I was very excited to fire up my SABCO "Brew-Magic" RIMS for the first time in 10 years yesterday. I made a Biere de Garde styled after Markowski's "Artisanal" in Farmhouse Ales
. It was a single-step infusion at 150 deg. for 75 min. Overall my brew day went very smoothly, considering how rusty I am with the work flow but there was one big problem.
The basic procedure with the Brew-Magic is to mash in with water up to the false bottom, pour in the grain, fill from above to about one inch above the grain bed, then start recirculation. Two minor things deviated from the program. I had the recirc valve open all the way for a couple minutes at the start until I remembered to throttle back and the mash temp got to 155 for about 15 min until I tossed in a cup of ice at the top (I was rusty about the calibration procedure for the RIMS). At no time did I disturb the grain bed. Sparge went smoothly. Boiled 12 gal down to 10. The gravity of the first runnings was 1.080 and the OG of the batch was 1.052.
uh-oh. The predicted gravity for this batch was 1.066 at an assumed 75% efficiency (I typically get north of 80%). What happened? Cleanup told the tale. The picture below shows the mash kettle tipped over as I emptied the grain. The darker areas are well rinsed grain. No sweetness at all. The lighter colored areas are very sweet tasting sticky grain. The lightest areas are dry grain! I estimate about 15% of the grain did not get into my beer.
Sigh. Well the SWMBO likes the lighter stuff, anyway. What might I do differently? Well, the Brew-Magic documentation cautions about running the recirc wide open as the suction from below can compact the grain bed. I have also stirred the bed a bit in the past so I'll try that once at the beginning of the mash. Let's see if the SNPA clone I'm doing next fares better.