So there I am. Feeling pretty damned good about myself. Last brew session, I identified weak spots in my process, and had successfully NOT replicated this time around.
I was supposed to collect 6.71 gallons of wort. I was damn...close..if not spot on (I'm no good converting fractions.) (I collect 6 gallons + 2 3/4 qts of wort.)
In the interest of outsmarting myself, I fired the flame up on the keggle after I put a gallon of wort in there to get a head start on the boiling process. By the time I put the last amount of wort in, I noticed a healthy amount of steam rising. I stood up to add the wort, and wow! It was boiling already, plus a healthy amount of foam rising up the sides of the keggle.
I went inside, got my hops from the refrigerator (vacuum sealed), and proceeded to open them with a Wenger Swiss Army knife. Yep. You guessed it. When I dumped the pellets, the knife went with them.
Now, I'm frantically fishing around a boiling pot of wort with my flame retardant gauntlets I use to play in the fire box of my commercial sized smoker, and some tongs that were too short. Of course, I dipped the gloves in the wort! Would you expect less?
The more experienced of you will notice that in my haste to be crafty and efficient. I missed a minor step here too. (SG reading.) No biggie though. I'll catch the OG reading before I pitch.
After I decide to use a better pair of tongs, I've now let fifteen minutes elapse as I fish around a keggle full of wort on the boil. I pull something up. It's the damn plastic from the sides of the knife. It had warped and pulled from the body of the knife. A few minutes later, I get the rest of the knife out, with an equally warped plastic grip, that hadn't yet separated from the body. As I'm fishing this crap out, my dad pulls up, and wants to watch the process. No biggie. I could use the company.
The rest of the boil goes uneventful until the cool down. Then my connections to my IC decide to spring a leak and start spraying lawn hose water into my wort. I head towards the faucet, and catch my leg on the edge of the expanded metal I use to insure a flat surface for my keggle on top the turkey fryer. Got me a nice deep eight inch or so scratch..but the brew must go on.
Being a newb..I don't have a fully developed keggle yet with a spigot and dip tube (DIY links would be helpful..I use hop pellets too ), so I transfer wort with a pot, into a funnel with a strainer built in. All day, this honey bee had been harassing me, while I performed the necessary tasks. Now he was harassing the hell out of me when I really couldn't do anything about it (both hands occupied). I made a comment to my dad, that it appeared I had a couple of gnats decided they wanted to sample the wort, and no sooner than I said it, I was pouring wort from the pot into the funnel, and that damn bee landed on the strained trub at the right moment as the liquid poured out and soaked him. So he's stuck and there wasn't much I could do, so I just kept pouring. The irony here, is that the recipe was "The Bee Cave Brewery (Edwort's) Haus Pale Ale".
Through it all, I make it to the end. Pitch the yeast. Cover. Add airlock. Store it my fermentation fridge. Crack a homebrew. Continue to pat myself on the back about how well I hit the marks on the wort collection, and other weak areas...then...I realized...I didn't take an OG reading. Crap! Nor did I use the nifty Irish Moss that I went out of my way to find and specifically wrote in my brew log. "12:50 - Third hop addition. Drop in IC to sterilize. Add Irish moss."
Yep...it'll probably "bee" the best I've made!