First all grain today. Went great (I think
After a few months of slowly acquiring equipment, I've moved my brewing entirely outdoors, and have moved from extract and partial-grain to an all-grain batch. As far as I can tell, it went pretty well. I took careful notes throughout the process in case anybody else is staring down moving to all-grain and in case anybody sees problem spots or has suggestions for improvement in my process:
East Coast Indian Brown Ale (My LHBS' Recipe)
5 Gallon Batch
7.9lb US 2 Row
3.2lb Maris Otter
11oz US Crystal 40L
3.5oz US Crystal 120L
3oz German CaraFa II Special
1 oz Simcoe 12% (12AAU) @ 60 mins
1 oz Centennial @ 10 mins
Irish Moss/Whirfloc @ 10 mins
1 oz Centennial @ 0 mins
Wyeast 1450 "Denny's Fav 50"
Mash Target: 151dF
Boil Time: 75 mins
1. I used the spreadsheet at http://www.brew365.com/mash_sparge_water_calculator.php
to calculate my strike temperature and volume.
2. I heated 3.8 gallons of water to 180dF
3. I have a converted rectangular cooler which I poured the 180dF water into. I stirred and closed up for a few minutes, hoping the cooler would absorb enough heat and land me at my target strike temperature. After 5 or so minutes, the water reached 168dF. I opened the lid to let some heat escape, and after a minute or so, landed at ~163dF. I doughed-in and stirred.
4. After measuring temp, I was reading around 150-151dF (man, now I'm really eyeing those thermapens - your mind starts playing tricks on you with those dial thermometers). Closed the lid, covered the cooler with a heavy blanket (my cooler's lid is hollow).
5. After ~30 minutes, I opened the mash tun to check temp and stir. Measured around 149dF. Debated pouring in some boiling water. Just closed the lid and went with it. Started heating ~6 gallons of sparge water.
6. At 60 minutes, I opened the lid and found that the temperature was still around 149-150dF, so heat held pretty solid for an hour.
7. Opened valve slowly, vorlaufed a liter or so (until clear), opened the valve and collected just under 2 gallons of sweet, delicious wort into a bottling bucket.
8. Transferred about 5 gallons of 180dF water onto the grain bed, stirring. Closed the lid, let rest for 10 minutes.
9. Opened the valve slowly, vorlaufed, collected an additional ~5 gallons of wort from the sparge.
10. At this point, I'd collected 7 gallons on the nose, so I took a hydrometer reading. Corrected for temperature, I got 1.053. Used http://www.brewersfriend.com/brewhouse-efficiency/
to calculate my efficiency. Looks like I got around 82%.
11. Boil time. Got from ~130dF to boiling in a little under 45 minutes. Boiled for 75 minutes. Added hops to a mesh bag at specified intervals.
12. After boil, chilled w/ a copper immersion chiller. Got from boiling to <60dF in just under 20 minutes (ground water was around 50dF).
13. Transfered about 4.5 gallons to fermenter. Measured w/ a hydrometer and got 1.070. As this was higher than the target and I also only had 4.5 gallons (a good amount of trub, too), I topped off to ~5 gallons w/ tap water.
14. Shake, shake, shake. Added yeast and a blowoff tube. Currently waiting for bubbles...
Thoughts taken away from my first session:
- I know I had a great hot break, but with the absurd amount of steam coming out of my converted keg, I honestly couldn't even see the boil. Is there any way to get a glimpse past the steam? Am I maybe boiling too hard? Had I been in danger of boiling over, I wouldn't have known it until it was far too late.
- I need to invest in a quality thermometer. Most of the time, I had only a vague idea of what temperatures looked like. Even with two cheap thermometers on hand, I was constantly second guessing readings. Not fun.
- It seems like I needed to sparge with more water and collect more runnings. This is my first time w/ most of this equipment - in the future, for a ~5 gallons batch, I probably need to start with closer to 8 gallons, rather than 7. I *gravely* underestimated the huge amount of wort that would be soaked up by the leaf hops. Like, an astounding amount.
- After I chilled, I was in a rush to get things into the fermenter.
I wish I had waited 10-15 minutes and let all of that cold break settle a bit. There's a considerable amount of gunk in the bottom of my fermenter (more so than w/ extract). Perhaps this is just part of brewing all-grain.
Feedback is obviously welcome. For a first run on my equipment, I'd call this a success.
Hurray for beer.