tonight was my first brew session where a lot of things went wrong (I know contradictory to the title of this thread . . .wait for it. . .)
So I started out tonight's brew session last night as I gathered my ingredients, my water, and got my equipment together. While measuring out my hops I began to think that I noticed a bit of an "off" aroma while measuring out my hops. . .I have never worked with centennial before (or whole hops for that matter) so I chalked it up to that (but since last night this has been weighing on my mind.
So SWMBO got home from work (actually a bit early I might add) and the brew day commenced (this is where the positives end).
The first thing I noticed is that my propane tank did not feel as full as I thought it was. No big deal, I mashed in and loaded up the spare and headed off to the store, got my propane and back in time for a quick dinner, some time with the kids and time to mash out. Started sparging (I am a dual batch sparger) and for some reason tonight I just couldn't seem to get my grain bed above 168. . .not horrible, but I would have liked it a bit higher. . .in fact my first sparge was only 163, not even mashout temps.
Oh well, I was afraid this might affect my efficiency a bit, but in the grand scheme of things not really the end of the world (keep in mind I am still a bit worried about the hops "stench")
Tonight was also my first attempt at forward hopping so I now have about 15 gallons (doing a 10 gallon batch of a two hearted clone) of sweet wort sitting on top of 2 ounces of questionable centennial hops and I am ready to start my boil.
I decide to switch to the new tank and fire up the burner. I notice that it is rather easy to hear the radio over the normal roar of the burner and quickly realize that the burner is not burning at its normal temp. . . fast forward an hour (yep still FWH'ing . .. hmmm not sure that the hops are supposed to steep for an hour ) and I am just now hitting 210 and starting to see the beginnings of a boil. .. I finally (don't know why it took me this long) decide to switch back to the old tank and my burner takes off and we hit the boil full on. .. .whew. . alright that problem is taken care of (finally).
So boil going strong I start to empy my mash tun. I load up a yard bag (plastic trash bag for leaves) and am just about done when I realize it is leaking all over the garage floor. No big deal, I grab it and try to move it to the driveway and leave a trail of spent grains (actually more of a swath) the entire way to the driveway . . . oi vey, tonights brew session is really not going well. At least the boil is going (I am still worried about those damn hops).
The boil finishes up, I grab a gravity sample, chill the wort, and start to rack into primaries (did I mention I have never worked with whole hops before). All in all I didn't have too tough of a time but about half way through filling up the second fermenter I had enough and took my racking cane inside to unclog and clean it up a bit . . . in doing so I dislodged that "little doohickey" (I do believe that is the technical term for it) so now my racking cane is rendered useless (anyone know how to get that "little doohickey" back into a racking cane) I finish the job by syphoning "the old fashioned way" (I am hopping I didn't infect my beer).
I finally measure my gravity and I am at 1.061 (shooting for 1.059 . .. finally something is going my way!) and 77% efficiency (not great, but again things are starting to go my way)
I hestitantly sample the gravity sample and . . . . . . . . .it's great!!! I am still worried about those damn hops, but I think it will be alright. . . I have made beer. . .well it will be beer after the yeasties are through with it.
All in all, my worst brewday yet. .. and still had the time of my life. How can you not love a hobby where so much can go wrong and yet still it is better than doing just about anything else. . . I love this addiction (I mean Hobby)
If you have gotten this far, congrats, a long brewday, means lots of RDWHAHB's . . .thanks for reading.