Sunday, March 2, 2014

Brew Day Timeline

Wort trying to survive our attempt to make beer.
Brew day is a big deal for every home brewer as all of your planning for your latest beer goes into action.  To help those who haven't tried homebrewing, I thought I'd help out by putting together a rough timeline for my friend's and my first all grain home brew.  We purchased a clone recipie for Bear Republic's Red Rocket from Austin Homebrew,

Beer is supposed to be fun and so we weren't really on a huge timetable, so you can probably be more efficient if you want.  Also, if you've never brewed, I'd recommend doing an all-extract beer first and then play with a mini-mash (half extract, half grain) before jumping into all-grain.

10:30 - Designated start time for brew day!
10:45 - I show up at friend' house ready to start only to find out, he's a little behind on setup and cleaning.  Slacker.
11:00 - Looking at set up and checking all fittings and plumbing. I love stainless steel.
Plumbing schematics!
11:05 - Checking ingredients and making sure we have everying. Realize we need ice and don't have any. Crud.
11:15 - Decide we probably should have ice to cool the wort more effectively than just staring at it since, sadly, neither have us have Jedi powers.
11:30 - I drive to a local liquor store and promptly get distracted by beer selection.
11:40 - I walk out with a 10 pound bag of ice and two bombers of craft beer.  It was decided that we only needed one bag since the last brew cooled before our ice even started to melt.
11:30 - We start inline cleaning process with PBW and Star San.  Note: We usually disassemble everything and do this all by hand.  Inline should be faster.
11:40 - I have a sudden realization that our set up is a cross of machinery and hoses that reseembles a cyberpunk Cthulhu.
11:55 - While using the American-Marsh pump to transfer fluid from kettle we noticed the flow rate dropped and then smelled something burning.  So we turned the pump off and waited. After 30 seconds, we started it up and it worked fine. I'm sure it's nothing major.  Electronics often get hot.
Incidentally, I want to buy a beer for whoever designed self-priming pumps. #murica.
12:30 - After running two rinses with PBW and then one with water, we started our second water rinse. We're a barb short from turning cleaning from work into a watching pumps work while having a beer.
12:31 - Speaking of beer. We've been "at it" for over almost 2 hours and I haven't had one yet. This is seriously not helping me get the Top o' the morning badge here...
12:45 - Finishing second water rinse. Whoever said "cleanliness is next to godliness" was probably a brewer. And possibly one of the beer brewing monks.
12:55 - Finally, we opened a beer before starting Star Sans rinse. First one of the day was a 12 ounce Firestone Walker Pivo Pils which we split.
1:05 - Beer fortified we started to fill bucket with Star San and water mixture.  This seems to be foaming a lot.
1:06 - Oh crap! Foam overboard!  We start, very calmly, scooping foam out.
1:25 - Realized we didn't put on the foil. Around the burner not the knuckles. Saw previous wort residue under burner from boil overs. Oops.
1:35 - Opened another beer before starting brewing.  This time was a 12 ounce TapIt Brewing IPA.
1:45 - After checking calculations, we put as close to 4.35 gallons of water in the kettle as possible.  This is ideal volume of water based on the almost 14 lbs of grains we have.
2:00 - We were waiting for the water to get to 170 °F which is 20 above the first step mash.  This is supposed to account for temperature drop from the bucket.
2:16 - Just realized we'd lose out some volume in hoses. Added more water until we're just past 5 gallons. This seems weird because we took all of the water out of a 5 gal bucket of Arrowhead water. If we, somehow, created water, I may file for a patent. I finished my second beer.
2:26 - Water hit 172. and we turned off the stove. Now we're trying to figure how to move it without burning the snot out of our hands. Stainless Flow control valves, which I'm losing passion for, get really hot when you put nearly boiling water through them. That conduction thing that we covered in heat transfer is real!
2:27 - Protip: Water also flows better when valves are opened. Weird how that works.
2:28 - This Marsh pump sucks
2:29 - Re-priming it helps.  It actually works really well when you do that.
2:30 - Why is the mashtun bucket foaming? Oh well we'll scoop it out later.
2:35 - There's also a weird residue in the brew kettle. I'm sure it's nothing.
2:42 - Dough-in completed.  New mash paddle works well. Might ask to borrow it for later use at home. Not sure if brewing partner thinks this is an acceptable use or not.

2:43 - So now we wait an hour. Sounds like a great time for another beer. A 22 ounce of Ventura's Surf Black IPA is pulled forth from the refridgerator to be split.
3:12 - Starting to heat sparge water.  I want to say "sparrrge" like a pirate. Not sure why.
3:16 - Fire is on. Lid is on.
3:40 - Starting vorlauf (Temperture is 146). Always thought that was one if the old muppets on the balcony. Wonder when we start the stadler process.
4:00 - We got 2.5 gallons out of first runnings. This seems important. Sparrrge water is at 186, a little warmer than we wanted but who cares, our wort smells like beer!  Was initally worried when "vorlauf goes clear" would be hard to achieve since it's wort but it actually means not cloudy, so we were pretty happy with our Vorlaufing and ability to turn nouns into verbs.
4:10 - Added sparrrge water.  Now at 150 °F.
4:35 - Our sparge water never got to 170, only 158. I guess that will have to do. This sounds like it's not a good thing. Hey look it's raining outside!
4:36 - Started to collect second runnings.  Since we didn't get the desired temperature, I guess they're cool runnings.
4:37 - Realized we didn't muppet critic again.  Put runnings back into bucket.
4:38 - Vorlaufing and sparggging like a (pirate) boss.
4:55 - Put the stove on again. Add magnum hops and promptly realized that's not good. Trying to see if that's bad or not to add bittering hops pre boil.
4:56 - Because beer makes everything better, it's beer time. This time a bomber of Aztec Sacrifice Red IPA gets drawn forth to be consumed.
4:57 - So much for that, this beer kind of stinks. We actually both prefer the warm and uncarbonated runnings from our beer. That's kind of sad, to be honest.
5:41 - We added 1/2 oz of magnum hops to compensate for dropping an ounce in early. These are for bittering so I'm not sure if this is a bad thing or not. You also can't prove that I may have sung "hop it while it's hot" to the tune of drop it like its hot.  Anyone else think that magnum hops should come in larger pellets than the other varieties?
6:25 - Added in an ounce of cascade and one ounce of Centennial hops. Two fisted hopping like a gangsta.
6:26 - I was casually informed that the holding the bags sideways was kind of lame and not at all gangsta.
6:50 - We had issues with wort flow through system and we couldn't get to the right temperture as the hot wort line was very slow.  Also our bag of ice turned into water a lot faster than expected.  Wish I would've bought two bags now.
7:25 - Dissasembly while waiting for wort to cool to pitch yeast.  Our unblockable filter was seriously backed up. We now know we need to use hop bags in the future.
7:45 - Sudden realization that we forgot to add the aroma hops right at the conclusion of the boil. We're debating using them during dry hopping during aging.
8:30 - Took original gravity reading and it came out 1.05.  This should've been 1.069.  We then took a taste before pitching yeast.  Very Interesting. A lot overly sweet, probably from not hitting the temperature to stop conversion and a little bitter (too many bittering hops), and a subtle nose (but those hops, still in the bag, do smell nice, I might hang them in car as an air freshener if we don't dry hop).

And around noon the next day we had bubbling in our fermentor, so that's good news.  Although there may be enough sugar in the wort to give the yeast diabetes.  I don't have very high hopes for this beer but will reserve judgement until it's aged, cold. and carbonated.

So this is a not very serious example of brew day.  But whether the beer is good or not, we had some fun, and that's what this is really about.  Cheers!

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