more brewday issues

I used my new Barely Crusher and Blichmann burner for this weekend’s IPA brew. Aiming for a 7% IPA using Mosaic, Columbus, and Chinook hops (Magnum for bittering). Adjusted the mill to the “standard” .038 using feeler gauges. Easily done.

The problems started when:

• I seemingly overshot my mash temp. Added some cold water to bring it down from the 154-155° I was getting… only to go too low (148). I think the overall mash temp wasn’t as high as I had found, but I may have hit some pockets of wet grain where the temp was higher than other areas. So I attempted to heat up about .75 gal of water during the mash and added it around 30 minutes in to hopefully raise the temp.

• at some point during all this, I dropped and broke my thermometer. Luckily had one from the old turkey fryer set up I could use.

• So, I end up with a thin mash do to all the additional water. I thought I calculated what I added though, and took it into account. I was originally planning on losing about 1.5 gal to grain absorption (almost 15 lb of grain), and had planned on mashing out with about .5 gal to hit my desired volume of first runnings. I then didn’t do this given what I had already added.

• calculating what I had added to the mash, I figured I would get about 4.5 gallons of 1st runnings. Figured I’d add 3 gallons of (batch) sparge water to get my 7.5 total to boil. (again, I forgot to cut back on the boil volume, as I’ve over-estimated my boil-off now for a couple brews (big difference between brewing in the summer vs the winter in New England). My first runnings collected 4 gallons, not 4.5, according tot eh brew pale I ran it into. I then went up to 3.5 gal of sparge water. Unfortunately, I don’t think my rectangular cooler tun drained properly during first runnings, as I ended up with closer to 8 gallons or wort compared to the 7.5 gal I intended (which was still too much, now that I look back at it).

End result? An OG closer to 1.056 and the 1.066 I intended. Aaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

So this is likely going to be one very bitter pale ale.

What I think I need to do to adjust?

• assume I need 7 gallons of wort collected, no more (unless brewing outside in the dry, freezing temps of the winter)

• replace the stainless braid that’s been in the cooler tun for 2 years now. It’ds a mess. all crushed and scrunched in certain areas. I don’t think I’m getting a good even drain from the cooler tun now.


3 comments on “more brewday issues

  1. We’ve all had problems like this before…

    As for the stainless steel braid… when you replace it, pick up some stainless steel wire as well. Wrap that over and over around a pen or something, so that you get a long coil, and thread that through the braid. Just helps provide it with a bit more support to take all that weight from the grain and water.

    • Shawn, thanks for the suggestion on reinforcing the braid. The existing one is in rough shape. Also realized that I used to set up recipes for 7 gal of wort to boil. Started increasing that volume last winter when brewing in dry, freezing conditions (much higher boil-off). Need to back down to 7 gal again and see what happens.

  2. Well, despite all the issues on brewday, this beer turned out great. 6% west coast style IPA. 8% crystal malt (but low lovibond C10), 7% carapils, 3.5% vienna in addition to domestic 2-row. I backed off the late hop amounts compared to the previous Mosaic brew. Pretty equal amounts of Mosaic and Columbus, with Magnum to bitter. What I removed late in the boil, I added in bittering hops (originally anticipating a 7% ABV). Was afraid it would be too bitter coming in at 6%, but no. It’s more bitter than anything I’ve brewed before, but not too much for those who enjoy American IPAs. It’s that bitter effect that lingers on your tongue and teeth long after you’ve swallowed.

    I think I will stay with this recipe and try to hit my numbers better next time. The end result though has gone over very well. Brought a couple growlers to our end of season soccer coahces/parents game this weekend and despite the number of bud light cans I saw after the game, the two growlers emptied quickly with plenty of positive remarks.

    And honestly, 6% is fine. It’s less likely to kick me in the head. 😉

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