Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back to the mash tun

Saturday, I took the wife and kids on a field trip to The Brew Hut to get ingredients for the 2011 version of SheppyBrew's X-Mas Ale. I brewed it up on Sunday.

The kids really like the Dry Dock
Of course, my big fermenter was full of Stouticus American Stout, so I got up early and bottled up Stouticus. This time, I mixed sugar and the beer in a corny keg and used my Beer Gun to bottle it up. It seems to have gone smoother this way, but that may have just been the fun of a new process. One decent advantage of using the keg is that it is easier to get every bit of beer out of the keg than it is out of a bottling bucket.

Carboy into the corny keg

Corny keg via Beer Gun into the bottles

As I have mentioned before, a significant amount of this batch will go to people who donated to the Second Wind Fund.

So with the fermenter empty before church, I was all ready to brew my X-Mas Ale after church. If you have been playing attention to the last few brewing posts on this blog, you probably know that I have been brewing with a modified BIAB technique. Last week, I decided to make my 10 gallon gott cooler into a mash tun and stop doing this weird BIAB thing. Today was my first batch with the new mash tun.

New Mash Tun with a false bottom
This one uses a false bottom that I purchased at the Brew Hut last week. I think this will be tougher than the stainless steel braid that I used in the 5 gallon cooler. I am hoping this means less stuck sparges. I think the geometry seems like there is less chance for sugar to hide below the drainage line as well.

Mashing the grains

Able to do a vorlauf again.
The main reason I decided to stop doing the BIAB is that I was never sure what to do with the bag while transferring from the cooler to the pot. It was heavy and I didn't really have a great place to put it while having to lift the cooler to pour its contents into the pot. I would almost always make a mess.

I also seemed to get really inconsistent efficiencies with the BIAB method. When it came right down to it, I missed my regular mash and laughter tun / batch sparge process of brewing.

And today, the mash went great. My mash temp was a bit high, but it was very consistent and I was fine with it at 156 instead of the 152 I had planned for. And even more than I expected, I really liked being able to drain the tun instead of lifting it and emptying it. The whole process does take a bit longer than BIAB, but the ease of not having to lift and store the water soaked grain bag was very worth it.

The rest of brew day went very well too. I ended up diluting the wort to make up for better than expected brew house efficiency (it was originally planned as a BIAB after all). Actually, for some reason I thought I was shooting for 1.072 whereas after looking at the recipe, I was planning for a 1.078 OG. I ended up at 1.075 which is just fine. I do have a full 6 gallons, so I will probably be adding a blow-off tube soon.

I did one thing that I hope I don't regret. Since I had bottled the Stouticus early in the day, I decided to just transfer the wort straight onto the Stouticus trub. I know lots of people who say they do this all the time. I just hope it doesn't end up biting me with some sort of weird infection.

I suppose all I can do is wait. I expect to see activity later tonight or early tomorrow morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment