Sunday, January 9, 2011

All-grain brewing - second attempt

After our brew-in-the-bag (BIAB) attempt, we decided to try a more common approach to all-grain brewing.  While the brew-in-a-bag method created a very good beer, it was a bit awkward and cumbersome.  Plus, it seemed like we just didn't have the right material.

On Dec. 5th, we brewed up a Boddington clone.  In contrast to our ultra dark full-bodied dunkel from BIAB, the thought was this could better highlight that it came from all-grain (and not extract).
Latest all-grain setup
Brewers from L-R:  Moose, Chris, Jason, and Lucy (the beagles don't actually help too much)

For the setup, I picked up a folding table, large cooler, and welded up a burner stand for the pot.  The burner stand was made from a cut-up bed frame.  The idea being that I could dress it up and make a table out of it, so it could stay outside on the patio.  There is already too much stuff to lug from the garage up to the back patio... and even more stuff now with the all-grain setup.  My welding job was pretty poor, but I'll clean it up later.  For now, it works great.

For the cooler, we still need to work on the plumbing.  I thought I would use a stainless braid from a water supply line, but the morning of the brew day, I realized the one I had laying around was vinyl and not stainless.  Also, the valve I bought was not the right size for the tubing, so we ended up just using the plug that comes on the cooler.  All-in-all, it worked, but it could be better.

One thing we learned - we definitely need to heat the water hotter.  There is a lot of heat lost between tubing, buckets, and heating up the cooler and grain.

We bottled last weekend, and the samples sure tasted great... for a light bitter.  We'll see how it is coming out of the bottle in another week.  The all-grain process does feel more fulfilling.  I like it.  With the burner table on the patio permanently, there isn't too much more stuff to pull out of the garage.  And, once we get our process down, I don't think things will take too much longer.

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