Yesterday was a two-for. I got two brewing objectives completed in the time-frame of one, AND it wasn’t as painful to do both as I thought it was going to be. I may have to try it again, with just as good as results in the one and hopefully better results in the other.

Homebrew Bottling EPA

So yesterday I bottled the English Pale Ale (EPA, Bitter, ESB – whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same). I knew it was time to bottle, and I had all the bottles prepped since Thursday, but I was worried about trying to do it on a brew day. I figured if I could get everything set up before I mash and then bottle as fast and safely as I could during the mash, stop for the recirculation if I had too, and then continue and finish during the sparge I would be fine. That time fram, minus the pause, would be about an hour and a half to two hours – just the right amount of time. Well, I busted my ass with the bottling and actually got it done in 64 minutes (not counting janitorial). Why do I know it was 64 minutes? Because it was exactly 4 minutes after my mash had set. The beer looked great, nice and clear, and tasted good too. This is the kind of beer that was made to be drank like this – slightly warm and without any full carbonation. I would love to get a firkin to really dispense a beer of this style.

Messy Mash

As far as the brewday went, well, that’s a different story. Probably the worst brewday in memory. I was brewing a fairly straight forward pale ale brewed with american c-hops and a chico yeast strain. Everything seemed to be going normal: same time-frame as usual, hit the temperatures I was aiming for, I was relaxed and happy. Then, after the mash and during the recirculation I realized something was a miss. The liquid was draining from beneath the false-bottom but was not flowing back into the area beneath the false-bottom. I had a stuck mash on my hands. No problem I thought, I can deal with this. I tried about 5 different techniques to try to un-stick my stuck mess. After talking to another homebrewer, it appears as if it could have been caused by all or some of the following factors: because my mash tun is so small I can not do a mash out so I have a lower mash temperature then may be expected during recirculation, again because my mash tun is so small I have to use a very stiff water to grain ratio with the safe minimum being 1 to 1 and I was below that, I had a small amount of wheat malt in my recipe which is know for stuck mashes in high quantities, and the grind from the mill may have been more fine than my mash tun could accomodate but since I have used that mill in the past not as likely. Regardless, it was bad and the whole mood of the day switched.

Dish Water Pale Ale

I eventually figured out a way to retreive the sweet liquor from the spent grains. It was not easy, it was not fast, it was not clean, and it was not pretty. I basically could not filter what was coming through except for the very big pieces so the wort was very chunky, a great word for beer, “New Extra Chunky Style!” Also, since there was so much grain matter in my boil I am sure I leeched an excessive amout of tannins from the grains, which will hopefully just be perceived as more astringent than I would have liked. I captured five and a half gallons, but after settling it looks like only half will be able to be used as beer, pitaful, but we’ll see. I was hoping that this was going to be the first beer kegged for the DDSH, we’ll have to wait and see. I was also going to harvest the yeast-cake from this beer to brew two more five gallon batches, guess not. I’ll let you know how things turn out.

2 Responses to “Two-For”

  1. David Says:

    UGH!! I wish I understood more about the “stuckness” to get that. Kinda like when I talk computer talk around folks who are not in IT. They know things are not well, but have no idea WHAT is not well.

  2. garrett Says:

    I got your yeast right here… come and get it!!! Mwaa haa haa

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