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How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method: 17 Steps - wikiHow

How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method

This is a method of brewing beer using malted grains instead of extract,
with an emphasis on getting it done inexpensively but without sacrificing

adjuncts (honey, brown sugar, molasses, etc.) (optional)


Choose the grains. Beer by definition has to contain at least 50% malted barley. Other
types of grains can be added (oats, rye, wheat, etc.) but barley is the base malt for all of the
world's beers. Malted barley is made by partially germinating the barley in warm water, then
drying/cooking it before the seed splits. The barley is processed in different ways to get
different characteristics. Typically you want around 8-15 lbs (4-7 Kg) base malt per 5 gallons
(29 L), depending on the type of beer you're brewing. 2-row British pale malt is great to start
off with. Add 1-2 lbs (0.5-1 Kg) of specialty grains (crystal, caramel, etc.) to get some good
flavor. Lighter crystals are good to add sweetness. Toasted malts will create more of a malty
body. Taste the grain as you formulate the recipe. This is a great indicator on the quality of
the grain.
Mill the grain. The grain needs to be cracked open to gain access to the starches and
enzymes inside. The home brew shop should have a mill to use if not one can be purchased
or constructed. Usually these are two rollers about .045" apart that the grain is fed into.



How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method: 17 Steps - wikiHow

Make the mash tun. The grain contains mostly starch that needs to be converted to sugar
so that the yeast will have something to ferment. The enzymes in the grain are going to do
this and they do it well. The mash tun will hold the grain at temperature for 1-2 hours. The
mash tun can be made in different ways but a 6 gallon (22 L) bucket with a false bottom (a
mesh at the bottom with drainage) will be the cheapest. A good recommendation for a cheap
better quality mash tun would be converting a cooler. 10 gallon (40 L) round Igloo or
Gatorade coolers work the best. False bottoms are sold for cheap and easy to install, or
make your own. To make your own, get a 12" toilet water line with stainless braiding on it
and cut the ends off. Remove the stainless braid. Crimp one end closed with pliers and
attach the other end to a 3/8" flex copper piece with a hose clamp. Use a drilled rubber
stopper where the hole is near the bottom of the cooler to prevent leaking. A valve or vinyl
hose clamp can be used to control the flow of your hot liquor after the mash.

Start mashing. For every 1 pound (0.5 Kg) of grain heat 1 quart (1/4 gallon, 1 L) of water to
170 degrees (76C). Pour the 170 degree (76C) water along with the grains stirring as you
go. You want to uniformly add the grain along with the water so it doesn't get too hot or form
clumps. The temperature should be anywhere from 148-158 degrees (64-70C). If it is
somewhere in the middle you're golden. The beta amylase enzymes are active toward the
145 degree (63C) end, which make fermentable sugars, making a dry beer. The alpha
amylase enzymes are active toward the 160 degree (71C) end, making unfermentable
sugars, making a sweet beer. The balance -mash temperature - is up to the brewer and the
type of beer you're making. Insulate the mash tun by wrapping it up in a blanket or sleeping
bag or jackets (not necessary with a cooler mash tun). While you are mashing, start heating
up 2 quarts (1/2 gallon, 2 L) of water per pound (0.5 Kg).

Test the wort. After about an hour the conversion from starch to sugar will be complete. You
can test this with iodine. Put a small amount of wort on a white surface (like a plate) and add
a drop of iodine. If it turns black starches still exist and it needs to sit longer. NOTE: Discard
the wort with the iodine do not put it back in the wort. If it doesn't change color at all the
conversion is complete. Start draining off the wort from the grain bed SLOWLY.

Perform the sparging. Sparging is the process of rinsing the hot liquor off of the grain bed.
The best no non-sense method it to do it in 2 steps. When the hot liquor is done draining,
add half the sparge water at 180-190 degrees (80-90C) and let it sit 20 minutes. Drain.
Then do it again. You want around 6 1/2 gallons (25 L) of hot liquor in the end. The most
efficient way to sparge is called continuous sparging. With this method you control a slow
run off of your hot liquor while adding 170 degree water to the top of the grain bed at the
same rate. Take the first couple quarts of hot liquor and pour back on to the grain bed to
filter out husks which cause off flavors when boiled. Continue sparging until your pre-boil
volume is reached -usually about 6 gallons (23L) for a 60 minute boil 5 gallon (20L) batch.

Boil the wort. Bring the temperature up to boiling.

Add the hops. Hops are a green flower from a hop vine. They add bitterness to the beer
which provides a balance against the sweetness of the sugars. Hops also add aroma and
flavor. There are many different varieties. Fuggle, Kent Golding, and Cascade are good
varieties you can't go wrong with. The higher the alpha acid percentage and time boiled, the
more bitter it will be. 4-5% is about average and 10-12% is high. There are calculations to



How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method: 17 Steps - wikiHow

figure out the IBU's (International Bitterness Units) to get a more exact bittering estimate. 10-
20 IBU is low to average bitterness (think light lager) 40 is moderately high (think pale ale)
and 50-60+ is very bitter (think IPA). Some IPA recipes boast over 100 IBUs. The longer the
hop boils the more bitterness will be extracted.

Meanwhile, get the fermentors. The cheapest fermentor is a 6 gallon bucket with an airlock
on the top. An airlock is a device that only lets air out and not in. They should be cleaned of
any crud from the previous ferment and sanitized with Iodophor solution (check your local
homebrew shop) or a bleach solution, two tablespoons per 5 gallons of COLD water. DO
NOT SCRUB PLASTIC FERMENTERS! Microscopic scratches in plastic harbor wild yeast
and bacteria that will destroy your beer! Let this sit for 20 minutes then rinse with clean
filtered water twice. This sanitizing step is best done while the wort is boiling, otherwise its
an hour spent waiting not getting anything else accomplished.


Boil. Boil the wort for at least 1 hour at a rolling boil. The more vigorous a boil the better.
Once the wort is boiling add the flavoring hops. 1 oz of pellets is good to start with. Make
sure to stir wort while it is getting up to temperature. While the wort is boiling make sure the
fermentors are clean and ready. 10-15 minutes before the end of the hour add the flavoring
hops usually about 1/2 oz (15g). 5 minutes from the end add the aroma hops 1/2 oz (15g).


Chill the wort. You can purchase a wort chiller but it is unnecessary if you have boiled less
than 3 gallons. The chiller will cool the wort down to 70-75 (20-24C) so you can pitch the
yeast. Without a chiller you can still get good results by placing the wort boiling pot into an
ice bath, either in a large sink, or the bathtub. It is imperative to chill the boiling wort down to
below 80 degrees as fast as possible. To speed things up, while it is chilling you can gently
stir it without splashing. Aerating hot wort can lead to long term storage instability problems
and is best to avoid. Beer is the most susceptible to infection at, or around, 140 degrees. It
is very important to go from 212 to 70 degrees as fast as possible.


Fill the fermentor. Pour the finished wort through a strainer to remove the hops into the
fermentation bucket. If needed, add only pure clean water to top the fermenter off at a little
over 5 gallons. Seal it up and shake the heck out of it to incorporate much-needed oxygen
into the wort. This is safe to do now that the wort is chilled and very important since it
provides the initial oxygen for aerobic yeast reproduction. When the wort is 70-75 degrees
(20-24C) pitch the yeast. Using a filter is not necessary if a whirlpool is used. A whirlpool is
simply when you stir the wort hard and let it spin in the boil kettle for 10 minutes right at
flame out (don't worry, the wort is still around 195 degrees, but still keep the lid on while it's
spinning to avoid contamination). This process uses centrifugal force to separate solids from
the wort just like a centrifuge in a chemistry lab. If the wort is drained off from the side of the
pot, no hops or trub will be poured into the fermenter.


Choose the yeast. If using a liquid yeast, a starter is recommended for healthier pitching
rates, although not necessary. If using dry yeast, rehydrate with warm water before pitching.


Transfer to a clean secondary. After 1-2 weeks of primary fermentation transfer to a clean
and sanitized secondary to clear the beer up and let it condition. Use a sanitized siphon to
get the beer from the primary to the secondary. The beer will have most of the alcohol in it
already so it will be more resistant to nasties in the air. Tips: Avoid sucking on the siphon



How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method: 17 Steps - wikiHow

and getting mouth germs into the beer. Definitely avoid splashing at this stage, since alcohol
is easily oxidized and will make the beer funky. If you can pump some CO2 gas (paintball
cartridge size will do) into and fill the secondary beforehand you are an ace and will have
the best beer transfer possible. Be careful, but realize you aren't getting ready to do surgery
or anything.


Bottle or keg the beer. Kegging much easier than bottling. It costs more money, but in the
end it saves you a lot of time. Soda kegs are used with a CO2 tank to pressurize. Clean and
sanitize the keg. Fill it with CO2 gas to provide a protective blanket (CO2 is heavier than
Oxygen and sinks, thus preventing the alcohol present from oxidizing) and gently siphon the
beer in. Seal the lid and chill it in your fridge down to at least 40 degrees. (this is not
necessary to chill it but the colder it is the more gas will dissolve into it). Hook it up to the
tank to pressurize to 20 psi. It will take about 1 hour of rolling the keg around under pressure
(while purging off excess pressure that builds up) to get the CO2 in the beer if you want to
drink it right away. Otherwise, let it sit for a couple days at 30 psi. If bottling is your method
of choice, soak bottles in PBW or your preferred cleanser for a few hours to remove organics
and make peeling off labels easier. Rinse well, then soak in Iodaphor or your preferred
sanitizer for at least 5 minutes. Do not rinse. Place bottles on sanitary dishwasher rack or
bottle tree to drip dry. Siphon your beer from the secondary carboy to a bottling bucket along
with a pre-boiled sugar water solution (1/3 to 1/2 cup of cane sugar to prime depending on
your desired level of carbonation). Cap each bottle with sanitized caps (boiling works fine)
and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 weeks, more if you have the patience.


Serve. Lower the pressure to 12 - 15 psi by purging off some gas from the gas inlet. The
easiest way to serve is using a cold plate in a cooler. No fridge and it is portable. Run the
lines through the cold plate and throw some ice on it. Then run a line with a tap out of the
cooler. It is still very important to keep a cold keg cold. Never let your beer warm up


Drink your creation. Notice how fresh your beer is. Notice how much better your fresh beer
is compared with even top micro brews in your area. If not, try again. You'll get there.




How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method: 17 Steps - wikiHow

An outdoor burner with a converted keg for boiling is a good investment. With a converted
keg you can double your batch size to 10 gallons.
Beers high in hops and/or malt age well at cellar temperature. Try setting aside a few bottles
from each batch and store them for 6 months to 2 years. You won't be disappointed!
OxyClean is said to work for cleansing similar to PBW. However, OxyClean is a sodium
percarbonate, and PBW is a sodium metasilicate. They are NOT the same.
Invest in soda kegs and build a kegerator, you'll probably have a lot more fun than messing
with bottles.
HOT LIQUOR: hot sugar water, the product of a mash
Five Star StarSan is one type of sanitizer. Recommended 1 oz per 5 gallons. Do not rinse.
User beware, however, this is an acid sanitizer so use care when handling. Many
experienced brewers don't use this sanitizer because of it's undesirably high level of
foaming. Not rinsing leaves this foam in your fermenters and bottles, giving your beer very
harsh off flavors. BTF Iodophor works just as well as Star San without the foam or harmful
effects to your skin, and only takes 2 minutes of contact time to sanitize. Use one cap full of
Iodophor per 5 gallons.
Don't get wrapped up in fancy equipment or nit picky methods until you have the concept of a
good process first. Concentrate on the overall basic process, keeping things clean and
quality ingredients.
Clean anything that the beer comes in contact with after the boil with PBW or your cleaner of
choice, then your sanitizer of choice. Fermenters and bottles should be cleaned thoroughly
and then sanitized.



How to Brew Beer Using All Grain Method: 17 Steps - wikiHow

It is amazing how different your beer will turn out with different strains of yeast. Experiment
with different stuff; you won't be disappointed.
When you get more experienced with single infusion mashing, try the next step up from that:
decoction mashing. It is the old German method used to create pilsners and bocks, and will
give you a noticeable increase in head retention, body, and malt profile.
Show 2 more tips

Don't be a hero and try to drink spoiled batches of beer. Some infections can arise from fungi
and bacteria harmful to humans in large enough doses. Just dump it out, learn from your
mistakes, and try again!
Don't confuse "clean" with "sanitary." Clean simply means just that -clean. Sanitary means
free of pathogens and fungi. Something that is clean may not be sanitary.
Be careful when rinsing with tap water not to assume your equipment will be sanitary
afterward. Most tap water contains trace amounts of pathogens not harmful to humans, but
will spoil a fermentation. That is why most sanitizers are "no-rinse."
Cleanliness is godliness but only when brewing beer.

Related wikiHows
How to Add Aroma Hops to Beer
How to Brew Your Own Beer
How to Enjoy the Taste of Beer
How to Brew Cheap Wine
How to Turn a Keg Into a Brew Kettle
How to Store Whole Grains

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