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Old 02-28-2006, 02:59 AM   #1
eastwood44mag
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Default First experiment with grain and a question

I'm making a rather heavy batch this time around, using a high gravity yeast, to try and get it as close to shine as possible, while still being legal (I was bored and it seemed like a good idea at the time).

Well, I was using a triple-clad pot, which heats quickly and cools slowly. I won't tell you how hot my grain got, but it wasn't good. Smelled great, but we'll see.

Batch was:
-7# of extra dark DME
-2 oz cascade
-1 vial of White Labs High Gravity Ale Yeast (probably insufficient, but I already screwed up, so I won't waste more money on it)
-grain mix (1# 80 C, 1/2 roasted malt, 1/4 dark malt)

Hopefully it will be palatable.


And now onto the question. I apologize for asking the same thing you're all sick of hearing, but I want to go over to all-grain. Can anyone offer me help in layman's terms? I've tried looking at the sites listed, and I just get confused by all the jargon. The local shop owner seems to want to keep me on malt extract (course he marks up 100%), so he wasn't much help.

Thanks all.

P.S. If I can still see after swilling down this FUBAR concoction, I'll let you know how it turned out.

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Old 02-28-2006, 05:47 AM   #2
Brewsmith
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First things first, if you were making a 5 gllon batch, your gravity should give you a beer somewhere around 7.5%, not that high, or at least not enough to require the high gravity yeast. The one vial might be enough, depending on how well you areated the wort. A starter would have been better though. Also, assuming you didn't boil the grain, you should be fine in that department. You should end up with some kind of porter or stout.

Now the big question. All grain brewing just requires more equipment and time. It is not necessarily more difficult. The all grain process is just the way to get the sugars out of the grain. Malt is soaked in hot water so that natural enzymes break down starches into fermentable sugars. This is the mashing process. A simple ale could be 154 degrees for 1 hour. Then you have to seperate the grain from the sweet liquid. This is called lautering. Usually more hot water is run through the grain to get even more sugars out. This is called sparging. The liquid is collected in a pot and boiled just like you would for extract brewing.
All of these extra steps require equipment that you can make yourself if you feel handy around the house, and it is definately cheaper that buying all of it. If you haven't already, read about all-grain brewing at www.howtobrew.com to get a better idea of the process. There are even plans in there for the equipment. I would follow the advice of your local homebrew supply. Definately get a good handle on extract brewing before making the jump to all-grain.

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Old 02-28-2006, 10:33 PM   #3
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Yeah here is what Brewsmith said in a nutshell:

Mashing= soaking at specific temps
Lautering= straining
Sparging= rinsing & straining again

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Old 03-01-2006, 12:23 PM   #4
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Here are some terms that might be hard to understand:

  • Hot Liquor: water heated to your strike temp or sparge temp
  • Dough in: adding grains to mash tun and heated water (liquor)
  • Mash: a mixture of water and grains(I use 1.3 or 1.5 qts per pound depending on the style)heated to the prescribed temp and kept at that temp for 60-90 min. usually around 150-155 degrees f. this activates enzymes that break down complex chains of sugars into fermentable "simpler" sugars
  • mash out: raising the temo of the mash to 170 in order to deactivate enzymes.
  • Sparge: Rinsing the grains with 170 degree hot liquor. the higher temp deactivates enzymes and lowers the viscosity of the solution in the mash for a more complete extraction. there are two method of sparging, fly sparging and batch sparging. the hot liquor for the sarge also makes up the additional volume for the batch.
Don't take this the wrong way, when I was trying to figure out how to go from extract to all grain I found it difficult to "get it" when I figured it out I was amazed at how simple the process really was. relax and don't over think it. basically make malt tea steeping the grain for 1 hour at 154 then rinse the grain with 170 degree water while tranferring to your boil kettle. once the wort is in the kettle and your boil volume is correct proceed as with an extract batch. I hope that this helps.
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