Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brew Day: English Brown Ale + Recipe

We're back in action. I had to bang on some pots and pans to wake everyone up today. This time we're making an English brown ale to test our new mash/lauter tun setup. Additionally, we have purchased Star San, a concentrated solution of phosphoric acid, to sanitize our equipment. After the infection of our last batch, we aren't taking any chances today.
Brew Kettle on stove
Getting the kitchen clean and spotless
Grains at bottom of bag
Grain in our new bag

The Bammforth Brown Ale

7.5 lbs 2 Row
0.5 lbs Brown Malt
0.5 lbs Roasted Barley
0.25 lbs Munich
0.25 lbs Crystal 40

1 oz Fuggles
1 oz Willamette

Burton Ale Yeast WLP023

All grain mashing 1
Adding the grain directly to the mash
Since we are abandoning the brew-in-a-bag method, our mashing process slightly changes. We add our grain directly to the mash water in our brew kettle on the stove. It's almost the same as brew-in-a-bag, except without the bag and much less water.

All grain mashing 2
This time we made porridge instead of tea
We heated the mash water up to 65 degrees Celsius before adding in the grain. It was stirred while being added.
All grain mashing 3
If you invent smell-o-vision through the internet, contact me and I'll make you rich
Once all the grain was added, we brought the temperature back up to 65 (the grain absorbed some of the heat), turned the oven to simmer, and covered up the kettle.We left it like that for about 1 hour, periodically checking the temperature.

Extra Sparge water
This ended up working
As soon as the mash ended, water was moved from other pots on the stove to our sparge water bucket at the top of our lauter system. Since our brew kettle was being used for mashing, he logistical that we needed to solve was warming up 5 gallons of water with only a 2 gallon pot and a 1 gallon pot. Luckily, the water heated up quick enough before the sparge water ran out.

Vorlaufing 1
Vorlauf step 1 
To begin lautering, we first vorlaufed the grain bed by draining the sweet wort and dumping it back into the lauter tun until no sediment remained.
Vorlaufing 2
Vorlauf step 2
Once vorlaufing was completed, we turned on spigot on and started the lautering (as seen in video below)

Spare arm overview
We built something that actually works
Sparge Arm
Sparge arm was constructed from PVC fittings and a nylon barb (the same we used for the fermenters)
Grain bed and sparging
Grain bed compacted after all sparge water ran out
It took about 5.5 gallons of sparge water to bring out kettle up to the desired amount. From there, we moved onto the 1 hour boil, where we added in our 2 hop varieties.
Preboil volume
Vigorous boiling
Vigorous boiling
Cooling only took about 30 minutes total, quicker than some of our other beers. I can attribute that to a bag of ice we found in the freezer.

Cooling wort
Vigorous stirring action
We made our starter the night before and I was impressed with how quickly fermentation started in the yeast starter. I read that this yeast can cause fermenters to blow up (in a great splash of beer) but I am hoping that won't happen.

40 oz bottle yeast starter
40 oz bottle yeast starter -- perfect reuse of container from the night before
Using WLP023 -- Burton ale yeast
The original gravity of our beer was 1.043. It should give around 4% ABV once finished. That's typical for this style, but we'll have to see whether or not it ferments as much as I think it will. Our mash efficiency was about 65%, which is better than before with brew-in-a-bag. We can probably get that number to be higher in future batches.
Oxygenated wort
A nice foam after being oxygenated
Moved to secondary fermentation 1 week later

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