This is the process that I use for brewing all grain beer. I used to do this in the kitchen as a split boil in smaller pots before I got my new 50L brew kettle and a gutsy gas burner. But now that I have better equipment it is a much smoother process and it doesn’t steam up the whole house since I do the boil outside on the deck. I use an electric urn as a HLT for heating strike water and sparge water.
Prep prior to brew day
- Print out recipe and double check all ingredients
- Make sure equipment is clean and available:
- grain bag
- brew kettle
- sufficient gas
- immersion chiller
- fermentor and fermentor parts
- Crush grains
- Put water for mashing grains on to heat up in brew pot or HLT. Use at least 3L per kg of grain OR determine water volume from brewing calculator. I usually go with a wetter mash and less water for sparging. For an average grain bill I use 22L.
- Determine strike water temperature from brewing calculator. Keep a close check water temperature as it gets close to strike water temp.
- Remove dry yeast from fridge
- Place grain bag in pot. When the water is up to temperature determined in step 2, add grains, stirring while adding to prevent dough balls. Give the grains a good stir and check the temp.
- Put lid on pot and cover with sleeping bags to insulate it. Set timer for 60 mins.
- Measure hops out in separate quantities for each hops addition. And measure 1/8 teaspoon of kopafloc for fining.
- Clean fermentor and parts, stainless cup measure (for taking sample)
- Mix up about 6L of StarSan solution for sanitising fermentor and equipment (siphon hoses, teaspoon, cup measure, pyrex jug).
- Put on sparge water to heat up to around 80C for sparging the grains.
- After the grain has been mashed for 60 mins, lift out and drain the grain bag. When most of the wort has drained out, place into sparging pot and add sparge water.
- Light burner under brew kettle to start bringing up to the boil.
- Give grain in sparge pot a good stir and lift out and drain grain bag.
- Add ‘second runnings’ to main brew pot, stir to mix and take a sample for gravity reading. Repeat another sparge if any sparge water left.
- Measure the SG of the sample. Cool sample to room temperature or use calculator to correct SG reading for temperature. Calculate brewhouse efficiency using brewing calculator.
- Watch for hot break, then set timer at 60 mins and add first hops addition.
- During next 60 mins, add the additional hops additions at the appropriate times.
- Boil 150ml water for rehydrating yeast in pyrex jug (10ml/g or slightly more). Cover with cling film and set it aside to cool.
- When rehydration water has cooled to recommended rehydration temperature, sprinkle yeast on surface of water. Target 29-30 C. (Recommended temperature for Fermentis Ale yeasts – 25 to 29C. Recommended temperature for Danstar yeasts – 30 to 35C. )
- Stir rehydrated yeast after it has been reconstituting for about 15-20 minutes.
- Make sure wort chiller is clean. Spray with iodophor solution to sanitise. (sanitise because part of chiller may be above liquid level). Also clean and sanitise spoon and thermometer probe.
- At 15 minutes to go, add koppafloc and place wort chiller into main boil pot.
- At end of boil turn off heat and add 0 min hops addition.
- Connect wort chiller to water hose and start cooling wort after about 10 minutes. May leave longer to get more out of flameout hops. Sometimes may drop temperature to 80-85C before resting.
- Stir (with chiller itself) and check temperature while cooling. Aim to get temperature down to about 20 C. (May be 23-24 in Summer, 18-19 in Winter)
- Pour chilled wort into sanitised fermentor.
- Take sample for measuring OG
- Tighten lid on fermentor, cover airlock hole with empty airlock and give fermentor a good shaking to aerate the wort.
- Check temperature of yeast slurry. The temp difference between yeast slurry and wort should be less than 10C. Give rehydrated yeast a stir and add to fermentor. Tighten lid on fermentor, put some sanitising solution in airlock and insert airlock.
For most ales brewed with US-05 or similar target 18C +/- 0.5C , maintained in fridge controled by STC-1000 controller.
Dry hopping – after 1 week open lid and toss in dry hops (no bag).
Ferment in primary for at least 2 weeks. Check SG over consecutive days to confirm fermentation is complete.
I used to do a cold crash for 4-5 days before bottling but beer is coming out clear without it (thanks to Koppafloc I think) so I no longer cold crash.
- Make sure dishwasher has been run – will use dishwasher racks for draining cleaned sanitised bottles. Make sure kitchen sink and counters are clean and sanitary.
- Prepare priming solution:
- for 23L batch 150g of sugar. Or calculate with an online priming calculator.
- Add sugar an boiling water to pyrex jug up to 2 cups, cover with cling film and microwave to boil and sanitise
- Cool priming solution in ice water
- Clean bottles, caps and equipment (bottling bucket, tap, bottling wand, spoon, siphon parts) in hot water and Nappisan/Oxyclean.
- Sanitise everything in Starsan solution
- Siphon the beer from fermentor to bottling bucket taking a sample for tasting and FG measurement
- Pour priming solution into fermenter minimising splashing as much as possible and stir gently
- Attach bottling wand and start bottling