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Pirate Life Pale Ale - All grain brew


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Like @Paul84I'm experimenting with some all grain brews and bought a couple of small batches of grain today from Beerbelly here in Radelaide who are just fantastic to deal with. I did like the look of the Coopers Ale Malt sacks they were selling ... gonna need a bigger shed ...

I'll give the Pirate Life Pale Ale a go this weekend and the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale a try after Christmas when work hopefully settles down a little. The plan is to brew using BrewPrints when time poor or I just need excellent (or more) beer without the fuss, and all grain when time allows. I also have a few Coopers cans and like the idea of a Mr Beer kit too. I enjoy the process almost as much as the drinking, so the more skills in the repertoire the better.

The Pirate Life Pale Ale has quite a few hop additions and some water chemistry additions too. Should be interesting. It'll either be a great success or spectacular failure. 

Some photos from brew day will surely follow.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Dustin Frothman said:

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Like @Paul84I'm experimenting with some all grain brews and bought a couple of small batches of grain today from Beerbelly here in Radelaide who are just fantastic to deal with. I did like the look of the Coopers Ale Malt sacks they were selling ... gonna need a bigger shed ...

I'll give the Pirate Life Pale Ale a go this weekend and the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale a try after Christmas when work hopefully settles down a little. The plan is to brew using BrewPrints when time poor or I just need excellent (or more) beer without the fuss, and all grain when time allows. I also have a few Coopers cans and like the idea of a Mr Beer kit too. I enjoy the process almost as much as the drinking, so the more skills in the repertoire the better.

The Pirate Life Pale Ale has quite a few hop additions and some water chemistry additions too. Should be interesting. It'll either be a great success or spectacular failure. 

Some photos from brew day will surely follow.

 

 

From the look of the grains in the bags I think your going to wish you had purchased the grain “cracked”.

XL zip lock freezer bags and a rolling pin work well.

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Dustin,

This is great!  I have been considering all-grain brewing with the BeerDroid but I lack information on how to accomplish this in a 10-liter wort.  I have used steeping procedures with partial grain recipes, but I have not gone the whole way to mashing.  I hope you will keep us informed on your procedures and results, i.e., temperatures, volumes and ingredients.

Good luck on your endeavors.

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Do you suppose that BrewArt may someday provide kits for 10L partial grain and all-grain recipes?  They could label them as BrewCrafts or something more descriptive.  This would be directed at more advanced brewers and would require additional equipment.  For example, electric brew kettles for steeping or mashing, grain mills for cracking malted barley, etc.  Many of us already own these assets.  This would take full advantage of the BeerDroid and even the BrewFlo. 

Most of the available full-grain procedures are based on large batches which are challenging to those of us not well suited for lifting/carrying heavy vessels. 

Just a thought. 🙂

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Good thought but tell @Hambonehes just got out of that.

If you have 2 droids you can make up 20l all grain (really same effort as for 10l) and if you don’t want 20l of the same brew then then each 10l of wort can have different hops, different yeasts and/or addition of steeped malts.

Alternatively you can use theses food grade bags for 10l later on. I’ve used them for Coopers tins and have stored for weeks. Wort needs to go in around 75C and air extracted. They are reusable.

https://www.kegland.com.au/20l-hot-fill-wine-wort-cask-bladder-hot-cube-alternative-irradiated.html

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Captain 3 Droids said:

Good thought but tell @Hambonehes just got out of that.

If you have 2 droids you can make up 20l all grain (really same effort as for 10l) and if you don’t want 20l of the same brew then then each 10l of wort can have different hops, different yeasts and/or addition of steeped malts.

It's certainly a lot of work and I get it, some brewers eventually give up on all grain and go back to extract, partial mash etc. I guess it depends on what you enjoy doing with your time. I'm early 40's with no kids, very little family, a good job and often a lot of leisure time to be had when others are at work, so spending 5 hours making some wort from scratch is not a huge imposition on my life. But if you were a real adult with real responsibilities ;) then perhaps it'd all be too much and you'd just want to drink some beer.

I love making beer with Brewart ingredients and will continue to do so. It's so simple and the results speak for themselves. I also love adding to the Brewart range by steeping some grains and playing with Coopers extract tins etc. It'll be great to have all of these tools at my disposal and to be able to pick which one to use depending on how much time is available. I find the process of making beer (all of it, even cleaning!) really relaxing and a good excuse not to think too much for a few hours. My job requires fairly intense concentration (last night was certainly one out of the box!) and I'm often brain dead at the end of a shift so I like the contrast that brewing provides. I've always thought I'd like to own a little bar/pub in retirement and offer some house made craft beers and coffee (I'm a coffee geek too) and so I am trying to learn as much as I can about both processes in anticipation of this.

I couldn't agree more that 10L of wort is the same amount of work as 20 or 50 but the two issues I kept getting stuck on were gear size footprint and the requirement to cool a large volume of hot wort easily. Yes you can use our wonderful Aussie invention the 'no chill' method with a plastic cube but for hoppier beer styles it has some significant drawbacks.

As to @Thagomizer's suggestion, I tend to agree - there's an opportunity here for Coopers to have some crossover between their DIY Beer range and Brewart product line because those partial grain kits are available under the other branding and surely it wouldn't be a huge jump for them to package up Brewart grain kits too. I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about marketing so perhaps it's just that they want to keep the two lines very separate and stick to the original idea that the Brewart range was simple, ultra high quality beer with minimal effort. "Home Brew" still has a few connotations and scares off some types so I do get that side of it.

@Thagomizerthere are other online retailers and homebrew stores that will make up 10L all grain recipes for you, and there is software like Brewfather and Beersmith that can scale recipes down from 20 to 10L to suit the Droid should you wish.

Anyway, enough from me. My all grain brew day went quite well and the Droid is now doing its bit. I'll put some photos up later. Please don't hate on me too much for my choice of toys. 🍻

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@Dustin FrothmanWell expressed and as they say “Horses  for Courses”. 
Your certainly right about individuals ability, time, equipment etc in being able to brew with particular processes. I think it’s great your in a position to select various brewing methods and all grain brewing is an exciting challenge which opens up a whole new world in brewing outcomes.

 

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3 hours ago, Dustin Frothman said:

It's certainly a lot of work and I get it, some brewers eventually give up on all grain and go back to extract, partial mash etc. I guess it depends on what you enjoy doing with your time. I'm early 40's with no kids, very little family, a good job and often a lot of leisure time to be had when others are at work, so spending 5 hours making some wort from scratch is not a huge imposition on my life. But if you were a real adult with real responsibilities ;) then perhaps it'd all be too much and you'd just want to drink some beer.

 

Sweet, that's my out. I was just reading this thread thinking "how lazy are you not doing this" and I have a bit more of an understanding...five hours is definitely too much time but...I'd love to see the method of grain brews 

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1 hour ago, Rob Courtney said:

Sweet, that's my out. I was just reading this thread thinking "how lazy are you not doing this" and I have a bit more of an understanding...five hours is definitely too much time but...I'd love to see the method of grain brews 

Well yeah, you're a cricketer and that goes all day across a couple of weekends so it figures you'd be fairly committed already. Some people play golf, cycle (I do this too), but once you throw kids into the mix your leisure time becomes quite the scarce commodity.

It's certainly not a realistic option for everybody.

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1 minute ago, Dustin Frothman said:

Well yeah, you're a cricketer and that goes all day across a couple of weekends so it figures you'd be fairly committed already. Some people play golf, cycle (I do this too), but once you throw kids into the mix your leisure time becomes quite the scarce commodity.

It's certainly not a realistic option for everybody.

Still like to know how you do it though...I can always send the kids to boarding school...I threaten it enough

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Yeah it's the huge time suck that got to me in the end. It's not just the 5 hours of brew time on the day. Decidung what to Brew, the recipe creation/adjustment, planning, organising ingredients and ensuring all the equipment is in order. 

The plug and play nature of the Brewart is what I'm absolutely loving. I've not even bothered adjusting any of the Brewprints. Order and brew. It's fantastic. 

Cheers @Captain 3 Droids , for the input in the thread on the craft brewing forum. That's what got me here.

 

Bottoms up. 

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1 hour ago, Hambone said:

Yeah it's the huge time suck that got to me in the end. It's not just the 5 hours of brew time on the day. Decidung what to Brew, the recipe creation/adjustment, planning, organising ingredients and ensuring all the equipment is in order.

I quite enjoy that bit but as mentioned have plenty of time and energy for it - for now. Horses for courses as the Captain says.

I was going to post some photos of my brew day and processes but on reflection I don't think it's all that appropriate for this forum as it's not really what we're about here.

I'll post a photo of the beer when it's ready to drink. If it turns out ok then it'll be a great advertisement for the versatility of the BeerDroid as a fermenter. My other equipment and experimenting should not be the focus here.

🍻

 

 

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9 hours ago, Dustin Frothman said:

but on reflection I don't think it's all that appropriate for this forum as it's not really what we're about here.

I’ve had a good think about this and would suggest that talking about other methods of the Droids uses is acceptable here. The Droid is a unit that brilliantly converts any wort into wonderfull beers. A number of brewers have equipment and methods in place prior to the purchase of BeerDroids and BrewFlo’s. 
We have a main topic of BeerDroid General, we have threads about stainless steel kegs, customisation without BrewArt ingredients, kit recipes etc. 

Naturally Coopers would want the purchase of their ingredients however the sale of their units is not solely dependent upon this. This is a BrewArt Community forum consisting of singular or all or combination of BeerDroid, Beerflo, BrewPints, ingredients, accessories, equipment……

Its the same about BrewFlo, not all want to purchase that type of unit as they bottle, use stainless kegs, kegerator’s, kegmenter’s fridges etc. Personally  I don’t want 5l batches, 10l is what suits me.

I guess what I’m saying is I see nothing wrong about discussing wort methods, beer containment for consumption and cooling methods. It all leads to a strong focus on BrewArt in particular the “Droid”

So please reconsider, I and believe other would be interested in your occasional journeys down the all grain path. All grain has been discussed here in the past. 
 

Thoughts of others?

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4 hours ago, Captain 3 Droids said:

I’ve had a good think about this and would suggest that talking about other methods of the Droids uses is acceptable here. The Droid is a unit that brilliantly converts any wort into wonderfull beers. A number of brewers have equipment and methods in place prior to the purchase of BeerDroids and BrewFlo’s. 
We have a main topic of BeerDroid General, we have threads about stainless steel kegs, customisation without BrewArt ingredients, kit recipes etc. 

Naturally Coopers would want the purchase of their ingredients however the sale of their units is not solely dependent upon this. This is a BrewArt Community forum consisting of singular or all or combination of BeerDroid, Beerflo, BrewPints, ingredients, accessories, equipment……

Its the same about BrewFlo, not all want to purchase that type of unit as they bottle, use stainless kegs, kegerator’s, kegmenter’s fridges etc. Personally  I don’t want 5l batches, 10l is what suits me.

I guess what I’m saying is I see nothing wrong about discussing wort methods, beer containment for consumption and cooling methods. It all leads to a strong focus on BrewArt in particular the “Droid”

So please reconsider, I and believe other would be interested in your occasional journeys down the all grain path. All grain has been discussed here in the past. 
 

Thoughts of others?

100% agree on this. What is being done is still using the main piece of equipment that has brougt us all together, people are using cans to make beers and post on it (granted Coopers at least sells cans but I can see it being a market Coopers gets into...getting old style brewers over using a better piece of equipment.

I'd suggest something along the line of encouraging processes that bypass anything to do with Brewart as being something not acceptable...and for fear of using corporate wank buzz words, brewing is organic in its concept, it continues to grow into different pathways and Breart is an example of this, they now sell dry hops, use different equipment t faciltate it, I can see a time where they go "old style brewers, we hear you".

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Ok then, well put @Captain 3 Droids and @Rob Courtney

So here's my tale then - I bought the same 19L stockpot kettle that Paul has and have tried a couple of brew in a bag wort recipes made up as 10L all grain kits. They work quite well but I'm yet to drink the beers as they're not quite ready. Overall I found the process to be a bit messy. It was tricky to control the variables precisely and there was a large margin for error with almost every step. Boiling wort on the kitchen stove and then cooling in the laundry trough seems a little like dancing with a disaster just waiting to happen. I decided after a couple of goes that this wasn't really for me and I wanted to do things a little "better".

I'll try not to ramble too much here justifying the hardware purchases I've made, but what I will say is that there's a massive gap in the market for an electric single vessel system that can easily, safely and consistently make small batches. There's also some questionable build quality and product development going on. I won't single out any particular manufacturers or products because that's not my style, but you need only do some cursory web research and talk to experienced home brewers to know who, what and which things I'm alluding to.

Anyway, I looked very seriously at the Guten, Brewzilla, Grainfather, Nano Brewery, and Brewtools systems. Most couldn't do 10L without significant compromises and many required 15A power supplies and would relegate you to brewing outside or in the garage or shed. I don't have a garage and I don't have the "shed" we have planned for this house yet so that was a personal limitation. For now I would like to keep my brewing in the house, and if (big if) my career prospects pick up again and we have the opportunity to relocate overseas as planned, then I'd like to be able to brew in an apartment or on an apartment balcony.

After much deliberation I did the "buy once, cry once" thing and bought a Braumeister. The thing is built like a German tank. The design is not dissimilar to any of the other options but the build quality is at the premium end of the spectrum. I also like that they are completely modular so that when the pump fails you can replace it; when the element fails you can replace that; when the controller fails you can replace that too. With many of the cheaper options once a component dies you're stuffed and you end up with landfill or a DIY project.

So enough of my justifying but please feel free to ask any questions about the gear if you're interested, or criticise my choices, or tell me that good brewers can make decent beer on anything, or that they all just make wort etc. I have heard them all and I'm still quite chuffed with my decision. After one extremely successful brew day on it I can say that I don't regret the purchase one bit and am looking forward to many all grain brew days in future.

The more exciting bit - the beer making:

The Grainfather electric grain mill is a game changer. I borrowed my neighbour's manual mill for the first couple of all grain attempts and even when you connect to a battery operated drill the results are a bit so so. The right tool for the job makes it quick and painless. I had the grain milled in about 2 minutes and the crush was exactly what the Braumeister requires for maximum efficiency - 1.6mm

The rest is fairly straightforward. I used Brewfather to scale a Pirate Life Pale Ale clone recipe down to produce 11L of wort in the kettle. I can post the Brewfather run sheet for anyone that's really interested. 

I got my suburb's water profile from SA water and the software calculates the adjustments you need to make with various salts - in this instance for a "hoppy" beer.

The ingredients were Ale, Munich, Carared and Acidulated malts. Magnum, Cascade and Mosaic hops. Fermentis SafAle US-05 yeast and a dry hop with Cascade and Mosaic.

The Braumeister is really quick to heat up and the temperature is incredibly stable. It could perhaps benefit from some further insulation and there is a "jacket" available to purchase or you could probably make one easily. I'm more inclined to just buy the purpose made one and cop the premium. The distributor won't have any in stock until next year so that's a purchase for another day.

The controller is brilliant. Once you've transferred your recipe to the unit via their software you can either control it from your computer/phone/tablet and then walk away until the next milestone in the recipe is reached. I was able to do all the usual Saturday morning tasks around the house and in the garden and be alerted to come back to the unit when necessary. To be fair to the other offerings out there, the Grainfather also does this and the touted next generation of Brewzilla should have similar functionality. Either way, I like and am both qualified and conversant in all things tech and similar to the tech advantages offered by the BeerDroid, these features really appeal to me.

I was probably a little impatient when lautering/sparging the grain. The Braumester literature suggests 15 - 20 minutes to complete this step. The grain is packed fairly tight in the malt pipe and it takes a while for all the wort to run off. I put the malt pipe with spent grain outside on the lid of a plastic pail and later when cleaning up noticed quite a lot of liquid had continued to run off after I thought it was done. I undershot my 10L of wort to the fermenter ever so slightly; perhaps 200ml, and I think this is why, so my lesson has been learned for the next brew.

Otherwise the process was so straightforward I felt like it was cheating. The recipe had called for a step mash and once programmed the controller handled this beautifully. After the boil using the boil hood and some 100mm ducting I bought separately to channel the steam out of the house, there was a 30 min hop stand for aroma. I chilled the wort down using the cooling jacket to 75C, added the hops and then the controller held the temperature precisely for the 30 minutes and notified once complete. It took about 15 minutes to chill down to < 30C all the while watering the garden via the outlet hose with the spent tap water.

One criticism of the Braumeister is the flat bottom of the kettle and position of the tap. Some users employ a pump or siphon to extract the wort without picking up the hop matter that settles following the whirlpool. The 10L Braumeister being the smallest unit doesn't employ the pump for this so the transfer of wort to your fermenter is performed via gravity only and it's useful to strain through a sanitised hop sock or sieve to prevent transferring any unwanted matter.

Once the wort was in the Droid I programmed a recipe and chilled it down to <25 C before pitching the yeast. Fermentation started within a couple of hours and even though I've posted elsewhere that the sight glass on the Droid is a bit of a novelty, it has been very pleasing to see just how clear the wort is through it. I'd probably argue that it's the clearest of anything I've fermented in the Droid so far.

Clean up was really straightforward. One of the great things about the small Braumeister is that you can put most of the parts in the dishwasher. I did this and then after a quick hose down outside, cleaned up the remainder of the kettle in the laundry trough.

All up the process probably took about 5 hours but there's plenty of opportunities for efficiencies including using the controller to preheat the water on a timed schedule so it's ready to go first thing. Because it was my first go I took my time with all of it and probably watched on more than I needed to. I know I'll get faster as I gain proficiency but overall it was a really enjoyable and fairly relaxed morning.

The most important test will be how the finished beer turns out, but even if its crap I certainly enjoyed myself and it's given me a great deal of confidence to continue learning and experimenting further with all grain recipes.

I'll let you know how the beer tastes in about a month's time.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Captain 3 Droids said:

Great post Dustin, excellent photos.

(Ps haven’t seen the “approved” notation before?)

I think the post is still hidden.

As a Moderator you may have to explicitly select an “approved” option to get it to display in the thread.

At at guess it’s because I included so many photos.

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Just now, Dustin Frothman said:

I think the post is still hidden.

As a Moderator you may have to explicitly select an “approved” option to get it to display in the thread.

At at guess it’s because I included so many photos.

Hidden alright because I can't see it. Wish I could because what @Dustin Frothman is doing here is very interesting to me.

 

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4 hours ago, Captain 3 Droids said:

Done, ok now

Yup, I can see it now thank you @Captain 3 Droids .

Great post @Dustin Frothman, one of the best things I have read on this forum in my short time here.

I will be following your exploits with great interest and the fact that you think it can be done in an apartment is very encouraging.

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4 hours ago, Hambone said:

Geez you weren't kidding when you said you cry once at purchase of this equipment. But a great piece of kit. Certainly a lot different than the $400 single vessel I had. 

Yep, you definitely do not need to spend that sort of money to brew all grain. But if it lasts and makes the job easy and enjoyable then I think it's worth the spend. 

It is certainly an impressive bit of gear. I hope the beer turns out well. I'm certain that if it doesn't it won't be the equipment. 😆

 

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