Thinking of going all-grain.

Methods, ingredients, advice and equipment specific to all-grain (mash), partial mash (mini mash) and "brew in a bag" (BIAB) brewing.

Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby BadSeed » Sunday Jul 07, 2013 10:48 am

I have decided that it's time to go all-grain. I have put it off for long enough.

I am still undecided between BIAB or the rubbermaid esky method.
The price is not the thing stopping me I just can't decide which one is best.

BIAB looks the easiest and some of the recipes I was looking at call for a slight increase in temp towards the end of the mash.
That woud be easiest with BIAB as it's on the gas already. How would you increase the temp in an esky?

Which is best m8's?
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby earle » Sunday Jul 07, 2013 1:57 pm

I went for the biab in an urn option because I'm time poor and the bits you can automate made sense for me. If you fill the urn the night before and put on a timer you can pretty much mash in as soon as you get up the next day. After you drain the bag you can just set the dial to 98c and then come back when you can and bring the temp up to boil.

You mention gas so the story might be different for you.

With a Rubbermaid mash tun you add more hot water to bring the temp of the mash back up.

It's hard to say what's best as it really depends on what equipment you already have that you want to build on, gas or electric and what types of beers you want to brew. If you're into lots of high gravity beers a 3v system might suit you better.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby BadSeed » Sunday Jul 07, 2013 4:50 pm

Time is not an issue to be honest, I work from home a couple of days most weeks and I can brew while I work.
I have been brewing extract for about 8 years, but all I have that is transferable is a 10l stainless stockpot which I though would be ok for sparge water.
Plus lots of fermenters etc.

I have moved onto brewers selection fresh wort kits, which at $50 a pop and then yeast etc. Is starting to get ridiculous. But I love the results from using these kits so I decided to make the move to all grain.

I think I'm going to go with a kit like this - http://www.brewmart.com.au/brewmart-sho ... =376&CLN=1

Which, along with a chiller, should be everything I need . I can brew in the house, our gas stove has a wok burner which belts out serious heat.
But I was thinking of buying a dedicated burner to brew outside.

I am still collecting info and ideas at the moment, but the idea is set in stone now.
We are going to Europe for a few weeks next month, but after that I think it's all on.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby weizgei » Sunday Jul 07, 2013 5:26 pm

I just picked up a 75,000 BTU 4-ring gas burner from Anaconda last week, it was only $65. I think the sale has finished, but worth keeping an eye out for. It got my 15 litres of strike water to temp in no time flat for me the other day, and for my boil I had to turn two of the rings off it was so vigorous!
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby BadSeed » Sunday Jul 07, 2013 6:05 pm

Speaking on Anaconda, it's a pity this is only 30 l
http://www.anaconda.com.au/Product/Camp ... eep-Basket
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby Oliver » Monday Jul 08, 2013 9:41 pm

One of the reasons that I went BIAB in an electric urn is because I am space-poor for storage of equipment (having said that, I have ended up with a Braumeister as well, and both live on the kitchen bench with the little lady's blessing).

I have done a few BIABs and have been very happy with it. I can't comment on the relative merits of it versus the Rubbermaid option.

However, the cost of the Rubbermaid kit might work out comparable with BIAB. I bought an urn for about $270, from memory. On top of that I bought the bag ($10), cube for no-chill ($15ish), cake rack (to protect the exposed element from the bag, $15), a bit of rope and a pulley (say $15) and a digital thermometer (that can't even measure temperature accurately, $30) the outlay was, let's say, $350. I have also invested about $50 in an aeration kit (aquarium pump, hose, filter and stone), although you can do pretty well with a spoon and a strong arm.

Whichever way you go I am sure you will be happy with the move to all-grain. I am enjoying my brewing more than ever now I have full control over the whole process and can invent and tweak recipes to my heart's content. And my beers have all been rippers, if I do say so myself.

The other thing to consider is whether you go no-chill. I chilled a few at the start but now do no-chill exclusively.

For me, no-chill means that I can brew then leave the wort until I am ready to pitch. For instance, I am thinking about brewing a SNPA on Saturday, but won't have a fermenter free until Sunday when I bottle. I will probably leave the wort in the cube until at least next weekend and possibly the one after.

Sorry for the essay ...

Cheers,

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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby warra48 » Tuesday Jul 09, 2013 4:30 pm

I have brewed AG now for the last 6 years.
My set up is a 3 vessel gravity fed system. I do chill my brews in the kettle before transfer to the fermenter.
All up, my average brew day takes about 6 hours.

A fellow brewer uses the BIAB method and No Chills. He can knock over a brew in no more than 4 hours.
One advantage of BIAB is that a stepped mash is a lot easier than using a cooler like I do for mashing. The only way for me to do a step mash is to add more boiling water to the mash to raise the temperature, or do a decoction. It's why I almost exclusively do single step mashes. Decoctions certainly lengthen the brew day by quite some time.

It's really up to you which method you prefer. Each will make beer, and it will be good beer!

Would be good if you could look in on a brew day with a couple of fellow brewers to see first hand how each method works, and then choose.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby Funk » Wednesday Jul 10, 2013 10:45 am

If your quick check out Ray's Outdoor
mega jet Burner (100 000 BTU) with a free 38Lt crab cooking pot $169
sale ends 14thJuly
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby BadSeed » Friday Jul 12, 2013 12:03 pm

Thanks for the info. I think I'm going to go with the big pot & converted esky option.
I have to wait until late September before I start buying shiny stuff anyway.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby weizgei » Sunday Jul 14, 2013 10:00 am

In regards to the big pot...is it a must to buy a pot with a tap attached? Or to install a tap? I currently brew partial mash or full extract brews in a 20 litre pot without a tap, and once chilled, I pour the wort through a stainless steel strainer into my fermenter. Not so bad with ~13 litres or so post boil....but if I move to a 40l pot, without a tap, I can only imagine it'll be way too heavy. What's the go with transferring from your pot to your fermenter, particularly for anyone without a tap?
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby warra48 » Sunday Jul 14, 2013 12:09 pm

Not a "must" to buy a pot with a tap attached.

I use a 40 litre aluminium stock pot for my kettle, it was quite a simple exercise to drill a hole with the appropriate hole saw, file it to just the correct size, and install a tap.

Obviously, it is a lot more difficult to drill a hole in stainless steel, but it can be done.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby weizgei » Sunday Jul 14, 2013 3:22 pm

Cheers Warra, I guess what I meant is, is it a 'must' to have a tap on your boil pot? Or are home brewers just tipping their pot through a strainer into their fermenters/cubes?

I'm thinking I might grab something like this, and it looks like G&G will drill the hole for me: http://www.grainandgrape.com.au/product ... ts_id=6997

Would be good to have the advantages that come with stainless I'm guessing.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby warra48 » Sunday Jul 14, 2013 4:33 pm

Depends how strong you are. I don't want to lift somewhere between 25 to 30 kg in weight of my kettle prior to draining. I couldn't guarantee I wouldn't spill most of it pouring into the fermenter, and it would be rather awkward to that in any event.

I used a syphon for a period before installing a tap. The important point is that with a syphon or a tap, you can leave the crud or trub behind in the kettle, rather than having to strain it out, provided you drain at a sensible rate.

The pot from G&G looks the goods, and if they'll drill the hole for you, I'd go for it, and install a tap.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby emnpaul » Sunday Jul 14, 2013 7:16 pm

If you have the tools and know how to drill a 22mm diameter hole in stainless then it's not such a big deal to fit a tap but if you had to go out and buy the equipment especially then the pre-drilled pot is a really good option.

Once you go all grain you'l realise just how much more crap (technical term being "trub") there is in all grain beer. Hop debris, proteins, etc. Many of these particles are too small to be removed by the average strainer, and even the finest stainless mesh will clog in no time giving an increased risk of infection cased by the slower drain time and massive frustration too. You'll find that the best way to remove these unwanted passengers is a coagulating agent like Whirlfloc or Brewbrite, a bit of a rest, then a whirlpool before draining through your tap. In a nutshell, the tap is the way to go long term. Alos reduces risk of burning yourself with hot wort and back injury etc. Win, win in my book.
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby weizgei » Sunday Jul 14, 2013 9:24 pm

Actually you're spot on there emnpaul, my first partial brew, using 2.8kg of Joe White Trad Ale, had so much trub in the fermenter when I went to bottle it that it was covering the tap! First time I've ever seen that in any beer I've made. That was one that I strained....it was a well hopped pale ale, with 75 grams of hops in the boil, and 50 grams dry hopped. As you say, I had to clear the strainer at least 4 times while pouring the 12 odd litres into the FV. I can only imagine it would have been a lot better to have used a kettle with a tap, and gotten a whirlpool going before the transfer.

I'm gonna bite the bullet and get that pot from G&G next week. Then kick myself when they have a 20% off everything sale later in the year! :-)
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby weizgei » Sunday Jul 14, 2013 9:57 pm

Another question that just occurred to me, I'm assuming the boil kettles such as that one above from G&G wouldn't have volume markings in them. So what's everyone doing to measure their water into the pot? For example, Beersmith tells me I need 34.73 litres at 70C for my BIAB recipe. I guess I can use a 10l jerry, or even my 30l fermenter to measure the water, then tip it in the pot. But anyone got any tricks to share? e.g. do you mark your own measurements inside your pot the first time? Or use a long stick with markings on it that you can put into the pot to show how much is in there?
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby rotten » Monday Jul 15, 2013 3:44 pm

You have a few simple options. Mark the pot, or even easier use a stick or similar with your measured markings on it
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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby Oliver » Monday Jul 15, 2013 6:07 pm

What rotten said about the "stick". At the G&G demos I have seen them use a piece of flat metal that has markings on it and is placed from the bottom corner of the brew pot to the diagonal lip.

The advantage of doing this seems to be that it is much easier to read the measurements than if the "ruler" were placed vertically in the pot.

While you could measure the volume into the pot, if you are going AG you will probably also want to measure the volume at other times, for example after the mash and at the end of the boil, so that you can make adjustments by adding more water to hit your targets for that brew and in future.

Once you get to know your equipment you will probably learn the amount of mash liquor in order to hit your intended final volume. But in the early days measure everything.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

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Re: Thinking of going all-grain.

Postby weizgei » Monday Jul 15, 2013 7:40 pm

Ahh, brilliant yet simple, using a 'ruler' but diagonally across the pot to make it easier to read. See I knew I'd pick up a trick or two...thanks.

Do you know where I can get a piece of metal? Oh umm wait...I should be able to suss that myself... :-)
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