Another good brew day! Looking at the counter this is my sixteenth all-grain brew, and I’m getting better at remembering to take my measurements and making useful notes. The Fermzilla is in the fermentation fridge and I’m looking over the raw notes (below) so let’s see what we can learn.
Looking at Losses
First of all, there hasn’t been that much volume lost during mashing, with before and after being close to 26 litres malt + water. Sparge water was 9.7 litres (11.41 HLT) and mash water was 22 litres, though I was a bit generous on the sparging, having filled the HLT to a smidge over 12 litres – so 600 ml over. The mash tun was spot-on 22 litres, chiller dry at this point and malt pipe in place.
Sparging until the HLT started sucking air brought the volume to 27.5 litres, but Brewfather predicted 28.86 litres, so a good 1.35 litres down. The proper way to account for this within Brewfather would be to crack on and record a fermenter top-up later, but I didn’t have any mineral water to hand so I added around 1.5 litres straight from tap to the kettle, on the basis that the subsequent 60 minute boil would take care of sterilisation. With the extra water in the kettle I was looking at a pre-boil volume of 29 litres at 1.047 against 28.86 and 1.044, so I’m still ahead on both counts.
I’m going to record the 1.5 litre pre-boil addition as fermenter top-up, because there’s no sparge loss measurement in Brewfather. This will probably give some crazy mash / brewhouse efficiency numbers, but that’s OK. Going forward I’ll modify the hardware profile to include an extra 1.5 litres in my HLT dead space since that feels like the best way of handing this situation until I think of something better.
0815 Starting dough-in
0830 Start mash rest
0850 First stir, start mashing
0910 Forgot to measure levels at the start, 15 minutes into mashing and it looks like we have 26 litres in there. BF predicted 25.35 so we’re still on target.
0915 The pump’s been making an odd clicking / knocking noise that disappears when restarted but comes back in a few seconds later. At first I thought it might be something stuck in the impeller but now I’m wondering if the bearings are OK. Might be worth investigating spare parts before I get a failure.
0934 Last stir, want the mash to settle for the final 20 minutes in order to trap as much floating crud as possible
0950 Mash almost done, shutting off centre pipe flow in order to let her equalise before I can measure losses so far. It’s taking quite a while for the malt pipe to drain which hopefully indicates a long sparge ahead. HLT now up to 75℃.
0955 Looks like we still have 26 litres in there, so minimal losses during mash this time. SG 1.063 (1.047 @ 60℃)
1000 Starting vorlauf
1005 Starting sparge
1015 Sparge water out – that didn’t take long! Looks like we have around 27.5 litres in there now, BF predicted 28.86. How’s that possible, when my mash losses were so minimal? SG 1.050 (1.035 @ 58℃) against predicted 1.044, so I’m adding tap water to 29 litres, sod the figures. SG now up to 1.047 (1.032 @ 58℃).
1105 Rolling boil started, waiting for the impressive hot break to dissipate before reducing heat temporarily and throwing the 60 minute additions in.
1110 Tracker started, additions in.
1200 15 minute additions in, measuring levels ahead of cutting in chiller and trubinator for sanitisation: 27.75 litres.
1205 Extra hardware is now in, levels look like 26.75. Ramping back up to boil with tracker paused.
1225 Boil’s done, switching on chiller for 20 minute hop-stand.
1245 Hop-stand done, starting to chill down to 20℃. We have 25.5 litres approximately, SG 1.050 (1.030 @ 67℃) against predicted 1.048. Not topping up further.
1400 Clean-up finished. Red tilt was deployed about 40 minutes ago, volume with starter approximately 23 litres – hurrah!