I made my first all-grain beer yesterday. The setup I used was less than ideal, particularly given the volume of grain I used and the size of pans available to me (I’m doing this in someone else’s kitchen), and so my efficiency wasn’t great (I got about 20% less extract from the grains than I had hoped), but ok for a first go.
Still, I’m inspired, and with a better setup will be able to mash with much better efficiency and results. I suffered from not being able to stir the grist (grains and water), or being able to sparge (rinse) the grains fully, simply because I had five pounds of grain and 5 quarts of water in a 1.5-2 gallon (US) pot. This wasn’t really big enough (I should have done a smaller batch probably), which caused my loss in efficiency, but it was a starting point.
The point that I take away from this though, is that you can all grain brew with a basic setup – everything you’d need for extract brewing, you just need to use it differently and do a few extra jobs.
I decided to make this after learning about yarrow. Yarrow is an ancient plant, that is naturally antiseptic, will stop bleeding and contains thujone, the active chmeical found in absinthe. As I recently learned, this is a true ale as it doesn’t use hops (these were sometimes called gruit). I adapted the recipe from self-sufficientish and used the tables from Charles Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewing to formulate the ingredients and quantities for a pale ale.
It came out a little dark for a pale ale, so I suppose this is a ‘not quite pale ale. This is as a result of boiling dark green foliage in with the malts.
3 lbs malt extract (three jars)
4 oz crushed crystal malt
4 oz fresh yarrow leaves
2 Gallons (9 litres) water
I boiled the malt extract and crushed malt with the yarrow for 1/2 hour in approx 1 gallon water, then topped up to 2 gallons (uk) with cold water. Ale yeast added when cooled to below 24 degrees C.
OG: 1.039 (should be around 4%)
The recipe laid out in full with process and details on colour.