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Discussion Starter #1
Monday was " Brew Day " I thought I would share some pictures and a few descriptions to any who are interested. I am doing the " All Grain " version here. If anyone would like to make beer at home they can do it in a simplified " Extract " version where you basically save 6 hours. My usual Brew Day takes 6-8 hours. They don't call it a " Brew Day " for nothing:p. First I start milling the barley. This is a Strong Belgian Ale recipe. I had to mill 12 lbs of Pilsner Malt and 2 lbs of Crystal Malt, for color and mouthfeel. They call the ground barley " grist "

Next comes the mash tun. A false bottom keeps the grain in. Water goes in here first to a strike temp of 162 degrees. Then the "dough in" or grist is added to the water and mixed and the temp drops down to 151 degrees. Different recipes call for differing mash temps. This temp is held for 90 minutes and then the starch is fully converted to sugar.

Next step is " Lautering " or recycling the " wort " or un fermented beer. This goes back and forth until the grain bed has created a filter to catch the small particles in the mash tun. You are finished when the wort runs clear.


Next step is " sparging" or rinsing all the sugars out of the barley and into the brew kettle. Note the sparging arm is like a sprinkler. You want a gentle amount of water sprinkled over the grain.

Finally after all the sugar is leached out and the wort is collected, the brew kettle comes to a boil for 90 minutes. Different ingredients as well as hops are added at different times. Note the three levels of a gravity brew system. Hot water up top flows down to the mash tun to sparge the grain . Then the wort flows into the bottom kettle, and boiled for 90 minutes. The hot wort is then chilled using a wort chiller and put into a glass carboy where yeast is then added. If you did everything right you should be rewarded with some great beer!
 
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Nice multi tier setup. I have been making some Mead out of our honey. I can appreciate the time you invest in a good drink.
 

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I have a friend from bowling who is really into brewing like you and fun to hang out at his place and watch the process and of course sampling his different brews. If your on facebook go to "Backyard brewskis". He lives in the Sacramento area. I'm sure you two will chat for hours.....lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is where the Belgian Ale is right now. The carboy is in the sink filled with water to keep the temperature stable. The early fermentation is rapid and the temp rises like a person with a fever. Most strains of yeast need to be 65 degrees or cooler. Lager yeasts go even cooler to 50 degrees or less. Temperatures above 70 can leave off favors behind. The high kreusen stage is when the yeast is at its maximum activity. The layer of foam on the top is called kreusen . Most all brewing terminology is German.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have a friend from bowling who is really into brewing like you and fun to hang out at his place and watch the process and of course sampling his different brews. If your on facebook go to "Backyard brewskis". He lives in the Sacramento area. I'm sure you two will chat for hours.....lol.
Thanks Evan , I will look that up
 

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Yours is definitely a nice set up. I'm not brewing all grain yet and trying real hard to to go there, but the temptation persists. My basic brewing set up takes up enough room and time already. My brew to fermenter routine takes almost three hours, but I cut about 20 minutes off that time recently with the new chiller I got for Christmas. I took the wort from boiling to 80 degrees in about 10 minutes since our tap water was only 50 degrees then.

I'm sure you're also kegging your brews. That's another temptation which will take up more room around the house. Bottling is the worst part of the whole process, to me.

I'm guessing there are quite a few TW owners that do the brew. Somehow there seems to be a connection between the two hobbies that I can't put my finger on right now.

Cheers!
 

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I am not into brewing myself. However I volunteer to be the judge of all of the TW brews!! I bet I can find a winner. Disclaimer, it may take a few samplings of each to make sure of consistant quality !!!

Joemama, brew tester
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm sure you're also kegging your brews. That's another temptation which will take up more room around the house. Bottling is the worst part of the whole process, to me.

I'm guessing there are quite a few TW owners that do the brew. Somehow there seems to be a connection between the two hobbies that I can't put my finger on right now.

Cheers!
Yes I do hate to bottle. Kegging is far more convenient, speeds up the process of carbonation, which means drinking beer a month sooner. Also when I do bottle some of the beer that I want to save or take to a friends house, I can just fill the bottles from the keg.
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As far as the two hobbies having a connection, my theory is that both hobbies allow a person to use their creativity. Some people on these sites are very mechanically inclined individuals. ( not me ) Others are real good at mods, painting, designs, etc. And some are into the stories, reading or telling them ( me ) ;) Beer is good for all the aforementioned types here.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I like your home made sparge unit! What are you using to mill the grains?
The sparge unit was purchased maybe 15 yrs ago. I think it says Listerman inc on the label. My mill is a single roller which was originally a hand crank type. I modified it to use the electric drill. I don't have a label on it .
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think I should show you the wort chiller. It's a Chillzilla counter flow . The 3/8" copper inner coil passes the opposite direction as the outer pipe which carries cold well water. The hot wort comes in at boiling temp and exits at 65-70 in maybe 15 seconds.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
My surprise this morning was that the fermentation was so vigorous overnight that the "kreusen" or foam pushed up through the airlock. I had to put a blow off tube to allow the foam a sanitary escape route. This is probably due to the high amount of fermentable sugar in this recipe. A Strong Belgian Ale has twice the available sugar as a standard beer to ferment. It will yield a 10 pct alcohol beer.

I should have used my larger 12 Gal. Stainless steel fermenter. Which would allow plenty of headspace, but I enjoy watching the yeast show in the carboy.
 

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:eek: So jealous of your conical fermenter! You have quite the setup. I have hopes for one in the future, but for now it is just carboys.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
:eek: So jealous of your conical fermenter! You have quite the setup. I have hopes for one in the future, but for now it is just carboys.
I started to miss the Carboy after extensive use of the conical fermenter. Nostalgic I guess. I usually make 10 gal. batches, which takes only a little more brew time but yields twice the beer! But when I want to do a specialty brew like a Belgian Ale, I do a 5 gal. batch and use the carboy so I can watch the show. But I love the convenience of the conical fermenter for cleaning, racking to kegs, taking samples, dumping dead yeast, collecting live yeast, and leaving the beer to condition. Siphoning sucks and leaves the beer more chances to get a bacterial contamination.
 

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I agree about "watching the show" in the carboy. Every time I do a batch in the bucket fermenter I miss seeing the bubbles running up the glass on the shoulder of the carboy.
 
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