag, and it's ready to go again.
So, tasting nation, what do you think? I want to start with a Pale Ale, since that seems to be the easiest all-grain beer to start with, but what next? Suggestions?