Monday, June 13, 2011

My First All Grain

Goodness me, that title sounds like I spent the weekend playing with Fisher Price toys! Alas such happy abandon was not on my schedule over the last couple of days, rather as I noted on Friday, I did my first all grain homebrew this weekend, the recipe for which you can read here.

I am going to assume that you don't need a blow by blow account of my brewing activities, but I thought I'd share (what a lovely post-modern touchy feely concept that is, I think I might puke) some pictures and a few notes about the stuff I learnt.

First up, allow me to introduce my little mash tun (oh good god, more kiddy toy references).

Because I only brew small batches, and have limited space, the cooler has a capacity of 2 gallons - I figure that when I want to make bigger beers, I will do partial mash and make up the gravity with extract. I also plan to replace the tap with something that doesn't need constant pressing to get the wort out. As you can see from the picture, I did a variation on the Brew In A Bag method, where I also sparged the grains. While talking about sparging, I only sparged once and my OG was a touch short of my minimum target, so I checked the gravity of the second runnings and it was 1.030. I was concerned that I would have too much wort in my pot (I do high gravity brewing, with ice cold water waiting in the carboy to make up the volume) and so I skipped the second sparge. You live you learn, and as Jamey from my homebrew club told me, going all grain is akin to learning to brew all over again.

A quick before and after, the grains, 80% American 2 row and 20% Caramel 10.

I did a 90 minute boil, adding Amarillo hops at 60, 15 and 5 minutes.

Everything was going swimmingly, until I put the boiled wort in the carboy of waiting water. I came up about half a gallon short on my volume. What to do, stick with 2 gallons or nip to the shop for an extra gallon of water? I nipped. and on measuring my now 2.5 gallon batch, it had an OG of 1.040 or 10º Plato, which gave me an efficiency, I believe of 57% and a conviction to sparge more next time. Regardless of the numbers, I like the look of the wort that will soon be and American Pale Ale (though the gravity is a touch short, so perhaps an American Best Bitter is better?).

If you follow my Twitter feed, you will also know that I bottled the three batches of witbier that I brewed a couple of weeks back. All three beers have an abv of 5.1%, which means that the only differences between the three beers is the yeast used to ferment them, and any flavours coming from the yeast strains. The picture below are the American strain (Wyeast 1010), a German strain (Wyeast 3068) and a Belgian (Wyeast 3944) respectively.

A homebrew packed weekend for sure.....


  1. I can already feel the urge to go all-grain. Might take a few months of persuading Mrs TIW though...

  2. One of the first things Mrs V commented on was that all grain "smells better" - I think mainly because much of the aroma of the mash is kept in the cooler, mind you the first time I ever brewed I used rauchmalt and she really wasn't a fan of the smell so that may have put her off a bit.

  3. I just did my first multi-rest infusion batch this week. Talk about learning to brew all over again, my sparge ended up the same as yours (instead of doing what I normally would I tried something different). Its always good to know that I am not the only one who runs into problems like this.


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