Sunday, November 25, 2012

42 Smash

I brewed today. The beer that I brewed was a Single Malt, Single Hop (my first one) that I am calling 42 SMaSH Pale Ale. Its grain bill is 100% Marris Otter and its hop is Centennial. It is probably hoppy enough to be considered an IPA, but maybe not and it should be low enough in ABV to be more in the APA range. I am officially calling it an APA.

Brew day was far from perfect and I have no idea how this beer will turn out.

Last time I brewed, I broke my floating thermometer, and I forgot to buy a new one when I bought my ingredients. So, early this morning after I realized my mistake, I used a meat thermometer to measure my strike water temperature. It made me miss my floating thermometer that I could just leave in the water and in the mash. I'm not sure I trust the accuracy of the readings either.

I got through the mash with 8 gallons of wort in the pot and lots left to come out. Apparently the mobile Beer Smith droid app had me use an extra 2 gallons of sparge water. Very uncool. Worse, the OG was 1.031 which was a full 11 points lower than I wanted. This made my mash efficiency a little over 65% compared to my usual 80-something-%.

I'm not sure the 2 extra gallons of sparge water completely explain my low efficiency. I actually also think that I didn't get a full 10 pounds of malt from the LHBS. It was the LHBS that I don't go to as much, and their milling setup is not nearly as nice as my usual place. I think some of the grain floated to the sides of the bucket I was collecting the milled grain in.

I was very close to just giving up and dumping the batch, cutting my loses and living to brew another day. But I decided to boil an extra hour and fifteen minutes or so. Other than the extra time, the boil went fine. I adjusted the hops a bit, which probably won't make a huge difference.

Somehow, I ended up with almost 5 gallons in the fermentor with an OG of 1.052. Coincidentally, this was my planned OG, although I had planned on getting a bit more than 5.5 gallons.

I was able to pitch right at 60 degrees, which was (as always) my goal.

So, I think this beer will turn out fine. I actually think it will be a great hoppy APA. Unfortunately, if I have created the perfect beer, I am not sure I can recreate it. I don't know my mash temperature, and I am not sure how much grain I used. I do know how much extra sparge water I used, but I don't know exactly how much extra time I boiled.

I think I am going to have to brew next weekend just to get the taste of this brew day out of my mind.

Oh well. At least the 42 SMaSH will be nice to drink.

And at least the Bears beat the evil Vikings today.

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