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Mjc

Thought of All Grain Dancing in my head

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Been brewing casually about 1.5 years, and starting to think its time to at least try some small batch all grain beer.  Been reading around, came across this posting that makes it seem pretty straight forward, but wanted people with more experience's input before I dive in.

 

http://www.classiccitybrew.com/homebrew.html

 

any thoughts on this technique and methods?  I bought a 6 gallon pot, so doing 2-3 gallon boils should not be too difficult, will have to size it for about a 2.2-2.5 gallon batch, mainly curious about the idea of not worrying to much about sparging and just adding 20% more grain and using the LBK to ferment.  

 

Thanks

Matt

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1 hour ago, Mjc said:

Been brewing casually about 1.5 years, and starting to think its time to at least try some small batch all grain beer.  Been reading around, came across this posting that makes it seem pretty straight forward, but wanted people with more experience's input before I dive in.

 

http://www.classiccitybrew.com/homebrew.html

 

any thoughts on this technique and methods?  I bought a 6 gallon pot, so doing 2-3 gallon boils should not be too difficult, will have to size it for about a 2.2-2.5 gallon batch, mainly curious about the idea of not worrying to much about sparging and just adding 20% more grain and using the LBK to ferment.  

 

Thanks

Matt

All grain is awesome. Good for you for taking that step.  

 

Now... 2 gallon all grain "short cut" method.  Most people avoid making small AG batches because you may as well make a 5 gallon batch when you add up all your time spent on brew day. 

 

Topping off an all grain batch to me is not desirable. I know a lot of people do it but I try not too. You're mashing and not sparking already which arguably decreases your efficiency already. Some people would disagree with that but you need to know what you are doing to get as good of efficiency with a no sparge method vs a sparge.  Plus there's benefits to a partial boil and a full boil. Might want to do some reading on that. You have a 6 gallon pot... You can go a full 3 gallon batch easily in that. Easily! It's the chilling you need to worry about. Just try to figure a way out for that. I think there's a benefit of getting a cold break vs topping off. Some say the protein is good but I prefer to have less gunk floating in my beer. 

 

Personally I would return the 6 gallon pot and get an 8. Then get an ale pail and make some splendid 5 gallon BIAB batches!!! Then you'll want to do 10 gallons batches. It never ends

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Thanks for the info.  Some good stuff to think about.  Couple more questions.  People discuss the efficiency of the wort creation process.  I get that the efficiency dictates how much sugars get into the wort, but I am not sure how adding additional grains (which are very cheap) doesn't offset the loss of efficiency in a no sparge brew.  

 

By topping off, do you mean adding cold water to the hotter wort vs actually chilling the wort to the desired temperature?  I sort of understand the desire for a rapid wort chill for the cold break, but than I read about hop stands which, unless I greatly misunderstand them, is the exact opposite.

 

Can't return the 6 gallon pot, had it too long and not sure my stove can boil an 8-gallon one and than I am into the budgeting for major equipment which I am trying to avoid, I don't mine the time vs amount of beer ratio being "poor" for small batches, I don't drink that much beer, just like the process of learning the craft AND drinking the final results, but a case lasts me up to a month, so once a month brewing is not a problem.

 

In terms of chilling, living in a drought state with pretty high fines for water usage, I was wondering if people use a electric drill pump hooked up to a wort chiller drawing from a medium sized water source that you can chill and/or add ice to, in essence recirculating the water and chilling it by adding additional ice as needed?  Is that not feasible?  I would think in some ways it better as my tap water is probably in the 60's and I can drop the reservoir water to the high 30's pretty easily (at least in the beginning) and when done, water a tree with it.

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Keep in mind I'm no expert...

 

your efficiency will most likely be just as good as all grain by adding more grains or mashing longer. But you'll loose efficiency by topping off, I believe. I've done it, but never takin a gravity reading to compare with.

 

A hop stand is holding your wort around 170 for an extended amount of time after the boil but after that you should cool it down as fast as possible. You're almost always looking for a good cold break. It helps drop the proteins out.

 

I've seen people use a pump with their wort chiller. I think it's a great idea! I saw one lady start the water flow and drain it into the driveway and then she switched it over to siphoning out of an ice bath bucket and pumping right back into it. Seems genius to me. 

 

For the amount of beer you drink, just get a second LBK and make 4 gallon batches. Use BIAB. This is the site I use for my volumes simplebiabcalculator.com and then I use qbrew for recipes. You can use any number of sites though. 

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If you want to venture into AG I would buy the biab starter kit from Northern Brewer, I have it and have been pretty happy with it. Comes with what you need, is fairly reasonably priced vs buying the equipment individually. Also comes with a 3 gallon caribou slobber kit which tasted good.

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I've pushed the envelop with BIAB capacity and managed to make a 4.5 gallon basic blonde ale  (1.043 OG) in two 4 gallon pots. It takes a little care, but I was able to mash 8.5 lbs of grain and dunk sparge to get 3.5 gal+ of relatively high gravity wort. Boiled down, cooled and topped up, it gave me 4.5 gallons. 

Yes, all grain is better in bigger batches, but there's no reason you can't perfect the process with small batches. If you plan to use the LBK's as primary fermenters, you'll find that you have a lot of loss to trub. Unless you do a full 3 gallon batch and leave at least a half gallon in the boil pot with the break material, you'll have a lot of stuff at bottling and you'll loose a lot of beers. I did several LBK batches in all grain by fermenting 2 1/2 to 3 gallons in a bucket primary and racking to the LBK to leave a lot of the break and trub behind. Worked very well. Full case of very clear beer.

If you go all-grain, there's no going back. I made a nice little Kolsch with extract and steeped grains and when I did the same beer with a carefully mashed Pilsner/Vienna grain bill, the results was way, way better. The first beer was just fine, but the AG beer was outstanding. There's just no substitute for malt if you want an actual malty beer. Especially German style beers. I'm working on a Helles lager next. Can't wait to mash it out!!!:D

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3 minutes ago, J A said:

I've pushed the envelop with BIAB capacity and managed to make a 4.5 gallon basic blonde ale  (1.043 OG) in two 4 gallon pots. It takes a little care, but I was able to mash 8.5 lbs of grain and dunk sparge to get 3.5 gal+ of relatively high gravity wort. Boiled down, cooled and topped up, it gave me 4.5 gallons. 

Yes, all grain is better in bigger batches, but there's no reason you can't perfect the process with small batches. If you plan to use the LBK's as primary fermenters, you'll find that you have a lot of loss to trub. Unless you do a full 3 gallon batch and leave at least a half gallon in the boil pot with the break material, you'll have a lot of stuff at bottling and you'll loose a lot of beers. I did several LBK batches in all grain by fermenting 2 1/2 to 3 gallons in a bucket primary and racking to the LBK to leave a lot of the break and trub behind. Worked very well. Full case of very clear beer.

If you go all-grain, there's no going back. I made a nice little Kolsch with extract and steeped grains and when I did the same beer with a carefully mashed Pilsner/Vienna grain bill, the results was way, way better. The first beer was just fine, but the AG beer was outstanding. There's just no substitute for malt if you want an actual malty beer. Especially German style beers. I'm working on a Helles lager next. Can't wait to mash it out!!!:D

Exactly! Extract beer tastes like beer. AG beer tastes like "holy hell, I'm hording these suckers in the basement and no lips but mine will taste this sweet sweet brew that I made all by myself" no off flavors, no sweetness, and you condition to your liking, not to get rid of bad tastes. 

 

When you brewed your kolsch, did you use extract or HME? Cuz I've made LME batches id put up against any AG batch. 

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2 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

When you brewed your kolsch, did you use extract or HME? Cuz I've made LME batches id put up against any AG batch. 

 

LME and steeped grains. And, yes, that one came out as good as many commercial craft beers I've had. I liked it the best of anything I'd brewed until I took one sip of the all-grain. I used K-97 dry yeast it works like a dream. After I play around with a couple of lagers, I'll go back to that Kolsch grain bill and tweak just a little and I may try lagering the as the real thing is made. Truth is, I could easily use the exact same grain bill for the Kolsch as for the Helles I'm working on. They're essentially the identical beer except for yeast.

 

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I just bottled/kegged my kolsch yesterday, just from the pre bottled sample it was very good, bcuz I really have only tried one brand of kolsch, so I really had no idea how it would turn out. it was a northern brewer recipe, and changed out the hops to magnum, and spalt

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and used a wyeast kolsch, will be doin an a.g. in late summer will look forward of comparing the differences between the a.g. and extract versions

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2 hours ago, HoppySmile! said:

bcuz I really have only tried one brand of kolsch,

 

Reissdorf is the one to try. It's a good malty, dry-finishing beer with just a hint of flavor from the yeast. American Kols tend to be a little more residual and yeast-forward (I'm thinking of St Arnolds Fancy Lawnmower as well as a local Austin brewery's offering) . Nothing wrong with that, but traditionally they should be more like a lager than an ale. I put a little wheat in my grain bill - it shows up in a lot of recipes. It makes for a really nice mouthfeel, but I think it adds a little more yeast interaction than is needed. It's still nice and crisp and it might finish a little cleaner as it ages out, but I think I'll work on simplifying the grain bill drying it out in the mash just a little more. 

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I combined the recipe from northern brewer and a recipe in BYO magazine, and I added some wheat malt too. the only kolsch I've tried is from the Black Mesa Brewing co.

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I just bought a 10 gallon a.g  Sol Cerveza kit on sale, well there were two kits to make the 10 gallons. I brewed this last summer and it was a success, so it'll be my first when I start back up in sept.

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On ‎5‎/‎4‎/‎2016 at 9:15 PM, HoppySmile! said:

I just bought a 10 gallon a.g  Sol Cerveza kit on sale, well there were two kits to make the 10 gallons. I brewed this last summer and it was a success, so it'll be my first when I start back up in sept.

first - all grain, last one was a partial/extract. I gave to the Hispanic co workers and they all liked it, so this time i'll keep half, and give the other half to fellow employees. this time I wont be adding honey malt but instead wanting to add a more of a light lime flavor hop to it. maybe azzaca? any suggestions?

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