An Overview of All Grain Brewing
Why Brew All-Grain?
The Ultimate Control - You can use any malted grain and control factors such as body (viscosity),
color and head retention.
Freshest Flavor — You can't get fresher flavor than taking malted barley, milling it, and immediately making beer.
Save Money — Once you have purchased yourequipment, All-Grain is the least expensive methodof brewing.
Ultimate Experience — For many brewers the process of brewing All-Grain is in itself relaxing and fun. Take your mind off your stresses and focus on turning little kernels of grain into the greatest liquid on earth — Beer!
Increased Creativity — All-Grain Brewing is an art. You have a huge selection of grain to choose from, each one with its own distinct flavor and
purpose. The combinations of different malts is nearly endless – the combination of different malts with different yeast, hops, water and fermentations
temperatures, etc. is endless. With time and experience you create Signature recipes that emphasize the flavors that you prefer.
The All-Grain Brewing Process:
The All-Grain Brewing Process is easy to do! It doesrequire additional equipment (see below) andwill take about 6 hours of time on brew day. This time can be shortened with experience. The basic practices involved in All-Grain brewing are:
Mashing — Convert starch to sugar Mashing is the process of mixing a measured amount of 165˚– 175˚F hot water and milled grain to a temperature around 150°F to create a mash. Let this oatmeal-like mixture sit for 30-60 minutes.During the mash Enzymes naturally within the grain become active from the heat and convert starch into sugar.
Sparging — Rinse out sugar Sparging is the act of rinsing the sugar out of the grains and into the boil kettle. Hot water is sprinkled onto the top of the mash and allowed to slowly seep through. Sugar dissolves into solution and is carried down through the outlet valve and into the boil kettle. Sparging takes about 45-60 minutes to complete. Once in the boil kettle this sugar solution is called wort.
Boiling — Boiling is the same as it is in the Malt-Extract process. After the correct amount of wort has been collected (usually 1-2 gallons more than the volume you are making), the procedures are the same as if you were doing a full-wort boil in the Malt Extract process of brewing. You would add your hops, boil for one hour, cool and add yeast. For more information on full-wort boiling see page 3. Choose All-grain ingredient kit — Start all-grain brewing with one of our time-tested ingredient kits and accelerate your learning curve. Every kit comes with a recipe sheet and full instructions.
Most of the recipes are all-grain adaptations of our malt extract and mini-mash kits and you can read the descriptions in those sections.
All-Grain Brewing Equipment
There are several ways to get started with All-Grain and the costs range from very inexpensive to top-of-the line. You can always build your own all-grain brewing system and for many a homebrewer that is literally half the fun. We totally encourage you to look around the web, put some ideas together and have at it. MoreBeer! has supported DIY brewers with all kind of hardware parts, including burners, gas pipe, kettles, false bottoms, sparges arms, etc. We of course also specialize in offering complete packages, including our World Famous BrewSculptures, that allow you to keep your attention on brewing and not buildering. Lets take a look at a couple of these set ups.
1) MoreBeer! Economy All-Grain System
- Developed by our Concord, CA showroom manager Jonathan Plise this is a simple, get your feet wet to see if you like it, type system. Pros: The price is right. Cons: The efficiency (how much sugar you get out of the grain) is not as high as the other systems.
2) Cooler Based All-Grain Systems
- Built around insulated beverage coolers, these work really well, and are inexpensive when compared to BrewSculptures. Pros: Good efficiency, work well Cons: Have to set up each time with a gravity drop between containers.
3) MoreBeer! VacuBrew
- A new way of all grain brewing that uses a vacuum pump to draw liquid from container to container, eliminating the need for gravity. This allows you to place all containers on one level surface, your counter for example. Pros: Good price, no need to stack kettles for gravity or to use a pump. Cons: Slightly more intricate to use, have to set up each time.
4) MoreBeer! BrewSculptures
- The gold standard of brewing all-grain at home. They are essentially a small scale professional brewery for your house. Pros: Everything Cons: Price