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Kitchen ESB Brew

February 15, 2014

I was lucky to get two 10-gallon brews in before winter’s cold set it, because it’s been damn cold this winter.  Unfortunately, they’re all gone now.  They lasted into February at least, but it’s time to brew again or go broke buying craft beer (because not drinking just doesn’t feel like a viable option).

Since it is so cold out, I’m going to try to brew a batch in the house.  My loving family supplied me with a Steelhead pump from Northern Brewer this Christmas, so it should make the job a little more enjoyable.  My plan is to use the 10-gallon Igloo cooler, my 4-gallon stainless steel pot, and a ~1.5 gallon stainless pot to brew 5 gallons of my go-to ESB.  I should be able to fit all of the liquid necessary to fill the pots in the mash tun at once.  Mashing at the appropriate 1.25 qt/lb to mash and then topping off with an additional ~1.5 gallons to bring up to sparge temp (~170°) and provide the additional water necessary to fill the pots.

After mashing, I’m excited to try some recirculation with the pump until the wort runs pretty clear before running off to the boil kettle.  I suppose I should read up on techniques for pump use in case there are any gotchas that I’m not aware of.

Following the boil I should be able to hook my chiller up to the kitchen sink and set up a whirlpool with the pump and silicone tubing.  A dry run (that turned out pretty wet actually, when I sprayed water from the pump over various locations in the kitchen) indicates that I should be able accomplish this by running a tube from the bottom of the kettle, up over the side of the pot, through the pump, and then back up over the side to the top of the wort.  I was able to prime the pump with some siphoning techniques (filling tube with water, clamping off, then inserting into wort).

Pre-Brew

Pre-treat 8 gallons of water in igloo cooler the night before with slaked lime – 8 g – and CaCl2 – 4 g.

Recipe

Beersmith Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (2/16/14)

Mash in only came  up to ~147° => added 2 qt at boiling to bring up to 154°.  Took ~10 minutes before adding.

After mash-out the family decided to go out for a late Valentine’s Day hot chocolate.  Not wanting to disappoint, I left my thin wort at ~162° in the cooler for about an hour before running off into the kettles.

Nearly filled both the 4-gallon and 1.5 gallon kettles with wort, having to add about 0.5 a gallon in the end to top off (after boil off and the ~1500 mL starter).

Awesome cooldown with the pump.  Boiling to 56° F in ~11 minutes.  Figuring I’d need to add pre-boiled water as makeup water (1 – 1.5 gallons), I over-chilled to allow me to add it without fulling cooling it down.

Pitch at ~4:45 after 1 minute aeration.

Fermentation

Healthy bubbling the following morning though not too vigorous.  Ample head space in the 6-gallon Better Bottle to accommodate.  Ramped up from ~67° to 69° over two days.

Kegging

Kegged after about a week (maybe a day or two less.  Airlock activity was pretty slow and gravity was reading in the mid-teens (what I’ve come to expect from Wyeast 1968 and my process).

Impressions

I did a good job leaving the trub behind, so it came out pretty clear from the start.  It’s more bitter than I’ve come to expect from my ESBs and is a bit dry.  Together, I think these signs may indicate I was under gravity to start.  Low gravity to bitterness – GU:BU – ratio giving the impression of more bitterness and low alcohol content giving dry impression (though shouldn’t it seem less dry if it started out low gravity and finished relatively high?  I’ll need to think on this.).  In my switch to the kitchen brewing, I had forgotten to take my usual pre-boil and post-cooldown samples to track efficiency, so I can’t be sure.  Really, I needed to take a mid-boil reading so I could have adjusted for any lack of efficiency in the mashing process.  Further, after only one or two pints, I start to get a headache.  I feel pretty confident that I gave a good pitch rate and I kept temperatures on the low side, so I don’t think any fermentation errors contributed to fusel alcohols.  I wonder if there are any flaws related to the brew day process that could result in dryness, bitterness, and fusel alcohols?

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From → Ale, All-Grain, Brews

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