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Wee No ‘Tweener Consistency Brew

January 11, 2011

I really liked my last brew of this, so I’m going to try to re-brew it with as minor modification as possible.  I’m hoping to have better luck with the fermentation to avoid the hot alcohol this time and I’ll be using re-pitched yeast (which started out with this batch, BTW) as opposed to a starter, but otherwise I want to keep it the same and see how well I can replicate a batch.  I’d also like to scale it up to 5 gallons, but my MLT can’t handle that with the low efficiency I’ve been having.  In order to hopefully help the “hot” alcohol, I think I’m going to ferment in my keezer set to the low-60’s for primary.  It will mean my brown ale keg will be a little warm for a few days, but I can probably keep myself from it for that long.

Recipe

BeerSmith Recipe

Brew Day (1/14/2011)

Well, there’s no way for me to be consistent with my equipment at the moment since I can’t get consistent efficiencies (for one).  For the next few batches, I think I’ll try to make as consistent of a process as possible and hopefully a consistent (although probably low) efficiency can be achieved.  From there I can hopefully figure out how to bump up that efficiency consistently and then maybe I can hope to reproduce batches.

That out of the way, I performed a similar technique to the last brew (or two) that I don’t think I documented that involves continuing to run off wort from the MLT even after the brew kettle is full to try to extract as much good stuff as I can.  This helped last time with my Brown Ale by giving me wort to top-off with instead of water.  The other times I did it, I just waited until the wort looked too clear to be above 1.010 but found out that I was misjudging (based on hydrometer readings after the fact) it and actually could have kept running off just fine for a little while longer.  This time, I put a 1-gallon pickle jar in the secondary kettle (see pic below).  When this jar is full, my hydrometer can float in it, allowing me to keep an eye on the gravity.  Knowing the approximate wort temp (upper 150s) I could be pretty confident that I was maintaining above 1.010.  Today I was able to run off the second kettle completely full before dropping below 1.010, giving me an extra ~2 gallons of wort.  Of course it still means diluting a wort that’s already too low OG, but it was so far too low that I wasn’t too concerned (ended up with 1.044 OG after diluting, meaning before diluting it was probably about 1.053 – 18 points low).

Fermentation

I left the wort-filled carboy and container with yeast for re-pitching in the keezer overnight to equalize in temperature.  In the morning (1/15/2011) I pitched and was expecting a quick takeoff (as I usually do with re-pitching), but was a little concerned when it still didn’t show obvious signs of fermentation all day long.  Luckily the next morning (1/16/2011) it was chugging along.  I’m hoping the slow start was due to the ~62 F setting of the keezer, but only time will tell.

Given that I’m using my keezer for temp control and that my homemade temperature controller has about a 3 F swing, I put a thermometer in a gallon jug of water to get a reasonable (conservative) judge of what the temperature should be in the fermentor without the exothermic fermentation process.  Overnight, it kept between 62 and 63.  Given the temperature rise of fermentation, that’s hopefully a good range.

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From → Ale, All-Grain, Brews

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