A Quick Overview of All-Grain Home Brewing.
Homebrewed beer is an amazing way to learn more about craft beer. Making your own beer is a great way for craft beer aficionados to explore flavor profiles of beers you might not otherwise be able to find in a store and to make a craft beer the way you want it.
Can you brew beer?
Is it difficult?
No. If you can make oatmeal, you can make beer!™; Beer brewing is a tradition that is thousands of years old. It is not rocket science. Just let it ferment.
Does it take a lot of room to make?
No. Basic beginner brewing only requires standard kitchen space for brewing and a small place in your pantry, closet, or garage for the fermentor.
Is it expensive?
No. Homebrewed beer is neck-and-neck in quality with craft beer and far less expensive than commercially produced beer.
Is it better to start with extract only?
No. Extract kits have nearly no brewing involved and are inferior in flavor quality to partial-mash kits (using both grain and some extract) or all-grain kits. Partial-mash kits are just as easy for beginners and require minimal equipment. Our Beginner Equipment Kit options have everything you will need on brew day.
All-grain kits are a great way for learning advanced brewing techniques and only require a modest amount of equipment above the basic beginner equipment kits. If you feel adventurous and are a true DIY person,check out our Primo All-Grain equipment Kits ™ For those with flexibly large budgets, ask us about our selection of brewing sculptures, they are a great way to starting making homebrew in larger volumes than 5 gal.
Barley Haven Beer Brewing Calculator Resources
Priming Sugar Calculator
External Resources on Brewing
The brewing process - Brew Wiki
Mash Temperature Chart
Lovibond / the SRM color scale explained
BrewTarget (Free beer brewing software made by homebrewers!)
Brewers Roundtable - an excellent forum for questions and answers about brewing
Brewing should be fun and stress free. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and you will have a delicious brew! Visit our store, we provide you with all the detailed instructions and in-person answers to your questions to help you brew your first batch of beer. Want to learn to brew? We can teach you. Checkout our calendar for the next demonstration at our store.
Examples of All-Grain brewing Mash Tuns
Mash tuns explained:
Above are shown three examples of Stainless steel mash tuns for all grain brewing (we prefer not to use the cooler method for simplicity sake as well as an BPA that may be in plastic coolers used for mashing. [click on the image for a detailed view]
Left: A ball valve mash kettle with a "bazooka screen" (AKA "torpedo screen")
Center: A ball valve mash kettle with a typical false bottom
Right: A standard brew kettle with a dome false bottom and siphon tubing
Essentially, a mash tun is a kettle that allows the separation of fluid (wort) from the grains that have been mashed. Rather than a mesh sparge bag, the false bottoms in the kettle allow the wort to be drained out and the spent grain to be left behind to be dumped. Although, any method (whether a sparge bag or bazooka) works, ideally a dispersed perforated surface (ie. the false bottom) is best for adequate rinsing of the grains of all their precious saccharified wort that is to be fermented. This will allow for the best effeciency in obtaining all the necessary sugars for fermentation.
Simplified "Brew in bag method" Instructions for Beginners
Fermenters with airlocks
Sparge Strainer Bag or a Colander large enough to fit over fermenter bucket
Electric stove / gas burner + Water source
Sanitizer & Soap + Elbow grease (get your fermenting equipment cleaned before pouring in your precious wort)
Heat water to desired striking temperature [10F over your target mash temperature, if mashing at 155F your strike temp would be 165F]. Make sure you have 1 quart water per pound of grain.
Pour grains into Kettle (with grains into Sparge Bag) once water has reached optimal temperature. Stir briefly if necessary.
Steep grains (aka. Mash) for 60 minutes (up to to 75 min for some recipes).
Using a Bucket, Place grain Sparge bag with grains into second bucket for lautering OR using a colander, carefully pour mash kettle so as to separate grains from wort while allowing the wort to collect into your kettle / bucket. Use a little hot water (170F) to rinse (aka. Sparge) remaining grain of sugars from grain bed in incremental steps as grain fits safely into strainer/colander (a second kettle is needed for this). [ This is an VERY simplified method of sparging. It works. At a more advanced level you will want an actual mash tun with a false bottom to allow passing the wort back through the grain bed so as to more effectively and cleanly extract as much sugars as possible while separating the wort from the grain ]
Boil your wort for 60 min. Add hops and/or spices as you desire or recipe instructs. Remember some hops are better at the beginning boil (bittering), some better for the end of boil (aroma), though there are exception where some hops a great for both.
Chill. Let wort cool to an ideal 75/80F. A tub of ice works (approx. 2 hours) but a wort chiller is ideal (10-20min) and will allow you to cool the kettle of wort more quickly. Regardless of your method keep wort protected/covered with lid to prevent contamination.
Pour wort into fermenter. This will also be a time when the wort is aerated giving the wort oxygen for the yeast.
Pitch yeast. Pour in your yeast once wort has cooled to optimal fermentation temperature of yeast, close fermenter with airlock in lid/cap.
Ferment. Allow to ferment for 2 to 3 weeks; moving brew from your primary fermenter into a secondary fermenter after usually 7-10 days.
Bottling or Kegging your brew? Call us and ask us for tips if you need. We are always glad to help.