... is still better than the best day of work.
Last week I went to Austin Homebrew Shop and bought more stuff! I wanted to do a secondary fermentation this time, which would mean buying a carboy. Up until now I just had a single plastic fermentor. I went ahead and bought the 6.5 gallon carboy, thinking that I can use it for a secondary now, and then make it my primary after I buy a couple 5 gallon carboys in the future. Also bought a flask to whip up a nice yeast starter, which turned out great!
So I did my first mini-mash last night - an IPA. 2 1/2 lbs of 2-row, 3/4 lb Crystal 40L steeped in 3 gallons at 155 for 45 minutes. Remove grain bag. Add 2 more gallons of water, bring to boil, add 6 lb pale LME. 1 oz German Magnum 13.6% at 60min, 1 oz Tettnang 4.1% at 15min, and another oz of Tettnang at 5 min. That baby smelled awesome! Got it cooled to 85 fairly quickly with an immersion cooler (well worth the money!!!), and then it hit me. (It's about 11:00pm by this point and I have to be up at 8am for work.)
- My tap water wasn't cool enough to get it down to 80. Fine, I'll siphon into my fermentor, put it in a cooler, and ice-bath it down.
-WHEW!! That smells like a dead skunk! Nope, just my plastic fermentor, which apparently I didn't clean well enough after my last batch. Still stinks like it. Good thing I bought the bigger carboy. I'll just use it as the primary.
-Well, now I need to sanitize the carboy. Didn't think I'd need to do that for a week. Mix up another batch of star-san in the carboy, siphon it into the stinky fermentor just in case I need more.
-Siphon the 85 degree wort into the carboy, lose suction twice because I pulled the hose up... stir up a ton of trub getting most of the wort out, put in the cooler, hit the ice bath. Boom, down to 80 in no time. Smooth sailing, right?
-Oops, forgot to check my OG. Fumble to santize a hose and get a bit of wort. 1.080? That's not right. The recipe says 1.059. OOPS... I didn't account for evaporation. I only had about 4 1/4 gallons of wort. Fumble to sanitize a funnel and pyrex measuring glass. Pray that a brita sink filter will clean water up enough to throw into cooled wort. (It's a little after 1am now and I'm real tired and dreading tomorrow). That gets us to 1.057. Close enough. Let's airlock this bad boy...
-Nope! The rubber stopper for the plastic fermentor doesn't fit the carboy. Good thing I bought the flask and a stopper for it... fits the carboy great. So I sanitize the funnel again, pitch the yeast, clean and sanitize the stopper, and seal the carboy. I didn't let the stopper dry well enough though because it just seemed to want to slip right out. Stopper falls out on to the floor twice on the way to the closet. Splash it around in the sanitizer and screw with it some more. I finally got it to stay (it's since dried and tight as a... well, you know..).
By this time, my apartment is a sauna. I've sweat clean through two t-shirts, underwear, and socks. And I smell like freshly boiled IPA
I shower. Twice. Finally get into bed around 3am... toss and turn worrying about my efforts until I finally pass out around 3:30ish I figure. Wake up (but not actually awaken) this morning at 8:15, and she's taken off. It smells great and looks better. I just hope my haste at the wee hours of the morning didn't completely FUBAR my brew. Guess I'll find out in a few weeks, eh? I think I'll call it "All Saints' IPA," since it will take the blessing of All Saints for it to not be contaminated after my fit of frustration to get finished and in bed
But I still feel strongly that the worst day of brewing beats the best day of work