All Grain Brewing

Thought I would do a post on brewing today because most of my previous post have been computer related.

All grain brewing is easier than most think and  if you enjoy brewing you should give it a try. It does add some time to the brew day but I hope to do some experimenting this fall with a no chill method.

Brew in a bag Method

I started all grain brewing with the brew in the bag method. After I had done a partial mash oatmeal stout with a small cooler that I converted to a mash tun by adding a valve and stainless hose inside.  I liked how it was cheap and easy brew in a bag was. The first couple batches went great and the only problem was figuring out how to lift the spent grains out of the kettle.

Basically all you need is a fine mesh bag. My wife sewed the bag for me. She added a draw string at top and  the total cost was around $10. The steps for brew in a bag are very easy. You put the water int he kettle heat to 168 degrees or what every your mash in temperature is. Shut the heat off to the kettle put the bag in hot water and poor the grains into your bag to soak.

My bag had a fin mesh and I found that if i ran the grains through the crusher twice i would gee a better efficiency. The only problem I had with brew in a bag and what lead me to build my mash tun was one cold brew day when brewing a cream ale I decided the water was cooling to quickly and tried to raise the temp with the bag still in the kettle. I tried to hold the bag off the bottom of the kettle but I still melted a whole in the bag and had to finish the beer with a Decoction type mash.  That cram ale turned out to be a get beer but a little light for my taste.

Decoction mashing

Decoction mashing is where you remove part of the mash to boil and return it to the rest of the mash to raise the temperature of the whole mash. This type of mash isn’t very common these days and adds a malty flavor to beers brewed with this method.  Decoction mashing can be slower and requires constant string when bring part of the grains to a boil. A positive is it doesn’t take much equipment.

For more on decoctin mashing see


Batch Sparge and No Sparge methods

Batch sparge and no sparge methods both require a mas tun. These are the more traditional ways of mashing in modern home brewing. With this you put the grain in your mash tun and add the water to the grain. After the mash you open a valve and let the wort run out. The different between to to is the sparging. Sparging is adding more water for a second draining or rinsing of the grains. I prefer the no sparge method.  To mash with batch sparging or no sparging you need to buy or make a mash tun a quick Google search will return many examples.

This is a couple good resources on making a mash tun.

This is the business ends of my mash tun.

A little tip when building a mash tun.  if you coil some copper wire and insert it in your braided stainless line it will keep it from collapsing and help  keep the mash from sticking. I think I might shorten my braided stainless hose the extra hose that wraps around probably isnt helping any.

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