brewing at home in sun-soaked anatolia
recently homebrewing has caught my interest, but unfortunately not before i moved to a rather inconvenient place for such an activity, a bit south of ankara, turkey.
with the help of a turkish friend, i was able to find some barley at an open air market; and surprisingly, a type of hops (no idea what variety) can be found at a local health food/dried herb shop.
over the last few weeks, i've malted the barley and made a basic pale malt, some type of crystal malt, and a dark roasted malt. with these and the purchased hops, i've started two small batches of brew.... one a sort of pale ale and the other a bit akin to a brown ale.
they seem to be fermenting alright...
but as i'm new to the process and living in a location not entirely conducive to homebrewing... many questions have come up. if anyone would take the time to give some thoughts to the questions below, i would much appreciate it.
firstly, i am quite lacking in equipment (and with the location, i don't see any way around this) but this has only really caused a problem when trying to sparge. for the two batches mentioned above, sparging was accomplished by straining the mash through a piece of cloth, putting the spent grains into another pot of 170 degree water, and after a few minutes straining the grain out again. the liquid obtained from both of these strainings was put to boil. the main concern with this method has been the HSA which i'm quite certain took place.
and now for the question... does anyone see any problems with: mashing, then cooling the mash to below the 80 degrees or so to avoid HSA, then straining... and after all is done, heating the wort back up for the boil?
secondly, during the mashes.... i tasted the wort and it definitely tasted sweet; but as i can't seem to get ahold of any iodine.. i'm lacking an exact indication of complete conversion. if i am to go only by taste, about how sweet should the wort be after conversion? are we talking just a bit sweet, or sweet as syrup? or perhaps somewhere in between? i realize that this question is quite subjective...
and finally, i have no idea which type of barley i bought... whether it be 2, 4, or 6 row. from what i've read... 4 row barley isn't well suited for brewing. does anyone know the reason for this? is it safe to assume that since the barley that i purchased malted and then mashed to a sort of sweet wort that it is not 4 row?
i appreciate any comments...