Before I had kids I brewed pretty often. I loved it. I had my technique down. I was pumping out great beer. And then THEY came along. With their needs and their diapers and their schedules. Brewing fell by the wayside. Well, SWMBO took the kids to Florida on Saturday, and that gave me the opportunity to break out all my old brew stuff. It was on!
So I decided to brew BierMuncher's Outer Limits IPA. I got all the stuff, went over my plan, and thought I had the thing licked. Then it was time to brew.
It was like a monkey f*cking a football. Nothing felt natural. Everything was a struggle. I hit my mash temp and held it for an hour, then went to vorlauf. Alas, I didn't have a hose for my 1/2" barb. So not only did I have to vorlauf with a pitcher, but I had to transfer from the MLT to the brew pot with the pitcher. What a nightmare. While I was doing all that, my sparge water got too hot. 185*. I couldn't get it to cool off and I was starting to get flustered, so I said f*ck it and sparged.
I got about 8 gallons in the brew pot and set off to boil for 75 minutes. I guess I was supposed to end up with 5.5 gallons, and ended up with about 6 gallons. Couldn't control the boil properly. Ugh.
Cooling went ok. My coil got it down to pitch temps in 20 minutes or so, but I couldn't be sure because my stinking thermometer took a dump. So now no thermometer. I took a hydrometer reading and missed my OG by 12 points. 12 POINTS!!! Whatever. It's going to be beer probably.
Earlier in the morning I went and picked up a refrigerator that I had let someone borrow with designs on using it as a fermentation chamber. So I got the beer in the carboy and plugged the fridge into my temp controller. GFCI outlet pops. Tried it again...pop. Great. So I ran an extension cord from my laundry room out to the garage to get the thing going. Fine. Temps start to go down and pretty soon I'm at 68* and feeling pretty good.
This morning I wake up and the fridge is dead. SH*T! I start driving around town pricing freezers. No joy. Only 5 cu/ft anywhere. Too small. So I come home and start building a chamber from a mini fridge I'd bought. It takes ALL DAY. I'm working with that 1.5" thick polystyrene which is a nightmare. Long story short, at 5:30 I lower my carboy into the "finished" chamber and turn it on. The temps start to slowly come down. It's drafty. I know it's drafty. It's the worst thing I've ever built. Ever. It's horrible. It's money I've just THROWN OUT THE WINDOW. But it's cooling my beer for now.
My fermenting OLIPA got to 75 before I got it in the box. Hopefully it doesn't ruin it. I know it will still be beer. I will drink it. But It's a shame to make worse beer than you know you can.
I topped the night off with a big ribeye grilled on my back porch where I currently sit typing this sipping a Ruination. I'm just glad it's over. I had intended on brewing again today but the chamber build killed me. So now I'll have to do the ultra-rare weekday brew. Should be interesting.
Anyway, that's a LOT of words. Lots of them. But this is cheaper than therapy and I know there are some of you out there that feel my pain. Cheers to you.