Minimalist All Grain Brewing


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2. Take Part In The Age Old Tradition

However, if a craft brewer is designing a year-round flagship IPA, best practice is to include three or more aroma varieties. This allows the brewery to swap out one variety for another if scarcity, agronomics, or demand causes supply issues. Although hop contracts help minimize shortfalls, swapping varieties can address uncontrollable issues that endanger the viability of a recipe, especially helpful for relatively newhop varieties.

When a substitution is required, it is easier to get away with replacing a quarter of the hops in a beer than it is to replace half or all. It may be that for a given hop, one variety is better as a hot-side substitute and another for dry hopping as both timing and temperature determine which aromatics survive into the finished beer.

Even if all hop varieties remain available from the same farms, aroma could change thanks to annual weather differences or harvest timing.

Brew in a Bag Basics

This variability can again be dampened by a larger blend of hops. For craft brewers this variability is further mitigated by traveling to Yakima, Hallertau, or Nelson for hop selection. A commercial pitch of liquid yeast costs hundreds of dollars, a not-insignificant percentage of the total price-tag. On a commercial scale, quick-repitching is also essential because large volumes of yeast slurry generate heat, leading to quicker reduction in cell viability. As a result, most craft breweries have one or at most two house yeast strains that they use to ferment their core beers.

Thanks to their low price-point and high shelf-stability, dried yeast is an appealing option for breweries without a schedule that allows harvesting. Still, there can be pleasant surprises with minimalism. The results were delicious, unexpectedly hazy, and people loved the subtle addition of yeast character to the hoppiness, so he rolled with it.

A limited color palette sometimes produces the most beautiful and unique paintings!

Minimalist Beer Brewing Instructional How-to: My Process

For example: Hefeweizen, to hoppy wheat, to weizenbock. This pattern works well for homebrewers as well, and supports more brewing with less time making starters. The parallel for grain is that, as breweries grow, they often add a silo of their base malt of choice. This is usually a compromise that suits all of the beers well enough. I was surprised how much depth and richness the beer lost when we switched to North American standard 2-row malt to suit the hoppy beers.

Luckily once the production brewers took over they restored that lost depth by adding biscuit andpale chocolate. Many breweries use a single hop for bittering all of their beers. This allows for a consistent and predictable amount of IBUs. As a brewery expands it may grow big enough to get an entire hop lot pelletized. You may notice growing breweries have a year or two where they seem to use one hop variety in most of their beers for this reason. More breweries are also using a limited selection of less expensive high-oil hops for whirlpool additions Columbus, Chinook, Nugget, Bravo etc.

When I talk to other professional brewers about ingredients, they usually specify which maltster, yeast lab, or hop provider they prefer or are referring to. Their flavor and color contributions are completely different, so you need to be aware of which you are using. Note the specific products in your recipe so you can recreate it. There are concordance charts showing which commercially available yeast strains are from the same source.

By the very nature of yeast as a lifeform it changes. Even if the two labs have done a perfect job preventing genetic drift in their stock, they may have taken their samples at different times and the culture at the brewery may have shifted in the interim. Jeffrey Stuffings from Jester King Austin, Texas related the differences between tasting the yeast character of their original Le Petit Prince with only French saison it now also includes indigenous wild cultures compared to a version brewed at Brasserie Thiriez with their house strain the original French saison :.

When we made Le Petit Prince with pure culture French Saison yeast, we got much stronger fruit, spice, bubble gum, estery character. Maybe this is just my bias talking, but when French Saison made its way stateside, it somehow got Americanized and became more aggressive in terms of traditional or stereotypical Belgian fermentation character.

There are real differences in the same products from different sources! It is great to see more breweries acting like homebrewers. Ten years ago, seemingly every brewery had four core-beers, four seasonals, and a handful or special releases. Now more are starting and staying with a model of just producing delicious beer without as much repetition!

While there are lessons and techniques that can be applied in both directions, there are others that only make sense at each scale. This hoppy wheat beer was designed to introduce hop-averse beer drinkers to the new ways hops are being used. A low-temperature whirlpool reduces alpha acid isomerization, allowing more hop flavor without big bitterness. Dry hops added to the fermenter before knockout add additional fruitiness without a raw-green aroma. Ingredients 7 sacks 55 lbs.

Minimalist Brewing Secrets

Step by Step Treat water to achieve ppm chloride and 75 ppm sulfate. Add phosphoric acid as needed to reach a mash pH of 5. Boil the 11 bbls of wort adding Whirlfloc as noted. The lower temperature reduces isomerization. Whirlpool for 75 minutes. I run off pretty quickly because I'm not trying to balance the flows, about a gallon a minute. Nice setup and a timely post. I've been looking to do something similar, upgrade to 10 gallon batches but with minimal footprint as I live in an apartment.

Would be great to just have the one pot! Any thoughts on this type of set up? And did you consider it? Recirculation would certainly help your efficiency, but I'm not sure about clarity. Seems like when you pull the bag out you'd likely loose any advantage the recirculation provides by disturbing the grain bed. With a fine enough mesh though, it may not matter. For a big beer you'd be looking at 30 lbs of grain with another 24 lbs of water absorbed You'd also likely want a gallon pot if you brew stronger beers. Best of luck! Some very useful ideas here. Would you be concerned about sparging right from the hose with city water that is chlorinated?

I've read that I should be using campden tablets with my water. Do you notice any significant temperature loss due to the stainless pots vs cooler? How do you calculate strike temp? Great article and I've been very interested in the new setup you've been referencing. Similar to the question above, are you letting the temp free fall or using the burner to keep it close?

Also, you mention a 30 minute mash is all you really need for full conversion unless there are large amount of adjuncts. Can you elaborate on why and how long have you been doing shorter mashes? I guess my questions really are how much do you really care about mash temp and time?

Brew in a Bag(BIAB ) All-Grain Beer Brewing

I avoid any chlorinated water in my beer, that little may be below the taste threshold, but I wouldn't risk it. There is certainly a greater temperature loss during the mash on this setup despite the larger volume than with a cooler. The ProMash calculator is still what I use to figure out the target temperature. Sometimes I'll give it a bit of heat especially during the winter to boost the temperature back up if it falls a few degrees. We're talking about a biological system though, so I don't worry about a degree or two either way. Shorter mashes are about saving time without any drawback.

Honestly though, between the recirculation and rest, it's close to an hour from the time I start mashing in until runoff starts, and it isn't like conversion stops the second you stay running the wort into the kettle either. Water dilutes the enzymes and starches, so it increases the time required to achieve conversion. Hey Mike, this process sounds pretty similar to the automated method used by the Speidel Braumeister: basically a controlled temperature recirculation using a pump and heat where necessary all in one container without any additional sparge liquor.

Nice setup! I've moved a few times and always sold my brew rig to give me an excuse to build a new, bigger, better one. I've now wound up at an E-HERMS rig and am relatively happy with it, but am also getting a bit worn-out in regards to multiple pumps and cleaning etc. My garage always looks like a hurricane came through after I finish up. I've really been considering selling it and moving to either a 2v setup like you have, or just go back to BIAB and using a winch. I've had all kinds of setups and the BIAB did have tremendous trub, but I can't say recirculating has played too much of a role for me apart from the heat-exchange purpose.

The wort definitely is clearer, but not enough to impact trub layers I don't recall. Step mashes would be easy, turn on the burner and recirculate until the next temperature step is reached. Liquid decoctions would be easy too, send some wort to the kettle, heat, and return. Turbid or true decoction would be more manual although nice to be able to maintain a rest on the main mash using the burner.

So few modern malts benefit from step mashes though, I don't do then that often. Do you find that there is a big advantage in using two burners? Since you aren't boiling until you're draining the mash tun, couldn't you get by with one? Thank you so much for sharing this. I've been wanting to upgrade my system for some time now and this gives me some great ideas. Also, have you found any noticeable difference in the cold sparge in terms of taste or anything else? Like most homebrewers, I don't mind a slight decrease in efficiency if it speeds up my brewing significantly.

Two burners certainly aren't required for this method, but starting the kettle while the mash is draining saves about 20 minutes. If I time things correctly the kettle is practically at a boil when the runoff is finished.

Brew In A Bag – Diving in to all-grain brewing – part one

That's the bigger issue for me, with bigger batches it is nice to leave the mash tun and kettle in place from the start to the end. No change to flavor as far as I can tell, but honestly I'm not sure how much of the cold water actually makes it into the kettle. More wort ends up trapped in the grains and under the false bottom than I add for the sparge. I assume most of what the small sparge is accomplishing is pushing the wort trapped in the grain out.

The one I bought in no longer available, but this one looks pretty similar. My efficiency is for the amount of wort that is in the kettle post-boil. I usually lose a gallon to trub and dead-space, so I set the batch size to be one gallon more than the amount of wort I want in the fermentors. For hop calculations, you want the boil volume, rather than the finished volume. Hi Michael, looking for a much more easy and simple way to brew i think that i'll follow our technique.

One thing that i don't understand well is the low cold or hot amount the sparge. Isn't this eventually a such of "no sparge" tecnique"? What's the improvement of the few liters of the sparge? And do you think it would work equally well with rotating mechanic arm inside the mash tun instead of the rims rube?

I started the small sparge because my 20 gallon kettle isn't quite big enough for all the malt and water for higher-gravity gallon batch. If you want to go no-sparge, that would work too. I'm not a huge fan of the sparge arms temperature loss , but if it works for you for other beers, no issues for this technique.


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I also brew more than I need to make up for the trub. I typically will make 6 gallon batches for 5 gallons of wort. Produces more clear results. Michael, I realize this is an older post, but I found it re assuring, as this is almost exactly what we do as well.

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One slight difference we use a quart cooler with a bag as a filter, and we have added a herms coil for controlling mash temperatures, and step mashing. The sparge water comes from the water in the HERMs "kettle". Its nice to have that extra little bit of hot water ready and waiting. Side note, really enjoying your book right now. I have been brewing sours for about 15 years. But I've not read a book like this before, that puts it all together in one place. Keep up the good work. Dave PS I just mentioned your book and website on my blog counterbrew. With traditional no sparge the mash is drained rapidly.

Do you drain slowly in this method and trickle in your cold sparge water? Or do you drain rapidly until you can see the grain bed and then add in your sparge water rapidly before completely draining the wort? I run down to the grain bed, add the cold sparge and run the rest out.

I usually run the wort slower after adding the sparge, just to give it plenty of time to pick up sugars and flow below the false-bottom. I'm not in a hurry usually because the wort is coming to a boil.

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