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All Grain Brewing Tutorial

All grain brewing isn't that difficult. There are many articles out there that make it seem like rocket science. This is the simple way. You can always advance to other more complex methods by using RIMS or HERMS systems using pumps and temperature controllers but it is not necessary for the beginner doing all grain brewing.

Necessary Equipment

  • Boil kettle — capable of collecting 2-3 gallons more than the intended final volume.
  • Mash Tun with False Bottom — vessel at least as big as the intended final volume. (Optionally insulated)
  • Hot liquor tank — vessel that can hold hot water to sparge with.

Recommended Equipment

These items aren't required but are helpful in all grain brewing.

  • Sparge Arm/Ring
  • Stand to hold the vessels
  • Pump (if not gravity from vessel to vessel)
  • Mash Paddle
  • Grain Mill
  • Thermometer
  1. Mash Water Calculation: Add up the total pounds of grain to be used. From this number we can figure out how much water we need in the Mashtun. As a basic rule of thumb we recommend 1.1 quarts per pound of malt. When doing this calculation please be aware of how much “dead space” you have under the false bottom and add that water to the needed amount.
  2. Filter Your Water: If you are using water from a municipal source you will want to filter with a carbon activated filter to remove chlorine or chloramines. Carbon filtering also has the advantage of removing any bad flavor that is organic in nature
  3. Crush/Mill your grains. Most homebrew supply stores will crush/mill the grain for you if you ask. If you don't have a mill, ask them to crush/mill it for you. Uncracked grain will not mash!
  4. Mash Temperature plays a very important role in flavor of the final beer. Holding a mash temperature between 148° F and 158° F for 60 minutes is sufficient in activating the enzymes that are naturally within the grain. These are the enzymes that turn the starches into sugars. Calculate the mash temperature you want and figure on a drop of 10 degrees if you are in a warm environment and 15 degrees if you are in a cold environment.
  5. Add the grain slowly while stirring. Important Note: Always add grain to water, not water to grain to avoid the formation of dough balls. Continuing stirring for a few minutes after the grain has been added to make sure that the entire mash is a consistent temperature and that all dough balls have been eliminated. In most scenarios letting the mash sit for 60 minutes at 148–160° will result in full enzymatic conversion of the starches to sugars. Make sure that the lid is placed on the mash to retain heat. If you are brewing in a very cold environment you might consider insulating the mash vessel.
  6. After mashing for one hour, you will want to check for conversion of starch to sugar. This will be done by placing a small amount of your wort on a white plate or bowl. Add one drop of "Tincture of Iodine" to the wort. If it quickly disappears or stays/remains red, you are ready to move on to the next step. If the iodine turns black, starch is still present, return the lid. Do another iodine test every 20 minutes until conversion is complete.
  7. Calculate Sparge Water: An easy way to calculate sparge water is to plan on using 1/2 gallon for every pound of grain used in the mash. This is a simplified calculation that will allow you to be sure you have more sparge water than you actually will need
  8. Temperature plays a key roll in sparging; it is best to be as close to 170° F without going over. At this temperature you will dissolve the sugars without leaching tannins from the grain husk. To begin the sparging process open the Hot Liquor tank valve and allow the water to flow onto the grain bed. A simple hose will work for this process, however a stationary sparge arm is a time saving addition. We recommend a slow sparge, usually taking 45–60 minutes to insure that there is plenty of time for the sugars to rinse out
  9. Sparge until you have collected 1–2 gallons of wort over the final amount you want (depends upon your batch size and boil off rates).

Begin the boil and add hops just as you would if you were doing extract brewing. For more information as to how to proceed from this point, see Extract Brewing Instructions

Extract Brewing Instructions