So I've got about 50 gallons under my belt, so I'd like to think I'm not a total greenhorn.....but I'm still a rookie compared to most. All of my brews thus far have gone smoothly and without a hitch.....Except last night!
I set it upon myself to brew a batch of Graff. For those who are unaware, Graff is a malty, hopped hard cider. Its yummy. Recipe here:
I used 120L grains, Cascade hops, and fresh pressed cider from a local orchard.
Well....I made a few mistakes and learned some things. As primarily an extract brewer so far, I usually don't care too much about temperatures. Maybe sometimes I steep grains until the water reaches 170 degrees...but thats it. Well the recipe for Graff states to steep the grains at 155 and sparge with 170 degree water after 30 minutes. Boy, isn't it fun trying to regulate the temp with an ELECTRIC STOVE!
Lesson 1. Buy a gas burner.
We all know that a watched pot never boils. But did you know that an unattended pot boils in about 10 seconds???? When I brought the heat up to prepare for a boil and add the hops.....oooops, wasn't paying attention. Boil over!
Maybe it is from the lack of sleep due our three week old baby boy, or maybe I've grown over confident in my brewing abilities....either way boil overs suck! For some reason I went into the other room to prepare a spot for the carboy. After a few seconds I hear the smoke alarms going off! Nothing beats moving the stove out from the wall mid-brew to scrape the caramel sticky goo off of the top of the stove, the floor and the wall.
Lesson 2. Don't forget to watch your pot. Boil overs are messy.
Overall though the Graff is looking good. I added a can of frozen concentrate (no preservatives) and the O.G. was 1058. Moral of the story....buy the proper equipment for the brewing technique and don't be a moron and forget your pot is about to boil.