Sunday, June 7, 2009

First All-Grain Session

Wow, do I have a lot to learn! This weekend I brewed my first all-grain batch, an extra hoppy pale ale. This is my first time using all of this new (to me) equipment and I’m going through a few growing pains. I borrowed my neighbor’s turkey fryer and I bought a barley crusher. The grain mill was supposed to be delivered on brew day, but hadn’t arrived when I went to the LHBS, so I went ahead and asked them to mill my grain. My plan was to double-crush it if my barley crusher arrived in time. It did, but I couldn’t get it to work. My cordless drill should have plenty of torque to turn it, but I couldn’t get it to turn. I’ll borrow someone’s corded drill to see if that makes a difference.

The burner on my neighbor’s turkey fryer worked like a champ – that bad boy sounded like a jet engine, but I don’t think the pot is as large as I need. I thought all of those things came with 30 quart (7 ½ gal.) pots, but I only ended up with about 4 ½ gal. of wort and I sure didn’t boil off 2 ½ to 3 gallons.

I’m close to maxing out my mash tun also. I have a 5 gal. igloo cylindrical cooler and I’m not sure I could go much more than the 12 lbs. I used in this recipe.

I’m really struggling with my volume measurements and I really need advice. What is the best way to measure volumes in your kettle? It’s not feasible for me to use a measuring cup, plus I don’t want to risk aerating the hot wort.

Here are the details:

Beer Number: B5

Beer Name: Beaverdam Pale Ale

Type: American Pale Ale

Primary Fermenter: 6 gal. glass carboy

OG: 1.055

FG: ??

Expected IBU: 58

Expected SRM: 9

Expected Alcohol %: 5.5%


10 lbs. American 2-row malt

.5 lbs. Crystal 40

.5 lbs. Crystal 60

1 lb. white wheat

½ oz. Perle pellet hops (8.2%AA) FWH

½ oz. Amarillo pellet hops (7.0%AA) FWH

1 oz. Magnum pellet hops (@9.0% AA) 60 min.

½ oz. Perle pellet hops (8.2%AA) 15 min.

½ oz. Amarillo pellet hops (7.0%AA) 5 min.

½ oz. Cascade pellet hops (@6.6%AA) 1 min.

Safeale US-05 dry yeast

I had never used first wort hopping before. I’m anxious to see how the FWH affected the brew. The hydrometer sample was very bitter, but it was a smooth kind of bitter. I usually strive for a more balanced beer (malt vs. hops) but I decided I really wanted something less balanced and this hopping schedule should fit the bill.

I hope to let this one sit in primary for 2 to 3 weeks and then I’d like to brew an IPA to drop onto the yeast cake.

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