My first all grain brew!

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JonathanMSE

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So, last night I did my first ever all grain brew.
I didn't make the recipe myself, the kit I bought came with a kit of grain and hops. I won't buy a pre-packed recipe again, but for a first, why not, at least I know I should be getting something fairly good.

My equipment is fairly simple, that's fine, things tend to be more fun when everything is bodged together.

I started brewing at about 7:30pm. By heating up strike water. So once I got my kids in bed I could start properly... I was hoping to be finished just after midnight.. a little optimistic.


Anyway, the kit I used said I should end up with a OG of 1.045 and end up with around 4.6% alcohol. It didn't list the grains in the recipe. (annoying) The hops were all simcoe.



So, things started off well, I was aiming for a mash temp of 66c, although once I had mixed in all the grain it was a 65c so I chucked in 400ml of 80c water and it bumped the temperature up. My homemade mash tun worked fine and the temp had barely dropped by 1c by the end of the hour of mashing. The smell was awesome.


I took my first runnings until the wort ran clear. I might have over done this but I guess it doesn't hurt. That said I couldn't get the wort to run perfectly clear. But I guess it was close enough not to matter.

The sparge started fine, until I realised I probably hadn't heated up enough water. I had 12 litres of water in my mash, so heated 20 litres of sparge water, thinking that would be enough to give me 28 litres to boil, but, that would have caused the grain bed to run dry. So when I ran out of sparge water. I had to stop sparging for a bit, heat up extra water, then carry on.
I don't think it will make a big difference.

The boil went fine too, 28 litres to start with, I was supposed to put the first hops in at the start of the boil, but I waited for the hot break so that the hops wouldn't cause a boil over.
Other additions we're all fine. I added a whirlfloc tablet with 10 mins to go in the boil.

When it was all over, chilled everything. And then drained off into the fermenting vessel. And this is where hit my only real problem of the night, I didn't use hop strainer of bags of any kind for the hops (they were pellets) so a lot of hop gunk got into the fermenter. I decided to stop at 20 litres as there was just too much gunk at that point.

Will the hops all settle out to the bottom? Or should I think about siphoning off to another fermentor? And is this going to cause me any problems?


I then pitched my yeast and went to bed at around 1:30.

I checked this morning, no krausen but there was an aroma of alcohol so I'm not worried. (and I googled and apparently the yeast I used M44 is a slow starter)



Readings I took -
pre-boil @57c - 1.026 (Temp correction to 1.038)
Post boil @20c - 1.043

As I don't know what fermentables are in there, I'm not sure how to work out efficiency. Although the instructions say 1.045 is 72% so I'm a bit under that, but not appalling for a first attempt.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening!
 

Pugh

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Hi!

It's impossible to work out your efficiency without knowing what the grain was, let alone its weight; do you have that info? I would have thought the Home Brew shop would tell you if you let them know you're trying to work out the efficiency of your system? 2 gravity points off is pretty close though, I'd be pleased with that for a first go! A mash that is too dry or wet might have cause you to be a couple of points down. 12 litres sounds about right for a 4.6% beer, a good rule of thumb 2.5-3.5 litres per kilo in your mash (with 2.7 apparently being the 'ideal' for normal brews)

I have dry hopped without a hop bag before, but I don't usually get (too much) hop matter from my kettle into my FV. If you have a little nylon hop bag you could put it round the end of your syphon when you rack into a secondary which should keep a lot of the residue out. You could always filter like that again when you rack from your secondary to your bottling bucket or keg to help even more.

I wouldn't be too fazed - good luck on the next brew!
 

mclaughlinj

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Sounds like a fun evening! Reminds me of my first brew :cool:. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the trub/hop funk on your first attempt (I think there’s a Brulosophy ExBeeriment looking at that which suggests it will probably be indiscernible in the finished product). It will all settle out with the rest of the trub during the ferment.

If you’re going to be using a similar process moving forward, and you don’t have any other way to filter into the fermenter and leave the boil trub in the kettle, it might be worth just investing in a large sieve (and possibly a cheesecloth/muslin) to strain your wort as you transfer it.

Keep us updated on your progress. I’m assuming this is some sort of APA? If you can link to the kit from the place you bought it, someone might be able to help with ball-park efficiency. Hope you like Simcoe - I’m a big fan of it myself - really like the minty earthiness it gives - but I know it’s one of those Marmite hops.

jx
 

JonathanMSE

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Ok, so a bit of an update. Yes its an APA style, sorry should have put that in the first post!

It sat in the fermenter and although I thought fermentation might have started overnight it was nothing... nothing... nothing... getting slightly worried... then woof..... went off like a rocket.
I left everything in the FV for two weeks, by the end of the two weeks all the hop debris had indeed sunk to the bottom and really wasn't an issue.

I took the FG, which was 1.007 giving me a ABV of 4.7%
The final gravity was a bit lower than expected, which worried me at first, as I thought it might be an infection. But the final gravity falls within the attenuation rate of the yeast I was using so I guess it's fine.

I made up a priming solution of 136g of dextrose, dumped it in the bottling barrel, then and siphoned the beer into that. Taking extra care not to siphon any trub as there was quite a lot!


I decided to try a bottle after only 3 days. I was very surprised, it was already quite clear and had carbed up nicely although not fully carbonated. The beer itself was crisp and clean in taste, with a nice hoppy aftertaste coming through that was citrusy, but not overpowering at all.
I'm going to leave the rest of them for a bit longer as I imagine it will improve with some proper conditioning.
 
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