All Grain Brewing Basics
Due to the wide variety of brewing equipment, we have included generic instructions and should be used as basic guidelines.
You may find minor differences or a need to adjust times and amounts as you gain knowledge of your own system.
These recipes are based on a 75% efficiency. Efficiency can range from 65-80% depending on your system
MASH SCHEDULE (BOILING GRAIN TO MAKE WORT)
We suggest you start with a single infusion mash schedule, which means you infuse the malt with the strike water at a set temperature, usually for 60 minutes. On occasions, some recipes will call for step mashing which means you step the temperatures up at different times to get the enzyme activity from less highly modified malts. On occasion, a recipe with adjuncts may call for a 90-minute mash to ensure conversion as opposed to a 60-minute mash.
STRIKE WATER (WATER USED FOR MASHING)
We suggest that you heat your strike water just slightly above the mash temperature to allow for a small drop when adding the grains. If you're using an all in one brewing system your mash temperature will be easily managed.
SPARGE WATER ((WATER USED FOR RINSING)
Sparging is rinsing the grain used in the mash to get as much of the sugars out as possible. Basically, you will separate the solids from the mash and pour the sparge water through these solids to be collected into your boiling vessel. The method used to do this will depend on your system. The sparge water should be the same temperature as the strike water.
The amount of water you use can be calculated easily, check out our youtube video “Brewery Mash & Sparge Water Calculations”. For mashing in we suggest you use roughly 3 times the volume of water as to the Malt (e.g 5kg of grain = 15 litres of strike water). The absorption rate of the grain is roughly 1litre per kilo leaving 10 litres so we need to sparge to hit our pre-boil volume of 29.5 litres = 19 litres of sparge water.
BOIL ADDITIONS & TIMES
The boil will be for 60 minutes and your boiling time will only begin once your wort is at a rolling boil.
The addition times start from when the boil begins, so if it states 60 min addition, add that at the start of a 60-minute boil, if it states 10 mins you add that 10 mins before the end of the boil. We suggest that you add the whirl floc tablet 10 mins before the end of the boil
You will get a boil-off rate during the boil, which is about 4.5 litres in an hour. So if you start with 29.5 litres, you should have 25 litres of wort going into the fermenter.
AFTER THE BOIL
You want to cool the wort to your desired fermentation temperature as quickly as possible.
Make sure you sanitise the fermentation equipment thoroughly and do not forget to sanitise the yeast packet and the scissors used to cut the pack open.
You should transfer the wort to the sanitised fermenter and aerate the wort to get some oxygen into it. Then take a gravity reading, also referred to as your SG (Starting Gravity). This is done with a hydrometer to measure sugar content
Then cut open the yeast and sprinkle it onto the top of the wort
Place your fermenter into your fermentation chamber and maintain a constant temperature. Ensuring that the airlock is filled with water to protect the wort whilst it ferments
Fermentation progress can be observed visually with the activity in the airlock and also by taking samples for gravity readings using your hydrometer. You should also see a Krausen form on top of the wort, this shows fermentation is active visually.
You will need to use the hydrometer readings to monitor when you have hit the desired FG (Final Gravity), and if it remains constant for 3 days then proceed to the next step.
If included, add dry hops after fermentation and following checking of your gravity reading 1020 or below, the hops are added by placing the hop tea bags into a cup of boiling water and allowing them to soak for a few minutes then add the contents of the cup including the tea bags to your fermenter. Ensure the lid with the airlock is sealed correctly. Hop additions add a delicious aroma to your beer and are best added late in fermentation, so allow them to soak in the fermenter for 2-3 days.
At this stage we suggest the wort is crashed cooled to drop out all the sediment and hops, dropping the wort temperature below 4 degrees allows this to take place.
This step is optional, it means the beer can be transferred to another fermentation vessel to condition for a period of time before proceeding (usually 2 weeks). This time can be flexible for lager styles which can take up to 6 weeks
BOTTLING OR KEGGING
There is a lot of options available to you when it comes to packaging, you can keg or bottle or indeed do a mixture of options. You also have options to force carbonate with co2 or you can do bottle or keg conditioning by adding priming sugar (dextrose monohydrate). If you are priming you can do this in a batch or you can prime each bottle individually. We suggest a level teaspoon per 500ml bottle is a good guide for bottle priming, if using 5-litre mini-kegs we suggest 2-3g per litre. You can use a bottling bucket and transfer the priming sugar and beer into the bucket before starting to package, this leaves the sediment behind in the primary fermenter and allows you to bottle with ease. When bottling fill the bottles using a bottle filling stick and cap as quickly as possible, avoid mixing and splashing. After the bottle is primed with sugar and capped it needs to be kept somewhere warm for a week to allow secondary fermentation to take place then we suggest keeping it somewhere cold for 2 weeks to allow the beer to condition in the bottle.
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