I’m finally getting on with my first all-grain brew 🙂 See here for part 1.
The first task on the instruction list was to heat the mash water to 76C. I used a pyrex measuring jug to add 2 litres to the bottom of the stock pot and then put it on full power on our hob. I left the lid on at this point to help bring the temperature up quickly. I used a cooking thermometer which clipped to the side of the stock pot so I could monitor the temperature without removing the lid.
Once up to temperature I removed the pot from the heat and took the lid off. I then added the grains and gave it a good stir to ensure there were no lumps or dry bits left. To retain as much heat as possible I put the lid back on and insulated the pan as best I could with some old towels. According to the instructions, the target temperature for the mash was 65C and a quick check with the thermometer showed it was spot on.
I checked the temperature was still ok after 30 minutes and luckily it was holding steady, so I left the mash for the remaining 30 minutes. Whilst the mash finished, I started heating up another 5 litres of water to 76C.
Once the hour was up I found a large saucepan (I think I need some more equipment, oops) sat the sieve in the top and drained the wort into the pan. The Homebrewonline YouTube guide recommends marking the pot at the 5.8 litre mark so you know to pour the correct amount of liquid through the grain for boiling – I didn’t have anything to mark the pan with so had to think of another plan… I worked out from the diameter of my pot, I need 140mm of liquid so sterilised my metal rule and used that instead!
Once it had stopped dripping everywhere, I moved the sieve back to the stock pot and poured the wort back through it. I then started to slowly pour the additional water I had heated up over the top of the grain.
After sparging the grains it was time to turn up the heat and start boiling the wort. I’ve read that you should try and leave the lid off the pan to avoid tannins that would normally evaporate but unfortunately it was taking forever to come to the boil. In the end I resorted to switching hobs and leaving the lid on at least until the wort started to boil. I did manage to take the lid off once the boil started, but I had to keep replacing it every now and again. Lesson learnt for next time, I’ve since bought another pot that was on special in Aldi which is much thicker and I think should work well.
The first of the four hop packets goes in at the beginning of the boil, so this was added as soon as I finally got the temperature up.
With ten minutes left of the boil, the second packet goes in. This packet also includes some Irish moss to help the beer clear later on.
The third packet goes in as the boil is coming to the end.
The final packet is kept to one side for now and will be used to dry hop the beer after fermentation has finished.
Drop back in soon for part 3 🙂