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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: drunkenpuff on October 30, 2010, 11:21:01 PM

Title: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: drunkenpuff on October 30, 2010, 11:21:01 PM
WOOT! My loving wife wants to purchase the bare essentials to delve into AG for me at Xmax! She asked me a question i cannot quite answer. " What would you want to brew as your first AG?" Hmmmm.... That's a hard one to answer! So I pose this question to all... What was your very first AG brew... and why? Recipes are ALWAYS welcome of course!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: jaybeerman on October 30, 2010, 11:41:48 PM
Porter, because it's awesome.  Seriously though, welcome to AG, enjoy it.

oh yeah porter can be a forgiving first batch too, covers over some of those first-time oops
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: gisbrewmaster on October 31, 2010, 12:24:44 AM
Brew what you like! Its basically the same process.  If you really want my opinion I say a nice IPA "because it's awesome". To quote jaybeerman.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: svejk on October 31, 2010, 04:22:25 AM
My first AG beer was a very basic pale ale. It didn't turn out very well, but fortunately I was hooked by the process and followed that first batch with a porter. By the time my sub-par pale was ready to drink, the porter was also just about done. That porter took second best-of-show in the first competition I ever entered and the hook was set for good.  My advice is to brew a style that you really like, and remember that the hardest beers to brew are those with the lightest and most delicate flavors (light lagers, etc).  Stick with a beer that has about 5% ABV and a big, bold flavor.  Have fun!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: tschmidlin on October 31, 2010, 05:18:16 AM
My first three AG batches were blonde ales.  I had to brew it three times to get it right, it was important because it was for a buddy's wedding - the same guy whose wedding ceremony I did earlier this month, but not the same girl  ;D

The first batch tasted like the garden hose I used to fill the HLT.

The second batch was grainy and astringent, because I oversparged.

The third batch was just right :)

Brew whatever style you like, but I recommend a single infusion for your first batch.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: brushvalleybrewer on October 31, 2010, 10:19:40 AM
My first all grain brew was Mike McDole’s Tasty American IPA (http://beerdujour.com/Recipes/SN_Celebration_Ale_-2008_NHC_3rd_Place_2nd_round.html). Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is a favorite of my wife and mine. I figured an award winning clone recipe was a good place to start, because at least then the recipe wasn’t in question and I could reduce any problems with the final product to technique.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: barliman on October 31, 2010, 12:54:17 PM
Ordinary Bitter for me because it was inexpensive and the time between brewday and drinking was short.

J
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: tubercle on October 31, 2010, 01:04:25 PM
Brew the same thing that is your best extract beer. That way you will have something to compare.

 You will be wishing you had done it a long time ago 8)
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: stlaleman on October 31, 2010, 01:25:16 PM
Mine was an American Barleywine. Never was one to start something timidly!
It was awesome, too.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: punatic on October 31, 2010, 02:46:48 PM
Munich helles.  I love the flavor/aroma of Hallertauer hops!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: punatic on October 31, 2010, 03:05:40 PM
My first three AG batches were blonde ales...

The first batch tasted like the garden hose I used to fill the HLT.

The second batch was grainy and astringent, because I oversparged.

The third batch was just right :)

Goldie Locks!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: corkybstewart on October 31, 2010, 03:32:54 PM
I can't remember what my first AG was, but I'd go with Tubercle's advice to be able to make a valid comparison. 
I brewed for 3 years with a ZapPap lauter tun and my kettle did double duty as a mash tun.  I would mash for an hour, transfer the mash to the ZapPap with a saucepan and then I sparged by pouring water over the mash with the saucepan.  Even with this simple and primitive method my AG beers were drastically better than my extract beers.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: bluesman on October 31, 2010, 03:53:08 PM
My first AG beer was an APA. It's a great recipe to start out with in that it is fairly foolproof...and the recipe is simple.
I can post a good recipe if you would like.
Let us know how you make out. Good Luck!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: jeffy on October 31, 2010, 04:00:54 PM
I remember trying to make a Continental Lager as my first all grain beer.  I figured if I could do that I could make anything.  First try was Continental Gold from "Winner's Circle" a book of winning recipes from late 1980's and early 1990's NHC.  My notes show good efficiency, but perhaps a sour flavor.
I made this three times and then proceeded to IPA's.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: cheba420 on October 31, 2010, 04:42:20 PM
Doesnt matter what you brew the first time. What matters is that you've come over to the Dark Side! Welcome :) My first was a Pacific Northwest style Amber and it was delicious! The malt flavor you get from AG is amazing in comparison to extract. Good luck!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: tygo on October 31, 2010, 05:11:21 PM
My first all grain was an ESB that did not turn out that well.  It was way over-attenuated due to my mash temps being too low.  I changed it's name to Lightning Water ESB and eventually ended up using it as drain cleaner.  But my brews improved pretty rapidly as I gradually got my system and process dialed in.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: denny on October 31, 2010, 05:13:50 PM
I'd suggest something straightforward so you can concentrate on learning technique.  Avoid dark beers so you don't have to sweat pH issues.  Avoid high gravity beers so you don't have to deal with efficiency issues from high gravity beers.  Something along the lines of an APA or blond ale would be good choices.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: dmtaylor on October 31, 2010, 05:34:31 PM
Blonde ale.  I had wanted to try my hand at a Shipyard Export Ale clone, and I think it turned out pretty darn close.  What was absolutely amazing to me, after having brewed 30-some batches of extract beer, was the enormous depth of grainy flavors from the base malt that you simply CANNOT GET from extract.  I've been brewing all-grain ever since.  Only looked back once to see if it was possible to make halfway decent beer with extract.  Answer?  Yes, it is possible to make pretty good beer with extract.  But to make really truly EXCEPTIONAL beer, I am a proponent that all-grain, or AT LEAST partial-mash, is undoubtedly the way to go.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: jaybeerman on October 31, 2010, 07:00:20 PM
Avoid dark beers so you don't have to sweat pH issues.  Something along the lines of an APA or blond ale would be good choices.

That's a good point, that I forgot about.  It helps to know what kind of water you're dealing with (hopefully from previous EG brews).  Don't forget though that for some of us not "sweating ph issues" means having to brew dark beers.  All depends on your water.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 01, 2010, 12:51:39 AM
My first AG was Blond Ale.
I remember I had a hard time to hit my temp.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: 1vertical on November 01, 2010, 02:19:52 PM
My first AG was Blond Ale.
I remember I had a hard time to hit my temp.
Mine was a Saison I believe. The belgian yeast will detract from clean fermentation and insert
interesting yeast oriented flavors.  Wot amazed me was the second runnings temperature and
how hot you need to be to get to mashout temps, because as I learned, you have to raise the
temp of all the liquid, AND grain, AND mash tun that has an established thermal mass. Heat
 the water for your second runnings to  or very near boiling....
Say good bye to extract twang
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: dano14041 on November 01, 2010, 03:20:16 PM
My first all grain was an ESB that did not turn out that well.  It was way over-attenuated due to my mash temps being too low.  I changed it's name to Lightning Water ESB and eventually ended up using it as drain cleaner.  But my brews improved pretty rapidly as I gradually got my system and process dialed in.

I am following in your footsteps. My first AG was an ESB, and it over-attenuated due to mash temps being too low. I have only tasted the test samples, but will let you know this week(end) when I pop open the first bottle.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: beersk on November 01, 2010, 03:24:38 PM
My first 5 gallon batch of AG was an oatmeal stout.  Turned out well, most likely because I did a few partial mash batches in transition to AG brewing.  And before I moved onto to full partial mash batches I did a few 3 gallon AG batches that also turned out really well.  First 3 gallon AG batch was an amber ale with german hops, it was very tasty; haven't been able to duplicate it either :(
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: morticaixavier on November 01, 2010, 07:23:50 PM
My first AG batch was a belgian pale ale cause it was a simple grain bill and I do not have temp control so I figured the belgian yeast's appreciation of higher ferment temps would cover my butt. came out really well I think.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: gordonstrong on November 01, 2010, 07:27:41 PM
My first all-grain was a Belgian dubbel.

I think it's good to try a beer that you couldn't make as an extract beer, like something lighter in color than amber.  Or something using Munich or Vienna malt.  (Yes, I know you can now buy Munich extract)
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: alikocho on November 01, 2010, 07:45:50 PM
My first AG was a Belgian Saison, after I built the 'Denny Mashtun' (in blue). It was an awesome beer, and I've never looked back.

In the UK, I cannot get Munich, or Pilsner extract.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: coypoo on November 01, 2010, 08:09:12 PM
My first was a brown ale. Didnt turn out that good unfortunately b/c I had a hard time lautering. But every batch, I think, has gotten better and I learn something new from every brew. Good luck
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: dzlater on November 01, 2010, 09:47:21 PM
Mine was an ordinary bitter, looked in my brew book I wrote down everything about it except how it tasted  ???
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: egminer on November 01, 2010, 10:01:21 PM
My first all grain was an IPA as that is my favorite.  Still trying to perfect it tho.   Practice practice practice.......   8)
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: Mikey on November 02, 2010, 12:26:59 AM
I don't remember my first all grain, but I do remember I first piece of ...

I guess that's for another forum. :D
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: rebelcruiser on November 07, 2010, 03:44:38 PM
my first AG was an ESB.  I wanted to have at least SOME AG experience before I fired up the brew sculpture I was working on at the time.  The beer turned out well but I had HORRIBLE efficiency.  Still not entirely sure why, luckily I still had some DME that I was able to get the gravity where it needed to be.

Gary
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: beveragebob on November 07, 2010, 06:20:43 PM
My first AG was an American Brown. Used 4# of Dark brown sugar in the boil. It turned out great but, at 7.5% it made for a real short session beer. Maybe you can ask your wife to give you a list of what beers she likes and brew the easiest one. Just an idea.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: 1vertical on November 07, 2010, 08:48:14 PM
Just did my 1st all grain Beer in a Bag beer...a 2.5 gallon trial of a wild yeast.
The brew in a bag went smooth...I took 5 lbs of crushed grain and tied it up
in a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer bag....pre heated my 5 gallon vertical gott water
cooler....Orange btw....with hot tap water.  Put in the bag of crushed grain
and filled the orange water cooler with 168*f water to get a mash temp of 158...
Which was a bit high but shrug.... stirred the grain with a giant wire whisk..
removing the dough balls...and then closed the lid for an hour....couple times
I went in the container and dunked the bag like a tea bag...rinsing the sugar out.

I pulled the bag...let it drain and set it into another pot...where it proceeded to
drain while I dumped the rest of the wert into the BK...for a beer as usual boil.
Pretty dang easy and the numbers were not that far off...O.G. was 1.056...
somewhat high due to my over zealous boil and evap rates which were incorrect.

I was shooting for 1.050(http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a87/Vertical1/WildApricotBase.jpg)
Temp was pretty warm in this photo it finished at 1.056

Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: grant on November 09, 2010, 04:23:04 AM
My first all grain beer was about four years ago at "Teach a friend to brew day" at Denny's place. I brewed a Robust Porter. I learned a lot that day, made lots of mistakes, but in the end I made beer!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: kgs on November 09, 2010, 04:33:31 AM
I think it was a dry stout. I did a series of partial-mash small batches where I bumped up the grain ratio batch to batch to rely more heavily on the conversion. I think more than anything all that math finally got to me!

Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: euge on November 09, 2010, 08:31:02 AM
Avoid dark beers so you don't have to sweat pH issues.  Something along the lines of an APA or blond ale would be good choices.

That's a good point, that I forgot about.  It helps to know what kind of water you're dealing with (hopefully from previous EG brews).  Don't forget though that for some of us not "sweating ph issues" means having to brew dark beers.  All depends on your water.

As I read down this thread was thinking- man what about the dude's water? Nice to brew but maybe a "blonde ale" might taste like crap if he doesn't have the water for it.

Mine was a Brown ale/Bitter and it was awesome. Only by accident did I brew a beer just about right for the local water. I ignored the obvious and had erratic results after that when I tried to brew lighter beers. That knowledge was available to be sure but not given freely by brewers in that forum (not this one).

So I suggest getting a report of your local water if you can. Might be available online. Regardless, you should go to John Palmer's How to Brew (http://howtobrew.com/section3/chapter14.html) and read up on this chapter including, and most specially the part about water. Utilize the nomograph- it will save you some grief.

You might consider this. http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/get-schooled/master-the-mash (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/get-schooled/master-the-mash)


Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: abraxas on November 09, 2010, 01:33:03 PM
I'd personally avoid an IPA.  It was one of my first AG's and I missed my OG by a bit, it was unbalanced hoppy for about 3 months before it was actually very good.

A modest gravity, modest hopped pale ale might be more forgiving in case your OG is a little high or a little low.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: 1vertical on November 09, 2010, 02:27:49 PM
Avoid dark beers so you don't have to sweat pH issues.  Something along the lines of an APA or blond ale would be good choices.

That's a good point, that I forgot about.  It helps to know what kind of water you're dealing with (hopefully from previous EG brews).  Don't forget though that for some of us not "sweating ph issues" means having to brew dark beers.  All depends on your water.
Euge that nomograph is so neat. it takes the brain damage out of water chemistry. I have my 1st beer @ srm11
in primary, ready to move to secndary. When I taste the sample as it goes by, I will try to report my results since
It was the 1st beer ever I built around RO water.

Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: bearcat on November 09, 2010, 02:31:44 PM
My first was a kit from NB -the nut brown ale-forgiving...  I wish I would have taken my girl to a place with lots of taps and have her sample away to find out what she likes.  If she gives you a free ticket to brew what you want... I would consider attending a brew club meeting if you have one close.   Mine had a mentoring program to where one of the more experienced brewers would show up and do the brew with you if you wanted.  It sure helped make the transition easy and to avoid mistakes.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: pweis909 on November 10, 2010, 10:03:48 AM
What was your very first AG brew... and why?

The first brew that I mashed grains was an American Pale Ale.  Although I never brewed an extract version, I selected this style because I was familiar with it from commercial examples.  I felt like I was in a good position to evaluate the results. Because I was a concerned about ruining the beer with a low mash efficiency, I decided to do a partial mash, with half the extract coming from mashed grains and half coming from light DME.  I know I used Maris Otter, and think I also used biscuit malt and some caramel pils malt.  It had Chinook and Cascade hops.  It was a better beer than my previous extract batches because a lot of my technique changed with this batch (doing a full boil, oxygenating wort, making a starter, using a chiller).
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: gimmeales on November 11, 2010, 05:33:57 PM
on a wild hair, I tried a 1.070 Gruit for my first all-grain recipe.  Only batch I've had get a noticeable infection - a slight white ring in spots at the liquid level in the carboy.  Wasn't totally my fault, as our house needed some emergency renovation and the contractors knocked the airlock off the carboy where they were working (I thought it was well out of their way) - not sure how long it sat with the top off....no cover, no hops, you get the idea...

It had some interesting wine-like notes, so whatever got a hold of it wasn't totally bad.  Aged it for six months or so hoping it would improve, but never got to where I could handle more than a few sips (and that was with an 'open mind').
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on November 13, 2010, 02:39:48 PM
I went for a strong honey wheat and just fell in love with the process and that style!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: dbarber on November 14, 2010, 02:35:11 PM
My first AG was Denny's RyePA, that was 5 years ago and for some reason I haven't made it since.  I would suggest a simple APA or blond ale, but brew whatever you like.
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: ladylupulin on November 15, 2010, 06:23:13 PM
Way, way back in 1996, my first AG was a basic American pale ale. Several years have passed and when I got back into AG last year I brewed an ESB. It's a great first brew for checking your efficiency and if you don't hit the numbers, hell, it's an even greater session beer!

So what have you decided?
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: tubercle on November 15, 2010, 07:15:12 PM
Tubercle's first all grain was a Red Ale.

Ms. Tubercle surprised him with a kit many years ago that came with a pale ale can extract recipe that turned out better than my expectations. Ordered 3 more extract kits and made them, Oh, yes! I can do this.

 4th order was a mix up on my part :D ordered an all grain kit by mistake. I wondered why the price was so cheap :'(

 Well, sense the ingredients were on hand the decision was made to take the plunge. To the library to read up, bought a corona mill and made a mash tun out of a round cooler all in 2 days ;D

 There has been no turning back.  8)
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: Rhoobarb on November 15, 2010, 10:03:56 PM
My first was an APA for the reasons Denny mentioned.  It turned out very well.  IMO, your first AG is about getting the steps and your process down.  From there I tweaked things, figured out my water, etc.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: drunkenpuff on November 16, 2010, 02:48:17 PM
OK, there's been soo many suggestions but overall is seems that an APA would be the way to go. I would like to try a clone of New Belg. 2 below.. I'm looking for a good recipe. I do actually have a copy of my water profile here it is:

Bicarbonate ppm 95 to 117
Calcium ppm 139 to 156
Chloride ppm 16 to 34
Conductivity μmhos/m 337 to 458
pH units 8.2 to 8.6
Magnesium ppm 3 to 10
Sodium ppm 23 to 32
Sulfate ppm 27 to 39
Total Alkalinity as CaCO3 ppm 95 to 119
Total Dissolved Solids ppm 197 to 265
Total Hardness as CaCO3 ppm 90 to 164
Total Hardness in Grains grains/gallon 5 to 10
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: drunkenpuff on November 22, 2010, 07:25:42 AM
From what I understand about water profiles, it would seem im destined to brew dark beers. I don't mind using RO for small batches..but i think it would tend to get expensive moving to bigger brews. Is there any other way to overcome krappy water?
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: punatic on November 22, 2010, 09:44:59 AM
I do actually have a copy of my water profile here it is:
Calcium ppm 139 to 156
Magnesium ppm 3 to 10
Total Dissolved Solids ppm 197 to 265
Total Hardness as CaCO3 ppm 90 to 164

Somebody made a booboo on your water analysis.

Total hardness is the sum of all of the divalent cation concentrations - expressed as calcium carbonate (CaCO3).  Divalent cations are calcium and magnesium, all other divalent cations exist in concentrations low enough to be considered insignificant.
 
It is not possible for total hardness expressed as CaCO3 to be less than the sum of the calcium and magnesium ion concentrations..

To determine total hardness:
the calcium ions are converted to CaCO3 by dividing the calcium ion concentration by 0.4008
the magnesium ions are converted to CaCO3 by dividing the magnesium ion concentration by 0.243

calcium = (139 to 156) / 0.4008 = 347 to 389 ppm as CaCO3
magnesium = (3 to 10) / 0.243 = 12 to 41 ppm as CaCO3
So total hardness = 359 to 430 ppm as CaCO3  = extremely hard water.

Even if the calcium and magnesium concentrations given in the analysis above are expressed as CaCO3, (not as the ions as stated) the total hardness range would be (139 + 3) to (156 + 10) or
142 to 166 ppm 
not 90 to 164 ppm

Also, the sum of the ion concentrations is greater than the total disolved solids concentration given.

I light of these mistakes I would take the analysis with a grain of salt (pun intended).
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: drunkenpuff on November 22, 2010, 02:37:20 PM
Hhhmmmmm...
 
 That came directly from the City of Fort Worth's yearly water report.. if you can't trust those guys.. then what?
Title: Re: Your FIRST all grain?
Post by: denny on November 22, 2010, 04:40:52 PM
Hhhmmmmm...
 
 That came directly from the City of Fort Worth's yearly water report.. if you can't trust those guys.. then what?

Then trust Ward Labs...www.wardlab.com.  Get test W-6 for $16.50.