Sep 202215Thu

Started Geronimo NEIPA

SG 1.050 20.0℃ started wisdom

Fairly good brew day today, the only mishap was spilling some of the whirlpool hops onto the steam hat instead of chucking them in cleanly. Well, that and a near boil-over when coming back from cutting the chiller in, but let’s draw a veil over that.

My numbers were still a bit off with losses of around 2 litres during mashing, which I made up for by sparging longer. I accounted for this using 2 litres fermenter top-up, adding another 2 litres actual fermenter top-up when I was left with only 19 litres after transfer.

On a positive note, I’ve been chatting with the creator of Brewfather via Discord, and learned that:

  • Any gravity field in Brewfather expects a true, i.e. temperature corrected value instead of the raw value straight from the hydrometer, and
  • Consistent losses in mashing can be dialled in by changing the grain absorption rate in the equipment profile. Right now that’s set to 0.8 (internet wisdom suggests 1.0 might be better) and I’m going to see if I can work out the numbers based on my findings rather than just fiddling with it.

#wisdom: enter temperature-corrected hydrometer readings in Brewfather, not raw values.

I also discovered that the sparge manifold can be used in vorlauf – and probably also during mashing – when I accidentally swapped it out for the mash hat before mash-out rather than after. Rather than undoing the change I simply removed the end caps so that the small holes along the bottom of the manifold wouldn’t get blocked, and it worked really well, distributing the wort better than the mash hat does. I’m not sure if the manifold arms are wide enough to work right from the start of a mash, or if it’d just get in the way of stirring and be a right pain, but it’s an interesting one to maybe explore later.

Brew Day Notes

0655 Start dough-in

0705 Dough-in complete. Very floaty mash today, seems as though it’s sitting on top of the mash water and reluctant to sink in properly, so I gave it a bit of a poke. With 1 kg of oat flakes in there things may get gummy later.

0730 Mash rest complete, first stir reveals quite a milky concoction. Start mash.

0735 First stir already. This one’s going to take a fair bit of babysitting! I have the B40 set to 66℃ and the mash temperature 4 inches from top is 62.5℃. Increasing thermostat to 68℃ as I really want 66 in the mash. Colour is very milky.

0745 Indicated 67.6℃ (tank) and measured 66.6℃ in the mash. Reducing thermostat to 67℃.

0750 Stirring. Seems quite gloopy despite having a low grist : water ratio, with whirlpools appearing above the dip tube approximately 15 minutes after each stir.

0810 Stirring.

0825 Just over 10 minutes left to run, giving her one more stir and then leaving to settle for vorlauf and sparge.

0835 Mash done, tank temp 67℃. Heating water to 75℃ for mash-out.

0845 Fitted the sparge manifold while waiting for the mash to reach 75℃ and forgot that I’ll still need to mash-out. Balls. Can’t be bothered to re-fit the mash hat so I’m simply removing the end caps from the manifold in the hope that this will stop it from clogging while I mash-out. Actually seems to work quite well! I don’t think I’ll be replacing the sparge hat with this tool just yet, but it’s certainly performing better than I’d hoped. Took a reading of the levels while waiting to start, and I’m seeing just over 26 litres with the malt pipe in place. 

0900 Raising malt pipe and starting vorlauf.

0905 Start sparge. Not able to measure levels since that needs rest and I don’t want the mash to get dry.

0910 Sparge slowing, reducing flow in order to maintain half an inch of water on top of the malt pipe. HLT about half way done. Levels look about 22 litres presently, not sure how I’ll reach pre-boil volume of 28.86 litres. Think I’ll top up the HLT with snort 2 litres – don’t want to drop the temperature or let the grain dry out.

0920 HLT dry, sparge complete. I’m letting it drip for a while before lifting the pipe as I want as few losses as possible. Even with the 2 litre addition (tracking as fermenter top-up, which is bound to skew mash efficiency) I’ll be lucky to make 28 litres.

0925 Pre-boil gravity 1.049 (1.030 @ 66℃) against expected 1.044, volume 28.75 litres. But that’s with a top-up, and I’m still not sure wether to enter corrected SG into Brewfather or raw. Heaters to manual 100% for boil.

0950 Starting boil tracker, 60 minute additions in.

1040 About to add chiller coil and Trubinator for sanitation. Levels are 26.75 litres before, 25.5 after. Boil tracker paused.

1045 Heaters to maximum, tank temperature 93℃. 

1055 Oops, got distracted and forgot about the kettle, nearly had a boil-over! Steam hat and condenser (which also wasn’t switched on) seemed to contain the tide of hops quite well. Kill power, reassess, etc.

1105 Adding 5 minute boil additions

1110 Boil done, trying to reduce to 99℃ for 30 minute hop-stand.

1115 Starting hop-stand, 30 minute additions in, managed to partially miss the hole in the steam hat and some ended up on the lid. Recovered and added – let’s hope nothing untoward happens now that we’re off-boil.

1150 Hop-stand done, starting chill. Post-boil gravity 1.055 (1.044 @ 50℃) against predicted 1.048. 

1215 Return temperature 23℃, starting trickle transfer to Fermzilla.

1235 Transfer finished, looks like 19 litres in the FV. Topping up with 2 litres bottled water. OG 1.050 – two points up on predicted  1.048!

1345 Clean-up finished.