Troy’s All Grain Homebrewing

Posted on January 29, 2010 by

Sundays…inevitably are THE best day of the week to brew a batch of beer…especially with friends and during the AFC and NFC championships. Today I was headed over to Troy’s house. Troy, his brother Jake, and good friend Jeremy were going to brew up a batch and were willing to show me their process for doing an all grain batch. I’ve been curious about these for about 3 weeks now and I was excited to get the opportunity to check it out.

I walked up Troy’s driveway and off to side of his garage to make my way into the brew house. As I grabbed the door knob I was met with a wonderful site, a snowbank full Imperial Stoutof homebrews! I knew this was going to be yet another wonderful day of homebrewing. I peaked through the door and was met with steaming water, homebrew, and a laptop streaming Troy’s TV right into his garage. Brilliant! So the water was boiling, I had a homebrew, and the Colts and Jets were 5 minutes from battling it out. So I sat down, homebrew in hand next to the cozy, hissing propane heater and put my attention on the game.

Soon enough the water was up to 154 and 16 pounds of a grain mixture were put into the water. Troy was inspired by the sound of my bourbon barrel porter that he decided to do his own all grain batch. I’m excited to compare the two. Anyway, the grains went in and it instantly smelt delicious. It was interesting to see the grains clump together and look like oatmeal. I’ve never seen this before. So basically we sat around drinking homebrew and watching football for 45 minutes while the grains mashed up. With 15 minutes left Troy cranked up the temperature to 170 to release the second stage of enzymes used during brewing and fermenting.

During that 15 minutes another pot of water was brought up to 170 off to the side. I really enjoy homebrewing outside around a propane burner. It is completely like sitting around a campfire. You drink, talk about sports, beer, life, etc and at the end of the day you’ve got 5 gallons of beer.

After the 15 minutes Troy set up his “Redneck Sparging System”. This basically consists of 2 garbage cans, a tailgate, and a homemade mash tun and sparge arm. Regardless Redneck Sparging Systemof how “redneck” the system is, it worked pretty well minus a couple of little hiccups. From what I gathered, with a sparge system you basically have a 3 tiered system. In bucket one, the highest bucket, you put your 170 degree water. That water drains down to the second bucket which has your mash in it. You’ll want to get an inch of water on top of your mash so the water coming in doesn’t channel through your grains. This process is kind of like steeping grains when doing specialty grain kits.

You’ll want to get an inch of water on top of your mash so the water coming in doesn’t channel through your grains.

Homemade Sparge ArmYour basically trying to get any and all of the sugars and enzymes out of the grains for the yeast to destroy! As the water runs through the mash it comes out the bottom and drains into your kettle. Troy filled his kettle up to about 6.5 gallons. He figured he’ll boil off a gallon and a half over the next hour.

…the longer you let your homebrew age, the better it is going to get.

The brew was ready to add hops to so while Troy added the hops I grabbed another homebrew, my favorite of the day, the Imperial Stout he brewed up and sat myself down next to the hissing propane heater and watched the Colts comeback from an 11 point first half deficit. This Imperial Stout was interested because I was at Troy’s and tasted this thing a few weeks earlier. It was good then, but had a very distinct grain alcohol taste to it. Today, it was perfect. That just goes to show you, the longer you let your homebrew age, the better it is going to get. Everything from here out is just like my homebrewing batches. Add your hops, do your cold break, and pitch your yeast and wait.

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  • Troy

    Thanks again for the help, can’t wait to switch a few and compare!

  • mike

    Yea man. That day was completely why I started homebrewing. Good people, good beer, and a good time. It is consistent with every time I brew with other people. I’ll be having a lil homebrew get together here in the next couple months. I’ll keep ya informed for sure!

    Thanks for the invite as well. I learned a lot and all grains are completely not as scary as I thought they were. So I appreciate the redneck setup and all its glory!

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