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All-Grain #1 – American Pale Ale (SNPA)

November 13, 2009

ALL GRAIN TIME!!!

Many weeks of reading and researching about different techniques came to fruition last weekend with my first all-grain batch of beer being brewed. It was a lot of fun and went surprisingly well – but not without my fair share of newbie all-grain issues….mainly due to being overly cautious with Beersmith; read on to find out! 🙂

Firstly, lets start with the recipe….

For my first AG, I felt it important that I didn’t go with anything overly fancy but still tried to incorporate some things I have never used in brewing before. I chose a recipe based closely around the notable American brew “Sierra Nevada Pale Ale”.

  • 4.25kg JW Traditional Ale Malt
  • 0.85kg JW Munich Malt
  • 0.45kg JW Wheat Malt
  • 0.25kg JW Light Crystal Malt
  • 21g Pearle @ 90mins
  • 32g Cascade & 1/2 Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 15mins 
  • 20g Cascade @0mins
  • 20g Cascade – Dry Hop after primary fermentation
  • Proculture PRO10 – Sierra Ale (1L Starter)

I mashed in @ 68°C – very happy that I hit my target temp first go (and after a couple of days previous where I was struggling to seal and calibrate my Mashmaster thermometer, I was glad to see it being registered correctly- and without any leaks! :))

I batch sparged for this brew and pulled out the expected pre-boil volume of 29L. About halfway through the boil I started to get a little worried at the rate the boil was evaporating – it seemed to be loosing a lot of volume. I had anticipated a bit more evaporation loss than normal (and I entered this into beersmith to affect sparge volumes) but it seems I grossly underestimated my new burners ability to boil.

At the end of the boil, I ended up with a little under 16L in the cube for no-chilling – that equated to just over 13L(!!!!) evaporated over the course of 90mins!!!! Needless to say, my OG reading was a lot higher than anticipated; approx. 1.082….instead of the planned 1.052. To combat this, I added an extra 3L to the batch which brought the pre-pitch OG to 1.072 (23L in fermenter)…still much higher than anticipated.

At this stage, I realised that I had forgotten to take a SG reading pre-boil. If I had remembered to do this, I would have also found that my efficiency was WAY higher than I had expected from my first AG. After hearing that lots of people tend to undershoot their efficiency on the first AG, I set my ‘Brewhouse Efficiency’ in Beersmith to 60%….biiiig mistake. In the end, my actual efficiency was 83% – great news for my first brew! But bad news for my first brew 😦 hahah

Pitched a large starter of Proculture PRO-10 (Sierra Ale). It shouldn’t have a problem with the higher alchol content. Was off like a light in about 5 hours.

So….what have I learnt from my first AG experience:

  1. Do a test boil with water to see what your evaporation rate is when you get new equipment
  2. Don’t listen to what other people have problems with for their first AG – JUST GET IN AND DO IT!
  3. Don’t fiddle with Beersmith settings that I am not confident about! hahah
  4. Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew !! (RDWHAHB)

Overall I had a blast with All-Grain Brewing and I am sure that this brew, whilst no longer a Sierra Nevada style clone, will turn out interesting and could even be a good beer in itself. Keeping the records of this one to make sure I can replicate it if needs be!

Next brew is going to be fairly soon after this one as I really want another crack at this particular recipe now that I have located the issues I had with the first one.

18 November
Racked this to secondary and dry-hopped the remaining cascade –  mmmmm smells great. Sneaked a small taste from the hydrometer sample; not too bad! Quite strong at this stage but the flavours are there. I stumbled upon a nickname for this recipe – it is now known as the SN(I)PA! I is for Imperial ahhahaha

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4 Comments
  1. padden permalink

    Well done Matt, sounds like it all went pretty well! Might have to call this one an IPA though mate with that OG!!! Should be around 7.5% 🙂

  2. nice one mate… i set my efficiency to 65% and seems about right for the numbers im pulling out… i dream of hitting numbers like 83%!!

  3. flash_dg permalink

    good job mate! Can’t wait till I can do my first AG

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