Blog 5 – Brew Day

It came and it went … after nearly 10 hours !!!

Well to say that was an experience would be about right.  What a strange feeling to have something so planned over so long be so confusing and (at times) stressful.  Nothing went wrong at all with the process, therefore one would expect the outcome to be as scripted, alas – no.  What do I mean?  Let me explain…

12:00 hours – place the “Strike” water on and wait for it to reach “Mash” temp of 67C.  All done. (Also, Smack Packed the Yeast).

13:15 hours – place grain in bag and dunk into 67C water and set pump to re-circulate continuously over 60 minute time period.  Give water temp the occasional temp boost when 2C lost.

14:15 hours – remove Bag of grain, squeeze and seat to boil.

15:20 hours – boil achieved (rolling not vigorous mmm… first seed of doubt 🙁 ).

16:30 hours – kill boil and take an SG check (refractometer and hydrometer – cool first and then adjust readings to suit temps) – ARRGGGHHHHH what the fuck ! – 12 points short – Take to Brew Tube (Facebook Channel) for help.

Decided to continue boiling to reduce as final (post) boil volume is up significantly.  Should be 23 Litres and showing 25 Litres at least – not sure what efficiency my system is yet but assuming as BIAB it is less than other methods.  Confused and slightly panicking.  Who wants a fecking 3% beer !!!!

Waited until new boil (having first removed hop spider) and boiled until the level of wort reduced by a couple of litres – retested the SG.  It has risen but not by the 12 points I was (unrealistically) hoping to get.  Let the fucker boil some more !!!!!!

By now I had lost all of my timings on recordings but it got past 18:30 as “her indoors” wanted the kitchen cleared to feed the hound and put tea on !!!!

Boiled down to just over 20 litres and new SG test showed I was at 5 – 6 points below target – fuck it. Let’s leave it at that and hope that the yeast does me a favour and takes it down 2 extra points and gets me at least a 4% beer.

Plus side – The Plate Chiller.  I appreciate it is cold outside and the temperature is low, but the chiller literally allowed me to pump through the chiller straight into the fermentation vessel – I was amazed.  I did buy above the spec that I really needed, to be honest most of my kit is way beyond what I need at this stage (but then that’s me all over !!!!) – however, I wasn’t expecting it to go so quick.  The process of brewing beer is such a long winded affair to have parts of it suddently speed up on you is kind of off-putting.

Next step – more fabrication.  I needed to balance the fermentation vessel on the shelf of the fridge and of course I chose now to do it.  I also needed to fix my tubular 60W heater to a piece of wood and re-wire with the lead passing through the door seal (sounds fancy but no = taking off plug and placing it back on once the lead was passed through the door seal).

Sterilisation and Sanitisation – I done the lot; with more attention to deal than that of a NASA astronaut.  Things couldn’t be any more clean !!!

So – Yeast pitched, Wort well aerated and bunged (used the last of my of Vodka dregs instead of sanitised water – I read that somewhere and it give me an opportunity to have a swig), placed it in the fermentation chamber (fridge) and set temps.  All working well.

Shattered I looked at the clock and it was nearly 20:00 hours !!!! – I still had clean down.  Sweaty, back pain and disappointed from the end result – 1.048 would have made things soooooooo much more palatable.  Still, its all a learning experience.

Have a look at a few pictures.

At the time of this writing – it has been about 18 hours and not a single bubble present in the airlock – AAARRGGHHH (again); don’t panic – it can take up to 36 hours, there is time.

I later removed the temp probe from the water bottle as I hadn’t conditioned it to the same temp as the Wort – I opted to tape it to the side of the fermentation vessel instead which yeilded an immediate response to the Inkbird 🙂

Until next time.

Stewart (aka Drunk Delilah Brewery)

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