My first attempt at an all-grain brew turned out pretty well! I had a few unrealistic expectations, but it’s a pretty good beer. To the left you see a shot of the soon-to-be-famous “Mike’s Basement” and the Magical Brewery that no one reads about here.
Seriously, is anyone reading this?
This batch turned out very light. Much lighter than I’m used to. This is some serious “beer-bong” beer. That’s because for my first batch, I used a single malt, Two-Row grain which is pretty “plain-jane”. This was to make sure I could actually mash, sparge and brew a full-grain beer. Well, good news is, Mission Accomplished. It worked! It’s beer and it’s tasty (If you like Bud Light.) In most home brew recipes, home brewers infuse the plain two-row grain with about 10-50% of a darker grain. (Darker being from being baked longer).
It doesn’t taste bad. In fact, it’s pretty good. I may drink my face off tonight, because I can. I thought it would be really hoppy, because that’s how it tasted when it got bottled. Yeah, I tried some, so sue me. However, the 2 ounces of hops I used didn’t actually make it too hoppy. I dumped in an ounce at the beginning of the boil for a bitter taste and another ounce in a bag the last 15 minutes for an aroma.
The carbonation is perfect. The yeast I chose worked like a Swiss watch. It’s got a smooth foam that recedes after a bit just like any pale ale. There’s no weird yeasty taste or any off-flavors, so I must have done all my steps correctly.
I’ll infuse 1-2 pounds of a caramel malt to get more body and color. That’s what I saw in a recipe for Sam Adams Boston Lager.
I’ll toss in hops instead of using a bag. And I wont be shy about it this time. I was worried my Brew Partner was asking for too much hops, but he was right. When you’re not using a Hoppped-Malt Extract, you need a lot more hops. There’s already hops in an extract, so when you add hops to a kit brew, it just makes it more hoppy than normal. I didn’t want that, because normal people usually don’t like overly-hopped beer.
I’ll recycle the first 2 gallons of sparge back into the mash tun. I saw this in the directions I followed, but didn’t do it. That may give me a little more body. I just need to accept that I don’t know more than the thousands of home-brewers on the internet. Who’s retarded now? (This guy… sad face)
I definitely learned that temperature counts. I lost a ton of temperature when I moved water from the stove to the mash tun. A dude at the Beer Crazy Store in Urbandale told me to heat up the tun with hot water before I mash. That worked almost too-well for the “Raven Two-One” batch I did a week later. (I had to keep the lid open so it would cool down to hit the lower-end of the range) Staying at the higher end of the 145-158 degree spectrum for mash is better. This creates more body, but less alcohol. If I someday decide to brew a higher alcohol content beer, I’ll change yeast types. Who wants to get wasted? This guy.
Here’s Randi being a hand-model…