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all grain brewing

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Boom Stick, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    Looking to make the leap from extract, partial mash to full out all grain. Going to home depot tomorrow to get my fixings for a 10 gallon mash tun......looking to go cheaply into this all grain thing until I see how I like it. Anyone around here all grain brew and what words of wisdom have you for me?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I've done a couple batches of all grain now. It takes longer, but came out fine. Start out with good, proven and tested recipes and a good brew shop so that you can get all that you need.
  3. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    A good crush makes a huge difference. My efficiencies went from 70ish% to the mid eighties after I bought my own mill.

    Are you planning on a false bottom? I planned on it, but never got to it. I used a piece of copper tubing and the braided stainless covering from a toilet water supply hose. It worked so well, I never changed it. Never had a stuck sparge, even with a pretty fine crush.

    What are your plans for converting the cooler? I had a hard time finding stainless pipe fittings. I would probably buy a conversion kit next time, instead of hunting down everything myself.

    Don't forget about the 10 gallon HLT. What are you boiling in?
  4. goldfishcastle

    goldfishcastle Member

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    We just brewed yesterday! It's a nearly all day affair. Belgium Whit.

    Northern Brewers has a good forum.
  5. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I had a Valley mill- ran it with a corded drill. 10 gallon cooler. I used a loop of copper with slots facing down for my cooler outlet. Once you start all grain, you may as well keg too!
  6. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    Today I bought a 10 gallon water cooler and the stuff to convert to a mash tun....all bought at home depot. I needed a SS washer but had to use what was available for now and bought a zinc coated one. I will just have to disassemble, clean and ry each time I use it which I assume one would have to do each time anyway to stay sanitary. Have a mesh supply line to use inside cooler........My HLT is gonna be an old cooler. I have a huge stainless brew pot I bought last year at a yard sale for 20 bucks but no lid. Is a lid critical for all grain boiling or do you take the evaporation into account?? I discussed efficiency with the homebrew place I bought my grain from today and the grain they sell they get it crushed already. Kind of a small place in a strip mall. very mom and pop. I'll worry about that down the road.

    My first all grain will be a berliner weiss. I love this style and am going to sour the mash for 3-6 days before sparging and fermentation. Please try this style if you have not.....very low abv and drinks like lemonade on a hot day. search it out in your local beverage center.

    Kegging will probably be next just have to get the process down. Gonna keep it real low budget for now and read up. I had plans to buy enough to make a hoegaarden clone but they did not have flaked wheat, I believe, so I passed.
  7. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I use a coffee grinder ( all cleaned out ) to crush the grains it works just fine. Just pulse it a few times to crack the grain not grind like coffee.

    Pete
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I use the professional mill at the brew shop. I does a great job and quickly.
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  9. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I was an all grain brewer for many years. When the kids were young, I switched over to extract because it was so much faster. Now that the
    kids are teenagers, I've gone back to all grain.

    All grain is much cheaper, especially when you buy full bags of grain. I'm fortunate to have a Northern Brewer retail location in Milwaukee, where I can get a 50 pound bag of malt for about $35.

    Batch sparging has always provided plenty of efficiency. You can read about that technique with a google search. I use a 5 gallon Gott cooler with the braided stainless toilet supply hose filter. Here's one description: http://www.fermentarium.com/homebrewing/brewing-beer/all-grain-brewing-how-to-batch-sparge/

    Re-pitching on the yeast bed is another great way to save money while making excellent beer. I tend to make 3 batches in a row, re-pitching on the yeast bed on each successive batch. By the third batch, the yeast takes off in minutes.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good tip on repitching the yeast. I hate to dump out the lees when bottling.
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I was rep itching, and saving some as well- repitch on the cake a few times, then step up a vial of saved yeast, repitch on that....
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Oh, when you repitch- stand back, and attach a serious blow off tube
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Can you store the pitch in the refer for a later batch? If yes, for how long?
  14. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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  15. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    You can store yeast cake in the fridge for at least seven days. Indefinitely if you take it out and feed it, like sourdough. However, some yeasts start to change
    in character after many repitches. Wyeast 1051 is one that changes and is my favorite, so I only repitch 3 times. I've left beer on top of a thinner layer of yeast
    in a secondary fermenter for a year and repitched successfully. I've also "frozen" yeast in glycerol as an experiment, and it remained viable but was not nearly
    as healthy or vigorous as repitching on top of a thick yeast cake with the beer recently drained off.
  16. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    Started my first all grain tonight. This recipe calls for mashing in a bucket as the mash will then be exposed to air to cool naturally and then soured until it tastes right. I have my fermenter bucket wrapped in wool blankets right now until it is time to add more hot water and then cool. Looking forward to this, seems like a pretty straightforward recipe.

    http://atimeforbeer.blogspot.com/2010/11/berliner-weiss-recipe.html
  17. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    You picked a very unusual style for your first all grain. I was with the author right up until he said that now it gets weird. :)

    This is a very legitimate style: sour beer. Definitely an acquired taste. I was at the Malt House in Madison last week, and the bartender told me that he got into
    a big argument with a customer not familiar with the style. The customer was certain that his beer was spoiled. No, it's a "sour beer." The customer said yeah, that's
    what I'm saying, it's spoiled. There was no meeting of the minds.

    Please let us know how it turns out. I've never made a beer where the wort never goes above 172. Usually, when the beer sours, something has gone wrong, but this is intended for this style. From the BYO article referenced in your link, it sounds like the hardness or softness of your water can impact this recipe also.
  18. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I never went the plastic picnic cooler route, though I know many who have. The possibility of leaching things from plastics that I don't want in my beer, and more importantly, me, was a concern. I'd be curious to hear other views on that.

    It looks like you are well on your way to having a successful first all grain batch.. good! If you plan some things out ahead of time, its really not that difficult. Just more steps involved. I've not made a no-boil sour beer, so I cannot comment on that particular recipe, but once its all done and bottled, you should
    disassemble all of the bottling equipment that came in contact with the finished sour beer and soak it in bleach solution. Or, keep an extra set of equipment for just brewing sour beers (bottling bucket & spigot, racking equipment, etc).
  19. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I second the recommendation to sanitize all of your equipment very well after the sour beer batch. What makes the beer sour is wild yeast. For most styles, you don't want any wild yeast changing the flavor profiles. Don't soak metal in bleach. It can corrode. Boil metal pieces in water or a short bleach rinse won't hurt anything and then rinse well with plain water before storing.

    I don't worry about my Gott plastic cooler leaching things from the plastic. I've done plenty of things in my (younger) life that will probably kill me before any plastic leachings. :)

    Here are some responses on leaching plastic here:

    http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=86574
  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Before getting into all grain I will be into kegging. That is about to happen as I have begun to throw away my bottles. My first all grain will be using the brew in a bag process. That seems to skip a lot of the hassels. I alread use the bags for my hops additions.

    It's already pretty cheap to make beer using malt extract or partial mash recipes. 25$ for 5 gallons is approaching canned beer prices. Are you folks saving a significant amount of money?
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Definitely brew in bag. It makes for a much cleaner wort. Beer making is like wood heating. The ingredients are cheap, especially if you grow your own, but the equipment budget blows all savings to hell. :)
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  22. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    Agreed, I like all grain prices when compared to malt extract. However, my 1st all grain was sour mashed for 4 days, reheated, sparged and is now fermenting for about 12 hours. Process was obviously different and my new igloo mash tun worked really well. I still need to spend some $$ to get a few things. Need a wort chiller, and a sparge arm. My next beer will be a saison, I think. More than likely I'll buy and all grain kit from Northern Brewer. Their price seem very decent.
  23. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    My usual brew was a pretty intense IPA. Lots of malt, lots of hops. ABV around 7%, 70-75 IBU. I'd have about $35 into about 11 gallons of finished beer, a little more if I had to buy yeast. Good stuff, something you would have to pay ten bucks for a six pack.
  24. DJB

    DJB New Member

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    Man, all this talk about brewing makes me want to get back into it. I haven't brewed in a couple years, but was doing all grain. I think I spent more time, and know i spent more money, building the equipment. Take your time, and follow a proven recipe or a kit, and everything should turn out great. I think it's about time to start things back up again. I actually have a good friend who started out on a Mr. Beer kit, worked his way up through extract to all grain, and is now in the process of opening up a brewery in NYC.
  25. Boom Stick

    Boom Stick Feeling the Heat

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    Yea, I was brewing extract and partial mash and soldall of my stuff..save a couple of carboys..had a bunch of good stuff I wish I didn't sell. Now, I decided all grain and take it slow.

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