I ran my plan by a friend of mine who is an experienced and knowledgeable home brewer who works part-time at a local health food and brewing supply store, and he offered some advice which formed the following plan.
- Start with about three gallons of strike-water. Heat that to 160 degrees
- Add all your malt, crushed and ready. Ten pounds or more
- Mash the grains for about an hour sustaining a temperature not exceeding 155 (the temp will drop when you add the malt)
- Drop the temperature to about 140 with cold water, and hold it for another hour. At this point, let the wort sit. One can let it mash for hours, stirring occasionally, bouncing the temperature never to exceed 165 (you’ll denature the enzymes)
- After several hours, (usually four or so) pour the wort into a brew-bucket. I use a large wire strainer to catch the grains. As the strainer fills to capacity, stop and rinse the grains
- Toss out those grains and continue with the rest of my mashed grains and liquid
- At this point there should be around seven gallons of wort
- Return it to the boiling/mashing pot and start the boil
- Boil off the excess wort to make a total amount of five gallons
- When there are close to five gallons boiling, start your hop schedule for one hour
- Then cool the wort and pitch a yeast starter
Ten pounds of grains isn’t bad. Consider: 8 pounds base malt-$10.32 ($1.29 per pound or so) 2 pounds adjunct malt-$2.92 ($1.49 a pound or so) then two ounces of hops-$7.98 ($3.99 an ounce or so). I’ve been fairly generous here given that the price of hops may fluctuate. So the grand total is: $21.22.
Edit: This brewing process now makes me cringe, but I’m leaving it here for posterity’s sake. I DO NOT advocate following this process.