All-Grain Beer Brewing – Overview


CORRECTION: I mispronounced "wort". It rhymes with "dirt". And, "tun" rhymes with "done".

Learning how to brew beer using all-grain homebrewing methods. Kyle Klaibur, aka hophedbrewhaus, teaches me how.

"Hi. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority. Recently, I've been learning how to homebrew. I wanted to make the jump to all-grain brewing, but wasn't exactly sure where to start. I couldn't even figure out what equipment I should buy in the first place. So, I went to visit my buddy Kyle Klaiber in Marion, Ohio to learn more about it. You may know him as Youtube user hophedbrewhaus.

This video is not an in-depth look at all-grain brewing. It is intended to give a broad overview of the process for someone who is just getting into it.

We started the day by crushing the grain with a Barley Crusher Maltmill. Kyle uses a drill instead of the crank handle that comes with it to save time. You can buy barley pre-crushed though, so this isn't a crucial step if you're looking to build your brewery on budget.

Our next step is to heat the water that we are adding the crushed barley to.

"We're getting the strike water ready for an IPA we're brewing today. Target mash temp is 148, so with my system we are going to get this 15-17 degrees above our target strike temp. Then we'll dough in."

We put the heated water in our mashtun – which is an igloo cooler that helps maintain a steady temperature for over an hour. In this case the grain for 75 minutes for our Munich IPA.

Mashing is the process of converting the starches to sugars. Some sugars are fermentable and some are not. A cooler mash of 148 F will lead to more fermentable sugars and therefore a drier beer. A higher temperature, of say 156 F, will lead to less fermentable sugars more unfermentable sugars and sweeter end product. It can be very complicated so we'll leave it there.

It's time to separate the sweet wort from the mash.

We begin by recirculating the first few quarts back into the mashtun. The first few quarts are cloudy with proteins and debris. This is called the vorlauf step.

It is now time for sparging. Kyle uses a batch sparge, which it popular amongst homebrewers. It is slightly less efficient at extracting the wort, but much faster and more convenient than fly-sparging.

It is two steps. First you drain the wort from the mash into your boil kettle. Second you add the remaining water that you need for your boil to the mashtun to rinse the remaining sugars from the barley.

Now it's time to boil our wort. We boil the hops to extract their bitterness. The longer we boil the hops, the more bitterness we extract. On the flip side, a long boil also removes the nice aromatic oils that hops provide. So, generally there will be hop additions at the beginning of the boil and the end of the boil, so that we can extract the bitterness and have some of those nice aromas in the final product.

Kyle keeps his hops vacuum sealed in a freezer. For today's Munich IPA, we are using nearly over 8 oz of hops for a beer that should come in around 100 IBUs — a hopheads dream beer.

We begin the timer for the boil when we add the first hops to the beer. We boiled this beer for 60 minutes. We then added more hops near the end of the boil.

"Alright, I'm going to add an ounce of Columbus hops for a five minute boil.

After an hour it was now time to chill the wort to yeast pitching temperatures. The goal is to cool it off as quickly as possible to prevent it from being contaminated.

We used an immersion wort chiller with a garden hose.

Once the wort was chilled to 78 degrees we drained it into our carboy. Kyle uses a strainer and funnel to pull out some of the hops and aerate the wort.

Once the wort is in the carboy, we pitch the yeast. We used dry yeast for our Munich IPA.

Finally, we put a stopper and three-piece airlock on top of the carboy. Kyle fills it with inexpensive vodka. The airlock allows CO2 to escape during fermentation, but the vodka prevents the beer from getting fermented.

And that is our overview of all-grain brewing. Now we just have to wait a couple weeks to keg it, carbonate it and then drink it. Thanks Kyle for helping us learn about all-grain brewing. Don't forget to check out Kyle's Youtube channel — hophedbrewhaus — for more great brewing information. Thanks for watching. I'm James Knott and this is your Better Beer Authority."

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