Author Topic: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew  (Read 1678 times)

Offline jasonmcconnell

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Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« on: February 01, 2014, 11:15:14 AM »
Hey All,

I got some fantastic responses to my previous post asking for advice on doing my first all-grain brew.  One thing that remains a concern is that I might have picked a recipe that may not be great for my first try.

So, back story on me ... about 7 years ago I learned how to brew extracts and that's all I've done for years.  At one point I sold my brewing equipment but just recently got all new stuff and I'm back in the game.  I just finished building an MLT from an Igloo cooler and I'm ready for my first all grain brew.

So here is the recipe I was going to try http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/204033/sledge-hammr-ii

I'd appreciate it if other all-grain brewers with more experience than me (which would include anyone who has done 1 batch or more hehe) to post your favorite "first timer" recipe.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 11:33:22 AM »
Since you have done several extract batches, I would do one of those you have done already and compare them!

As a default either Denny's Wry Smile IPA or the Waldo Lake Amber are winners with me.  Those recipes are ubiquitous because they are tried and true, not to mention award winning.
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Offline WDE97

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 12:05:00 PM »
Since you have done several extract batches, I would do one of those you have done already and compare them!
As a default either Denny's Wry Smile IPA or the Waldo Lake Amber are winners with me.  Those recipes are ubiquitous because they are tried and true, not to mention award winning.

I would agree with this. Do something you are familiar with for comparison. Regardless, I would suggest doing something simple so you can spend more time learning/figuring out the process and less time worrying about a complicated recipe.
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Offline el_capitan

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 11:32:14 PM »
Another vote for Waldo Lake Amber.  Wicked good. 

Online klickitat jim

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2014, 04:06:57 AM »
What have you got for fermentation temp control? My suggested recipe would be one that you have the ability to ferment successfully. I'd pick something simple, like a smash

Offline majorvices

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2014, 06:13:26 AM »
Sent you a PM requesting you take off your self promotion on your tag line. Advertising is not allowed on forum.

A pale ale or IPA would be good choice, or a porter or stout. Here's a few suggestions:

Pick up some ColorpHast pH strips, some calcium chloride, some gypsum, and if brewing a dark beer get some calcium carbonate. If your pH is high (over 5.6) add a tsp or gypsum and a tsp of calcium chloride. If dark beer and pH is low (lower than 5.4) add a tsp of calcium carbonate. Take pH readings at room temp.

Buy 2 or 3 lbs of light DME just in case you have any efficiency surprises.

RDWHAHB! :)
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Offline alestateyall

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2014, 10:07:18 AM »
Sent you a PM requesting you take off your self promotion on your tag line. Advertising is not allowed on forum.

A pale ale or IPA would be good choice, or a porter or stout. Here's a few suggestions:

Pick up some ColorpHast pH strips, some calcium chloride, some gypsum, and if brewing a dark beer get some calcium carbonate. If your pH is high (over 5.6) add a tsp or gypsum and a tsp of calcium chloride. If dark beer and pH is low (lower than 5.4) add a tsp of calcium carbonate. Take pH readings at room temp.

Buy 2 or 3 lbs of light DME just in case you have any efficiency surprises.

RDWHAHB! :)

Sorry, to highjack the thread, but how do you take mash PH temps at room temp?  Is the volume needed for a PH strip so low that it drops to room temp from mash temp in just a few minutes?

Also, is adding mineral salts as you suggest better than adding acid to drop the PH?

As you can tell I have never bothered with PH, but, just yesterday ordered PH strips and a bottle of lactic acid. I have some gypsum but none of the other salts you mention. I am brewing light colored beers with surface water which is relatively mineral free.
Tommy M.
Starkville, MS

Offline majorvices

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2014, 12:24:22 PM »
You can use freezer or fridge to cool small sample (you don't need much). I generally use lactic acid and calcium chloride usually to drop my pH on very pale beers especially if I am not building water from scratch. But I am afraid to suggest messing with acids to someone who hasn't experimented with all grain yet. But, yes, you can certainly use acids and I would recommend using acids to adjust pH for the experienced homebrewer.
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Offline jasonmcconnell

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2014, 02:19:15 PM »
What have you got for fermentation temp control? My suggested recipe would be one that you have the ability to ferment successfully. I'd pick something simple, like a smash
I really don't have anything, my previous brews have fermented at room temp and been okay.
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Online klickitat jim

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2014, 04:45:06 PM »
Right on. But I can see a chest freezer and temp control in your future. Beer is all about the fermentation in my opinion.

Offline jasonmcconnell

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2014, 05:05:19 PM »
Right on. But I can see a chest freezer and temp control in your future. Beer is all about the fermentation in my opinion.

There's a LOT of upgrades I want to do ... so I'm sure you're right!  Once I get a few batches under my belt, I'll probably be posting a question on whether a RIMS or HERMS system is better LOL
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2014, 08:19:08 PM »
Right on. But I can see a chest freezer and temp control in your future. Beer is all about the fermentation in my opinion.

There's a LOT of upgrades I want to do ... so I'm sure you're right!  Once I get a few batches under my belt, I'll probably be posting a question on whether a RIMS or HERMS system is better LOL

Forget HERMS or RIMS, get a chest freezer. it's cheaper and will make 1000% more difference in the quality of your beer than a fancy brewhouse.
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Online klickitat jim

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2014, 09:02:45 PM »
Agreed. If I started over, first thing would be fermentor temp control

Offline majorvices

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 05:37:59 AM »
Right on. But I can see a chest freezer and temp control in your future. Beer is all about the fermentation in my opinion.

There's a LOT of upgrades I want to do ... so I'm sure you're right!  Once I get a few batches under my belt, I'll probably be posting a question on whether a RIMS or HERMS system is better LOL

Forget HERMS or RIMS, get a chest freezer. it's cheaper and will make 1000% more difference in the quality of your beer than a fancy brewhouse.

Exactly, the thing that will make your beers go from "ok" to "wow!" is temp control. You simply can't make great beer if you can't control your fermentation temp.
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Offline dcb

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Re: Best Recipe for First All-Grain Brew
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 07:25:50 AM »
Exactly, the thing that will make your beers go from "ok" to "wow!" is temp control. You simply can't make great beer if you can't control your fermentation temp.

You guys are making me feel really validated.  From my reading I had determined that temp control is so important that I held off getting back into homebrewing until I could have it.

Looks like the OP is from the Phoenix area.  With highs in the 70's right now it might be tough to find a place to keep the temperature in the mid 60's.  In cooler climes, you don't necessarily need a converted chest freezer this time of year.  My garage never gets above 50 this time of year, so I wrapped my bucket up with a blanket, my wife's heating pad, and a home-made STC 1000 controller.  Cost less that $40 all told.