Not a bad brew day today, despite a persistent cold resulting in relentless sneezing and sniffling. But the starter was ready, so we have to press on. Briefly then …
Using my edited Brewtools equipment profile with the chiller empty at the start seems to be the way forward, with boil-off losses working out about right, but I need to remember to measure those levels before cutting the chiller in.
I’m still losing a litre or so during mashing that I can’t account for, but that’s not the main problem: I need to get more regimented at measuring levels at the right time, and at setting reminders to deploy equipment like chiller and Trubinator correctly.
Even so I don’t see how I can be 10 points off post-boil and I’m going to blame this on the ingredients, all of which except 5.0 kg of Pale had been sitting around for a couple of months, albeit sealed in plastic bags and stored as cool as can be. Wonder how much better I’d do with my own mill?
I need to sit down and run through the entire brew day in fine detail, maybe while the sparge water is heating, so that when it comes to implementing the plan I’ve not missed anything. Let’s do this by implementing a shortcode:
AG Brew Day Checklist
- Fill sparge water to internal scale with malt pipe fitted, leave chiller empty for now
- Heat sparge water with lid in place
Brew Day Notes
0930 – Dough-in started
0945 – Dough-in finished, start mash rest
1010 – Starting mash. Levels very high!
1020 – Wort is running very dark but also very slowly, with only 3-4 inches between the sides of the malt pipe. I might run for a bit longer in order to get better efficiency.
1113 – There’s about 2 minutes left to run of the original 60 minute mash, but I’m going to add another 30 minutes on the basis that it can’t hurt. Wort is running through much more easily now too, which is good.
1145 – Heating to 75℃ in preparation for mash-out
1155 – Struggling to get beyond 71℃ in mash heater mode. Going manual @ 65%.
1200 – Starting mash-out at 75℃.
1208 – Lifting malt pipe, draining while I measure levels: 23.75 litres @ 1.069 (1.051 / 62.9℃). Brewfather thinks I should be at 1.078 and 24.69 litres, so I’m way off and won’t be adding anything before boil.
1221 – Heater to auto and 90℃ while I clean out the malt pipe. Pump will stay at 20% to prevent gumming.
1246 – 60 minute additions in, as well as a nib of Lipohop since there’s a bit of foam in there. Boil tracker started.
1316 – 30 minute additions in
1334 – Fuck it!! I just cut the chiller in without measuring the levels. Bollocks. Pretty sure it was just under 23 litres, and now we’re looking at bang-on 21, so I’m going to call it 22.5 for the records. Brewfather expects 22.29 litres post-boil kettle volume and I think we’re going to hit this. Pausing boil tracker while we wait for temperatures to rebuild.
1342 – Double fuck it – forgot to deploy Trubinator and now there’s not enough time to sanitise it effectively. Oh well, timers back on for the last 10 minutes.
1347 – 5 minute additions in. Fermenter has been sanitised and is standing by.
1348 – Bell didn’t sound, and I noticed that there’s still 5 minutes until the 5 minute additions should go in. What’s wrong with me today? Cutting the boil short by 5 minutes seems a better idea than boing the 5 minute additions twice as long as necessary, so I’m going to run with that.
1354 – Starting chiller. Kettle is at 99.9℃ and return already down to 60℃. Post-boil kettle volume adjusted to 22 litres after 55 minutes. Post-boil gravity 1.077 (1.060 / 61.4℃) against predicted 1.087.
1400 – Return temperature is down to 22.5℃ with pumps at 15%, let’s start filling the fermenter. At this rate I don’t think we’ll need to oxygenate as we’re already getting a good head.
1410 – Return temperature is creeping up and it occurs to me that the increasing rate of flow is due to gravity as much as the pump, so I elevate the fermenter in order to regain control over return temperature.
1415 – Flow rate reduces and I note that the dip tube it too high, silently taking in air as well as wort. Try to lower it via the external lever but it won’t budge, so I push it down with the freshly washed (but not sanitised) mash paddle. FFS. Hope it’s OK.
1440 – Transferred to fermenter, looks like just under 20 litres with my starter which was pitched at 20℃ bang-on. Deployed blue tilt, set fermentation chamber to 19℃.
1530 – Clean-up finished.