Brewing Woes

Being as how I’m writing this today should give you an idea as to how my brew session went yesterday, I fully intended to write this up last night. Murphy’s Law was one-step ahead of me most of the day/night. Yes I said night. I started brewing around 2 pm, and didn’t finish getting everything all cleaned up until after midnight.

You’re probably wondering what made yesterday’s brew session last so long? Well let me tell you, but first I need to go back to Friday as I stopped at Midwest Brewing supplies to pick up a few items that I needed; a March pump and a few ingredients for my Blonde Ale kit that Kodi chewed into. After I got home I found I bought the wrong DME so that should have tipped me right there.

So on Saturday I ran to the Orange Big Box home project store to pick up a GFI adapter. Well guess what they don’t sell there? Small sign #2. Then while there I needed to find an adapter to go from a 1/2″ hose to 3/8″ barb. Small sign #2.5. Since I couldn’t find what I was looking for and no one was very helpful I decided to try the handyman (see Red Green) special and just crank it extra tight.

So I start my brewing get all 6 gallons of water in the kettle and turn the gas on to get it up to 155 degrees so I can start the specialty grain tea bag. At about 20 minutes into my 30 steep I hear a little poof from my burner, Oh no! I just ran out of propane. What am I supposed to do? Well I run back to the Orange Big Box store and pick up a tank. Get home and the temp hadn’t dropped much so I hook up the new tank (noticed I purchased a tank, not exchanged the tank) light the burner and crank the heat. But for some reason the temp never got above 200! Come on what gives? I read a little piece of paper that comes with the tank and find that they only put 15 lbs of propane in the tank, but on top of that it seems there is just not enough pressure pushing the gas out.  Oh and before I forget, during the time I was trying to boil the wort it started raining. Fortunately I have a covered patio where I brew my beer so there was no worry of rain getting into my beer. But the problem was that I was setting up my pump and wort cooling system and that was getting wet. Last time I heard it wasn’t best to get electronics wet, so I was trying to get that all situated to keep it dry. After about 30 minutes of waiting for those last 12 degrees I decided to try and find a propane refill location nearby to refill my original tank. I get back with my tank filled and hook it up. Light the flame again and within a couple of minutes the kettle is boiling! Time to add the LME and DME. So I kill the flame and start adding the extracts. Nothing exciting there for once. Then I bring the wort back to a boil and after my set time I add the first hop addition, .5 ounce of Columbus. Mmmmm what a aromatic scent and brings citrus note from those hops. So I boil again for the set time and add the next hops, Amarillo. It’s no wonder this is such a popular hop. I also noticed that my water line was rather low, so I add another .5 gallons of water. So after the set time I add the last hop addition of more Amarillo and let the boil finish.

Now it’s time to cool the wort with my new investments. I have a 10 gallon cooler with 2 litres and 20 ounce bottles of ice and about 3 gallons of water chilled and ready to pump through my home made 50’+ 1/2′ ID chiller. But remember I had a 1/2″ hose that I couldn’t find the adapter to a 3/8″ barb. Which I just cranked extra tight on to try and get it to work. Well it sort of worked. I have the pump all setup and plug it in, which remember it had just rained, so that was not as easy as it may sound. Turn on the pump and what happens? I sprung a leak! fortunately the leak sprayed out of the kettle and away from the electronics so no serious damage is done. So time to scrap the electronics and go back to using the faucet and watering the lawn, like it needed more water after the downpour of the day.

The carboy’s cleaned and ready So I start the siphon from the kettle to the carboy and notice that the carboy is not filling as much as I am used to. What else could go wrong??? So I test the gravity and yup, I was at about 1.060, actually I was higher than that, I just was so shocked I didn’t pay attention to the last number. So I had to add more water, shake it up a little to help aerate the wort and take another sample, still high! More water to come and at least now I was close enough that my last SG reading was still on the high side, but yet within parameters for this brew. 1.054.

Lessons Learned

  • With all the great new tools I added to the brewery, I feel the pump has the most impact, but to really get that impact I need to get some quick disconnects, that also holds true for the kettle the cooler and the wort chiller
  • Also there is a big need to keep 2 filled propane tanks on hand at all time
  • Do not use propane exchange tanks for boiling. Until that tank runs out I will only be able to use it pre-boil

Now I can’t wait to brew this beer again so that I can have a better brew session to see what this beer tastes like when brewed more accurately.

Netflix, Inc.

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Filed under Brew, Loghome Brewery

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