Monday, June 29, 2015

First True All-Grain

Sunday June 28th was our first ever all-grain brew with a hot reservoir, mash tun and brew kettle.  We've been doing brew-in-a-bag the past few brews and it's generally worked well, but has also provided some challenges.  Namely:

1. The brew bag is so heavy that when it presses against the Mega Pot's thermometer, it skews the temperature readings.  So it's very, very difficult to manage the mash temperature.
2. Getting the brew bag out of the Mega Pot without ripping the thermometer or valve apart is real tough.  I've already put a hole in one brew bag.
3. The mass of a brew bag with wet grains is crazy.  I built a stand that we could clip the brew bag to, which helped considerably.  However, it's still a royal pain in the ass.

I purchased an additional kettle to give us what we needed to make the all grain thing go for real.  I have to say, it went very, very smoothly the first time out.  I built a wood stand to hold the mash tun during sparging.  This gives us everything we need to be able to do a gravity based sparge.  The water reservoir remains on the stove top.  The mash tun is placed on the stand.  Finally, the kettle sits on the floor.  Using the valves, we're able to use gravity to move liquid through the process and get it all down into the kettle.  Then all we need to do is raise the kettle to the stove and we're in great shape.

This time out we brewed what is supposed to be close to Brasserie d'Achouffe's McChouffe (  This is the recipe

As far as the all grain brew goes, I personally enjoyed it a lot more than brew in a bag.  Less manual labor for sure.  The only negative for me is the time required.  We're now talking about a 5 hour event when we take prep, brewing, and cooling in to account.  The good news is that we really seem to be getting somewhere with our brewing.  Our equipment is getting dialed in and so is our process/technique.

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