Last night I had a “brew party”. Some of my neighbors have been drinking my homebrewed beer over the last year and they were interested in the process. So last night I invited over the fellas to watch me brew. Well, not only did the guys show up, most of their wives showed up as well. In addition to brewing a hoppy American Wheat, we managed to consume over 2½ gallons of beer.
The night started off a little rocky. While pouring the pilsner malt into the grain mill, the bag tore and most of the 5 lbs. of pilsner ended up on my driveway. Not knowing what kind of chemicals might leach off of the driveway, I decided that I couldn’t use that grain. Unfortunately that led to me having to change the recipe drastically. Calling an audible (because I had no more pilsner malt), I decided to rob 5 lbs. of 2-row from my next batch.
My next issue arose when I started trying to mill my grain. For some reason, my drill no longer will turn the crank of my Barley Crusher. So I proceeded to dig through my crap and found the hand crank. I milled 11 lbs. of grain (5 lbs. wheat malt, 5 lbs. 2-row and 1 lb. of flaked wheat) by hand. Shoulder is a bit sore today
In the past I’ve had trouble hitting my mash temperature (usually on the low side) so I heated my strike water about 5 degrees higher to try to compensate for the heat loss in the mash tun. Well, I was shooting for 152 degrees and ended up at about 156. I quickly added about ¾ quart of ice which brought my temperature down to about 144 – oops. I then had to add boiling water to get it up to about 151. At that point I left well enough alone.
With all of the issues I had, I totally lost my head and forgot that I batch sparge. Instead of pouring a few gallons of hot water into the mash tun and stirring I basically did a crappy fly sparge by pouring quarts of hot water through a colander onto the grain bed. Then to make matters worse, instead of consulting the recipe that I worked up, I tried to do it from memory and I used 2 oz. of Amarillo and 2 oz. of Liberty instead of one from each. So instead of @23 IBU, I ended up with @45. I think that’s going to be quite a bit too hoppy for this beer (I’ll like it, but I was hoping to brew something to appeal to lighter beer drinkers, like my wife, who has never drank my beer).
I had a great 60 minute boil (I was planning to boil 75 with the pilsner, but scaled it back after the Great Grain Spillage Incident) with no boil over, for a change.
My next issue came when trying to cool the wort. My immersion chiller sprung a leak last time and I haven’t fixed it yet, so I tried to cool it with an ice/salt/water bath. I got it down to about 110 degrees before melting all of the ice and deciding to stick it in the refrigerator for the night. This morning it was down to a nice 62 degrees, so hopefully no gremlins crawled into the kettle overnight.
I transferred the wort to the carboy, aerated it, put it in a water bath and pitched a packet or US-05 yeast. Hopefully I’ll have a quick fermentation and we’ll be able to drink this bad boy in three weeks or so.