Today, I am making an English Brown Ale. The recipe is Jamil Zainasheff’s Through a Mild Darkly from Brewing Classic Styles. I am making the all-grain version with only one substitution. I am using roasted barley in place of the black patent malt.
Yesterday, I disassembled my brew kettle and gave it a good cleaning. It looks like nice shiny brand new stainless steel rather than a cruddy old cook pot. Last night I set up the brewery, measured out the mash and sparge water, and weighed out and crushed the grains.
8:40 AM The yeast has been out of the refrigerator overnight and I just smacked it. The manufacture date is May 1, 2012.
8:58 AM Flame is on under the water. There are 5 gallons in the boil kettle for the mash and 3.5 gallons in the hot liquor tank for the sparge.
The recipe calls for 0.87 oz of 5% AA Kent Goldings. My hops are 3.2% AA. That should mean that I would need 1.36 oz (0.87 × (5 ÷ 3.2)), but I only have an ounce to work with, so that’s what I will use. To try to help my utilization a bit, I am going to add the hops directly to the kettle rather than using a hop bag.
9:28 AM Mash water at 177 °F in the kettle. Transferring to the mash tun.
9:37 AM Transfer complete. Strike water temperature is 168 °F in the mash tun.
9:45 AM Initial mash temperature is 157 °F. I’m going to stir with my big metal spoon to see if I cannot drop it a few degrees.
9:50 AM I got it down to below 156 °F. That”s fine. 157 °F would have been fine. This is a session beer and a little extra body isn’t going to hurt anything. I’ll be back at 10:45 AM.
10:45 AM Ending mash temperature is 151 °F (WTF?) Vorlauf.
10:51 AM Lautering. Collected 4 gallons of 1.052 SG (1.041 SG at 122 °F) wort. The refractometer read 13.3 Brix, which is 1.053 SG, but the line was not crisp, so I’m going to stick with the hydrometer reading which is only 1 point different.
Jamil says he always uses a 1.3 qt/lb grist ratio. Repeat-ability – Can You Brew It 04-09-12 at 24:10. Tasty always uses the same amount of strike water.
11:01 AM Sparging. 170 °F 151 °F. Collected 3⅛ gallons of 1.017 SG (1.006 at 122 °F) wort. The refractometer read 4.6 Brix, which is 1.018 SG. Again, the refractometer is 1 point higher than the hydrometer.
11:22 AM Collected a total of 7⅛ gallons of 1.034 SG (1.023 at 123 °F) wort. The refractometer read 9.0 Brix, which is 1.034 SG. Jamil suggests a pre-boil gravity of 1.030 SG is expected.
11:24 AM The flame is on.
12:02 PM Boiling. Reducing heat to medium and waiting for the hot break to subside.
12:05 PM Adding the hops.
12:50 PM Adding chiller.
12:55 PM Adding yeast nutrient and Irish moss.
1:05 PM Flame out and chilling.
1:14 PM Just filled the 10 gallon mash tun. That’s 9 minutes, or 0.9 gallons per minute. The most recent BYO suggests 2.5 gpm is good.
1:36 PM Chilled to 68 °F. Ended up with 6 gallons of 1.040 SG (1.030 at 120 °F) wort. The refractometer read 10.6 Brix, which is 1.042 SG. Jamil’s target for the original gravity was 1.036 SG.
1:38 PM I just gave the wort a big stir to start a whirlpool. I’ll let it settle for 20 minutes before transferring to the carboy.
2:00 PM Draining.
2:21 PM Drained. Aerating.
2:28 PM Aerated. Pitching.
3:11 PM Everything is cleaned and put away. The beer is in the fermentation chamber with a set point of 69 °F. The thermostat is in heating mode. The set point is the “cut out” temperature. The differential is set to 2 °F. This means that — since the cellar is cold — the temperature of the beer falls until it is below 67 °F (2 °F below the set point). Then the thermostat turns the heater on until it reaches 69 °F (the set point) where the heater cuts out. That means that the beer will ferment at 68 ± 1 °F for this configuration.