These threads seem to be common these days, but here goes:
Recipe: English Mild
5 gallon recipe
(all grains double crushed by Brewmaster's Warehouse)
5.5 lbs Maris Otter
1 lb Crystal 80L
.25 lb Chocolate malt
1 oz Fuggles 4%AA @ 60 mins
So, I mashed on my stovetop with my 5 gallon stainless steel kettle. I put 4 gallons of water in the pot, brought up to strike temp of 163 and doughed in. The kettle was FULL. A little bit of spillage as a result when stirring, I'll probably go with 3 gallons next time. Anyhow, after fighting with my twisted bag trying to stir temp down (was at 158ish for first 5 minutes or so) mashed at 154-155 for 60 minutes. Tip: I used a blue foam sleeping pad wrapped around my kettle to insulate and it seemed to hold temp well (lost 2-3 degrees over the hour, not bad). Also, I had trouble with my bag getting twisted as I stirred, anybody got any tips there?
After the mash, removed the bag and threw it in my bottling bucket, squeezed a little bit and collected run off, returned to kettle to end up about 3.5 gallons for the boil. Went outside, did the boil on my turkey fryer, added fuggles @ 60 minutes and that was that. Brought it back inside and cooled in ice bath. Probably had 2.75 gallons in the kettle at this point so it didn't take long to get it below the magic number of 140*F and out of the DMS range FWIW. getting from 140 down to pitching temp took probably another 30 minutes, eventually added near freezing top off water to bring down to 62*F to pitch.
Have been fermenting at 68, though its jumped up to 70 a few times, doing the best I can with a swamp cooler. Living in the south doesn't always work with brewing, ha. I'm comfortable with where its at though, wouldn't mind a little fruitiness from the yeast to remind me this is an English beer!
Anyhow, some numbers
pre boil gravity: Rough estimate 1.05-1.06, forgot to check temp so I could correct hydrometer reading, could easily be higher but I think this is it, puts me around 75% efficiency, which I'm more than pleased with given the issues I was having stirring the mash and the bag twisting. OG after top off was 1.038, which is perfect.
For next time: Irish moss/whirlfloc. A lot of trub, a lot. Noticed this in hydrometer test jar. Tried to filter through BIAB bag when putting in the better bottle but that led to a small spill and I gave that up quickly. Binder clips to hold the bag to the sides of the kettle, hopefully will help my bag twisting issues.
All in all, a good brew day, and really, its stupid easy to do. Granted, the proof will be in the final product, so I'll have to give it about a couple more weeks. I imagine I'll be able to tell if I've got something good when I pull my final hydrometer sample though. My main concern is it being overly sweet/high FG.