Friday, September 16, 2011

All Grain Brewing

I have officially upgraded my brewery. That black burner puts out over 210,000 BTU's! A small upgrade from the old gas stove...

So here is the new set up. My three tier system now consist of ladders, saw horses and the ground. 180 degree water flows out of the bucket on the top level to the mash tun (pictured below full of grains) then the wort (sugar water) flows out of the mash tun into a collection pot (two pictures down).  

The 180 degree water goes into this apparatus called a sparge arm. It sprinkles the water into the mash tun so it does not disturb the grain bed.  

When the water makes it all the way through the mash tun it flows into this collection pot. This process is called the "sparge". During the sparge you slowly let the wort out of the mash tun until you get a clear stream without debris. 

You then put all the wort into this large aluminum brew kettle. We usually get about 6 1/2 - 7 gallons of wort. 

This is Master Brewer and friend Nissen checking the specific gravity of the wort before the boil. In this application specific gravity is a measure of sugar suspended in solution. 

Now its time to put this awesome burner to the test. It use to take us over an hour to bring the wort to boil. With the new burner I believe we had a rolling boil in 25 minutes!

It is very important to cool the wort down to around 75 degrees from boiling as fast as you can. Those two copper tubes sticking out of the kettle are part of a heat exchanger called a wort chiller. It is pictured in the second image. Cold water goes in from a hose and hot water flows out into the bucket next to the kettle.

Once the wort is cooled down it is "racked" (transfered) to a "carboy" (large glass fermentation vessel) using an auto-siphon. After the carboy is filled you need to aerate the wort. We use a large plastic spoon handle to mix air into the wort. Once it is properly aerated we inoculate the wort with our yeast culture and put an airlock on the carboy. It is then stored in a cool dark place for three weeks. I racked this particular beer straight into a keg and was drinking it before it was a month old!   

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