Have you been wanting to take your extract brewing to the next level? Do you feel intimidated about the possible cost or complexity behind the All-Grain brewing method? Are you looking to brew high-gravity beers and improve the control over your homebrew taste profile?
Every brewer hits a point where extract brewing just isn't hitting the perfect tune of their homebrew craft perfection. To help inspire and make it easy for our adventurous extract homebrew friends who want to up their game, we've highlighted these 9 easy steps to producing all-grain beer. All-grain brewing will help you brew more complex batches with greater control over the outcome.
Starting all-grain brewing is surprisingly easier than most people realize. The extra steps requiring only two extra pieces of equipment, a lauter tun for mashing and a hot liquor tank for sparging. Lautering is a process in which the mash is separated into the clear liquid wort and the spent grain. Lautering usually consists of 3 steps: mashout, recirculation, and sparging. Essentially, you are brewing with all the same equipment after you have mashed and sparged your grains to prepare for boil.
The lauter tun has a false bottom to allow the separation of grains from the wort during sparing. The hot liquor tank keeps your sparge water at a consistent temperture to properly extract all the wort from the grain.
Step 1: Heat your strike water
Heating your strike water to 10-15 degrees above your target temperature will ensure proper mashing temps.
Step 2: Pour strike water into your lauter tun, add the crushed grain
Stir well to prevent the grain from clumping together and to ensure an even temperature throughout the mash.
Step 3: Hold your mash temperature for one hour
The standard temperature for mashing is between 148° and 158°F. Do not exceed a mash temperature of 168°F!
Step 4: Collect and heat the water for the sparge.
Inside the cooler, the hot water is activating enzymes in the grain that are converting the starches in the into fermentable sugars.
Step 5: Once the sparge water is at 175°F, transfer it to the Hot Liquor Tank
The hot liquor tank sits above the lauter tun in order to let gravity bring the hot water from the liquor tank down over the mash grains.
Step 6: Mash Out
After the saccharification rest (60-minute mash), mash out by raising the temperature of the mash to 170°F by adding near-boiling water (not the water from your Hot Liquor Tank) and stirring well.
Step 7: After a mash-out of 10 minutes, recirculate the mash
Slowly drain the runoff from the mash tun and gently pouring it back into the top of the mash tun until it is clear.
Step 8: Sparge!
Gently spray the grain in the mash tun with water from the hot liquor tank. Drain wort from the mash tun into the boil kettle at the same rate you are draining water from the hot liquor tank.
Step 9: Stop sparging once you’ve collected an adequate amount of wort.
Now you can boil your wort, much like you do with extract brewing. The only difference is a full-volume boil. For a 5 gallon batch, you're shooting for 5.5-6.5 gallons of wort depending on your average evaporation rate during boil.
As you can see, there are a few extra steps, but when you take the time to implement all-grain brewing to your homebrew routine you can greatly increase the quality of your brews. Try getting a larger brewpot to brew 10 gallon batches like the video suggests. Why not up your homebrew stash when the amount of effort is roughly the same!? Happy brewing!
The link to the whole instructional video here: