Well, three 5 gallon batches in, I can see my process getting better, IMHO. However, before I brew any more I'd like to share with all of you what I am doing, and get some feedback from those with more experience and wisdom than me.
- 5 gallon SS pot
- 2 gallon SS pot
- Large plastic spoon
- 6 gallon plastic fermenter
- 5 gallon paint strainer
- 25' SS immersion cooler
- Metal Hanger to place between burner and pots
- 3.5-4 gallons of water in the 5 gallon pot (bring to boil)
- 1.5 gallons of water in 2 gallon pot to steeping temp (~150F)
- Steep grains for 30 minutes while the 5 gallon pot gets to a boil
- Remove grains and bring 2 gallon pot to a boil (the two pots usually boil within 5 min of each other)
- Once boil is reached remove from heat add ~2/3 LME to large pot and ~1/3 LME to small pot
- Wait until LME is fully dissolved and return both pots to heat
- Once boil is reached add hops to pots in the same 2/3 to 1/3 ratio and follow hop schedule as normal
- Add irish moss @ 15 minutes 1/2tsp to each pot
- At end of boil heat is off; pour small pot of wort into the 5 gallon pot (end result is anywhere between 4-4.5 gallons of wort)
- Boil ~1 cup of water and cool to 90F and rehydrate yeast
- Use ice water bath and IC to cool wort to 70F
- Pour cooled wort through 5 gallon paint strainer into the primary
- The trub is pretty gelatinous and with hop pellets is really slow to strain. I gently squeeze the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible)
- Add top-off water to reach five gallons; mix vigorously
- Pitch yeast which is within 10F of wort; gently swirl once
- Place lid on primary and airlock with vodka
- Wait 4 weeks with primary @ ~60F ambient in the basement; Spacer is used between bucket and floor
- 1 week secondary (5 gallon glass carboy)
- Bottle condition 4 weeks @ ~70F
That's it. Sorry it's so long, but I am waiting, waiting, and waiting for my first batch to be ready to drink. I have been trying to be patient and not post too many questions on the forum, but now with it getting so close my patience is running thin.
I did siphon my first brew to the secondary yesterday, to free up a primary, and checked the SG. It began life at OG 1.056 and is now at SG 1.016 for an approximate 5.25% ABV. The sample definitely tasted like beer, not the best beer, but it's not done yet. It did have a very bitter finish to it, and I'm going to assume that will mellow once it's in the bottle for some time.
Ok, Ok. I'll stop rambling now. I can't wait to have ready to drink beer, once the pipeline starts flowing it's going to be a new batch every two weeks, but the wait is killing me.