Friday, August 13, 2010

Back into All-Grain

Having just kegged & chilled my two extract beers (more on that in a week's time), my interest in all-grain brewing has rekindled.

I paid a quick visit to Dave's Home Brew, picking up some pale malt, some wheat, and some Munich. Uhmed and aahed about the hops, but settled on some Amarillo for an American influence. Also got some Corny keg disconnects... but more on that in a week.... I'm trying to keep a secret until next Sunday.

Anyway, played around with different recipes, hoping to scratch out two brews from my total grain & hop supply.

The first brew will be an American Pale Ale:

3.00kg Pale Malt (base grain)
1.00kg Munich Malt (for some colour and bready/biscuity flavours)
0.50kg Wheat Malt (mainly for head retention when serving)
0.45kg Cara Malt 30L (for some more colour, and caramel/toffee flavours)

28g Perle (8.2 IBU - 60 minutes)
14g Amarillo (8.6 IBU - 10 minutes..... not after too much hop flavour... looking for hoppy nose, malt palate upfront, and bitterness at the back)
28g Amarillo (flameout)

Safale US-05

Copper Manifold
I use an esky for mash tun, with a copper pipe grid as the manifold for lautering the wort from the grain bed.

Sadly, I don't as yet have a devoted "hot liquor tank" aka boiler. I need to generate 15 litres of hot water using a 2 litre kettle. Painfully slow......

Mashing of the grains takes an hour (plus 25 minutes or so to add the water, and another 10 to cool it to "strike" temperature: 74C). Then it's the opening of a tap on the other side of the esky wall, and out pours, maybe, 5 litres of hot wort. The rest is still retained in the grain bed.

Mash to Boil Setup
So, need to sparge. There are many different approaches; I choose to simply boil another 8 litres of water and add to the grains, then drain off. And repeat this until I have 25 litres in the boiler.

It seems my destiny to brew on windy days.... I needed to hook up a protective shield with a couple of plastic tables. Even still, I don't think I got the heat up that was needed.

At the end of the boil (60 minutes) I had 23 litres (should have lost more water than that), but an Original Gravity of 1052. This means I had a brewhouse effiiciency of 81%, which is, on the face of it, outstanding. I think there might be something wrong with my calculations. Efficiency is a measure of how much fermentable wort was successfully extracted from the grains. The higher the better, of course.

Then in with the immersion chiller (the copper coil in the photo).  This is really awkward; I am seriously considering a counterflow chiller instead of having to use this cumbersome, messy, and unreliable method.

From the boiler I then syphon the cooled wort into the sanitised fermentor. Again, another risky inefficiency which I have subsequently improved by installing a ball-valve tap into the side of the boiler. Then in with the yeast, and she's off !

Now to plan the second recipe.... I plan to reuse the yeast cake in the fermentor, hence obtain a strong, vigorous ferment. So I will need to do another mash on the day I rack the beer from primary to secondary.

2.00kg Pale Malt
0.50kg Wheat Malt
0.27kg Special B Malt
0.19kg Chocolate Malt
1.50kg some specialty dark sugar.... I need this to bump up the volume of the fermentale's bill... I have barely 3kg to begin with..... I could in theory do a small batch...... don't know yet.....

28g home-grown Tettnang...... (60 minutes) IBUs unknown....Used these as dry-hops in another brew some time back. Hop to eek out any bitterness that remains.
14g home-grown Tettnang.......(10 minutes)
14g home-grown Tettnang.......(dry-hop)
My grain bill suggests a dark, malty beer. I think holding back the hops a bit may be a good plan.

We'll see anyway.......

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