Have a go at simple AG

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Skittlersteve

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Their site is in the middle of nowhere, down the end of a farm track. Pop the postcode WR13 5BB into Google maps and you'll see what I mean.

25kg does me about five or six 23 litre brews so a sack only lasts me around 6 or 7 months. The sacks have a really long best before date, the last one I bought before Christmas is best before 30/09/2021, so i take with a pinch of salt all the stuff spouted on forums about crushed grain not lasting long. Maybe dark malts go stale quicker, but if the manufacturer thinks their grain is good for nearly 22 months then even though the bag is opened, as long as I store it well in airtight bags then I don't see why it won't keep a good while. Personally I like to use up grain within a year and have never noticed any problems. Others may have different opinions of course.

If you do go to all grain and find yourself brewing frequently enough, I'm more than happy to collect a sack for you when I go to get mine. Won't be going again now though until the Summer.
I see what you mean!!! Not too sure yet as i have only basic kit for all grain, si might but a ciuple of kgs on line too try first!
 

Skittlersteve

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Interesting! And makes good sense. I'm not at all surprised based on my own personal experience. I think I store my grain exactly as you do, press seal type bags with all the air squeezed out in a large plastic bin. I use one of those blue airtight grain bins, with the metal clips around the lid, so no chance of it getting damp. I've never experienced any problems with stale grain, it keeps for ages.
What do you use for the boil? I'm not sure which route to go down or may even stay with kits!! I'd like to try at least one AG though! Just to try it! So buying all the gear for AG could prove costly if I don't get on with it! Cheers!
 

MmmBeer

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What do you use for the boil? I'm not sure which route to go down or may even stay with kits!! I'd like to try at least one AG though! Just to try it! So buying all the gear for AG could prove costly if I don't get on with it! Cheers!
A common starting point is Wilko's stock pot, which is listed as 12 litres, but is closer to 15 and costs about £20. That would allow you to make quantities up to 12 l / 2.5 gallons, either following Clibit's method, or add a mashing bag and do BIAB (brew in a bag) brewing, which I personally found was less hassle than straining the wort.
 

Longhead23

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I'm certain, that this question is covered somewhere, but it's finding the answer in a massive thread...

For the hops. You suggest adding 15g of hops in total, but does it matter if these are leaf or pellet? Is there a different amount required?

Also, I have had a sealed bag of Challenger hops in my freezer for about 3 years, although I have no idea how they were stored before I was gifted them. Would these still be any good, or should just buy new hops?

Thanks
Mark
 
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MmmBeer

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I'm certain, that this question is covered somewhere, but it's finding the answer in a massive thread...

For the hops. You suggest adding 15g of hops in total, but does it matter if these are leaf or pellet? Is there a different amount required?

Also, I have had a sealed bag of Challenger hops in my freezer for about 3 years, although I have no idea how they were stored before I was gifted them. Would these still be any good, or should just buy new hops?

Thanks
Mark
Leaf or pellet doesn't make much difference at this stage, although you need about 10% less of pellets than leaf.

Older hops should be fine for bittering, but may leave an off flavour if used late in the boil.
 

foxy

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I'm certain, that this question is covered somewhere, but it's finding the answer in a massive thread...

For the hops. You suggest adding 15g of hops in total, but does it matter if these are leaf or pellet? Is there a different amount required?

Also, I have had a sealed bag of Challenger hops in my freezer for about 3 years, although I have no idea how they were stored before I was gifted them. Would these still be any good, or should just buy new hops?

Thanks
Mark
Dump them, why waste time and effort and good grain to have a brew ruined by poor hops, not worth it. Keep all ingredients as fresh as possible.
 

SafetyThird

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Love the way you've bought a whole 25kg sack, having never brewed AG before. Now that's commitment! athumb..
Well, with the run on supplies lately, I figured there were at least three different brews I wanted to have a go at so might as well get a big bag of base malt and enough of the other malts to make 3 10litre brews to get me started. I've been kit brewing for a while and know I want to keep exploring this. I'll bag the pale malt down into smaller bags and store in a box in the pantry so it should last a year if needed.
 

SafetyThird

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Another quick question, there’ll probably be a few before my actual brew day as I go through preparations and calculations.

I’ve read that hop pellets are about 10% stronger than actual hops, should I reduce the hop amounts in a recipe by 10% when using pellets or does it not really matter that much?
 

MyQul

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Another quick question, there’ll probably be a few before my actual brew day as I go through preparations and calculations.

I’ve read that hop pellets are about 10% stronger than actual hops, should I reduce the hop amounts in a recipe by 10% when using pellets or does it not really matter that much?
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SafetyThird

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OK, I've been working out a brew recipe based on Greg Hughes English IPA. Could someone take a look at this and tell me if my figures sound reasonable for a 10l brew as this is my first AG brew.

Grain bill:
2.5kg Maris Otter pale malt
63g crystal malt

Heat 6.1l water to 73C, pour into cooler, put brew bag in, pour in grains while stirring, check temp for 65C adjust as necessary and put lid on for an hour.

Lift bag out and set to drain, pour wort into boil kettle.

Put bag back into cooler and add 9.4L of water at 76C, stir and leave for 20 min. (final volume 10L + boil off estimated at 3L + absorption estimated at 2.5L - mash 6.1L + 9.4L)

Lift out bag and drain then pour sparge into boil kettle with wort.

Bring to boil. I may leave some of the sparge liquor out in another pot and add as the wort boils off as my pot is only 12L.

Add 8g challenger hops at boil.
Add 14g golding hops at 55mins
add ⅛ protafloc tablet at 55mins
Turn off at 1:10 and add 14g golding hops

Chill with immersion chiller to 20C, pour into fermenter, pitch half packet S04 yeast.
Ferment at 18C for 4 days
increase temp 1C per day to 22C and ferment out.
 
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matt76

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OK, I've been working out a brew recipe based on Greg Hughes English IPA. Could someone take a look at this and tell me if my figures sound reasonable for a 10l brew as this is my first AG brew.

Grain bill:
2.5kg Maris Otter pale malt
63g crystal malt

Heat 6.1l water to 73C, pour into cooler, put brew bag in, pour in grains while stirring, check temp for 65C adjust as necessary and put lid on for an hour.

Lift bag out and set to drain, pour wort into boil kettle.

Put bag back into cooler and add 9.4L of water at 76C, stir and leave for 20 min. (final volume 10L + boil off estimated at 3L + absorption estimated at 2.5L - mash 6.1L + 9.4L)

Lift out bag and drain then pour sparge into boil kettle with wort.

Bring to boil. I may leave some of the sparge liquor out in another pot and add as the wort boils off as my pot is only 14L.

Add 8g challenger hops at boil.
Add 14g golding hops at 55mins
add ⅛ protafloc tablet at 55mins
Turn off at 1:10 and add 14g golding hops

Chill with immersion chiller to 20C, pour into fermenter, pitch half packet S04 yeast.
Ferment at 18C for 4 days
increase temp 1C per day to 22C and ferment out.
I've been doing 10L-ish BIAB for the last ~18 months - just did AG#42 yesterday

Broadly, yeah, sounds like you're in the ballpark. For a 10L brew you can roughly just halve the amounts in Hughes.

I typically have a total grain bill of 2.5-3.0kg, so this looks OK. Hop amounts seem reasonable too.

Don't sweat the mash temp too much - 65 is ideal but anything between 60-70 will work. I'd go more like 67-68 so don't worry if you're a tad warmer than 65.
Give the bag a good squeeze to get as much liquor out as you can.

When I used to boil on the kitchen hob my boil off was more like 4L/hr, and it's still the same now I brew outdoors with the Klarstein. I think you'll get more boil off, but everyone's system is different, you just have to try it and see.

I wouldn't bother topping up the kettle mid boil, better to wait until after when you've cooled it and checked the gravity. Then you can either top up to a certain volume, or liquor back to get your desired OG (use the dilution and boil off calculator on Brewer's Friend). And if your numbers are a bit out, don't worry too much - more often than not it will become beer!

Relax, take your time and don't rush - it'll take ages anyway. But keep at it, once you've done a few brews your numbers will start to settle down and you'll get a feel for the quirks of your system and process.
 

SafetyThird

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Thanks very much, good to know I’m roughly on target. I’ll take plenty of notes and figure out how everything worked afterwards.
 

SmokinMesa

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Hey all, I'm going to give this a go when the hops arrive. Have read about 16 pages of this topic so far but would like to clarify something as this will be my first ever attempt at homebrew (not including a tin of rubbish from about 25 years ago).

According to the method...

Method:

1. Heat 3 litres of water to 75C in big pan.
2. Pour in the pale malt while stirring - get rid of lumps.
3. Check temp is 65-70C - adjust if necessary with cold or boiling water.
4. Wrap a thick towel round the pot and leave alone for one hour.
5. Strain into a bucket or other vessel through sieve, or colander lined with cloth.
6. Heat another 4 litres of water to 80C and add the grains back to it. Leave 10 mins, stir, and strain the liquid to your bucket. You should have about 6 litres, which will reduce when you boil it for an hour.
7. Dispose of grains, add wort to pan and bring to boil.
8. Add 5 grams of hops when boiling point is reached.
9. 55 Mins later add 5 to 10g of hops, depending on your hoppiness requirements, boil another 5 mins and switch off.
10. Cool the wort in sink, with lid on, add to sterilised FV/demijohn via sterilised sieve to catch hops, and top up the level to 5 litres if necessary. Pitch yeast at around 18 - 20C.
So an initial 3 litres for the initial mash, left an hour and then poured into (I assume) the FV.
Then, what I don't understand, heat another 4 litres, re-add the grain and leave for 10 min.

Don't most people keep the grains in the same pot throughout and whack the temp up for the last mashout?

(I'll be doing this brew in the bag style.)
 

Baggins

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Hi Smokinmesa, what you are doing is setting aside (by pouring off) the water (wort) you have made first by sitting the grainand water for an hour. Then you add more water at higher temperature to the grain that's left in the original vessel to get more of the sugar and malt out to increase efficiency. Then you mix the original wort back to the second batch of water and bring the whole lot to boil, with hops etc. Then you move the wort to the Fermentation Vessel and add yeast when cool enough.
If you use a bag for grain, you can lift it out of the wort and strain. I think the proposed method is great and uses only standard pitched equipment, i.e. not even a bag for the grain.
 

SmokinMesa

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Thanks, so just to clarify... if I'm not mistaken my process with the bag will be:
- do the initial 60m mash
- remove bag (with grains in), pour the water into second vessel
- heat additional water
- add the bag (with grains in) for 10min
- remove bag
- add hops (begin the boil)
 

Baggins

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Yes, and the boil is both batches of water (wort). If you have two pots, you could pre-heat the second warmer batch of water then as you have a bag, lift bag and grain out of first pot at 60m, leaving wort in the pot and dunk the bag with grain into second pot with preheated water. Wait 10 mins, then remove bag and grain and merge two batches of wort. (Dunk spurge). If you can do this, you could start heating the first pot to boil while you dunk in the second pot. All depends on size and availability of pots. If you are going to squeeze the bag, where rubber gloves because it is hot.
 
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