Getting started in all grain
The RoboBrew has made it easier than ever to launch into the world of all grain brewing. Whether you’re an experienced kit brewer, or completely new to brewing but want to throw yourself in at the deep end for the sake of great beer, the RoboBrew is the prefect starting point.
Choosing your brew
Everyone has different tastes in brewing, so it’s impossible to suggest one style of beer as your starting point for all grain brewing. The best advice is to find a balance between keeping it simple, and something you’d like. For many, a pale ale strikes this balance perfectly.
Find a recipe
There’s thousands of recipes out there. If you’re new to all grain, a good idea is to choose a popular, highly rated recipe from one of the many online databases of recipes. It’s even better if you find a recipe that you’ve tasted before – either because a friend has brewed it, or because it’s a clone of commercial beer.
If you are purchasing your grain pre-measured and milled – most homebrew shops will provide this service for you, and there are plenty of online retailers who can offer this at the click of a mouse – then the process is simple enough. We’d definitely recommend starting off this way before investing in costly mills and bulk grain.
Even though your homebrew shop can precisely prepare the grain for you, it’s not a bad idea to keep your first brews simple with only a few different varieties on your grain bill. 2-3 grains to give you a good balance of flavour, colour and head is a great starting point. Likewise, keeping your hops to one or two varieties means you’re simplifying your brewday, but also giving yourself the ability to learn something about the hops. If there’s 3 or 4 different hops at play it’s hard for a novice to separate what’s doing what to allow you to build your own personal taste for future brews.
Plan the day
Plan your day thoroughly. Everyone has mishaps on their first all grain brewday. Everyone finds the process takes longer, exhausts you and spills more water than you could possible image. Even most seasoned all grain brewers find the process physically and mentally demanding. The RoboBrew takes care of some of the stress, and with thorough planning you can minimise as much of the accidents as possible.
- Do the maths and make use of a checklist or brewing software or app to have every step planned out.
- Work back from when you’d like to be finished by. Factor in all the time that your calculations say to heat your water, mash your grain, boil the wort, chill the wort. This gives you a rough starting time.
- Plan to start an hour or two before you plan to start. This makes no sense on paper, but there will be mishaps, delays, emergencies and more along the way. If time is on your side it’ll all go much more smoothly.
Be one step ahead
When you get the swing of things, those hours mashing and boiling are time to relax and enjoy a beer. But for the beginner, use this time to make sure everything is ready for your next step.
- Is the equipment cleaned and sanitised?
- Do I have the right volume of water ready to go at the right temperature?
- Are the hops measured out?
- Is the yeast ready to go?
Once all of this is taken care of, then you can relax with a beer to remind yourself why you’re doing this.
Don’t fret, don’t improvise
So you’ll spill some and lose half your volume. It’s better than nothing, and you’ve learnt something for next time. But for your own sanity, go with the flow. Don’t try and improvise, and don’t go hunting for answers on Google or your favourite homebrew forum while you’re in panic mode. Worst case you’ve lost a small amount of money spent on grain, hops or yeast, and a bit of time. But you can guarantee yourself that’s one mistake you won’t make next time.
Above all, you’re doing this for fun, so enjoy it!