Beast of a Brew Day

I decided to brew an amber ale last weekend.  Brew day started a little late because of family stuff, and it went later because of brewing stuff.

First off, I have water issues.  Not dirty issues, chlorine issues.  Because of that, my brewing water comes from my refrigerator as de-chlorinated cold water at around 40 degrees.  I also had to do a few things related to my boiling bucket, because I really don’t like the idea of lifting 5-6 gallons (40-50 pounds) of hot water and trying to control it.  And siphoning? FORGET ABOUT IT.  I found that my auto-siphon bends in boiling water.  So I added a valve.

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Yes, this is how I get water to brew. It sucks, but the water is chlorine free.

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Locate twice, drill once. I nearly put it at the wrong spot, but before drilling I stopped and stood back to look and realized I wanted to go an inch to the right.

I pulled both my strike and sparge water and put them in clean ale pails before leaving for the hardware store for a valve and a cooling solution.  The valve is temporary, and it even leaks, so I’m not going to show it.  I’m going to order a three-part valve soon.

The Boil

The boil was long.  Well, not long to boil, long to bring to a boil.  I’m pushing the limit of my stove.

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Insulation to try to keep heat in.

I used the recommendation of using a towel or blanket to keep the heat in.  This made a little difference, but not enough.  And it isn’t a great solution, as in the process of moving stuff around, I ended up with the following picture:

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It’s not easy to tell in the pic, but the towel is charred. I nearly started a fire.

After waiting bloody-hell forever for boil to start and giving it the hour to boil, it was time to cool.


The cooling solution sucks.  I bought 1/4″ refrigerator line that I thought I’d run the wort through on it’s way to the ale pail.  I figured I’d send the wort through two buckets, one with tap-cold water and the other with ice cold water.

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Fifty feet of copper tube.

I ran in to two problems.  The first is that sanitizer in 1/4″ copper line can freeze.  At least, I think that’s what happened.  The other is it takes FOREVER to drain the bucket.  It brought the wort down to 50F (20+ degrees below pitch temperature), although initially, some of the wort was as low as 34 degrees.  It took a few hours to drain the bucket.  This is not a good solution.


This was one week ago.  Yesterday, prior to dry hopping, I tasted the beer from the fermenter (and tested gravity, although since dry hopping may cause additional fermentation it is an unnecessary measurement).  I am VERY pleased with the flavor so far, so I think the ounce of Citra hops I threw in there will make it nearly perfect.


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The sparging sprinkler worked well!


I was initially going to do another brew this weekend because January is a busy month for me.  I decided that now is not the time, which means I will run out of my Left Coast IPA.  That is a tragedy (I really do love IPAs), but I’ll survive, especially with that amber ale coming.  I’ve decided that I need to make significant headwind at making Batavia Basement Brewing Company actually be in the basement.  This means a heating element, temperature controller, water filter (this is in the works, and wife approved), and some two-phase electrical work.