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Coffee Pot Starter

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#1 BrewerGeorge


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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:00 PM

Update: I've just heard on Basic Brewing Radio that somebody does something similar to this with a French Press coffee pot. Good idea, because the sparging is the worst part of my method. It may be something to check out if you're interested.I've been thinking of making an all-grain starter in a coffee pot since winter '04 when I read this site. I try to have canned starters ready to go, but I can't always manage that, depending on my brewing schedule. However, I'm cheap and I hate buying DME. I thought that 40 cents of grain should be able to make a decent 2 quart starter pretty easily. I tried the method linked above and it failed miserably, primarily because it takes literally hours to sparge through a paper filter. I've since refined a method that works - sort of. I can produce 2 quarts of wort around 1.045 pretty reliably with little actual work. I'm not very happy with it, frankly, but it does work. The biggest problem is that it takes a long time - 90 minutes at least. Most of that is just waiting, of course, with only 10-15 minutes of actual attention required. The coffee maker is perfect for temperature, striking, holding, and sparging, but moving around wet grains is always a bit of a pain. Plus, you have to crush the grain, so that means breaking out the mill. I had envisioned this as something I would do every time I needed a starter, but I just don't think it's going to turn out to be worth it. Still, it does make wort, and would at least be useful for spur-of-the-moment starters if you're out of extract. It wouldn't be bad for demonstrations or for test brews, either.Anyway, here's how you do it.What you need:
    [*]Coffee maker - cone type is preferable, MUST have the auto-stop mechanism[*]Copper Chore Boy Scrubby - cut in half[*]Paper filter[*]Another bowl or pot - 3 or 4 quarts[*]Thermometer - optional[*]Hydrometer - optional[*]2 1/2 cups of pale or pilsner malt - measured before crushing[*]2 quarts decent water[/list]Procedure:1. Add the grain to the pot.2. Add 2 1/4 cups of cold water to reservoir and let the coffee maker run.3. Test and adjust temp if you find it necessary. The amounts of grain and water should stabilize somewhere around 145F. 4. Stir and let sit for 30 minute sachrification rest. (Leave the hot plate on, it will bring the mash up to around 155F over the half hour.)5. Roll up the copper scrubby so it fits tightly into the bottom of the filter basket. This is the "sparge manifold"6. Pour the goods into the basket, getting all the wort, and discarding any grains that won't fit. (This is where the stop-flow basket is crucial to avoid a mess)7. Rinse the pot and put it back under the basket to drain.8. Drain the wort (The wort will be cloudy, don't worry about it.)9. Add 3 cups cold water to reservoir and let the maker 'sparge' it into the pot.10. Repeat with 3 more cups water.11. Pour the wort into your second pot, Whirlpool it and set it aside to settle.12. Dump the grains and rinse the basket. Add a paper filter13. After wort has settled for 10 minutes, carefully pour 2 or 3 cups into the basket. Don't overflow the sides of the paper filter.14. Let the wort filter through the paper, occasionally adding more wort to the basket when there is room. This step can be slow - 30 minutes easy. Replace the paper filter if it gets too slow.15. That's it, boil the starter for 20 minutes to kill everything and test and adjust the gravity if you want. Cautions:
      [*]Only run fresh cold water through the machine! Putting wort into the pumping reservoir will ruin the machine.[*]Be careful at step 5 that the maker doesn't tip over. They aren't designed to hold a pound-plus of wet grains and can overbalance, especially if you have a swing-out basket.[*]Keep the wort wiped off the hot plate element. It stinks and is hard to get off if it burns.[/list]

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