Abuja All-grain: Alright!!

I mentioned my frustration with the brewing process last weekend but climbed on that horse again yesterday. I was mostly nervous about using my non-self-priming pump to move the wort from the mash tun to the boil pot. I set it all up and just ran some water through it and it worked almost perfectly. I had to fiddle with it a little bit as it didn’t seem capable of recirculation unless I lifted the pump. That was easy to address and once I confirmed that, I was ready to go.

I got a cooler of ice that I run a preliminary copper immersion cooler in to chill the water before it runs through the copper coil in the beer. The last hurdle was to come up with a grain recipe. I went with something very simple to start with that I can use as a baseline for future recipes. I’m using a no-sparge method because its easier and I’ve got plenty of grain and don’t need to worry about efficiency. Sparging sure seems to be a complication process for what you get out of it, but maybe I just don’t understand it entirely.

  • 13 lbs of American 2-row
  • 1 lb of 60 Crystal
  • 1/2 lb of Munich
  • 1 oz Cascade for each of Bittering, Flavoring, and Aromatic hops
  • Safale S-04 yeast

I co-opted the no-sparge recipe provided in “Brewing Better Beer” and tweaked the hops and starting water. I’ve read about difference using more/less water for thicker/thinner wort but went with a huge 11 gallon start because of the no-sparge and also just because it was easier. I got 7 gallons of wort at the end, so I will use the same recipe but 8 gallons in the mash tun, hopefully producing 4 gallons of wort that I will add to 3 gallons of water pre-heated in the boil pot. I’ll actually make this batch tomorrow, using the Safale US-05 yeast and the lessor starting mash tun volume.

The first few batches will be pure blind experimentation since I can’t taste of the beers until they are done. I think I can get 2 more brews next week (another 3-day break) and I need to come up with some recipe ideas. I want to do some dry hopping (although the hops clogged my bottling spigot last time, i might attempt to use a bag. I’ve got most of my malt stored in airtight dog-food containers but I didn’t buy enough to hold everything. I’ve got chocolate malt still in the food-saver bag I brought it over in that I’m excited to use. I think I’m going to continue to use American 2-row base malt for the first batches. I’ll have to make one batch with 40 crystal for sure and probably other batches with 60 Crystal but using Biscuit or Carapils. I actually need to read up on my malts again to make sure I’m equating them correctly. In my mind I’ve got 3 classifications: base malt (i.e. American/British), Crystal Malt, other “normal” malts like Biscuit, Munich, and Carapils, and the “extreme” malts like the Chocolate. I’m not sure that’s accurate though.

I think I’m going to buy a couple more Party Pigs. They are awfully convenient when bottling and its nice to be able to pull a draft home brew from the fridge.

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