Author Topic: How to brew from Grain  (Read 2056 times)

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Offline AccessDenied

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How to brew from Grain
« on: February 23, 2008, 11:01:47 AM »
So..  You all know I brew beer.  But, I am one of those people that believes there is a difference between "Homebrewing" and "Kitbrewing".

Don't get me wrong.  I love a good kit as much as anyone else.  They taste great and do the job.  The only reason I don't "like" them is because they're kinda boring.  Anyone who tasted my 'Smokey Ale' will hopefully testify to that.

/me looks at TD and Richo.

So.  What do I do to brew an ale?  READ ON!

The first part is measuring the grain.

Of course, the problem I have is my scales are pretty tiny (kitchen scales).  I need 6kg of malt and my scales go up to 1kg.  Then comes the issue of the size of the bowl.  So, I did it in 1/2 kg lots.  (I promise it doesn't change the flavour)

So...  Where do I dump this grain after I weigh it?  Into the grain crusher of course.  These fellows are NOT cheap.  You're looking at approx $200 worth of equipment there (Accessories not included.  Drill.  Bucket.  Grain.  Floor.  House.  Mess)

Now the grain is crushed.  Here's 6kg of crushed malt in a 19 litre pot.  The only purpose of the pot is to hold the crushed grain and to create mess for me to wash up later.

Meanwhile, (here's one I made earlier) I've been heating water.  Now here is the important thing.  2 degrees C can be a HUGE difference.  Proteins and sugars react differently to different temperatures.  I'm aiming for a temperature of 66C in the mashing tun.  The way to go about that is to heat the water to approx 77C and then go with that.

My mashing tun is simple.  It's 2 buckets, one inside the other.  The inside bucket has lots of little holes drilled in it to act like a sieve.

Using the 77C water, I fill the mash tun til the inside bucket is approx 1/3 full.

I then dump ALL the grain in and stir vigourously until it takes on the consistantsy of 'not quite lumpy porridge but close'.

Check the temperature with a digital 'sweets' thermometer.  Aim for 66C.  I got it to 65.5C.  Close enough.

Now all that is in there, it's time to 'mash it'.  This is easy.  I put it's winter coat on (insulation).  Then, I go away and have a beer or 2.  It needs to stay in its winter coat for 90 minutes.

When it gets close to 90 minutes, it's time to start setting up for the sparging (Where you wash the excess/extra sugar into the wort).  It requires 3 levels.

1st level = urn with approx 90C water.  This has a 'sprinkler' hooked to it.  In my case, the sprinkler is a shower head on the end of some flexible food-grade cord etc.

2nd level = mash tun

3rd level = boiler.  My boiler is a 50 litre bin with 2 x kettle elements installed in it and with a tap at the bottom.  The tap 'input' has got a huge filter on it so it doesn't get clogged with hops when pouring.

We need to start pouring into the boiler..  Not too quickly though.  When you turn on the tap on the mash tun, you create a suction.  The purpose of the sparging is to wash the extra sugars down.  If you go too quickly, the sparging water doesn't get all the sugar.  So easy does it.

Meanwhile, with the sparging wand (the shower head) keep it moving.  You're trying to wash ALL the sugars down.

Make sure you have a beer handy when doing this.  It takes about 45 minutes - 1 hr to get approx 35 litres in to the boiler.  (That should give you an idea of flow rate.  A little under 1 litre per minute)

After approx 35 litres is in boiler, it's time to stop sparging.  Taste the grain at the top of the mash tun.  If it tastes completely bland and flavourless, then you've extracted all the sugars (It's wierd in my books.  It's like consistancy without flavour.)

Time to start the boil.

Let it get up to temperature (Yes, that is an extra little cooker under it.  Haven't bypassed the thermal cutouts in the elements yet.  So need to give it a little help).

Once boiling, it's time to add the first stage of hops.  The bittering hops.

Measure 30 grams of bittering hops.

Dump that in the boiler.

Wait 45 minutes whilst it boils.

Measure 20 grams of flavouring hops and dump that in the boiler.  This is also the time to add the whirfloc (Reduces sediment and the like)

Wait 10 minutes.

Add the aroma hops (10g).

Wait 5 minutes.

Kill the heat and start the cooler.

The cooler in this case is a copper coil inside the fermenter with tap fittings.  I hook hoses up to both (one in and one out).  Pump water through and I have water cooled.

After it has cooled to 30C, pour it into the fermenter (LOTS OF BUBBLES!! Do it from a height to create as much splash and bubbles as you can.)  Pitch yeast.  Wait.

I'm going to assume everyone that brews knows hows to bottle/keg, so I want 'film' that.

Have fun..

« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 06:58:39 PM by AccessDenied »

Offline Richo

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Re: How to brew from Grain
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2008, 11:13:46 AM »

Bloody awesome AD !!

(see ... your thread is A-O-K )

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Offline fuknK1W1

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Re: How to brew from Grain
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2009, 06:31:29 PM »
Excellent work there AD you're a man after my own heart.
Do you know about the trick using iodine to check the progress of the mash? If it stays clear the complex carbohydrates are fully converted, if not the iodine will turn darker.
Have you tried getting a whirlpool effect happening after the boil to get the trub to settle in the bottom of the boiler?
Here's a few shots from my first full mash brewing, I'm the hammer & sickle bloke.

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Offline Richo

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Re: How to brew from Grain
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2009, 06:48:24 PM »

Hey AD... need a headshot pic of you in sunnies mate for the writers avatar :)
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