Today was one of those waining beautiful days in Upstate so spending my morning in the driveway brewing beer was perfect. This was another one of my solo brews as Nick has cashed out and Bryan is helping to control the deer population. My pump is still not up and working just yet, so hopefully if things go well, I will be brewing with a whole new setup on my next batch. This should help with some of the heavy lifting that’s going to put me back in the hospital for another hernia operation.
Anyway, I started the water on this one at about 9am and was finished by 1:15ish so it was a pretty productive brew day. I started out with 8.5 gallons that I wanted to be 161f, but I let the burner go a little long and had it up to 175f. I dropped some ice into the kettle to cool it down and by the time I struck the water to the grain, the grain bed was only about 146. It was about 41f outside so I think the problems I had were mostly due to the outside temp. It’s amazing that after all these years, the impact that cold weather has on my temps still takes me off guard.
To adjust my temp to the desired 150f, I added 2qts of water at boiling temp and the grain bed was up to 150f for about 45min of the mash with the first 30min at 146f. Just an extra step, thats all.
My first runnings were 20 brix (about 1.087), second was 11brix (1.046) and final was 10brix (1.042). I used a batch sparge on this brew, but again I think that the outside temp snuck up on me because my batch sparges didn’t get the grain bed up to 168f, I was at 158f on the first and 162 on the second.
The good news is that the pre-boil gravity was 1.050 (spot on with the target) but my volume was a little low. My hops additions were as follows:
- 1/2 oz Challenger 60min
- 1/2 oz Columbus 60min
- 1.2oz Centennial 60min
- 2oz Cascade 30 min
- 2oz Cascade 15 min
One new item in my brew war chest was my first 6 gallon carboy. I forgot to make proper markings on it so I would know the volume so I was a little out of sorts with that, but it’s not a big deal. After my boil I was short on my volume, but I was not sure by how much so I tried to disperse the wort evenly between both my bucket and my 6gal carboy.
My OG was 1.062 and my volume was short so I needed to add some water to top off my brews. My bucket was 1/2 gallon short so I added a 1/2 gallon to both the carboy and the bucket. I did a gravity measurement and it looks like I am at 1.054 on my OG. The lesson is to start small with the water top-off and then match it with wort in the carboy.
At the end of the day, my target was 1.057 and I was at 1.054 at proper volume. Hindsight is 20/20, but I also could have just added the water to the brew kettle when it was cooled and just shot for my volume as I know the markings on that. No big deal though. I am going to dry hop these in lieu of a late addition hop addition because I have some homegrown cascade whole leaf hops. Should make for a great beer.