My husband and I have decided to try all grain brewing now. There is a small (medium?) financial commitment to upgrade our equipment. While we are trying to figure out the best way for us to start, we’ve decided to also start with a mini all grain brew.
The main thing we needed to have to go from our 5 gallon extract brew to the 1 gallon all grain is a 1 gallon fermentation vessel. Since I had previously made Kombucha, I have the vessel. Just not the top with a place for an airlock. I found a lid to fit our jar with an opening for one and ordered that.
Next is the secondary container to rack the beer to before bottling (even though I don’t like doing that). On the suggestion of one of my coworkers, I ordered a container that is easy to transfer the beer to without having to cover it with a bunch of plastic wrap. I haven’t used that yet, so I’ll report on that later when I have.
The last item was a grain bag large enough to hold grain for 1 gallon of beer. That was easy to find on Amazon!
Now the fun part, picking out the ingredients! My husband and I got together and decided to try an oatmeal stout. We found a basic recipe, and altered it just a bit. Then off to our local brew store to buy our grain, hops, and yeast. And what a trip that was. I was like a kid in a candy store. We picked out our grains, weighed how much we need (1 lb at a time), then used the mill grain in the back. And while milling our grains, we were able to try some of the home brew the employees had made. What a wonderful trip!
A few days later, we set out to brew. We pulled out our regular extract brewing kettle, and a small cooler to do the mash. We didn’t have some of the fancier tools to take an instant gravity reading (had to do that the old fashioned way with our hydrometer), or a quick read thermometer. But we did fine. We started our mash around 157 degrees, and an hour later it was at 148 degrees. Not too bad. We pulled out the bag, carefully squeezed out the remaining water as per the instructions we received, and into the kettle it went.
I do have to say, it went against what I was taught before to squeeze the bag, but we’re trying it this way this first time and we’ll see how it ends up tasting.
We went on to bring the wort to a boil, and then added our beginning hops. With 15 minutes remaining we added our second hops, and then 55 minutes into the boil we added a cinnamon stick. 5 minutes later we pulled the hop bags out and put the kettle in our kitchen sink with ice to cool as quick as possible.
Once cooled down to 68 degrees (and not the 130 we’re used to with extract, since we’re not adding cold water on top), we pitched our yeast, put on the lid, and put it in the cooler.
Just a day later fermentation was going full blast! Hopefully the video I took will post okay. And that is where we are now as of writing this. 6 days into fermentation. We’ll probably take a reading tomorrow just to see how we’re doing. By the time I set this entry to post, we’ll probably be bottling. I’ll have a few updates on that as we go! And yes, we did turn the cooler temperature down when we saw that it was getting warmer than we wanted.
And because she’s so cute, I’ve uploaded a picture of my newest granddaughter here as well. Just because. 🙂