I have just completed my first brew and managed to run into more problems then I ever imagined ..... but then again, it was pretty fun!
My biggest problem however is that I ended up with a very low gravity, 1020, from my mash, and I was wondering if anyone could suggest why ? I 'thought' that it had gone well until the hydrometer reared its ugly face.
I used a rectangular 33l cooler with a false bottom that I created, I brewed a wheat beer so I had 3 rests, 15 min at 43, 15 min at 52, and an hour at 65. I used a stiff water ratio of 1.5l to each kg for my strike calculation. I sparged about 18 litres at 65-70 degrees using a continuous sparge, keeping the water about 1/2 an inch above the grain bed which was a good 6 inches deep. I used 3kg of piksner malt (crushed) and 2.5kg of torrified wheat and ended up with 30l pre boil of wort.
The false bottom had 2mm holes in a 10mm square grid and fit the cooler pretty tight althought there was some small gaps in some of the edges.
I was quite terrified of aeration so I didn't stir the mash much, only a little bit at the end. However I did endevour to make sure all the grains were wetted in the initial strike by adding all the water half litre at a time.
Sooooooooo any huge errors that anyone can see that would result in my low gravity ? think I will be doing a nice simple ale next time but I do enjoy a good and complicated bodge even if it does go wrong
I dumped a load of sugar and treacle into it to make up for the gravity and I cant wait to see how drinkable it ends up!
The other question I have is how important sanitation is, everything I have ever read says it is the ultimate, how ever I cant help but think back to the vikings ... I am pretty sure they had a terrible reputation for the old hand washing yet drank a fair bit of beer! Has anyone ever had a bad batch from getting infected or is it more a case of off flavours?
Thanks! cant wait for the next brew!