Monday, April 30, 2012

How To Make Beer - All Grain Steps

The picture above is a good example of what a "true" all grain brewer would be getting into. A lot more equipment and time, but a better control over your beer. On the other hand, if you want to try brewing an all-grain beer without too much of an investment, visit J. Kelly's Homepage. Nice little set-up for very little cost. Personally, I use the partial mashing technique because it saves time and I also don't want to take up a lot of space with my hobby. Keeps the wife happy. Here are the steps in making an all-grain beer:

1. Heat 1 1/3 quarts of water for every pound of grain. The temperature should be around 160 - 170 degrees F.

2. Mix in the crushed grains and stir well.

3. Temperature at this point should be 150 - 158 degrees F and water pH should be 5 - 5.5

4. Hold this temperature for about 60 - 90 minutes to get a full starch conversion.

5. In another kettle, heat up 2 quarts of water per pound of grain

6. After the starch conversion, raise the temperature to 160 - 170 degrees F. Keep at this
temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

7. Ladle the mash into a lauter tun. A lauter tun is basically another kettle that has a false bottom that allows the wort through and keeps the grains behind. Think big strainer.

8. As the mash is draining in the lauter tun, take a sauce pan and draw off about 2 quarts of wort and add it back into the lauter tun. This is call recirculation and what recirculation does is filter out any large particles. This will take about 10 - 15 minutes and by that time you should have a clear liquid. Add this to your brewpot.

9. Next begin to slowly add the sparge water (step 5) and allow it drain down through the grains. This will take between 45 - 60 minutes. So you might as well grab a beer by this time. Add the liquid to your brewpot. At this point you should have 6 to 7 gallons of wort if doing a 5 gallon batch.

10. Boil the wort for about 60 to 90 minutes and add the hops and other ingredients according to your recipe.

11. Chill the wort. Most "All-Grainers" use a wort chiller. Siphon the wort to your primary fermenter and add yeast.

As you can see, there is a lot of time involved. If you are using a hand cranked crusher, doing 10 pounds of grain will take some time. Hopefully, you can get your partner involved in this and make a day of it. Because, in most cases, it will take almost a good 8 hours.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

6 Features Your Kitchen Compost Pail Should Have


  • A lid that fits tightly.

  • Enough space to fit your food scraps.

  • Style – which is debatable.

  • Easily washable.

  • Easily transportable. Preferably with a handle.

  • Fits on your kitchen counter or close to your cutting board.

Read More at the Urban Organic Gardner

Monday, April 23, 2012

Planting Garlic

Photo by Linda N.

Garlic can be planted from fall to early spring, although hardneck varieties prefer to be in the ground during a cold winter.

Garlic grows best in deep, fertile well-drained soil. To plant, separate the cloves from each bulb and place pointy end up 1-2 inches below the surface of the soil and about 3-4 inches apart. Mulch the area and keep the garlic moist.

Garlic will be ready to harvest in summer when the flower stalks of hardneck garlic stand up straight or when the leaves of softneck garlic begin to turn yellow. Allow garlic to dry for several weeks before storing or using in your cooking.

Read More: Celebrate National Garlic Month - Vegetable Gardener