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brianpopis

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Hey everyone, I'm new to beer-making, but I've had a real passion for beer for a while now. I want to start brewing my own all-grain beer. Does anyone have any suggestions or would anyone be able to explain the basics in layman's terms to help me gain a better understanding of the brewing process?


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Cape Brewing

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John Palmer's "How to Brew" or... lots of reading of stickies etc on this site.

You essentially just said, "hey everyone, I really like cars, could someone give me a high level run down on how to build one?"

I don't mean that being a wiseazz or trying to bust your chops... just illustrating that you asked an extremely complex question.

In a couple of sentences though... all-grain brewing is essentially taking malted grains and soaking them at specific temperatures (mashing) in order to activate enzymes in the grain that will convert starches into various types of sugars. You are pretty much creating "sugar water" by converting and then rinsing the sugars from the grains once the mash is done. At that point you boil, typically for an hour, in which hops or other flavorings are added. Once done, chill, yeast is pitched, fermentation takes place... and you have beer.

If you are seriously interested in learning about all-grain... read all you can on this site in the all-grain section but I would strongly recommend "How to Brew". Read it... try some things in it, and then read it again.
 
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brianpopis

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Thank you for the info! Actually, I have read most of "How to Brew" and I found it to be really informative. There are just some words and concepts in there that are a little hard for me to grasp at this early of a stage, but I'm going to read it again and give it a shot. Mistakes are the best way to learn, definitely.


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evrose

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There are just some words and concepts in there that are a little hard for me to grasp at this early of a stage
Such as?

If you're more specific, you'll get better feedback and suggestions.
 

teleplucker

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Hey everyone, I'm new to beer-making, but I've had a real passion for beer for a while now. I want to start brewing my own all-grain beer. Does anyone have any suggestions or would anyone be able to explain the basics in layman's terms to help me gain a better understanding of the brewing process?


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I do 1 gallon batches, so it's fairly simple, but watch this:

http://brooklynbrewshop.com/instructions (the 'how to brew' part)

They skip the getting a recipe/ingredients or buying a kit part, but in simple terms that's pretty much it.
 

BrewFry22

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I second John Palmer's How to Brew. If you have any friends or someone local that brews it helps to assist on a brew day to see how it works.
 
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brianpopis

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One question that I have that is more specific is in regards to hops. What kind of hops are used in different types of beer, and how long would you boil them? Obviously things like this come with experience, but I'd like to hear some basic layouts for hopping if possible.

By the way, I am new to the forums, so thank you all for your quick responses and help so far, it's good to know the brewing community is interesting in helping one another.


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RM-MN

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One question that I have that is more specific is in regards to hops. What kind of hops are used in different types of beer, and how long would you boil them? Obviously things like this come with experience, but I'd like to hear some basic layouts for hopping if possible.

By the way, I am new to the forums, so thank you all for your quick responses and help so far, it's good to know the brewing community is interesting in helping one another.


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Here is the link to the recipe database on HomeBrewTalk. By looking at a few recipes you will get an idea of what kind of hops belong with a style of beer. Once you see how someone else has done it you can experiment with your own concoctions....or maybe just brew one or more of the recipes. They have been tested, there are comments on how the recipe turned out, etc.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f82/
 

Puddlethumper

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One question that I have that is more specific is in regards to hops. What kind of hops are used in different types of beer, and how long would you boil them? Obviously things like this come with experience, but I'd like to hear some basic layouts for hopping if possible.
There are a whole bunch of different types of beer. All the way from the thin and watery lagers we call BMC (Bud, Miller, Coors) to big and robust stouts and imperial stouts. Every beer style has a group of hops that work best with that style.

If you are asking about the sequence of hopping it is pretty simple (usually). After creating the wort you bring it to a boil and then add the bittering hops. The boil may last from 60 -90 minutes (usually 60). Then, following the recipe, you add aroma/flavoring hops. The longer the hops are boiled the more bitterness comes through and the less aroma survives. So the hops added at the end of the boil or dryhopped in the fermenter will add a lot of flavor/aroma and very little bitterness.
 

brewbama

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Though I am new to all grain myself, I recommend you tube videos as well as reading. Though it can get very technical, it doesn't have to. I also recommend going to Denny Conn's and Don Osborn's web sites. They explain it in simple terms, it doesn't have to coast a fortune in equipment, and can be very simple to do by following some very basic steps.
 
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WileECoyote

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Hey everyone, I'm new to beer-making, but I've had a real passion for beer for a while now. I want to start brewing my own all-grain beer. Does anyone have any suggestions or would anyone be able to explain the basics in layman's terms to help me gain a better understanding of the brewing process?


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Hello, the easiest way to brew all grain right off the bat is to BIAB and to order all grain recipe kits, in the recipe kit it will tell what temp to keep the grain at when mashing and at what times to add the hops in the boil.

I would recommend you get a few all grain batches under your belt just to get familiar with all grain brewing, then after your comfortable try a addition or 2 to a recipe.

Hope this helps !

Cheers :mug:
 

gr8shandini

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I still had a bunch of questions about all-grain even after reading How to Brew. The only big flaw in that book is that (in my opinion) he spends way too much time talking about manifold design and grain bed flow fields when that doesn't matter a bit if you batch sparge or BIAB - which is how most folks start out.

Anyway, of the things that helped me immensely was the article that one of the members here, Bobby M, wrote up:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/all-grain-primer-article-videos-228699/

I haven't watched the videos, but the primer does a great job of explaining what you're in for on your first all-grain brew day.

As for what kind of hops, there's no easy answer to that. Hops are to brewing what spices are to cooking. If you're looking to brew a particular style, you can get an idea by looking at what other people have done (Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels is a good resource). But - to return to the cooking metaphor - if you know that a good tomato sauce probably has some oregano in it, who's to say a dash of marjoram wouldn't go well? The only way to learn is to brew a lot of proven recipes to get used to the ingredients and then expand on what you've learned.
 

PianoMan

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I'm new myself to all grain. I've googled 'all grain' and come up with a bunch of youtube videos. The first one was about using a home built Mash-tun, [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CRI1veziKI[/ame]
I did build, but eventually came across 'brew in a bag' or BIAB videos.




This appears to be both an easier and cheaper method. I'll be trying BIAB this next week with a Six-point Resin Clone. (From various post on this site, i'll be using the suggested paint strainer's you get from Home Depot...$5 for 2)

Because there are multiple ways of doing the same thing, I would suggest trying any of them and finding what works for you.

This is my first post. I would just like to say THANK YOU for everyone who has contributed to this site. It's been ultra-helpful over the past several weeks in getting me started in homebrew.


Whats brewing......
Primary 1: Empty
Primary 2: Empty
Secondary1: Falcons Flight IPA (Extract recipe from Austin Home Brew)
Secondary2: Burton Red (1st All grain recipe. Using home Built Mash Tun)
Planning 1: Resin Clone (Using 1st time BIAB Method)
Planning 2: Bum's Easy Brew I (My own creation. Pale Ale at 6.2%.)
 
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WileECoyote

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I'm new myself to all grain. I've googled 'all grain' and come up with a bunch of youtube videos. The first one was about using a home built Mash-tun,

I did build, but eventually came across 'brew in a bag' or BIAB videos.

This appears to be both an easier and cheaper method. I'll be trying BIAB this next week with a Six-point Resin Clone. (From various post on this site, i'll be using the suggested paint strainer's you get from Home Depot...$5 for 2)

Because there are multiple ways of doing the same thing, I would suggest trying any of them and finding what works for you.

This is my first post. I would just like to say THANK YOU for everyone who has contributed to this site. It's been ultra-helpful over the past several weeks in getting me started in homebrew.


Whats brewing......
Primary 1: Empty
Primary 2: Empty
Secondary1: Falcons Flight IPA (Extract recipe from Austin Home Brew)
Secondary2: Burton Red (1st All grain recipe. Using home Built Mash Tun)
Planning 1: Resin Clone (Using 1st time BIAB Method)
Planning 2: Bum's Easy Brew I (My own creation. Pale Ale at 6.2%.)
Hello, I would suggest that you split your grain into both paint strainer sacks, this makes it much easier to stir the grain in the sack and handling wet heavy grain when removing when the mash is done.

Hope this helps!

Cheers :mug:
 

SubjectB

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I'm new to all-grain brewing myself. I've done several partial-mashes, but my last three batches were AG. Obviously, I'm in no position to offer the OP a tutorial, but here are the things I learned... the hard way.

- Invest in your mashing setup!

Whether it's a mash tun or BIAB setup, make sure your gear is up to the task.​

- Invest in a reliable, accurate, calibratable thermometer!

Temperatures are very important in AG. Miss your target even by a few degrees and you could end up with a stout that's too dry or an IPA that's too sweet. I had a POS Taylor kitchen thermometer that malfunctioned and read 12F cooler and I ended up with a mash with denatured enzymes. What an expensive pile of mulch!

I just sprung for a thermocouple thermometer by Thermoworks MTC. Can't wait to use it!​

- Here's a remedy for a stuck sparge, which you may encounter:

Stuck/plugged sparge is a PITA... I fix mine by putting a longer hose on the valve, raising it above the mash tun, opening the valve a bit and then blowing air back into the hose and then collecting some runnings (vorlauf) once or twice to be sure its not going to stick again and clear up the runnings. Works about 90% of the time.
Best of luck!
 

patthebrewer

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I can be as complicated or simple as you want it to be. You don't need to understand how the car is built to drive the car. You will learn more about the specifics and nuances with more practice, and research. Don't let the details intimidate you, and keep you from trying. It's truly not rocket science, not only that but I think after your first brew you will probably be left with the feeling of "Hmm...that wasn't that bad!"

Also Palmer is a good read.... but I would also recommend "The Joy of Homebrewing" by the Godfather of HomeBrewing, Charlie Papazian, IMHO it's more of a total resource for the beginning brewer.

Good luck, and above all have fun!!:)
 

FoamFollower

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Where are you located? If you are close by me, (I realize that the odds are against that) we can get together and brew at my place. I'm on the MN/Wi border just south of St. Paul
 

mgortel

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I started brewing with extract kits.....before I got into all-grain. (I did 3 extract kits before I decided I was obsessed and wanted to step it up to next level) It was a great learning experience...and was simple.....yet taught me the basics without over complicating things. The nice thing is once I did a few extract brews I had 90% of the equipment I needed to start doing all-grain....I just added a mash tun (cooler modified for mashing)....and Beersmith software.....and lots of knowledge from this site! The only equipment I did not have was a kettle large enough for all-grain (I started with a 7 gallon for extract brewing....but for all grain you need at least a 10 gallon for 5.5 gallon batches....I chose a 12 gallon).

The only difference between all grain and extract (in simple terms) is that instead of dumping the extract from a bag or jug....you "extract" it from the actual grains through mashing......once you complete the mash out.....everything is the same as extract brewing which you have already learned.

My advice if you take this route...is to get a kettle large enough for all grain brewing even though it will be larger than you "need" for extract....that way you will not have to upgrade to larger kettle. Although I DO use my smaller kettle for heating sparge water while I drain my mash into my large kettle....so no loss there.

Not saying you can;t start with all-grain brewing....but I see no downside in starting with extract.....some of my favorite beers were and are extract versions.

Enjoy the obsession and keep us posted on your progress.
 

Calichusetts

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I've been all grain since the start...not too much to it. I do a hybrid style mash in a bag. No need for new equipment if you keep the batch size small (1-2.5 gallons) Which I recommend considering the trials and errors of starting.

My only real tip...start getting to know as much as you can about water chemistry and mash pH
 

Puddlethumper

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I started with a Mr.Beer kit a couple years ago and figured a couple gallons per batch was pretty good. Now I can't imagine why anyone would bother with anything less than a 5 gal. batch. Actually thinking of upgrading my equipment to do 10 gal. batches.

I spend 5-6 hours for every brew session including mash, sparge, boil, cooling and then clean-up afterward. It doesn't matter if I'm making 2 gal. or 10, the time requirement per batch is almost the same. So why not make two kegs of beer per session instead of one? Or more to the point, why make 2 gal. when you can make 5 - 10 with the same time commitment?

Perhaps I'm missing something here that a wiser person will help by pointing out.
 

Calichusetts

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I started with a Mr.Beer kit a couple years ago and figured a couple gallons per batch was pretty good. Now I can't imagine why anyone would bother with anything less than a 5 gal. batch. Actually thinking of upgrading my equipment to do 10 gal. batches.

I spend 5-6 hours for every brew session including mash, sparge, boil, cooling and then clean-up afterward. It doesn't matter if I'm making 2 gal. or 10, the time requirement per batch is almost the same. So why not make two kegs of beer per session instead of one? Or more to the point, why make 2 gal. when you can make 5 - 10 with the same time commitment?

Perhaps I'm missing something here that a wiser person will help by pointing out.
Then why make 5 or 10 gallons when you could make 20 or 30? Your take on batch size is just that...your preference. Some people don't drink as much as you do or want variety. I personally could never drink more than a 12 pack of the same beer in any given timeframe. I like variety and I like to try new things. Staring at 2+ cases of the same beer is not appealing to me.

You also have to consider space or money issues. Not everyone can have a dedicated chest freezer fermentation chamber.
 

Puddlethumper

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Then why make 5 or 10 gallons when you could make 20 or 30? Your take on batch size is just that...your preference. Some people don't drink as much as you do or want variety. I personally could never drink more than a 12 pack of the same beer in any given timeframe. I like variety and I like to try new things. Staring at 2+ cases of the same beer is not appealing to me.

You also have to consider space or money issues. Not everyone can have a dedicated chest freezer fermentation chamber.
True enough. Cheers! :mug:
 

WileECoyote

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I started with a Mr.Beer kit a couple years ago and figured a couple gallons per batch was pretty good. Now I can't imagine why anyone would bother with anything less than a 5 gal. batch. Actually thinking of upgrading my equipment to do 10 gal. batches.

I spend 5-6 hours for every brew session including mash, sparge, boil, cooling and then clean-up afterward. It doesn't matter if I'm making 2 gal. or 10, the time requirement per batch is almost the same. So why not make two kegs of beer per session instead of one? Or more to the point, why make 2 gal. when you can make 5 - 10 with the same time commitment?

Perhaps I'm missing something here that a wiser person will help by pointing out.
Your not missing anything, I was intimidated before my first 10 gallon batch, after brewing it, I told my wife why haven't we been doing 10 gal batches all along? its the same amount of work as a 5 gallon batch.

Now I only do a 5 gal batch if its a experiment.

Cheers :mug:
 

Puddlethumper

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I told my wife why haven't we been doing 10 gal batches all along?
The guy that runs the lhbs was telling me of a customer who buys the supplies to make 20 gal. batches and only brews a few times each year. I guess the guy knows what he wants to have on hand and doesn't feel like tying up any more time and effort than necessary to meet that need. And it makes sense from a purely pragmatic view.

I tend to be a little more experimental at this point and like the smaller 5 gal. batches because it gives a little more room to grow my skills. I've even done a few 1 gal. BIAB batches to try new recipes. But there are several beers I make all the time now and it would be nice to just make 10 gal., get it into the kegs and know there was enough on hand to last a while.

When you entertain as much as we do it is embarrassing to run out of your famous home brewed beer.
 

WileECoyote

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The guy that runs the lhbs was telling me of a customer who buys the supplies to make 20 gal. batches and only brews a few times each year. I guess the guy knows what he wants to have on hand and doesn't feel like tying up any more time and effort than necessary to meet that need. And it makes sense from a purely pragmatic view.

I tend to be a little more experimental at this point and like the smaller 5 gal. batches because it gives a little more room to grow my skills. I've even done a few 1 gal. BIAB batches to try new recipes. But there are several beers I make all the time now and it would be nice to just make 10 gal., get it into the kegs and know there was enough on hand to last a while.

When you entertain as much as we do it is embarrassing to run out of your famous home brewed beer.
Even though we brew 10 gallon batches mostly, we also really like having several different beers on tap, so to make that happen I found a old kegerator and reconditioned it with a 3 tap tower, it holds 4 kegs so 1 is on a party tap, giving us each 3 to pull from most of the time, I say 3 each cuz I brew my wife her own beers that she loves and I don't really like, and I have a few she dose not like ether, so we try to keep it to 1 keg each that the other person isn't fond of.

Last month it worked out that it was a all wife beer kegerator lol sucked for me but she loved it, she was pulling 1/4 pints of each and saying this is great honey ! lol

Cheers :mug:
 

Puddlethumper

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Last month it worked out that it was a all wife beer kegerator lol sucked for me but she loved it, she was pulling 1/4 pints of each and saying this is great honey ! lol
That has to be a fun challenge with both of you enjoying beer. My wife will have a glass once in a while, but she really prefers wine. She and my daughter enjoy cider so I make a batch of that every once in awhile. In fact, aside from the small BIAB test batches, cider is about the only thing I still bottle.

And even though we're smack dab in the middle of some of the best grape growing country in the world, I can't seem to get excited about learning to make wine.
 

WileECoyote

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That has to be a fun challenge with both of you enjoying beer. My wife will have a glass once in a while, but she really prefers wine. She and my daughter enjoy cider so I make a batch of that every once in awhile. In fact, aside from the small BIAB test batches, cider is about the only thing I still bottle.

And even though we're smack dab in the middle of some of the best grape growing country in the world, I can't seem to get excited about learning to make wine.
LOL can't blame you a bit, I have only had, I think 2 wines that I have ever liked.

Just isn't my cup of tea I guess.

Cheers :mug:
 

Puddlethumper

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LOL can't blame you a bit, I have only had, I think 2 wines that I have ever liked.

Just isn't my cup of tea I guess.
We've had some really good wines and we belong to a wine-club of one of our favorite wineries in Paso Robles. The problem I have with wine is the same problem I have with Scotch. I really like the good stuff and really don't like the cheap stuff. So I'll uncork a bottle of good zinfandel, cabernet or sangiovese for a particularly special meal. Then drink beer for the rest of my life. :)
 
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