Last weekend, I brewed up my first all grain batch. I've been looking forward to trying out some of my new Christmas brewing gear, and to stepping up to the "big show" as a homebrewer. Unfortunately, not only did my rookieness lead to the process taking much longer than I had planned (upwards of eight hours, once you figure in completing my fermentation chiller build), but I (not surprisingly) made several mistakes, as well.
Before I go any further, please allow me to share a pro tip: while 168 degree sparge water is not quite hot enough to burn your hand, it does cause nice stinging for some time after exposure. Go ahead... ask me how I know this.
For the record, I was brewing Jamil's Belgian golden strong ale, which is supposed to be very similar to my current favorite commercial beer (Duvel). The recipe itself could not be simpler; one single grain, some sugar, one hop addition, plus the yeast. From what I understand, greatness in this beer comes from attention to detail.
Some positive items from my brewday:
First off, my huge new funnel was great! It was so much easier to pour hot wort with this than it was with my standard kitchen funnel, and I never had an issue with it being able to "breathe" as I poured (which has often been a challenge with that puny old funnel). The funnel screen, on the other hand, was almost worthless; it kept popping out of place and flipping over, and ended up filtering out very little as a result. Meh, whatever... the trub will all settle out. I did get the very best hot/cold breaks from this batch that I've ever had, and I got the beer down to 66 degrees in under 20 minutes with my wort chiller, so I have high hopes for a clear brew.
I loved my new propane burner (a Bayou Classic SQ14). I found it to be super quiet,
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Ahh, I remember my first AG batch. I had way more problems. All brought on by jumping in too quickly. But I've ben at it for 3 years or so now and I love it. CHEERS and congrats on making the leap.
posted by Atomic Donkey on 1/30/2013 at 10:12:43 AM
Good luck with all grain buddy. I started brewing in denver back in 1981. Right after a try with welches grapjuicr wine! I remember my first all grain like i remember my sons birth. I waited 18 years to go back to cans, i live in hungary now and good ale malt is not here. If ya want pils,munichs,lagers and weizen we got it. But not anything else. God bless america for something! Keep with it and remember SS IS your best friend. So is a nice big cooler for the brew!
posted by kimball on 3/02/2013 at 04:47:57 AM
Sounds like you have the brew fever as well...it's infectious. 8 hours is good timing for a first AG brew day. For hydrometer accuracy...check the hydrometer to see what temp it was meant to take readings at. If too hot or too cold...the reading won't be accurate.
Nice blog...I'll see you on homebrewtalk
posted by Russell on 5/04/2013 at 12:21:58 PM
I might have missed it, but were you BIAB or did you have a mash tun? Would love to hear more about your set up.
posted by Max on 1/20/2014 at 09:16:28 PM
Tags for this post: all grain, brewing, duvel, Belgian, golden, strong, ale, homebrew, beer