So My Buddy and I just ventured into All-Grain. The setup I purchased.
15 G Stainless Steel BC Pot W propane Burner, Weldless spigot to follow
10 Gallon Red Rubbermaid Drink Cooler
50 Ft Stainless steel immersions chiller, with a therminator waiting for when we are ready
8” gravity fed Fly Sparge Arm attached to an old leaky(ha) truebrew bottling bucket.
I also bought every chemical known to man and a whole bunch of other sundries which I had read where handy, such as a Thermopen. How I lived without a Thermopen I just don’t know.
The Story of our first All Grain Batch.
My buddy Rob called me Thursday night and we arranged to brew. It had been a while and we had stuff stacking up. I had all this shiny new All Grain Equipment sitting in my house waiting to be used but knew that it would take a certain amount of prep before it was ready. Hoses needed to be measured out, spigots needed to be checked for leaks and everything had to be cleaned. So being the overzealous person that I am, I suggested to Rob that we drag all this stuff to his house so we could check it out while we brew an Extract Kit that we have had for a while. He swings by my house about noon and we toss everything into his car and away we go. After a stop at CVS for Yellow Kitchen gloves to save us from PBW and Iodine for starch Tests we hit his house. After a small amount of conversation we decide to All Grain because why not. Our LHBS recently started selling All grain kits and we chose to do the Dogfish Head 90 Min Clone kit I bought instead of a doing the recipe I found on the AHA forums for Old Richards Ale that I had pieced together that had very poor instructions for Newbies. The Kit came with solid instructions and we knew what needed to be done.
16 lbs American 2-Row 1 lbs English Crystal Malt 2.75 oz Amarillo pellets 1.2 oz Warrior pellets 1.2 oz Simcoe pellets 1 tsp Irish Moss Dry English Ale Yeast Two Days before Brew Day
• Recommended: Prepare a 1.5 Liter yeast starter, using the yeast starter reference guide on www.beer-wine.com
. Brew Day Prepare your water • Add 10.52 gallons of water to your Hot Liquor Tank; heat to 163.7° F. Mash
• Transfer 6.12 gallons to your Mash/Lauter Tun. While stirring with mash paddle, slowly add grain to the Mash/Lauter Tun to avoid dry pockets. Stir until mash temp reaches 150° F
• Cover your Mash/Lauter Tun & steep grain for 75 minutes @ 150° F. While steeping, heat the
remaining water in the Hot Liquor Tank to 168° F. After the 75 minute mash slowly drain 1 qt of wort at a time into a pitcher & pour gently back into the Mash/Lauter Tun until the wort is running clear. Fly Sparge
• Over 60-90 minutes, trickle the water from the Hot Liquor tank into the Mash/Lauter Tun while slowly
trickling the mash into the Boil Kettle. Adjust the ball valves to achieve equal flow rates. Stop the flow
when the Boil Kettle volume reaches 7.68 gallons. Use the thief and hydrometer to record the
temperature and gravity readings, adjust for temperature. Boil Schedule
Time Action Heating – untimed Heat the wort in your Boil Kettle to a full boil 0 minute mark Add 0.45 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 15 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 30 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 45 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 60 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 75 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets & Irish Moss 85 minute mark Add 0.30 oz Amarillo, 0.10 oz Simcoe, 0.10 oz Warrior pellets 90 minute mark Remove from heat, Cool the wort to 70°F using a wort chiller. Oxygenation
• Drain 5.5 gallons of chilled wort into a clean & sanitized primary fermenting bucket/carboy. • Draw a sample with a thief; record temperature and gravity readings, adjust for temperature. • Oxygenate: stir vigorously or transfer wort between your fermenter and a second cleaned/sanitized
• Pitch the yeast into the wort • Seal with the lid and insert airlock. • Ferment in primary for 7 days at 68°-72° F. Transfer to secondary & dry hop with 1 oz Amarillo, 0.50 oz Warrior, & 0.50 oz Simcoe pellets until final gravity has been reached, about 10 days. • Keg or bottle as preferred; refer to beer-wine.com for further information
Fast Forward to 2 O’clock. After a ration of $#%@ from Robs wife for all the new boxes in their kitchen, we are off to the races to All Grain!!!!! The New kettle, Immersion Coil, and a few other Stainless items have been Cleaned with PBW and I am grinding the 17 LB grain bill on our 20 dollar Corona Mill. I moaned about buying a better Mill while cranking away and kept checking our crush. Shredded hulls everywhere! After getting our water to the suggested temp we start slowly adding our grains to the Cooler with about half a LB of Rice Hulls that I had bought at our LHBS because I just had one of those feelings.
After Mashing for about 30 Min we check the temp and we have dropped to about 146F, the recipe suggests 150F. We got an additional ~1 gallon of water to a boil and added it and got back to 153F and put the lid back on. Disaster avoided, although we have much more water in the MT then we really wanted. At the end of our 75 min steep we were still at 151F and I was happy that our new Cooler held temps so well. After some fidgeting we are ready to pull the wort.
We start pulling the First L of Wort out of the MT to recirculate the wort and there is grain in it! We had a false bottom in the MT and that just shouldn’t of been happening, I could only assume that the False bottom became disconnected from the bulkhead and we were pulling grain and all. The Spigot quickly became clogged. The only thing I could think of was to empty the MT back into our kettle to reattach the False Bottom and transfer everything back. 25 Scoops of hot Grist later and we get to the bottom. The False Bottom is still connected and the Grist had managed to get under the False Bottom. After a small amount of fidgeting we clear out under the False Bottom and transfer the Grist back into the MT. Try #2 has no Grain in it and the wort is looking great! Disaster #2 Avoided! Time to RDWHAHB.
As we start sparging we play with our Spigot to keep the Flow into the LT about the same as the flow coming out of the Sparge Arm. Im pretty sure we failed this step but it is what it is. There was some serious confusion between Rob and I because the Instructions told us to collect ~8 Gallons of wort during Sparge and we collected about that but had tons left. We drained the remained of the wort into our 5 Gallon Pot and decided to boil it down to see if we could make a small batch of something.
We boiled the Wort for 90 Minutes and hit all our Hop additions on time and the wort was starting to smell hoppy and great. We bring the Pot full of wort back in the house and start up the Immersion Chiller. Why hadn’t we used one of these before! What an awesome device. The 45F Tap water cooled that wort down to 68F in about 6 minutes. Time to check the Gravity!
1.061…. Why are we so low, we seemed to hit our temps and boiled down a good amount of the wort and had about what we needed volume wise. We couldn’t exactly measure how much Wort we had, because our Kettle has yet to be measured and marked. OG is marked on the Instructions as 1.084 so we are hugely off. I did a little math and saw our Potential Gravity was 612 points but we only hit 427 Points. So our Mash Efficiency was 70%, which was good considering some of the numbers I had seen. But we were still super low. I later found out that I had only ground up 12 Lbs of grain, which gave us a Potential gravity at 432, so our Mash Eff was rather high in the 90% range, is that possible? SO we fill up our Carboy and finish cleaning up.
Questions/comments I have about the process.
We didn’t adjust our Water in any way. We used Tap water, I don’t know what the mineral profile is for the Water we use, but we need to address that
We didn’t check PH in any way shape or form. I did try once with the PH Test strips I had purchased, but the color on the Strip wasn’t anything near any of the example. When should we be checking PH and does anyone have a PH meter they recommend?
We made a 1.5L starter for this beer, which is currently working away. Is one vial of yeast enough to make a starter of that size?
How do people clean their Kettles? 15G Pots are huge and just don’t fit in sinks.
The Propane Burner we used had most of the paint charred off due to the heat, is there a way to protect this piece of equipment from the rust im sure will be forming on it in the near future?
I tried doing a starch test and I never saw the color change that was suggested would happen. I purchased Iodine at CVS, But it was Called Iodine-(something) is there a specific type of iodine needed for this test? Will a refractometer be better for me?
Thanks for reading all of this, I look forward to comments and suggestions to help my All Grain experience to be all the better,