First all grain brew under my belt.

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mrfog

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So there we have it, first all grain brew is done. All started in lockdown, I bought a basic starter kit with fermenter bucket etc and did a few extract brews. To say I was unimpressed is an under statement but with perseverance and a willingness to learn I slowly made progress. Understanding sanitisation was key. A few months later I discovered part grain kits along with a love of NEIPAs and I had a go at a few with decent results. I learned about the mash, sparge and boil and how different hop timings created different flavours. One occasion I accidently ordered an all grain kit and not to be defeated batched the grain in 3 goes, whacked it in a fermenter, topped it off with water and added plenty of malt extract until I got a good OG. The result was surprisingly good. I started to dabble with my own recipes and then bought a keg with CO2 tank and set up a kegerator. Now I was starting to get some real beer in the glass. About this time I started researching all grain brewing and learned about units like The Grainfather (and the price!) and decided I have to take the next step to all grain.

I decided on a Brewzilla as I felt that represented the best value for money and took the plunge. After ordering a simple Idaho 7 NEIPA from Malt Miller I set to work. I just wanted to share so that others thinking about getting started in all grain might see whats coming. Here is how my first proper brew day went.

After assembly and cleaning I popped out to buy spring water and started filling the unit. Heard a dripping and realised I had left the tap open, great start. My grain bill was 5.2Kg so x2.5 = 13l of mash water. Wrong. This was a mile off and I ended up adding at least another 6l until I got the proper consistency, no idea how I got that wrong. Strike temp was spot on at 74C however and that came down to 65C just right and held. The display on the Brewzilla was about 5 degrees out so I made all temp settings 5 degrees more always checking with my Inkbird. Mashing went really well, gave a few stirs and kept checking temp, pump worked well and wort kept draining down just fine. Mashed for an hour then lifted up the mash pipe. All was going well. I decided to get sparge water from the hot tap in the kitchen (water heater is next purchase), put it into a cool box and use a jug the sparge. Then I realised I was adding tap water and no longer using spring water F****. Oh well I thought its my first go, sod it. I could not get sparge water any hotter than 65C though, oh well again. Sparge water calc of 19l was too high so I eyeballed it and my boil started at about 28l. Whacked both heaters on and I was boiling in no time. After an hour I dropped in the cooler and went about cooling to 75C for whirlpool and first addition. Realised heater was still on. F****. Kept checking the temp and suddenly the cooler seemed to really fly and I had gone down to 60C. F****. Heaters back on to 75C and hops in, whirlpool on. After 20 mins I started cooling again with whirlpool still on which went well but seemed to take forever once down to 30C. After hydrating my yeast and sanitising my fermenter I opened the tap and got some lovely wort out. 23l just about achieved so fell on my feet and the whirlpool had separated things out nicely. Got an OG 1048 against a 1047 on the recipe so was delighted.

Yeah I got a few things wrong but all in all a good first experience. My calcs def need work. I would urge anyone wanting to dip their toes in the all grain pool to watch loads of brew day videos for whatever system you are thinking of undertaking and read read read. Don't be afraid to make that jump.
 

Rodcx500z

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Hi and welcome the brewzilla is a fine kettle, the dead space under the malt pipe is about 6.75L hence the massive amount of strike water, i use brewfather and the brewzliia profile is spot on
 

Buffers brewery

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Sounds like a typical "first" AG brew day. Good on ya. I'm sure the beer will be great. I found that rather rely on calculations and stated ratios, the more you use your kit the better you'll understand how things work with your set up. Don't get me wrong, it's a good place to start, but as you found out you need more strike water. Keep a note of these details and you'll be on the way to a consistent process which is always a good thing on brew day. athumb..
 

Craftman

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Welcome
Gray write up. Glad your brew day worked out well in the end. The Brewzilla is a great bit of kit, once you get used to it
 

Covrich

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Well done.I think for a first brew day. As far as first brew day goes that was fine event wise.. It all seems chaos the first few times.

Soon becomes second nature, and now your world is your oyster brewing wise! you can really make what the hell you want
 

Spit

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Love love love that write up absolutely fantastic sounds like you had a great day brewing solving arising problems your beer will be the better for it it's all a huge learning curve and great fun. 👍🏿
 

SilverShadow

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Some very familiar chords being struck with me there mate 😉

Tbh, I'm still very new to AG brewing, and brewing in general. Decided to make life hard for myself by starting to out doing AG from the off.

I'm astounded by how different brews are, even when making the same recipe. Honestly thought changes would only make tiny differences, but how wrong I was!

Just 2 quick questions for folks though:

1 - do most folks use spring water? For now I've used tap water till I perfect brewing

2 - sanitisation. Pretty sure this is my reason for the beer tasting different. Isn't off per se, but not the required taste. That said, I've noticed the biggest taste deltas are when the OG & FG aren't right.
 

mrfog

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Hi and welcome the brewzilla is a fine kettle, the dead space under the malt pipe is about 6.75L hence the massive amount of strike water, i use brewfather and the brewzliia profile is spot on
OMG. Why didn't I use Brew father before. Strike water should have been 18l and sparge 11l. Great piece of software. Thank you.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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do most folks use spring water?
It’s unwise to use spring water on its own, because it won’t have enough minerals in it… conversely there is nothing wrong with using tap water, but it’s wise to add half a ground up Camden tablet to it in order to neutralise the chlorine athumb..

When you get further into the topic of water it can get more involved as certain types of beer benefit from different mineral additions. But that’s probably a topic for later on.
 
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