Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(Mostly) Successful Brew Day!

I FINALLY got everything together and brewed Black Hole on Friday! It was a long overdue adventure I'd been (not so) patiently waiting for. I suppose the reason it took me so long to get back to it was my skepticism about whether or not my apartment would even let me do a decent job. My kitchen is actually smaller than my last, and actually even older. So, the stove top didn't look like it would hold my brew pot with 7 gallons of wort it in; my faucet didn't have an easy hook up for my chiller and I couldn't find space to make a decent gravity fed set up. BUT I did it by golly. I got a hook up for my faucet and ran a test boil on the stove. Also fixed up my storage shelving to hold my HLT and Mash Tun.

So, on Friday the 13th at around 11 I made my way down to Bob's Homebrew Shop and it unfortunately, now that I live in Capitol Hill instead of the UD, took me two hours round trip on the bus. Ugh. So at about 1 I got my strike water heating up on the stove and was off! My stove actually surprised the hell out of me. It got hot and I had my water ready in about 20 minutes.
So I ran my mash at 152F for an hour and then sparged with water a little bit hotter than I usually use. At the National Homebrewers Conference I had a discussion with some fellow WAHA brewers about my poor efficiency and it was pointed out that when I sparge I lose a lot of heat transferring my water from the boil pot to the HLT, then in the HLT and also in the transfer to the Mash Tun. So I bumped up the heat and according to my calculations increased efficiency by about 5%! Awesome.
Everything was going great at this point! I was getting things cleaned up and put away. I was ahead of schedule. And even got some video game playing in during the sparge :) BUT it finally happened to me: I had a boil over. Usually when it gets to that point I can just stir super hard and subdue it. Buy alas, not this time. In the long run it looks like I lost about half a gallon of beer and made quite a mess.. At the time it was happening I actually laughed at the fact I had my first boil over in 25 beers on Friday the 13th. I even considered running for the camera! hahaha. But once I got that straightened out everything ran smoothly. I ran my chiller though (which was much slower with the faucet than the hose I used to use) I ended up with a little over 5 gallons of yummy wort at 70 degrees and tossed some Wyeast 1084 in to eat away :)

All together then, it was a great brewday! And now I know it's not only possible, but actually quite accommodating to brew at my new place. Let the beer run like water!

Yum Yum

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