First AG brew kegged (and sampled)!

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superfluent

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So, my first brew ever is now kegged. I first looked at doing a couple of extract brews but after having read up on the subject of AG and mashing I decided to go directly to AG. Here's my report:

Now, going AG on the first batch witout a forum like this probably would have been next to impossible but with a good book on the subject, meticilous preparation the help of the search function on this forum (and probably a bit of luck!). I decided to use a somewhat unusual RIMS mash and sparge technique used by a couple of homebrewers here in northern europe. I managed to do an all grain mash with 79% efficiency.

I then preceeded to adjust the boil volume and recepie (hop additions), boiled for 90 minutes and to hit my OG (1054) more or less spot on.

Since I did not have a chiller and used a 30litre catering boiler (built in heating element) I had to carefully transfer the hot wort to a 30 litre plastic bucket (my fermenter) sitting in my bathtub and use cold water to chill it. This turned out to be the biggest headeach. I got 5C cold water right from the tap but still plastic is such a poor conductor that it took well over 2 hrs to cool the wort to pitching temperature. I had the lid on the worth the whole time to protect from infection. The slow chill probably also affected the cold break.

The big "OH, NO!" moment came when I had chilled the wort and took the last temperature reading to make sure the temp was right for pitching the yeast. The glass thermometer I used had somehow cracked and I did not see this until it was way down in the wort, draining the red spirits into the wort. Not what you want to see after 6+ hours of hard work and worries...

Anyway, I figured time would tell if the wort had been ruined by the thermomether fluid and I pitched the yeast and airated for five minutes before putting on the lid, the airlock and put it to ferment in my second bathroom.

Fermentation went perfect and after 8 days i took a reading of 1012, again spot on. I decided to do a secondary and siphoned the beer to another 30litre bucket. I decided to discard the yeast cake because of the thermomether fluid.

I put the secondary in an insulated box on my balcony (heated with a tiny electric heater) and let it clear for 3 weeks while waiting for my kegs to arrive. After a week I added pellets to dry hop (for two weeks). No hop bag, just directly into the secondary. I put my trust in gravity and my siphoning skills. After a week and a half all hops had dropped to the bottom.

The last few days I lowered the temperature to 0C and kegged two 9 litre (2.5 gl) corny's.

I tasted the first pint yesterday (SNPA clone) and allthough still undercarbonated it's clear with just a faint hint of haze, spot on color, decent bitterness (could be a tad bit more). It has too much hop aroma from the dry hopping, but that's expected, right? All in all I think it will be perfect in about a month or two! I put it in two kegs so I can taste (waste) one during maturation and keep the otherone until it has reached its full potential in a few months.

H
 

david_42

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Excellent run! The aroma will fade a bit. Good thing your thermometer wasn't an old mercury one. The red stuff was probably just alcohol & a little food dye.

Sounds like all you need is a better way to cool the wort. Some ice in the tub might be your best bet. Certainly you have ice up there this time of year.
 
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superfluent

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david_42 said:
Excellent run! The aroma will fade a bit. Good thing your thermometer wasn't an old mercury one. The red stuff was probably just alcohol & a little food dye.
Yes, I figured that since it had been boiled thoroughly by my brother (who provided me with it) the chanses for any thing groing inside it would be next to none. Nevertheless, I was not happy about it...

david_42 said:
Sounds like all you need is a better way to cool the wort. Some ice in the tub might be your best bet. Certainly you have ice up there this time of year.
Well, it's one of those wierd winters so there's not much sno or ice (usually the baltic sea is covered with half a meter of solid ice you can skate on, but this year it is still open sea).

Thing is that I had ordered a immersion chiller with my kegs but apparently the hbs i ordered from tried (and probably succeded) to break the world record in slooooooow service. It took over a month before the stuff arived...

H
 
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