Monday, May 4, 2015

Moving to All Grain

After brewing a variety of beers using partial mash (malt extract with some steeping grains), Chris and I have taken the plunge with all grain brewing.  We just wrapped up our second all grain brew, an Amber Ale.

We're using the brew in a bag method of doing this, which has so far been pretty smooth.  Generally, this is the same as a partial mash brewing, the differences being that you start with a lot more grains (12 pounds for an amber versus 2.5 with partial mash), don't use malt extract, mash your grains for a longer time, and do some more rigorous sparging.

Here's a shot of our first all grain, a Belgian Saison:

Personally I'm really looking forward to this style of brewing.  One can easily see how brewing this way gives you an infinite number of variations in your grain bill.  With All Grain you've got the ability to use 10s of different grains in all kinds of proportions.  Whereas, with partial mash, there are only 4 or 5 different types of extract out there, so you're pretty limited with where you can go.

The Amber Ale is one that went very well for us as an extract brew.  It was the first brew we ever did and we liked it so much we did it a second time.  So, it'll be fun to compare the extract versus all grain and see which we like better.