Fitting in AG brewing around life

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Lots of good advice already, here’s a wee bit extra too.
1.Don’t try brewing while working from home in a work day, it’s really not worth the stress. Anna's Brewdays
2. If you have an electric all in one - mash in overnight. I’ve only done this twice and it worked really well. Not for step mashes obviously though.
3. if not mashing in overnight, programme the boiler to reach strike temp early in the morning.
4. Clean up as you go.
5. After sparging you can hold the wort at 80 deg C if you need to go out or spend time with your OH then go back to it for the boil.

Anna
Amen to all that!
especially +1 for 'clean up as you go' though - really really nice not to have to scrape the welded-on crud off the following day
 
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Two things I meant to say - it's worth just have a pen and paper to note down the timings on your first few brews for future reference, it helps you plan better when there's a lot of other things going on if you know that eg mash-to-boil takes 25 minutes or whatever - that's the one that I always think takes a lot less time than it actually does!

And while mashing overnight is OK -and will definitely increase your brewhouse efficiency by a few points - don't leave it too long. I once had to leave a mash 24 hours and the resulting beer wasn't quite as good, it felt like it had staled a bit. That could just be me being really picky, but just a headsup.
Great idea to record the timings. In all the excitment, I wouldn't have even thought of that! Thanks!
 

little_wings

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I have the same fam / work routine as you pretty much. working from home makes it a breeze.
All water and stuff is prepped day before. 40 mins before I finish work I'll turn the system on and let it maintain strike temp. After work I'll mash in, then let it recirculate whilst doing usual fam stuff checking occasionally. As soon as kids are in bed I can mash out and boil. I usually do 30 min boils but honestly I am so far ahead at this stage 60 would be fine.
Like others have said prepare everything you can the day before. I weigh out my hops during the brew though.
 

An Ankoù

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One tip to knock half an hour off the process - use isomerised alpha extract as the likes of Cloudwater do. It's still a good idea to boil for half an hour or so, but not having to isomerise hop alpha acids means you don't need to boil for 60+ minutes (although some would disagree).
That's an interesting idea. I hadn't thought of that one. What's the minimum boil you could get away with, do you think, to get the hot break and drive off DMS precursors (which I must confess, I've never observed in my beers)?
 

DocAnna

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For me the bit that takes the longest part of the day is the cleaning and tidying up, even doing as much as I can along the way. Though that is in part due to the end of a brew day consistently running into prep time for family meals. I also think having your workspace organised and set up as much as possible really helps as finding and assembling things just adds to the time needed.
 

colm89

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That's an interesting idea. I hadn't thought of that one. What's the minimum boil you could get away with, do you think, to get the hot break and drive off DMS precursors (which I must confess, I've never observed in my beers)?
I’ve tried a 20 min mash and 20 min boil a few times with great success, a bit like the brulosophy short and shoddy brews.

For smaller 5-10 litre batches this enables a 2 hour brew day, but would probably take longer with full sized batches for heating and cooling.
 

clib

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Would I need to make adjustments to the bittering hops to account for the shorter boil?
Yes. Approx double the hops at the start of the boil. Which means it's not an identical beer and possibly reducing later hop additions. Or use isomerized hop extract as mentioned above.
 
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Great idea to record the timings. In all the excitment, I wouldn't have even thought of that! Thanks!

Just generally, a pen and paper is the most important thing in brewing. Especially when starting out, it's a good idea to just note down everything that comes to mind as you go along - and a pen(cil) and paper are rather more wort-proof than a laptop...

That's an interesting idea. I hadn't thought of that one. What's the minimum boil you could get away with, do you think, to get the hot break and drive off DMS precursors (which I must confess, I've never observed in my beers)?

It depends on your malt (pilsner is more DMS-prone) and your personal sensitivity to DMS. It's not something I've ever tried too hard to optimise, but 30 minutes should be safe and AIUI 20-25 minutes is about the lower limit (but I've not tested that myself).

Or just use malt extract... wink...

Would I need to make adjustments to the bittering hops to account for the shorter boil?

Yes - this is what your software is for, but typically you'll need about a third more at 30 minutes vs 60 minutes. Certainly not double, due to the shape of the isomerisation curve. One advantage of 60 minutes is that you've pretty much isomerised all the alpha that's ever going to isomerise, whereas at 30 minutes you will see further isomerisation for the whole time that the wort is >80C, so quick cooling after flameout is important for predictable bittering.

Another option if you want to save on hops and avoid the flameout isomerisation is to scoop out a litre of wort after say 40 minutes in the mash, boil it up in a saucepan and add hops and boil for 30 minutes before the main wort has reached the boil, then mix the two and boil for another 30 minutes.
 

clib

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Denny Conn is now an advocate of 20/20 brewing and writes about it in his latest book. 20 min mash, 20 min boil.

It's just not cricket, someone might say.

 

Bitter_Dave

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I mash for 45 mins and boil for 30 mins with no obvious detriment to the beers I make (bitters and milds). Simply adjust hopping amounts using brewers friend app. A far cry from 90 mins for each I used to do for each when I started brewing. Could probably cut down the time a bit more (as others have said) but these work for me as they give me time to get other stuff done while the mash / boil are doing their thing.

I also use water out the hot tap (I have a combi boiler, so it just heats up cold water on demand), which massively speeds up the time it take to reach strike temp.

Finally, I insulate my Burco boiler with a hot water cylinder insulation strips (these I think: Hot Water Cylinder Jacket 18 x 80mm x 1219mm ) which seems to speed up the time it takes to get to boil. Once it starts to boil I remove the insulation strips.

Cool using immersion chiller - was relatively cheap and easy to make (even for me!) - never timed it but seems pretty swift.

I stopped brewing for about 10 years when I had kids, so I know how hard it is find the time, but it need not take up a full day (like it used to do when I started!)
 
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Another one here for no chill 👍👍
My brew evolves around my family day. The mash can last from 45 mins to 5 hrs. I only boil when the children are all tucked up in bed.
My last Belgian single got a 20 min boil. The Liverpool game was about to start. Brewing should be enjoyable, don't be scared to make last minute adjustments.
 
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For me the bit that takes the longest part of the day is the cleaning and tidying up, even doing as much as I can along the way. Though that is in part due to the end of a brew day consistently running into prep time for family meals. I also think having your workspace organised and set up as much as possible really helps as finding and assembling things just adds to the time needed.
Unfortunately I recognise this scenario. So many times I have misjudged my brewday timing and had a double load of washing up to do - brewing kit and dirty dishes back to back. Although sometimes having a coolbox full of collected hot water from the wort chiller can be recycled to do the washing up.
 
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I do partial grain brews from time to time and then add these to extract, so there is a reduced time to boil and chill as the extract part doesn't need to be boiled. I use chilled/almost frozen bottled water to bring the temperature up down to pitching temp. about 3 hours I recall the last one I did with 60 min mash stir at 30 mins, then 30 mins boil.
 

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It looks like the common theme is prep! That fits in well as generally after 7pm the evenings are mine to do as I wish.

I'll certainly try the clean up as I go along. I certainly think house chores and/or family activities while mashing is a good thing to try.

I was seriously thinking of going all-in-one. I can see the benefit (e.g pre-setting the water heating to come on early in the morning, for example). I think I would not get away with buying one :(

Do you no-chill in the boiler or transfer it to one of the big plastic jerry can things?
I no chill in my braumeister overnight with no adverse effects.
 

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Not been able to read the whole thread as the kids want breakfast but a couple of bits from me (sorry if they repeat what others have said!)

As others say, get grain weighed, water in the vessels and treated and everything else laid out. (with the water I also like the fact that if I prep it the night before the water is 19c when I start heating it not 5c from my taps)

I am lucky enough to have an all in one (klarstein) with a timer, so I come down at 7am to water at 72c which after getting all the grain in it is down to 67c so that saves time. I can then get myself up and ready and the kids etc and leave the mash to do its thing. I only sparge with 5 litres - and I make sure my 78c sprage water is ready the second the mash hits 1 hour - and then I turn the Klarstein on to boil as I'm spraging over it. That also saves time. The boil is reached probs within 10 or 15 min of the mash ending.

I then do a 1 hour boil. So that is 2 hours 15 mins so far. I don't chill - I just leave it in the boiler for 15 mins and then transferred to my corny for my latest brew (was pressure fermentation) but if putting in a bucket I transfer when about 55 or 60c - during that cooling time I could be doing anything else. I put the hops in a giant hop biab bag weighted with marbles, so I can remove that without leaving it in the hops too long as that cooling can take time esp in the summer. I also draw off the first 500ml ot 1lt of wort into some science lab jars to cool and make a starter. I pop them in a cooling tub of water so I can pitch the year often within 30 mins into the starter, so that is nicely ready to pour into the fermentation vessel once it is cool too.

I either clean as i go, or I'm lazy and wash bits the next day if I need to move fast on the day - not caused any harm yet. So I can be done about 9.30 all going well, without having to get up too early.
 

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