Today we will be brewing our first batch on the 20L - not only our first batch on the 20L, but our first batch ever. I hope to capture much of today's activities on video. Hopefully Assistant Brewer Larry remembered to charge the battery of his video recorder last night.
For this first brew we have chosen a simple recipe. Almost a SMASH (single malt and single hops), but not quite. We will be using two malts.
- 4kg 2-row pale American malt
- .300 10 degree crystal malt
- One package of Willamette hops (1 oz/28.35mg)
- One package of Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast
Our mash schedule is probably more extensive that it needs to be. Everything I've read indicates that with today's highly-modified malts our extensive mash schedule is not necessary, but it shouldn't hurt, and I want to give this first brew every opportunity to succeed. The system is automated; so the complex mash schedule does not complicate our brew day. With today's highly-modified malts some of the comments I have in parenthesis after each mash step may not be pertinent, but they explain my reasoning.
1) Protein Rest 1: 30 min @ 50C (to develop yeast nutrients)
2) Protein Rest 2: 15 min @ 60C (Improve clarity and foam potential)
3) Beta rest. Saccharification: 20 min @ 66C (for light-bodied beer)
4) Alpha rest. Dextrinization: 0 min at 76 (for heavy-bodied beer)
5) Mash out: 10 min at 76C
Boil: 75 min at 100C
Willamette hops added at 60 min
Irish moss (1 oz/ 28.35mg) and additional 4mg gypsum (see below) added at 15 min
We're using our tap water, which is very, very soft and with very high mineral content (Texas version of Burton
) and high pH. Out of the tap the pH was off the scale of my litmus paper on the high side - digital pH meter read 8.4. Yesterday we prepared the water with an initial addition of 4mg of gypsum. This brought the hardness up to between 50 and 100 ppm (litmus paper is not too precise) and the pH down somewhat. We then added 7ml of 85% phosphoric acid (food grade) and the pH dropped to just above our target of 5.8. It was at 6.1. This morning before the brew I will check the pH and hardness again and touch up, with a goal of beginning the mash with 5.8 pH and hardness >50 and <100 (don't want the water too hard during the mash). Near the end of the mash additional gypsum will be added to get the hardness up to ~150 ppm.
I have not made a starter. My plan is make a starter from the wort brewed today. This will mean that pitching yeast will be delayed a bit.
Wish us luck.