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WebNetworksLIVE.com Understanding The
PRINCIPLES of Home Brewing

Overall summary of the home brewing process.

WebNetworksLIVE.com Home Brewing INGREDIENTS
What you will need for your
home brew and more!

WebNetworksLIVE.com Home Brewing EQUIPMENT
Almost as important as the ingredients themselves!

WebNetworksLIVE.com BASIC Home Brewing
Procedures

The home brewing process
broken down step-by-step.

WebNetworksLIVE.com ADVANCED Home Brewing Procedures
More advanced techniques
such as all-grain mash and more.

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Advanced Home Brewing Techniques & Procedures

All-Grain Home Brewing

Brewing from all grain can be a very rewarding experience. It does take a lot more understanding of the home brewing process, but all-grain home brewing can save a lot of money and help create beers unique to you and your own personal style of home brewing.

Infusion Mashing

Infusion mashing, when home brewing, is one of the easiest all-grain homebrewing methods to learn. In order to really get a grasp on the home brewing process, we recommend trying a few batches using malt extract in a “mini-mash” first using smaller amounts of grains in order to help further home brewers along into the world of all-grain home brewing. Keep in mind that with all-grain brewing, it may be a bit more difficult to reach the desired gravities as opposed to malt extract home brewing. Gravities will vary due to grains used, equipment used and so on. Be sure to have something nearby which will help raise your home brew gravity if needed later on.

Equipment:

  1. 2 stainless steel boiling kettles: one will be the “mash tun” and the other the liquor (or water) tank. The mash kettle should be at least about 4 gallons as the liquor tank should be twice that amount as you will use the hot water to sparge the grains with.
  2. Large strainer: something like a colander will do. You will need something to separate the grains and wort.
  3. Large stirring rod or spoon: something to stir the home brew in the making.
  4. Large sparger bucket / “lauter tun” with mesh grain bag that fits around the rim to hold grains in bucket: here you will need something to put the grains inside while you sparge the grains. Usually there are plastic buckets with a spout or small holes to keep the grains inside while you keep the lauter tun above he brew kettle which collects the liquid. There are many ways to do this, many home brewers use hoses at the bottom of the lauter tun in their home brewing supplies. Also, you will need to have a lid for it (possibly use a fermenter bucket), which you will cut a hole out of the top in order to accommodate the placement of the grains as the lid will be what holds the grain bag down. You may have to cut the rim a bit on the lid in order to fit over the bag.
  5. Thermometer: a thermometer that can be placed in liquid in order to measure the temperatures of the homebrew.
  6. Sauce pan: The sauce pan will be the hot water scoop for the water you will pour over the grains when sparging in your home brewing process.
  7. Stove or burner: you will need something to boil the 8 gallon kettle of water and more with so be sure you’re equipped with a larger burner or it may take a very long time to heat up.

Finding out how much water is needed:

The standard amount of water that is normally used for a 10 pound batch of grain is 2.75 gallons. We say 10 pounds since this is a pretty standard batch of grain for most home brewers. Now that being said, you can use these numbers as a percentage. So 10 would be 1. Now if you were to brew a 5.5 pound batch then multiply .55 x 2.75 = 1.51 gallons of water. Just be sure when brewing that all of your ingredients will be able to fit in your kettles.
As for your sparge water, you will simply need to have the amount of your home brew volume. Maybe have a little more homebrew sparge water added just to be sure.

The Mashing Process

At the very start, heat the mash water to around 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit (this is about 10 degrees hotter than the mash should be, 160-170 degrees). It would also be a good idea to get the sparge water heated as well so that it will be ready once the mashing is done. Once the water is heated to around 170 degrees, place the grain inside the mash tun and begin stirring. Now the temperature should be just right. Aren’t you glad you had the homebrew mash water a little hotter? Begin stirring the grains, while breaking up all the clusters that may form. Keep the temperature at around 170 by turning the heat back on a little if needed. Continue this for about 10 minutes.
Once the 10 minutes of stirring the homebrew grains is up, the sugar rest will begin. The sugar rest is basically the period of time when the steeping grains’ sugar-producing and dextrin-producing enzymes begin to do their work converting the starches into fermentable sugars.
This process will need to be done at a lower temperature of around 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit and will last for about 30-45 minutes. However, you may want to consider keeping it going for about 60 minutes as the extra time “steeping” the grains will add some more color and flavors to be extracted from the grains. The temperatures in this home brew process are very important in order for the enzymes to truly be activated. The lowest temperature it can really be at is around 125 degrees so be sure to keep it between 145-160 degrees.

Mash Off (170 degrees)

Now it is the time in the homebrewing process to raise the mash temperatures up to around 170 degrees Fahrenheit and begin mashing your grains. First pour a sauce pan full of hot water into the sparge bucket/lauter tun so that the mesh grain bag floats a bit on top of it. The whole purpose of the mash off is to help the sugars in the grains to move about more freely as the sugars have already been converted. This will help the grains in the sparging process release the sugars more efficiently in the lauter tun/sparge bucket.

Sparging

Now that everything is in place with the sparging bucket and all the grains are inside of it, quickly clean out the mash tun so that you can collect all the wort from the home brew sparging process. Once you have the brew kettle ready for the wort from the sparging, and then begin by pouring sauce pan loads of hot water over the grains in the lauter tun, or sparge bucket. Be sure when you are sparging, to makes it “sprinkle” over the grains as to prevent holes from forming all over which may cause the grains to compact and more. It is best to use something like a colander for sparging. Also be sure the liquor tank/hot water is at 170 degrees.

The sparging process should take about 60 minutes overall as you continue to pour the hot water over the grains which runs through the hose into the homebrewing brew kettle. Remember that if the sparged liquid is still clear, you can collect it and recycle it by re-sparging it over the grains. Continue to sparge until you have collected a little over the amount you need for your full batch of homebrew (remember some of the liquid may evaporate).

Upward Infusion Mashing

The upward infusion mashing process is about the same as infusion mashed except it goes through what is called a “protein rest” before the “sugar rest”. The protein rest begins at about 130 degrees when you put the grains to be steeped in, which will lower the temperature to about 120 degrees. Leave it for about 30 minutes, and then raise the temperature up to about 140-150 for the sugar rest to begin where the enzymes convert the starches into dextrin and sugar.

Decoction Mashing

The decoction mashing technique is a technique widely used for mostly lagers. The process basically entails a procedure where the temperature of the mash is raised by taking about 40% of the mash out and then heating the amount taken out in a SEPARATE kettle (yes, you will need yet another mash tun kettle) up to boiling point then returning the grains back in the hot water and stirring. You will also use more water for the decoction mash which will be about 2 quarts for 1 pound of grain.

For the 60% of the mash not taken, heat this mash to about 125 degrees and the other 40% to about 160 degrees. After about 10 minutes for the 40% batch, raise the temperature to a boil then let it boil for about 15 minutes. After this process is complete then add the 40% batch back to the 60% main batch making it a 100% batch of mash. The rest of the brewing process will be the same as the infusion mashing process.


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