Yesterday I brewed my second batch of beer. If all goes as planned I will have 10 gallons (108 bottles) of beer ready for the 4th of July.
For this batch I chose an English Brown Ale kit from Brewer’s Best.
Equipment changes from last time:
The combination of my electric stove and the problems with my brew pot convinced me to get an outdoor propane burner. You can read about that HERE.
The burner was part of a turkey fryer that also came with a long probe thermometer. This made taking temperatures a lot easier than the floating thermometer I had before.
I started with 2.5 gallons of store bought spring water in my brew pot. I brought that up to 175° F and turned the burner off. As soon as the temp cooled to 165° F I added my bag of specialty grains. This kit included 8 oz. of Caramel, 4 oz. of Chocolate and 6 oz. of Carapils grain. I put these in the muslin grain bag and steeped for 20 minutes. The steeping temperature is supposed to be between 150° and 165° F. Turning the burner off while steeping allowed me a lot more control of the temp then I had with my first brew. At the end of 20 minutes the temperature was down to 150° so I never went above 165° or below 150° F. My first brew I steeped the grains with the burner on and at one point the grain water got up to 180°.
LEARNED SOMETHING: Steep the grains with the burner off. If you start steeping at the high end of the range you should have enough heat to steep for 20 minutes without going below the low end.
After steeping the grains I brought my wort up to a rolling boil. This was a LOT easier with the use the propane burner. I achieved a rolling boil in probably 10 minutes as apposed to an hour or more on the electric stove.
When the wort was boiling I took the heat off completely and began adding my malt extracts. The kit calls for 2 lb. Amber DME and 3.3 lb. Amber LME, these are of course included in the kit. I had previously soaked the container of the LME in some hot water to soften the gooey mess.
LEARNED SOMETHING: When the LME comes in a can it’s a good idea to take the paper off the can itself before putting the can in hot water. I ended up with bits of paper falling off the can and almost into my wort. I can only think that this would have been a BADNESS thing.
I stirred in both the DME and LME into the wort and then, after making sure it was thoroughly mixed, brought the wort back up to a rolling boil. While this was happening I went inside to prep some other things only to turn around and find myself faced with a boil over.
LEARNED SOMETHING: They say if a boil over CAN happen a boil over WILL happen. Prep all items before the boil and have them ready so you don’t have to turn your back on Murphy and his damn law. I was under the impression that the most dangerous point for a boil over is right after you add the bittering hops…. that doesn’t mean it can’t happen at another time though.
I am happy that my first boil over happened OUTSIDE however. It was a lot easier to hose down the patio then it would have been to hose down the kitchen. Though my pool does smell of beer now (just kidding).
I cleaned up the mess AFTER adding 1 oz. bittering hops and starting my clock. This brew calls for three hop additions in it’s schedule.
1 oz. Bittering Hops at 0 minutes.
1 oz. Flavoring Hops at 45 minutes.
.25 oz. Aroma Hops at 55 minutes.
For the next hour I followed the brew day schedule as laid down in the kit and watched my pot boil. A watched pot DOES boil. A non watched pot boils over.
After adding the two other hops on the schedule I took my brew pot off the fire at 60 minutes and carried it inside to my ice bath. I cooled the wort until it was at 110° F and then transferred it to my fermentation bucket. I added 3 gallons of cold spring water to my wort, pouring it in from about 5 feet so as to aerate the mixture, bringing it up to a total of 5 gallons. Adding the cold water brought the temp down to yeast pitching temperature (64 – 72) so I pitched the rehydrated yeast, sealed the fermenting bucket, added my airlock and transferred it to my fermenting closet.
I now have 5 more gallons of beer fermenting away for a total of 10 gallons of beer waiting to be bottled. I am sure, with the help of my two younger brothers and the rest of my family, this “embarrassment of riches” won’t be a problem after the 4th of July weekend.
You might think I am making beer faster than I can drink it... you would be wrong.