Sunday, February 24, 2013

All Grain Starter

I'm going to say this now, I love the process of brewing. This ranges all the way from the recipe formulation, buying ingredients, making the starter and the brew-day but not bottling upon which I hate. This was one of the main reasons I eventually went all grain as I wanted more challenges and more things to do for a brew day. This should go some way to explain why I am going to the extra hassle of making an all grain starter when I could just as easily use DME instead.
Approx 400g of pale malt.

Heat water to 152F

I weighed out 400g of crushed maris otter malted grain, bear in mind I have over estimated the amount needed to take into account my normally poor mashing efficiency of 50%. Using the kettle and a thermometer I heated 1.5L of water to 155 degrees F and added it to the grains. The temperature dropped a little bit after adding the water to the grains to I brought it back up to 152F on the stove. I recently purchased an infra-red thermometer for quick and clean temperature measurement. If you look at the image below, you can see how far out it is! I wont be using it for any precise measurements that is for sure...

Infra red vs Digital ?
Oven Thermometer
While raising the temperature of the mash to the correct temp, I preheated the oven to approx 150F or as close to that as I could get. I don't  trust the temperature dial on my oven so I also put a metal thermometer into the oven with the pot of grain. I set the timer for 60 minutes and left it to do its thing.I had to adjust the oven temperature dial a few times to get the temperature to settle around 155F. After an hour I took out the grains and rinsed them with 1L of 165F water. This left me with approximately 2L of wort with an OG of 1036 which will climb a bit after boiling.
Boiling the starter with 5g of Hops
Beware of boil overs when bringing the wort up to the boil. I added a handful of hops to the boil as a few times I have had starters smell a bit sour before pitching. The reasoning is that the antibacterial properties of hops tend to act as a preservative keeping the starter fresher for longer. I also like that it makes the starter making process a bit more like a brew day too. :) 
Non contact measurement
 While the wort was boiling I put water in my conical flask and brought it to the boil with the funnel and stir bar in it also. The boiling water and steam will sufficiently sanitise the equipment so that it can take the wort which was strained as it was added.  This was added to a sink full of cold water for cooling and I was able to keep a (very rough) eye on the temperature of the wort with the infra red thermometer. This allows me to get an idea of the temperature without having to worry about sanitising a thermometer. When the wort had cooled to pitching temperatures I poured out a small amount into the slanted vial of yeast. I then shook it for a few minutes to dislodge the yeast from the slant. That mixture was the pitched into the conical flask and put onto my stir plate for a minimum of 48 hours.
Mixing wort in the slant


1 comment:

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