first all-grain batch: altbier

so, after 4 years of extract and partial mash brewing, I finally stepped up to the plate and pulled off my first all-grain batch.

  • I finally had the space to go all-grain after moving, and I had recently modified my partial mash tun with a new false bottom (courtesy of CB) for better efficiency.
  • after a bit of thought, I was inspired by this post over at beer and nosh and decided to go with an dusseldorf altbier.
  • the dusseldorf alt is a bit hoppier than alts from other regions.  I thought it would be a good contrast to my extract kolsch.
  • my recipe was a hybrid from a post on brewboard and one on home brew talk.  I recently downloaded beersmith and ironed out the details on their software (which is pretty amazing by the way).  the grain and hop bill is as follows:
    • 6.00 lb       Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM)             Grain        54.55 %
      2.00 lb       Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)              Grain        18.18 %
      1.00 lb       Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        9.09 %
      1.00 lb       Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM)                     Grain        9.09 %
      1.00 lb       Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM)                 Grain        9.09 %
      1.50 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (60 min)Hops         19.9 IBU
      1.00 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (30 min)Hops         10.2 IBU
      1.00 oz       Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [3.80 %]  (10 min)Hops         4.8 IBU
  • if you want more recipe info shoot me an email and I’ll send it over.
  • after a thorough discussion with CB about mash and sparge temps, boil time, and other mash tips (the guy should seriously teach a class), I milled my grains, heated my strike water, and made the jump.
  • I batch sparged as per denny’s instructions and ended up with 5 gallons at an OG of 1.060 at 75F, which if I calculated correctly gives my system roughly 74% efficiency. not bad for the first shot!
  • after a rough start, my wyeast 1007 smack pack got going, and seemed to be pretty happy for the next few days after I pitched.  I’m planning on kegging the batch this weekend and lagering for a month or so before serving.
  • I will likely throw more all-grain brew tips out there once I get the process down pat, but for now I have a few recommendations for a successful switch from extract brewing:
    • get brew software. programs like beersmith take a lot of guesswork out of the process and are pretty cheap.  it was invaluable having my brew day laid out on paper before I got started.
    • talk to someone who brews all-grain first. I walked away with more information from my 30 minute convo with CB than from hours of online research.  a lot of the small stuff isn’t covered online (basic mash theory, etc.) and makes perfect sense once someone who has done it explains the obvious to you.
    • take gravity readings.  I never had to do this before – with extract it didn’t really matter since you knew you were getting fermentable sugars.  however, with all-grain, gravity readings are essential for troubleshooting your system and really add a lot to your knowledge of brewing.  I used my refractometer and it was a piece of cake.
  • overall, switching to all-grain brewing wasn’t too difficult (just a little more time-consuming) and was much more rewarding.  I am looking forward to cranking out many more brews while tweaking this process.

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2 Responses to “first all-grain batch: altbier”

  1. - your homebrewing and beer destination Says:

    […] « first all-grain batch: altbier […]

  2. - your homebrewing and beer destination Says:

    […] in addition to 3 beer can chickens and a couple dozen smoked brats.  that along with a the kegs of alt and kolsch kept friends and family busy for […]

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