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