All-Grain Brew Day Walkthrough (I: Strike Water)

IMG_2938Starting this week, I’ll post a series of articles walking readers through an all-grain brew day. Hopefully this will give beginning all-grain brewers — especially those who don’t have access to a homebrew club or a friend who brews — a guide to their first all-grain brew day. For intermediate all-grain brewers, it will hopefully provide a list of options to explore. I’ll focus mostly on the process itself, only mentioning theory when it explains the motivation for a step or provides some interesting information that is not well-known.

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Partial Mash Methods (Brewpot Mashing with Colander Lautering)


A colander sits above a 5-gallon (~20-L) brewpot. The grains were mashed in the small pot while sparge water heated in the medium pot.

As I mentioned in my previous article, partial mashing provides many benefits, especially for extract brewers. Procedurally, it is very similar to steeping specialty grains — you just need to hold your temperatures and liquid volumes within a certain range. There are a wide variety of ways that homebrewers perform partial mashes. Today I’ll explain one of the most common ways for stovetop brewers to do a partial mash. All you need is a steeping bag to hold the crushed grains and a colander large enough to fit on top of your brewpot. Standard spaghetti-draining-sized colanders will fit over many pots around 5 gallons (~20 L) in volume This method works best for partial mashes with 2–4 lbs. (~1–2 kg) of grain. I’ll explain tomorrow another method for performing larger partial mashes without switching to a full-sized, homebrew mash/lauter tun.

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