In my last post, I had just met someone who was prepared to let me borrow his Grainfather so I could try making an all-grain brew. I met Paul in Alcester collected the machine. The next day I made my first all-grain brew.
Paul had already assembled the Grainfather (He has used it about 10 times) so that saved quite a lot of time. I was able to get started quickly.
For this brew, I decided to follow (and adapt a little) a recipe in Greg Hughes’s book ‘Home Brew Beer’. I chose the English IPA and had ordered the ingredients prior to collecting the Grainfather.
The initial part was simple. Add and then heat the water. The Grainfather instructions and the recipe showed 2 different quantities of water. I didn’t want the water to overflow, so I used the Grainfather quantity.
Then added the bottom plate to the inner basket which is then lowered inside. Added the tubes etc and then the grain. The grain needs to be stirred constantly while adding it to stop any clumps building up. Then the grain stopper is removed and the top plate added on top of the grain.
Then the overflow inlet is added. Then the lid is replaced. Insert the circulation pipe. turn on pump and started mashing.
While mashing, I heated up some more water ready for sparging. When the mash was done, I raised the temperature to 76 degrees. Then turned off the pump and removed the recirculation arm. Next, the inner basket is lifted up which lets the wort drain out of the grain. Then I pushed the plate down. I probably pushed it down a bit too hard (as the grain was fairly solid when it came to sparging) so next time I will set it a bit looser on top of the grain. The sparge water is then poured onto the top plate and it will filter through.
Then the basket can be removed and it’s time to boil the wort. It does foam up when it’s about to boil so I was ready with the paddle to stir the foam away. I then added the Challenger and Goldings hops in accordance with the recipe. Paul had supplied a hop basket, so I used it as I thought it might make filtering the wort (and maybe cleaning too) a bit easier. I did keep stirring the hops inside the basket just to make sure they were soaked through.
When boiling was finished, it’s time to cool the work. This involves rigging the chiller up to the cold tap and running cold water through the chiller while the wort is circulated through it too. It took a few minutes for the temperature to reduce. In fact, I couldn’t get it down to less than 24 degrees (I don’t think our cold water is very cold!).
Then the liquid can be pumped into the fermenter vessel and the yeast added.
Not done then though. For the next couple of hours, I was cleaning the whole machine.
Over the next few days I monitored the temperature of the beer. The recipe said 18 degrees and then one of the ‘brewers tips’ said begin to raise the temperature towards the end of the fermentation. On the 6th day, I added 30g of Challenger and 30g of Goldings hops (my deviation from the recipe) to give the beer an extra kick (I hope!). So now we wait to see if it’s any good! I’ll let you know.