Monday, August 22, 2011

Buckwheat BPA Brew Day

So, I brewed Buckwheat's BPA today. I got started before church by printing out the brew sheet from Beer Smith. Then, I heated up 8 gallons of water and put it in my 10 gallon cooler. I let it sit in there until I got home from church.

This is how I measure my water volume: a pvc pipe with marks at each gallon.

Transferring water from the Brew Pot into the cooler.
We stopped by this new playground on our way home from church

When I got back, the water was higher than my desired strike temperature. I wanted to mash my grains at 150. To get a 150 mash temp, the Beer Smith software told me that I needed to put the grains into 156 degree water. So, I added ice to the water to get it down to 156, and when I got it there, adding the grains got me to exactly 150F. It is like magic!

This is the second time that I am using a BIAB method in this 10 gallon cooler. The cooler kept the temperature right at 150 for the whole hour + time of the mash. I love it when a plan comes together.

After mashing for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, I took the bag out and then dumped the liquid from the cooler to the pot. I took a sample and brought it down to my freezer to cool it down for a gravity reading. While it was cooling, I turned on the burner to get the wort to boiling.

Once the wort is boiling, I started the timer on my watch for a 90 minute count-down. My first hop addition was to be 40 minutes into the boil (the 50 minute addition on the recipe). Sometime in that first half an hour, I measured my gravity and found it to be 1.040 which was 9 whole points below what I wanted it to be.

That is far enough off that I wonder if I under-measured my grain at the home-brew shop. The other thing that I maybe should have done is held back a couple of gallons of water from the mash and "sparged" with it. Maybe things were just not going my way today.

I used large hop sacks today for my hops today. I did this for my last brew day too. I am not sure that this is a new part of my process or if I will end up not using them. I guess I'll see. 

I believe I made my 50 minute addition at 60 minutes instead. I am just used to always doing 60 minutes for my bittering. I suppose I can see if the Beer Model notices extra bitterness in this beer. I sort of doubt it, but we'll see. That 10 minutes probably is not that noticeable.

At 20 minutes, I added about half a pound of extra light DME (dry malt extract) to make up for the missing gravity points. I added another half a pound at 2 minutes or so.

Filling up the carboy from the pot.

Just like last time, the wort chiller didn't bring my wort down cool enough to pitch the yeast, so I got the wort down the rest of the way using the ice in the 10 gallon cooler. I got the carboy wort down to about 65.

Then I pitched 2 packs of S33 yeast, shook up the carboy and am letting it sit. My OG ended up right where the recipe plans for it to be (1.053). Too bad I had to use some DME to get it there, but at least I have the ability to adjust if need be.

I just wish I knew why I was so low in my mash efficiency.


  1. I had a hard time chilling my wort a week or so ago too. No matter what, I could only get the wort down to 80 degrees. Used cold water bath too to drop it further. BigKahunaBrew told me today to use a 2nd wort chiller as a pre-chiller and use that one first through an ice bath and that will chill the water to 45 degrees and send that water on to your main wort chiller and that'll drop it down real good. I'm going to try that next time I brew in the hot summer.

  2. Actually, the pre-chiller is something I have been planning to try also. In fact, I was in Home Depot last week trying to get supplies to make one, but did not find all that I needed and gave up. I usually have better luck with this kind of stuff at Lowes, and will try there next. Unfortunately, copper tubing seems really expensive to me now. But, if I can get the wort cold without an ice bath, I think it will be worth it.

    Anyway, thanks for leaving a comment, Dave.