We brewed our second all grain batch yesterday, a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale and learned a few things along the way and of course ended up with some questions.
What I learned
- Never take for granted that your helper is as careful as you will be. My son was helping measure and crush grain and mistook the roasted barley for the chocolate malt. Had I not been wandering through the kitchen at the time we would have had an interesting brew.
- Make sure that your thermometer is not resting on the bottom of the kettle. "Why does the mash strike water cool so quickly?"
- Always double check that the recipe that you're brewing has been correctly put into your brewing software. "Honey, are you sure that both the Warrior and Vanguard hops are added with 60 minutes to go in the boil?" I should have listened to the little voice inside my head. The whole hops weren't that hard to pick out.
- Read the instructions on the yeast and compare the starting gravity of your brew to what's recommended on the package. A little late in the game I realized that our recipe was supposed to have a starting gravity of 1.071 and that Wyeast recommends to pitch additional yeast if above 1.060. Our SG actually came in even higher at 1.077. I guess I'll have to learn to make a starter.
- Ants and bees like wort. One bee in the MLT and one ant at flameout. It's all protein right?
A couple of questions
- What type of DME would be a good choice for making starters for most beer styles?
- What will be the effect of not pitching enough yeast in my high gravity beer?
BTW, my son learned that when he's measuring grain he shouldn't mix two types of grain in the scale container. It took him quite a little while to pick 6 ounces of roasted barley from the crystal malt.
Thanks for the input.