Last weekend (on the 5th, actually), I brewed my first all-grain batch of homebrew, effectively taking my new mash tun setup on a test drive. Overall, I have to say it was fairly successful and ridiculously easy.
I brewed a Porter, basing the recipe on a Black Butte Porter clone I found in an old Brew Your Own magazine, and followed the batch sparging technique outlined in John Palmer’s How to Brew (which is a must-have brewing book, by the way). I kept good notes, observing some of the fluctuations in temperature the system might tend toward, and I’m pretty impressed with the whole affair. (Of course, I kept to a fairly simple regimen of a single-step infusion mash at 152° for one hour.)
The only gotcha is that I missed the original gravity mark of 1.058, instead coming in at 1.044—due to, I realized later, not using the PPG extract number of 28 that Palmer gives for batch sparging and instead assuming the default PPG of (on average) 34. The solution is simple: increase the grain next time.
I racked it to the secondary last night, and the gravity reading was pretty impressive: 1.005, much lower than I would have estimated, which pushes the potential alcohol content to about 5.1% rather than the 4.2% or so I was expecting from the lower OG.
Plus, it tasted really good, which is more than enough to sell me on this whole all-grain thing.
I’m not entirely sure what my next new batch will be (besides another porter with adjusted grain amounts), but now that I’m set up for it I’m kind of itching to try a Belgian Wit.