All-Grain. The term sends shivers down the spines of those who are unaware of how simple it really is. You’ve probably read dozens of texts on the subject only to find it still remains shrouded in mystery. If your like me when I first got started all the information available spoke of this wizardry and how difficult it is - and for that reason I did not start brewing for many years after I got the urge to try.
Then I found the Mr. Beer brewing kit, which introduced me to extract brewing in small batches. I couldn’t believe how easy this was! All the crap I read made it sound like rocket science and it’s almost as easy as making hot chocolate! My second batch of beer was a Coopers Brew Master Select kit with “steeped grains.” I just followed the recipe everything was in the kit!
Okay let’s get rid of the fear – this is easy, a bit more time consuming than making an extract beer but still really easy – and it is worth the extra effort!
This instruction will be for a 5 gallon batch Scotch Ale if you want to do a 2.5 gallon batch just cut it in half! This will use a few different grains and hops - so get out all your equipment wash and sanitize everything!
If you don’t have a grain mill no big deal just order your grain pre-crushed. Some places will charge a few pennies for this service and some will do it for free!
To make it easy on your back place the Hot Liquid Tank (HLT) on the stove with tubing attached long enough to go into the Mash Tun, (an HTL is just a fancy name for a boiling pot) place the Mash tun on a high chair or stool with tubing long enough to reach the bottom of the collection pot and a collection pot for the Mash tun on a lower chair or the floor. It should look something like this if possible:
The Recipe - Scotch Ale
Amount Type SRM
8.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
1.00 lb Home Toasted Malt (27.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0SRM)
0.13 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)
0.50 oz Pearle [8.00%] (60 min) Hops 14.6 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, B.C. [5.00%] (60 min) Hops 9.1 IBU
0.25 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min)
1 Pkg Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084) Yeast-Ale
Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.050 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.0 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.6 %
How to calculate water Our recipe uses a total of 10.13 pounds of grain we need about 1 ½ quarts of water for each pound of grain to put into the Mash Tun, that’s would be 15.2 quarts of water (3.8 or roughly 4 gallons). This is where the 4 gallons of water from step 1 comes from.
Let’s Get Started!
1. Bring about 4 gallons of water up to about 160°F
2. Pour a few gallons of hot tap water into you Mash Tun to warm it up and let it sit with the lid on for about 5 minutes then dump it and put the lid back on.
3. Place all of the crushed grains into the Mash Tun.
4. Slowly add the water to the grains to cover them by about an inch and stir them up to make sure they aren’t stuck together and let them sit covered for one hour. The temperature in the grain bed should be about 150°F. This is called the Mash.
NOTE: For the next step place a saucer over the grain bed and pout water onto the saucer to keep from stirring up the grains.
5. Add about 4 more gallons of water to the HLT and bring this temperature up to about 170° F.
6. After an hour run about 2 quarts of water out of the Mash Tun into the collection pot. This water will have a lot of grain particles in it. That’s normal! This is called the first runnings. Slowly pout this back into the Mash Tun.
7. Pour another 2 quarts of water out from the Mash tun into the collection pot. This should be cleaner than the first. Again slowly pour this back into the Mash Tun.
8. Continue to pour a few quarts Mash water at a time into the collection pot until it runs clear. This may take only be once or could take 3 or 4 tries.
9. Once the Mash water runs fairly free of particles open the spigot a tiny bit to let the mash water slowly drip into the collection pot … at the same time slowly open the spigot of the HLT and let it run into the Mash Tun. This should take about an hour to complete – so just a trickle will do!
NOTE: As the water passes through the grains it takes with it the sugars which will become the wort. The more water that passes through the lighter the color of the run off.
10. Once all the water has passed through the grain check the specific gravity of the final runoff. At this point it should be between 1.010 and 1.000. If you don’t have a hydrometer just look to see that it’s really light compared to the earlier runnings.
NOTE: Now the Mashing is done and all the sugars (extracts) are collected from the grains. The rest is just extract brewing.
1. Bring the wort to a boil. You should have collected about 6 gallons of extract. You will lose about a gallon during the boil. If you don’t have 5 gallons add water to bring it up to 5 gallons.
2. Now is the time to add bittering hops place them in a clean muslin bag tie a knot in it and add them now. Boil Bittering hops for 55 minutes.
3. If we had aroma or finishing hops we would add them for the last 5 minutes of the boil. In this recipe we have none.
4. Turn off the heat – cool down to 70° - 90°F as quickly as possible by placing pot in a sink or tub filled with cold water, or a snow bank stirring constantly. If you have one use a wort chiller.
5. When the temperature is down to 70° - 90°F aerate the wort by stirring up quickly or whip it using a wire whisk. Yeast needs oxygen in the wort before it’s added.
6. Take a hydrometer reading if you have one and record this number correcting for temperature. Drink the wort from the hydrometer test tube. Never pour this back into the beer. Make notes on your readings and what you’ve tasted for later. It will be really sweet!
7. When there are plenty of bubbles in the wort add the yeast now stir gently you don’t want to add air to the wort once the yeast has been added. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
8. Transfer wort to your fermenter of choice being careful to leave as much of the sediment and trub behind as you can.
9. Place Air lock on ferementer (if there is one)
10. Place fermenter in a place where it will be out of the sunlight and undisturbed for several days to a few weeks depending on the recipe. In about 24 hours you should see bubbling in the airlock. Keep an eye on the temperatures!
11. Clean up!
Now that wasn’t to hard was it?
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