My new All Grain brew Tower !

Discussion in 'Beer & Ale' started by jno51, May 14, 2013.

  1. jno51

    jno51 Smoking Fanatic

    Well, I have to apologize for not taking pictures during the build. I get carried away when I work and gawk after I finish, which means it elboys and assholes till I am finished. I have not learned to smell the roses along the way, just kick back and drink to that when I'm finished. Anyway heres how it turned out.[​IMG]

  2. Jno51 I'm a lot lost on that rigging but then again I don't know anything about making home brew Then again I do know a lot about drinking it. Could you please walk me through that tower thing It is a pretty thing and I would love to taste some of the finished product. Thanks  
  3. jno51

    jno51 Smoking Fanatic

    Hogrider, it's a system for brewing all grain beer vs extract brews, which include liquide malts. The top keg on the left is my water tank, also referred to as a strike tank. The middle cooler on the right side is where you put your grains to steep just as you would tea so to speak. And the bottom keg is your brew kettle. Ok depending on the size of batch you brew, and with this set up I can brew either a 5 or 10 gallon batch.

    and depending on the size of batch determines how much water you will need to brew with.

    So we heat our water in the top keg to a certian temp, and once it reaches our strike temperature we will start running that water into the cooler and mixing in our grains to steep, which will provide the sugar and starches we need to brew with to make our beer. Once the cooler reaches our desired level of hot water and all of our grains are stirred in, we put the lid on and let it steep anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on style and type of beer we are brewing. Then we will start the process of sparging , removing the liquide from the cooler into the bottom keg to where we accululate the required amount of what we call wart, from the cooler to boil to make our beer. Now to reach the right amount of wart from the cooler you also have to feed hot water out of your strike tank..... into the cooler..... which runs into your boil keg, all at the same time. Now the water in your strike tank is at a certain temp as it runs into the cooler. This process should take approx 45 min to an hour also. Once we have the desired amount of wart to brew with we start the brewing process and adding in our hops which gives our beer it's bitterness, aroama and flavor.  This process can take an hour up to an hour and a half again depending on the style and type. After the brew stage you have to chill or cool the hot wort down to a certain temp around 70 to 75 degrees at which time you add the yeast for fermintation seal it off and let it set for a few weeks before you keg or bottle it. I hope others will chim in here as well.

    This was a very short coarse. There is a little more to it, but You prolly get the just of it. IT"S WELL WORTH TE TIME AND EFFORT ! It is a craft and ADDICTING !
  4. bdawg

    bdawg Smoke Blower

    Nice System!. 

    Another name for the Strike Tank is the "Hot Liquor Tank" or HLT.

    The Cooler is the Mash Tun.  Steeping the grains in there in hot water at controlled temps is called "mashing".  This allows the enzymes that are naturally present in the grain to kick in and work their magic convert the starches in the grains into sugar. 

    Temp is really important here, which is why a cooler is nice because the insulation helps keep the temp steady.  Different enzymes are active at different temps.  Some are good at breaking up proteins so that you get a nice head on the beer (among other things).  Others are good at breaking up the starches.   In particular, there are 2 enzymes, called Alpha and  Beta Amylase, which act on the starch chains.  

    Alpha Amylase can pretty much chop the starches at random, so you get lots of dextrins of various sizes, both short and medium chained sugars.  Beta amylase works on the ends of the starches, like pac-man, creating lots of little sugars and thereby creating primarily a very fermentable wort.  The beta is most active from about 131F to about 148F or so.  The Alpha amylase is most active from about 152F to about 158F. 

    Remember, those temperature bands are where they are MOST active, but they are also active in the nearby temps around those bands.  So, if you hit that temperature slot in between the two enzymes' temperature ranges, you allow BOTH enzymes to work together to get a wort that has a good mix of dextrins and sugars, so you end up with a medium bodied beer.  By going a bit higher temp, you favor Alpha so you get a thicker beer, since there are more longer chain sugars.  By going a little lower, you favor Beta amylase, so you get fewer chunks and more simple, fermentable sugars, and hence a thinner beer.

    Basically, you can "design" how the beer ends up by simple little variations like this.

    After mashing, you rinse or "sparge" the grains to get the sugars out of the mash and into the kettle.

    Boiling helps stabilize the wort and sanitize it, among a few other things.

    Hops are added at different times during the boil to provide different effects.  When hops are first added to the boil, the hot water helps bring out a lot of volatile aroma.  As they boil longer, more of the aroma is driven off and you extract more hop flavor out of the hops.  If you leave them in even longer, even the flavors are volatized out, and the alpha acids that are in the hops are converted into iso-alpha acids which provide bitterness to the beer.  So, by adding different amounts of hops early, mid-time, and very late in the boil, you can vary the mix of bitterness, flavor, and aroma you get in the finished product.  Different varieties of hops have different bitterness, flavor, and aroma characteristics, and as such they can greatly affect the final flavor/aroma profile of the beer.

    Maybe someone else can chime in on yeast and fermentation. 

  5. jno51

    jno51 Smoking Fanatic

    Great post Bdawg,

    Good Friends, Good forum, Good advise and Good Beer. Good BBQ as well ! [​IMG]
  6. I actually don't sparge at all.  I have a big enough cooler where I just up the grain to water ratio to between 2.0-2.5 l/lbs.  Obviously this would not be possible at a brewery but that is the great thing about homebrewing.

    As far a fermentation, 70-75 degree wort would probably work for most ale yeasts but it really depends on the strain of yeast you are using.  A saison yeast for instance will create a different beer if you ferment at 70 then if you ferment at 75+.  Most american ale yeast recommend that you ferment around high 60's low 70's.  A lager on the other hand needs to be fermented in the mid to high 50's.  If you ferment a lager at ale temperatures the yeast will throw all sorts of off flavors in to your beer, such as sulfur.

    Here is a good site about temperatures for yeast:
  7. Thanks Jno51 I think I'll stick to just drinking  and leave that technical stuff to you thanks for the crash course in brewing Ed
  8. If you want to start homebrewing, just keep in mind that there is a huge water requirement relative to the amount of actual beer you'll produce. Typically, on average, you'll use 5 to 7 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of beer. There's all the background chores like sterilization, cooling, rinsing, etc that takes up a lot of it.

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