Yesterday, I finally brewed that big Irish red ale (partial mash) that I've been planning for a solid six months. I've obviously been looking forward to this for some time.
Today, I'm pretty pessimistic about how this batch will go. I'll do a full blog entry on this one, but here are the high(low?)lights:
Cleaned, but forgot to sanitize the starter container first.
How the heck do you forget to sanitize? Aaargh! On the bright side it *was* extremely active yeast, and I did thoroughly clean the container... hopefully, the yeast will choke out any potential nasties.
Ran into mash issues.
I don't have a proper mashtun yet; I do what amounts to a BIAB for the mash, by wrapping my brewpot in towels and blankets.
Last time, I only lost four degrees over the entire hour. Yesterday, my three year old apparently took exception to me using his blanket, and he removed it from the pot - along with most of my other wrappings. I didn't realize this for close to fifteen minutes, at which point my mash was down to 140 degrees (target was 152) at only a half hour in.
In desperation, I added three quarts of 170 degree water, but the water temp was still a poor 144 at the end of the mash. I know that the extract will help, but I'm figuring that this beer is going to seriously lack body.
I already had a krausen and bubbling last night after three hours, so yay for that. I checked it this morning on my way out the door, and yes, it was throwing gunk out via blowoff tube... but my sticky thermometer reported almost 77 degrees temp, even with the carboy sitting in my cool basement directly on the concrete floor. This sucker is a beast!
Sadly, this is WLP004 - recommended upper temp range is no more than 68-70 degrees. Extra esters, I can live with; I don't mind if this beer isn't perfectly to style, and I really enjoy fruity esters in my beers. Fusels, on the other hand, I will not be happy with.
I'll try giving it a bath tonight, but that will have it running nearly a full day at too hot of a temp. Bleh.
Bottom line... sure, I will have made beer. Will it be any good? That is looking more doubtful than I would have thought.
Edit: here's that blog post
, if you care to read it.