How to Brew: Advanced

Two Ways of Brewing

All-grain Sparge Brew in a Bag

View the following two tutorials for all-grain batch sparge brewing and all-grain brew in a bag to see the step by step processes of brewing beer.

For more detailed information read How-To: All-Grain (Batch Sparging) Brewing and How-To: Brew in a Bag (BIAB) .

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All-Grain Batch Sparge Brew Day

View this tutorial as a slideshow
Step 1

Review

Read through the homebrew recipe and steps of the brewing process entirely before starting your all-grain brew day to ensure maximum efficiency.

This tutorial will walk you through the entire brewing process for Hop Hammer, an imperial India pale ale. The same steps can be applied to most all-grain recipes, although instructions for other beer styles and fermentation and packaging processes will vary.

Step 2

Gather supplies

Ensure you have all of the brewing equipment and beer ingredients necessary to brew.

Use the All-Grain/BIAB Note Sheet to keep track of your brew day, which is crucial in improving your homebrewing skills.

Step 3

Clean equipment

Using unscented cleanser, thoroughly clean all brewing equipment.

Debris on equipment can harbor microorganisms that can spoil a batch of beer, even with proper sanitation.

Step 4

Heat strike water

Assuming a ratio of 1.5 quarts of strike water per pound of grains, heat 12.9 quarts (3.23 gallons) of water to 158-162°F (70-72.2°C) in your boil pot.

The exact temperature will depend on how much heat is typically lost on your system when mashing in.

Step 5

Heat mash tun

While the strike water is heating, boil a cup of water and add it to your mash tun. This water heats up the mash tun so less heat is lost when the cool grains and heated strike water are combined.
Step 6

Add strike water

When your strike water has reached the target temperature, add it to the mash tun. Make sure the spigot valve on the mash tun is closed!
Step 7

Add grains

Gradually stir the grains into the strike water, ensuring the mash is completely saturated.

Stir thoroughly to prevent any clumps of dry grain, as it will not be stirred again until the mash is complete.

This process is known as mashing in.

Step 8

Reach target temperature

Adding grains to strike water typically causes the temperature of the strike water to drop 8-12°F.

The target mash temperature for this recipe is 150°F (65.6°C).

Step 9

Hold mash

Allow the mash to sit at the target mash temperature for 60 minutes.

Maintaining the 150°F (65.6°C) temperature is crucial, so avoid opening the mash tun as much as possible.

Step 10

Heat sparge water

While the mash is resting, heat enough water for your sparge to 170°F (76.7°F) in your secondary pot.

For this recipe, you’ll need about 4.75-5.5 gallons (19-22 qt; 18-21 L) of sparge water to reach the target pre-boil volume.

Pre-boil volumes will vary depending on how much wort evaporates during the boil. It’s wise to heat more water than needed, just in case.

Step 11

Vorlauf

After the 60 minute mash is complete, recirculate the wort to settle the grain bed and avoid transferring as much of the solid grain material as possible.

This process is known by its German name vorlauf.

To do this, slowly collect (lauter) some of the wort into a small pot or pitcher and return the liquid back to the mash tun.

Repeat this process until the liquid appears to be running relatively clear.

Step 12

Lauter

After the vorlauf, separate the liquid wort from the grain solids—a process known as lautering.

With the hose in the boil pot, open the mash tun valve and drain the wort into your boil pot completely.

Step 13

Add sparge water

After the mash has been completely lautered, close the valve of the mash tun and add the heated sparge water.

Some elect to stir the grains, while others do not. If you do stir the grain bed, conduct the vorlauf again (step #11) to re-settle the grain bed.

Step 14

Lauter

Once the grain bed is settled, collect the wort into your boil kettle, where the wort from your mash has already been collected.
Step 15

Bring to a boil

In your boil pot, bring the wort to a rolling a boil.

When conducting full boils, you may need a more powerful heat source such as an outdoor propane burner.

Step 16

Add hops

Once the wort reaches a rolling boil, add the 90 minute hop addition.

After 45 minutes, add the 45 minute hop addition.

After 15 more minutes, add the 30 minute hop addition.

Step 17

Add Irish moss

After 15 minutes, add the amount of Irish moss called for by the product’s instructions.
Step 18

add-hops-outside2

After 15 minutes, add the 0 minute hop addition, sometimes referred to as “flameout” or “knockout” addition.
Step 19

Chill wort

Using the chilling method of your choice, cool the wort down to yeast pitching temperatures.

Note: all equipment that comes into contact with the wort after the boil is complete must be sanitized to prevent risk of contamination.

If using an immersion chiller, the device can be placed in the boil kettle for the last 10 minutes or so of the boil as a sanitary measure.

Step 20

Sanitize equipment

While the wort is chilling, take this time to sanitize the rest of the already cleaned equipment that will come into contact with the wort post-boil.
Step 21

Transfer

Once chilled to around 70°F (21.1°C), transfer the wort to your clean and sanitized fermenter.
Step 22

Take hydrometer reading

Using a clean and sanitized cup or wine thief, pull a sample of wort large enough to take a hydrometer reading. This reading is your Original Gravity.

It is not recommended to return the sample to the batch of beer due to risk of contamination. If you must return the sample, make sure the hydrometer and the vessel holding the sample are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to testing.

Step 23

Pitch yeast

Sanitize the yeast package or yeast starter vessel, and carefully pour (pitch) the yeast into the carboy with the chilled wort.
Step 24

Seal fermenter

After the yeast is pitched, seal the fermenter with a clean and sanitized airlock and bung.

If using a bucket fermenter, a carboy bung may not be necessary.

If you don’t have ample head space, a blow off tube may be required.

Step 25

Shake fermenter

Once the fermenter is sealed, give it a shake for a minute or two to provide oxygen which is vital to yeast cell growth and quality fermentation.
Step 26

Store fermenter

Advanced homebrewers often have more efficient and accurate means of controlling fermentation temperature. The fermentation steps can be altered to fit your specific equipment.

Store the fermenter in a location that can maintain the desired fermentation temperature (67°F; 19.4°C) with minimal disturbance and protection from light. A temperature-controlled fermentation chamber is highly recommended.

Step 27

Monitor fermentation

Monitor the fermentation and utilize hydrometer readings to determine when fermentation is complete.

Consistent gravity readings over the course of a few days will typically signify fermentation has ceased.

Step 28

Trasnfer to secondary

When adding hops after fermentation, a secondary fermentation vessel is utilized.

As soon as a bulk of the yeast have fallen out of suspension, transfer the wort to a clean and sanitized secondary fermenter using clean and sanitized equipment, such as an auto-siphon.

Note: you want as little head space as possible in secondary to prevent the presence of oxygen.

Step 29

Add dry hops

After the wort has been transferred to the secondary fermenter, add the dry hop addition.

It may take a few days for the pellets to dissolve and fall to the bottom, so be patient!

Step 30

Store fermenter

Store the secondary fermenter in the same environment as the primary, holding temperatures in the 67-70°F (19.4-21.1°C) range.
Step 31

Enjoy

Once carbonated, pour yourself a glass and enjoy the fruits of your labor!


Brew in a Bag (BIAB)

View this tutorial as a slideshow
Step 1

Review

Read through the homebrew recipe and steps of the brewing process entirely before starting your all-grain brew day to ensure maximum efficiency.

This tutorial will walk you through the entire brewing process for Ruabeoir, an Irish red ale. The same steps can be applied to most all-grain recipes, although instructions for other beer styles and fermentation and packaging processes will vary.

Step 2

Gather supplies

Ensure you have all the brewing equipment and beer ingredients necessary to brew.

Use the All-Grain/BIAB Note Sheet to keep track of your brew day specs, which is crucial in improving your homebrewing skills.

Step 3

Clean equipment

Using unscented cleanser, thoroughly clean all brewing equipment.

Debris on equipment can harbor microorganisms that can spoil a batch of beer, even with proper sanitization.

Step 4

Secure grain bag

If possible, drape your grain bag over the rim of the boil kettle. A bungee cord or clamps can be used to secure the bag.

Ensure that the bag will not come un-secured once the grains have been added.

Step 5

Add strike water

Add enough strike water to reach your pre-boil volume after the mash, without an additional sparge step.

For this recipe, we will assume 8.5 gal (32.2 L) are needed to produce 7-gallons of pre-boil wort. This amount will vary depending on grain absorption and boil off rate.

Note: If your kettle is not big enough for no-sparge mashing, or you’d prefer to add a sparge step, review the AHA’s Guide to Brew in a Bag (BIAB) for details.

Step 6

Heat strike water

Heat the strike water to 160-164°F (71.1-73.3°C).

When the grains are added, the water temperature typically drops 8-12°F, which will bring the mash down to the target mash temperature of 152°F (66.7°C).

Step 7

Add grains

Once you have hit the target strike water temperature, gradually stir the grains into the secured grain bag, ensuring the grains are fully saturated.

The process of adding the grains to the strike water is known as mashing in.

Step 8

Reach target temperature

Adding grains to strike water typically causes the temperature of the strike water to drop 8-12°F.

The target mash temperature for this recipe is 152°F (66.7°C).

Step 9

Hold mash

Cover the pot and allow the mash to sit at the target temperature for 60 minutes.

Avoid opening the pot, which will allow heat to escape and ultimately drop the temperature of the mash.

Insulating the pot with a blanket or towel can help retain heat, but do be careful of this technique around your heat source.

Step 10

Remove grains

After the 60 minute mash is complete, carefully remove the grain bag, ensuring none of the grains escape.

Allow the bag to drip dry, but do not squeeze! You should have the 7 gallon pre-boil volume. If not, extra water can be added, or the boil can be lengthened to compensate.

Step 11

Bring to boil

In your boil pot, bring the wort to a rolling a boil.

When conducting full boils, you may need a more powerful heat source such as an outdoor propane burner.

Step 12

Add hops

As soon as the wort reaches a rolling boil, add the 60 minute hop addition.
Step 13

Add Irish moss

45 minutes after the hop addition, add the amount of Irish moss called for by the product’s instructions.
Step 14

Chill wort

Using the chilling method of your choice, cool the wort down to yeast pitching temperatures—about 70°F (21.1°C).

Note: all equipment that comes into contact with the wort after the boil is complete must be sanitized to prevent risk of contamination.

If using an immersion chiller, the device can be placed in the boil kettle for the last 10 minutes or so of the boil as a sanitary measure.

Step 15

Sanitize equipment

While the wort is chilling, take this time to sanitize the rest of the already cleaned equipment that will come into contact with the wort post-boil.
Step 16

Transfer

Once chilled to around 70°F (21.1°C), transfer the wort to your already clean and sanitized fermenter.
Step 17

Take hydrometer reading

Using a clean and sanitized cup or wine thief, pull a sample of wort large enough to take a hydrometer reading. This reading is your Original Gravity.

It is not recommended to return the sample to the batch of beer due to risk of contamination. If you must return the sample, make sure the hydrometer and the vessel holding the sample are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized prior to testing.

Step 18

Pitch yeast

Sanitize the yeast package or yeast starter vessel, and carefully pour (pitch) the yeast into the carboy with the chilled wort.
Step 19

Seal fermenter

After the yeast is pitched, seal the fermenter with a clean and sanitized airlock and bung.

If using a bucket fermenter, a carboy bung may not be necessary.

If you don’t have ample head space, a blow off tube may be required.

Step 20

Shake fermenter

Once the fermenter is sealed, give it a shake for a minute or two to provide oxygen which is vital to yeast cell growth and quality fermentation.
Step 21

Store fermenter

Advanced homebrewers often have more efficient and accurate means of controlling fermentation temperature. The fermentation steps can be altered to fit your specific equipment.

Store the fermenter in a location that can maintain the desired fermentation temperature (67°F; 19.4°C) with minimal disturbance and protection from light. A temperature-controlled fermentation chamber is highly recommended.

Step 22

Monitor fermentation

Monitor the fermentation and utilize hydrometer readings to determine when fermentation is complete.

Consistent gravity readings over the course of a few days will typically signify fermentation has ceased.

Step 23

Enjoy

Once carbonated, pour yourself a glass and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

PHOTOS © BREWERS ASSOCIATION