Saturday, July 30, 2011

First Brew Day - Chilling The Wort & Pitching The Yeast

Continued from part 4, Adding Aroma Hops To the Copper.

I mentioned in the previous post that my home made chiller worked superbly and got the temp down to 32C in around 10 minutes with a lot less wasted water than expected... the plants got a water with tap water today rather than well water.

I stopped at 32C rather than at 20C as I thought that by the time I'd drained the copper into the Fermentation bucket and then aerated it the temp would drop closer to 20C. It didn't, so I sat the FV in the sink surrounded by cold water and ice for 20 minutes or so.

NOTE: The hopped wort had dropped to 66/67C after I'd followed the books advice and added aroma hops at the end of the boil, waited 20 mins, stirred the hops and then waited a further 20 mins - hence the quick drop to 32C when I started up the wort chiller.

I then ran the cooled wort from the copper into the fermenting bin ready for pitching the yeast and beginning turning this sweet, malty brown liquid into real beer!

Running the hopped wort into the fermentation bin. I ran the initial hopped wort into a jug until it cleared slightly as the settled bed of hops began to filter it. Top Left of photo, my Little Wuppit, our GSD, Holly. Bored but watching intently.
As the hopped wort drains from the copper you can clearly see the  hops. I was quite surprised how big they'd got during the boil and soak. When I was adding the dried hops, there didn't seem like there were many going in.

Me. Agitating the hopped wort to get some air into it ready for the yeast. This is where I screwed up a bit and my timing all went to shit thinking this action would cool the wort further towards 20c. Next time, I'll run the chiller for longer as this time I had to wait before I could add the yeast.
Something of a pisser was I only managed to get about 9 litres of hopped wort. Part of the fault was my copper didn't drain fully but this only cost me about a half litre, the biggest culprit is evaporation loss during the boil! I'm told you must not have a lid on however as the evaporation is a part of the process.

I topped the wort up to 12.5 litres with fresh water, this has given me a lower gravity than planned and I'm not really sure what to expect from it.

Final SG was 1040 (great!) but with the wort temp at 26C, hydrometers are calibrated to 20C and so, with some conversion it looks like I actually only got 1023.7, which I think is crap so this might turn out to be a How Not To Do It this time round. We'll just have to see what happens. looks like I was wearing the right T-Shirt for my first brew day, FFFUUUUUUUUU!!!!!

Lessons learned:
  • Small brew sizes are a pain in the arse - even with digi scales some things are too tiny to measure out accurately eg half a sachet of yeast FFFUUUUU, 1.25g of one of the aroma hops... FFUUUUUUU!!!!11!!
  • Temperature monitoring is aukward with a hand held thermometer - definitely adding a dial into my HLT and new copper
  • Juggling temps at the final stages before pitching is quite difficult to a newbie
  • Evaporation losses during the boil are considerable - approx 25% in this case
Some of the loss of final hopped wort was due to my drain in my copper stopping before fully emptied. I tested several times with water and it emptied fully, this time - no doubt due to the crud and hops it stopped with about 3/4 litre of wort left.

Reason for small brew size is mentioned in another post re my stock pot being 10l less than stamped.

The temp has just reached 26C so I've pitched my re-hydrated dried yeast. We'll have to see what happens...

All in all I'm happy with the way the gear I've built works, not happy with the initial mash temp and I've made a note to heat the liquor a few degrees higher next time to allow for the cooling action of the grist as the hot liquor is added. Delighted with my wort chiller, it dropped the temp from 67 (I was following the instructions to stop boil, add aroma hops, wait 20, stir and wait another 20 in which time the hopped wort dropped to 67C) to 32C in about 10 minutes, didn't even fill my mash tun that I was using to collect the waste water.

Now I've got a bunch of washing up and photos to sort through, re-size and edit these last few posts.

Maybe a coffee first... what am I saying!!!? Coffee! ... EFF THAT! Beer ON!!!

Washed up, photos done, blog edited... Hope it was all worth it.

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