A modern zesty American West Coast IPA, with alight colour and balanced malt deck. Target ABV 4.3%
All grain brewing is a rewarding hobby, but there is a learning curve to acquiring the techniques and skills required to make consistently good beers. Luckily there is considerable support material on the internet and the modern equipment available to small-scale craft brewers is excellent (check out the Facebook group Pure Brew).
All-in-one brewing systems such as The Grainfather are well worth considering. They simplify the brewing process and achieve consistently high-quality time after time. Other traditional full mash methods that are used for all-grain home brewing include the floating mash tun, insulated mash tun (coolbox) or Electrim Bin approach. Whichever approach you choose it is important that the mash is kept at a constant temperature for 60 minutes. Just a two-degree change in temperature from that specified may result in a dryer or sweeter taste. Furthermore, fluctuations in temperature may result in a cloudy beer or poor sugar conversion.
There are five stages to full mash brewing: Mashing; Sparging; Boiling; Fermenting; and Conditioning. If you have previously made beer from kits you will be familiar with the fermenting and conditioning processes. The table above will indicate the packs and volumes/temperatures of water needed.
Store the malt grains in a warm room for 24 hours before use so that when added to the mash the temperature does not fall significantly.
Add 14 litres of mash water to your mashing vessel and raise it to 66C. Add 10ml of AMS water treatment into the water. If necessary, you can raise the water temperature a few degrees above the mash temperature (strike point) to compensate for any initial temperature drop when grains are added. Empty the grains into the water slowly, stirring continuously to ensure there are no dry pockets – a thick porridge-like consistency should be achieved. Mash for the time specified (see table above), keeping close attention to the temperature. Remember, any more than 2 ˚C either way may cause the beer to taste different.
Near the end of the mash process, heat up 17 litres of sparge water at a 76C temperature. Once the mash process is complete you will need to drain the liquid (Wort) away from the grains. If using an all-in-one brewing system, lift the inner basket up and lock it in position. For other approaches, strain the Wort through a grain bag into another bucket. Now slowly and carefully rinse the grains with the sparge water. Do not rush this process as you must avoid disturbing the grains. The mash bed will act as a filter to allow sugars to be rinsed through (known as Sweet Wort) and starch left behind. Once the grains have been rinsed, they can be discarded and make excellent garden mulch.
The collected Sweet Wort must now be boiled for 6o minutes. Add the Cascade (bittering) hops at the start of the boil process. Approximately 10 minutes into the boil, a green scum/film should appear on the surface. This indicates that the hot break point has been achieved and proteins have started to coagulate. Skim the film off and discard it. Then add the Cascade (flavouring) hops and 1/2 Britewort tablet 45 minutes into the boil. At the end of the boil time leave for 10 minutes then add the Citra (aroma) hops and leave for a further 10 minutes with the boiler switched off (this part of the process is known as flameout). The temperature should be around 90˚C. After 10 minutes cool the Wort as quickly as possible. A Wort Chiller is ideal for this process and ensures a rapid cold breakpoint is achieved (proteins fall out as sediment) and will help to clear the beer.
Bring the Wort to the correct temperature for the yeast supplied (Safale 04 recommended temperature is 18-24C). Once reached, add the Pure Brew and stir vigorously to aerate the brew then add the yeast. Fit a lid & airlock and leave to ferment at the temperature stated on the yeast sachet, until the final specific gravity is reached. Fermentation usually will take 7-14 days. If a hydrometer reading is constant for two days, then this is a further indication that fermentation has been completed. At this stage add the Starbrite Beer Finings and leave in a cooler place for a further 2 days. You can then proceed to the bottling/kegging stage.
The beer should now be siphoned into a barrel or bottles and sugar added (1 or 2 carbonation drops for each bottle or 4 oz/100g sugar to a barrel). Secure caps, and store in a warm place around 24C/75F for 5-7 days. The beer should then be left to clear and mature in a cool place for a minimum of three weeks. If using Cornelius-style steel kegs then instead of priming with sugar, beer should be left to clear for a minimum of 7 days, then siphoned into the keg and force carbonated. Your beer will continue to mature, so if you can resist drinking it for a further few weeks the taste will improve.