Well, time to graduate. Serious home brewers don’t bother with liquid or dry malt extract kits to make beer; just like good cooks who make everything from scratch, so do they. If you’ve ever wondered about beer all grain brewing, read on! I took the plunge, bought a few bags of malted barley, a grain crusher, and some other odds and ends so as to make my own scratch beer!
The method I use is called BIAB – or “brew in a bag”. It’s a simple and cheap way to get into all-grain. An advantage of brewing from scratch is the flexibility of creating and modifying the recipe. Add more hops, use various grains, whatever yeast you want… all these affect flavour, head retention, mouth feel, etc. So – first l ground up 11 pounds of Canadian 2-row. This is the base flavour. Then I ground up a pound of Crystal 40 to add some character, and additionally, I toasted 8 ounces of 2-row in the oven, and ground that up as well.
A little explanation here: what brewers call “2-row” has to do with the physical and chemical make-up of the malt. Physically, the grains are lined up in 2 rows on the stock. There is also one called “6-row”. Chemically, the difference between 2 and 6-row is the amount of protein they contain: 6-row has slightly more than 2-row.
So, the pictures pretty well explain themselves; I’ve added some captions so the uninitiated can get some context…
And that’s it! Once the wort is cooled to 70 degrees F. it gets transferred to a fermenting bucket where the yeast is added. It takes longer brewing from scratch, but the rewards are worth it!