So brew numero uno is now completed and safely in the fermenter in the wine cooler and thankfully its bubbling away, although slower than i’m used to. I guess that is because that its brewing at a much lower temperature than normal.
The brew day was a long one, I decided to do a few things a bit different this time, firstly I decided to boil all the water I was going to use first instead of using straight tap water. This sounds relatively simple but when you need to heat and then let cool 12 litres of water this takes some time. I reckon in all it probably added an hour to my normal brew time.
I did do things a little different mainly because i’d picked up some handy stuff when I went to a friend’s homebrew session a few days before. I also invested in a couple of new items to help me along.
Firstly I bought a 20 litre stock pot, the purpose for this was not to do the main boil in but rather to hold the 12 litres of boiled water so i’d ensure no tap water would be needed this time. My second purchase was a digital thermometer. I’ve never used a thermometer before and have just gone on instinct (apart from when steeping grains when I used a coffee jug one). Hopefully the use of the thermometer ensures a bit of consistency in the beer I’m making and I certainly appreciated its use when it came to deciding when to pitch the yeast.
Anyway onto the recipe I used. It was as follows:
Light Dry Malt 1.4kg
Carahell 0.24kg (steeped)
Pale Crystal 0.06kg (steeped)
Chinook Hops 15g (60 min boil)
Cascade Hops 15g (15 min boil)
Cascade Hops 15g (dry hop)
Safale 04 7g (rehydrated)
Its a fairly simple recipe I got off the link I posted on the original post.
Everything went pretty much to plan, and using the thermometer at the end to ensure the wort was the right temperature to add the yeast told me that I was probably pitching yeast at too high a temperature before. In fact it took 4 hours before the wort was at the right temperature to pitch and I put the wort in the fermenter in the wine cooler to ensure it cooled down fast as well. A bit of research told me, it okay not to pitch the yeast until the next morning if your struggling to get the temperature down but I was happy with the 4 hours.
The only slight hiccup was I didn’t put the airlock in whilst waiting for the wort to cool down so hopefully that won’t be too much of a problem and as usual I forgot to get a hydrometer reading (but that doesn’t really concern me).
A day later the fermenter is bubbling away in the wine cooler so I can’t be too disappointed about that. Fingers crossed this first brew of 2014 turns out to be a drinkable one.
So its 7 days later and its time to add the hops for the dry hopping. I was a bit apprehensive about doing it from a couple of points of view. Firstly I wasn’t sure if I was going to use a hop bag or not. In the end I decided just to pitch the pellets into the yeast and see what result it throws up. I bulk prime so I drain the beer into a secondary so I should get rid of all the hop residue during this process.
My second problem was, although the recipe said dry hop after five days, I wondered if this was sensible while the beer was still fermenting so I utilised www.aussiehomebrewer.com and posed the question on there. The resounding answer was that it was the best time to dry hop when the beer was still fermenting.
I carefully removed the airlock, removed the fermenter lid, quickly threw the hop pellets in a closed it up. I did notice a lovely deep krausen on the top, I was quite impressed. Once I put the lid back on within 10 minutes the airlock was going crazy bubbling every couple of seconds whereas previously it bubbled once every thirty second so its seem no damage has been done.
So now its just a wait for fermentation to finish before I get the next brew on.
So I’m nearly 2 and a half weeks into the fermenting now and i’ve taken a couple of hydrometer readings in the last couple of days. The first was on Sunday (23rd) and I had the reading at 1.018, today (25th) at 1.016. Pretty much my information is showing 1.016 will be around the final gravity, so if I can get another reading the same tomorrow or the next day, I reckon its about time to bottle this one.
Whilst testing, like an good brewer, I’ve been tasting the beer out of the hydrometer tube as well, and I have to say it actually quite nice. It is a bit sour, but the only really missing is some sweetness which the priming when we bottle will achieve. I’m hopefully about this first batch and maybe temperature control was where I was going wrong all along.