I've been sad that I couldn't do all grain because I only have a 5 gal pot. Then I realized that I can absolutely do a smaller batch to get my feet wet until I can afford that big brew kettle. So I built the mash tun and made an immersion chiller while I was at it. I created the recipe using Brewtarget and scaled for the 4.5 gal maximum I could boil.
Anyway, this is what I came up with for my first all grain brew. I wanted to keep it simple and basic. We'll see how it tastes and then work on repeating it. Once I can repeat it well I will begin with simple modifications. Then I will take over the world.....or just drink beer.
So far I've learned a lot. The mash process was fun and interesting. I will be working on reducing liquid loss in the tun for sure.
Fermentation just didn't seem to be happening. The yeast packet says to just sprinkle on the wort. Instead I took about a third of the packet and stirred it in, sprinkled the rest on top. Wort was at 73*, right in the range the yeast had called for. Nothing.
By Tuesday I decided to buy another packet of yeast. Sprinkled all on top. Two more days of nothing.
Then I brought the fermenter in to the kitchen. Within 30 minutes the airlock was speaking to me. Within two hours it was speaking loudly. It seems that this yeast doesn't like the cold of the 56* beer closet. The kitchen is always either 68* or 62* (programmable thermostat for the house) and it likes this much better.
So now that I have a 10 gallon pot and grain mill on order, I know what the next area of focus will be. It's time to start thinking about temperature control. I want to do it as green a possible. Insulation. Digital temperature monitoring and control using the Arduino. Could be fun.
Update: A week after bottling we tried two of these. The beer is amazingly clear with a color that is a very dark amber, not quite brown. There is a very fruity smell. Unfortunately they both tasted like vinegar. I'm not sure the cause, maybe sanitation. Maybe too high of fermentation temp? Maybe I got overanxious and overpitched the yeast? I'm thinking that it had something to do with the point at which I added that second packet of yeast and that the vigorous fermentation could have been a clue that something went wrong.