Bit of a mixed bag on this one. While making the starter on Tuesday I was pushing my luck with 1.6 litres of water and 184g DME, adding a good dollop of Lipohop to keep from boiling over, but forgetting to throw in any yeast nutrients. When it was time to sterilise the magnetic stir bar I forgot to take the Erlenmeyer flask off the boil, and as soon as the little white pill hit the boiling wort it ejected violently all over the hob, losing about 200 ml of volume. I went on to make the starter anyway, but let’s not do that again.
#wisdom: don’t throw stir-bar directly into boiling wort
I measured out the grain on the evening before the brew day, and only afterwards noted that the recipe I was following was based against the old B40 equipment profile, before I adjusted GAR. Switching to the updated profile in Brewfather caused the grain amounts to adjust in order to hit the same 23 litres fermenter target, which in any event went through the mash limits. I so reduced the target to 18.5 litres (now only 140 ml over) and reset the grain bill to what had already been measured and mixed, which should see me hit 10% ABV all being well.
All wasn’t well, and despite being pretty much spot-on with my volumes throughout the day I wasn’t able to extract as much from the mash as I’d hoped, ending up 13 points short of my pre-boil gravity and 18 points short on OG. So no fermenter top-up today.
Brew Day Notes
0642 Start dough-in.
0652 Start mash rest. Another very busy one, indicated 36.5 litres!
0725 Start mashing. Looks like 37 litres.
0835 Heating water from 67℃ to 75℃ for mash-out. Been a fairly uneventful mash; quite thick as predicted but not in danger of overflowing. I’ve not tried to ‘fan out’ the worth from the hat, just kept it flowing normally (and dribbling down the short section of exposed column) while stirring often.
0845 Not reaching mash-out temp as quickly as I’d like using mash heating mode, switching to manual and 70%. Presently at 71℃.
0850 We’re just about there. Switching off centre column to settle the mash and take a quick reading: 34.25 litres in kettle. Starting mash-out timer, centre column back on.
0905 Start sparge
0907 Sparge done. Not sure that was even worth it for 1.65 litres, but I’m testing the new profile so doing it by the numbers. Letting it drip with heathers at 100% for boil, volume looks like around 24 litres against predicted 24.17. Revised grain absorption rate might just be right, even for big beers with high grain bill. 😀
0945 Starting boil tracker, 60 minute additions in. Pre-boil volume 24 litres, gravity 1.068 (1.039 @ 81℃) against predicted 1.081. Wow – 13 points short! I doubt I’ll make the predicted post-boil of 1.089 at this rate, so we might be stuck with 8 or 9% ABV. Let’s see …
1015 30 minute boil additions in.
1030 15 minute boil additions in. Adding about 5g of yeast nutrients – roughly twice the usual dose, because I forgot to give some to my starter. Still, it’s not looking too malnourished… Not bothering with the Trubinator today as we don’t have a significant kettle hop content.
1040 5 minute boil additions in, Centennial smelling sensational!
1045 Boil finished, starting chill, and damn it – forgot to measure levels before cutting the chiller in – but it looks like 20.5 from here. Was expecting 21.77 and from previous batches I see the chiller is around 0.75 litres, so maybe I’m closer to 21.25 litres, in other words 0.5 litres more boil-off than expected.
1105 Starting transfer to FV. Post-boil gravity 1.071 (1.067 @ 32.7℃) against predicted 1.089. Not topping up Fermenter. Atrocious brewhouse / mash efficiency!
1130 Transfer finished. Looks like 18 litres in there, plus roughly 1.4 from the starter and we’re just below 20 litres fermenter volume. Blue Tilt attached, in the fridge she goes, Inkbird set to 19℃.
1230 Clean-up finished, including deep-clean of valves using my new brush set.