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Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

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Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby k1100t » Sun May 22, 2011 10:05 pm

So I did my first all grain brew today and it went as well as could be expected. Slightly too much wort and not enough gravity, but that's sort of what I was expecting. Anyway, my main problem is that it took 7¾ hours from switching on the boiler to heat the mash liquor, to putting away the cleaned and sterilised equipment. I promised my wife that the brewing wouldn't get in the way of family life and I've pissed her off royally. Assuming that with experience I cut that time down to 7 hours, when am I supposed to brew that wont impact family life...? Is it possible to mash one evening and then boil the wort the following evening, or is that too much of a gap...?

Cheers,

Bob.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby staplefordbill » Sun May 22, 2011 10:22 pm

That's a very good time for a first mash! I struggle to manage it all in under 8 hours (including water treatment, hulking equipment into and out of the kitchen) and I've made over a dozen.

To answer your question, boiling a full day after mashing may be problematic. You'll be fine if you mash in the evening and boil the following morning. Have a read of http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=41731.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby scuppeteer » Sun May 22, 2011 10:27 pm

When I'm short of time I quite often mash in the evening and boil the following morning.
Say you get the mash going by 8pm on a Friday evening, you should have it all wrapped up by 10.30pm sparge an all. If you want you can let it drain overnight back into the boiler.
Then get up around 6.30 Saturday morning get the boil going and you should all be done by 10ish (not forgetting to get swmbo a cuppa in bed).Or get one of those timers to plug the boiler into and set it to come on 1/2 hour or so before you want to get up. I've never left a mash a whole day but I'm sure someone has. Just make sure no nasties can get in to the wort when you leave it.
Next time you do a brew make notes of timings so you plan around the various stages. You don't have to stand and watch once you know how long each stage takes.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby k1100t » Sun May 22, 2011 11:36 pm

Thanks for the info, I'll check out the split brew day thing and see if it can work for me.

Cheers,

Bob.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby 196osh » Mon May 23, 2011 12:37 am

You get much quicker at doing thing after you have done them for a while dude.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby Beer O'Clock » Mon May 23, 2011 12:42 am

Forget it. Pack them off to the Grandparents or sell them for medical experimentation :evil:
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby k1100t » Mon May 23, 2011 1:31 am

Beer O'Clock wrote:Forget it. Pack them off to the Grandparents or sell them for medical experimentation :evil:


Tempting, tempting... ;-)
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby Bribie » Mon May 23, 2011 5:40 am

I generally do a full size BIAB brew in around 4 hours from dough-in, plus 20 mins for clean up (one pot method). Heating the strike water in my case is a simple case of switching on the electric urn and walking away, can even set it roughly on the temp dial and forget about it until ready.

Just sayin' :twisted:
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby dean_wales » Mon May 23, 2011 10:52 am

You are not alone! I and many others on here have the same problem...

I find that being tied up brewing for a few hours one evening and the next morning is much better than taking up a whole weekend day. I have planned it out to anal lengths to reduce time (I can post my regime again if needed) but its basically as follows:

In advance or whenever you have time:
If have the space or a shed set up your gear, weigh out your ingredients and water etc.
If possible clean and sanitise FV, hydrometers etc and seal it up.

Friday eveing:
Have a timer bring water to temperature ready for when you want to start. For me at about 7pm.
Get the mash on and set things up ready for sparging. Then go and catch some telly with the mrs.
Do the sparge and run it into the boiler. Clear up a bit and then seal the boiler and insulate well and go to bed at 10pm/11pm.

Sat morning:
Again use a time to have the warm/hot wort come to a preboil temp of about 80c/90c (using the stat on the boiler) for when you get up (7am for me).
Set the boiler to boil and go ahead as usual. Get the cooling/FV ready.
Chill and tranfer to the FV, pitch yeast then or later if temp needs correcting.
Clear up and get on with your family day at about 10am/11am. Cooked breakfast being a bonus.

Thanks,

Dean.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby RichardG » Mon May 23, 2011 11:45 am

I had a similar problem to you. My first AG was on a Sunday, and even though I started off early (around 7.00am I recall), it was after 3.00pm before I was finished. Nobody said anything, but I felt it wasn't reasonable to effectively wipe out the day on my 'hobby'. Now, I brew about once a month. I now mash and sparge on a Saturday evening, then get up early Sunday morning to boil, cool and pitch. That way I'm all done by late morning, and everyone's happy. I usually try to start mashing by 6.00pm-ish as that means I can be finished by around 8.30pm or so. I've never had any trouble doing this, it hasn't affected the beer, and best of all, it maintains domestic harmony which allows be to brew bascially when ever I want to. Try it; it works.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby Scotty » Mon May 23, 2011 12:08 pm

You can delay the boil without problems so go for it. Once you add hops to the when, then you would have to commence the boil.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby dean_wales » Mon May 23, 2011 12:23 pm

Quick question.

Would it be a good idea to heat the wort to a high enough temperature (80c?) to halt any activity before leaving it overnight?

I dont want to end up with dry beers everytime. I likes me body I do!

Thanks,

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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby Naich » Mon May 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Another way to do it is to mash overnight. I've been doing that for a while now and for me it's the most relaxed way of doing it. The only downside is a bit of an early morning. The timetable is something like this:

Saturday evening:
8.00pm: Start sorting out the gear, measure/treat the mash and sparge water.
9.30pm: HLT heaters on, weight out the grist and sort out the chemicals.
10.00pm: Dough in
10.30pm: Wrap up the mash tun in 4 sleeping bags and a blanket. Go to bed.

Sunday morning:
5.30am: Get up. Set up HLT with sparge water and turn heaters on
5.40am: Make a cup of coffee and wonder what sort of madness leads me to be standing in the kitchen at 5.40am on a Sunday.
6.00am - 10.00am: Sparge, boil, cool, transfer, pitch. Job done and the day is still young.

Bad points:
1. The mash tun has to be well insulated or the temperature will drop enough for bacteria to start misbehaving. Make sure it stays above 60C to be safe. Lactobacillus can start breeding below 55C.
2. It's a very early morning. You can't leave it too late or the mash temperature will drop too low.

Good points:
1. It's very easy to fit this around family life.
2. You get the house to yourself for a couple of hours, until the kids wake up.
3. The wort is still hot from the sparge when you boil it, which knocks up to 30 minutes off the brewing time.
3. You can start at 8pm and it's not a mad rush to get everything done before bed time.

The extended mash doesn't effect the taste of the beer, other than maybe knocking a couple of degrees off the FG. The mash tun has to be very well insulated and I also aim for a mash temperature of 68C and use a 3:1 liquor / grain ratio to keep the thermal mass up.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby splitter » Mon May 23, 2011 3:29 pm

Seems like a few of us are in the same boat!
This is my first post since 2008 when my little boy came along.
Got inspired about a month ago when a couple of mates started asking about doing some brewing. I decided to just get a couple of kits on as it had previously taken up a whole day to do an AG brew.

With a Coopers Stout and a Wherry kit ordered I began dusting off the old gear and was surprised to find I still had about 6kgs of 3 year old Pale Malt. I found it about 8pm and impulsively decided to do an AG brew that evening. After getting all the stuff together the mash went on about 9.30pm (started boiling the water at 9pm). I only do 60 min mash and 60 min boil and I was all finished by 1.30am, bar a couple of bits of cleaning left for the morning.

I am now enjoying a slightly young "old left overs ale" between typing. Surprisingly tasty actually, it's good to be back. :D

I still spent much of the evening on the sofa chatting with the mrs and my boy was obviously in bed so think I will be doing evening brews from now on. In future I will be able to start boiling water for the mash around 6.30pm, so should be done by about 11pm. I could even do it on the occasional nights she is out with the girls.
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Re: Fitting In All Grain Brewing With A Young Family

Postby fego » Mon May 23, 2011 4:00 pm

I've often felt guilty about doing a brew all day and saying stuff like 'I'm at a crucial stage - so I can't help do so and so'. And even though experience means you can squeeze cutting the grass in or putting washing out etc, I still feel guilty and detached, almost selfish. As a result, every now and then I've planned a brew day and booked the day off work for it. That way, if I start early enough, I'm all done and dusted before anyone gets home from school and no one can miss me anymore than they would have if I had been at work. And instead of being home at 7 or so like normal, I'm already home the minute I finish. Plus, typically I'll invite someone round to share the day which makes it even more enjoyable.

I can't always take a day off so I also mix taking days off with boiling the morning after which means I rarely spend a whole weekend day brewing.
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