All grain brewing means that you are supplying the sugar for your wort from grain instead of dry or liquid extracts. To do this, a base malt grain is used such as 2 row pale malt. The grain must be mashed to convert starch to sugar. The following is an explanation of the basic mashing process.
Heat up water ( strike water ) to 170F. This will be added to the mash tun with grains. You need 2 quarts of water per pound of grain plus a little extra.
Add hot water to mash tun while strike water is heating. This will warm up mash tun so temp. does not drop as much when strike water and grains are added. Pour out water right before strike water is added.
Add grain and strike water to mash tun. Alternate 1 pound of grain then 2 quart of water, stir, then repeat until everything is in mash tun
Stir gently, check temperature, it should be around 150 – 152F. If below- add a little boiling water or cold water if above target. Put lid on cooler. Now let the grains mash for 1 hour. Stir and recheck temperature every 15 minutes.
Heat up sparge water to 170F while grains are being mashed. You will need around 3.5 gallons.
Towards the end of an hour, take a small sample of mash water in a white spoon. Use a drop of iodine (purchased at Giant or CVS) to check for full starch conversion. If starch is present, the iodine will turn black(see next photo). The color of the iodine will not change if all the starch has been converted(see this photo). If there IS a color change, continue to mash.
An iodine test done right after the mash has been started. Notice how the drops of iodine that were placed in the solution turned black
Time to Lauter. After an hour, begin to drain wort into a pitcher. Drain until wort is no longer cloudy. Slowly pour wort back into mash tun. You may need to recirculate several quarts until the grain bed adequately filters and clears the wort.
Now drain all the wort into brew pot. Make sure hose drains wort into pot without spashing to avoid oxidation.
Draining the wort into brewpot
Close valve on mash/lauter tun and slowly add sparge water to mash tun. Sparging means rinsing the grains of any remaining sugar. Stir, close lid and let sit 10 more minutes. Repeat lautering process. Open valve slowly and drain sparge water into pitcher until clear (pour back into mash/lauter tun) and then drain into brewpot with first running of wort.
Return brewpot to stove, begin your boil and add bittering hops. The rest of the process is the same as extract brewing.
Here is the batch of beer fermenting away a day later. The yeast and foam you see is termed krausen. A normal part of fermentation.