We should change our name to Trainwreck Brewing Co…

Mostly Mosaic - Mashing the grains

Mostly Mosaic – Mashing the grains

Worst. Brewday. Ever.

I’ve wanted to brew with Mosaic hops for quite a while now and this Saturday we finally got around to making it happen, sort of.  We were pretty excited as we’ve upgraded our equipment and were moving up to 5 gallon batches, over our previous 4 gallon batches.  We had a shiny new 15 gallon brew pot, new carboys, oxygenator, fancy heat-resistant gloves… a pretty big upgrade all around.  In addition to brewing we were also bottling our Just the Tip spruce tip pale ale.

Most (OK, maybe all) of the things that went wrong could have been prevented with some better planning and focus.  To start the day off we had to season our 15 gallon aluminum kettle.  For those that aren’t aware an aluminum kettle needs to have water boiled in it for 30-60 minutes before the first use to oxidized the aluminium.   So we did this and everything seemed fine there.  In the meantime we were cleaning bottles and racking our Just the Tip to the bottling bucket.  We forgot to take a final gravity reading on it, but measurements a week earlier showed fermentation was complete.  What we forgot at the time is that we also use our bottling bucket as an HLT for fly-sparging, and this bit us in the rear when it was time to sparge, we ended up having to batch sparge.  Once the boil was going we thought we were in the clear but then it struck me that we had a lot of mash/sparge water (11.25 gallons) for a 5 gallon batch of beer.  Somewhere in Beersmith I must have had something set incorrectly for the batch size and equipment.  Finally, even though we had a second immersion chiller in a bucket of ice to pre-chill the water, it took almost 50 minutes for our wort to cool to 75F, way too long.  We’ll need an upgrade to our chiller very soon.  To top everything else off, I burnt my stupid self on the propane burner stand.  Apparently those things get hot when a flame is applied to them for 90 minutes… how was I supposed to know?

After all was said a done we missed OG by over 20 points.  There’s no telling what we’ll get out of this but it sure won’t be what we intended it to be.  On a positive note we got our Just the Tip bottled up and it’s napping and conditioning nicely.  Also, whatever beer we did brew on Saturday started fermenting quickly and I’ve been able to hold fermentation temps to 68F.  I guess we’ll see in about a month what we’ve got going on here.

Mostly Mosaic fermenting nicely

Mostly Mosaic fermenting nicely

The World’s Cheapest 3-Tier Homebrew System… or damn close to it.

It’s hard to remember back to the beginnings of Mostly Harmless Brewing Co..  That’s been many, many days ago now… maybe even weeks.  But it’s still nice to reflect back on the days we started with a Mr. Beer kit and a dream and to look at where we are now… two guys who know just enough about brewing to be dangerous.  Ahhhh… I do love reminiscing.

This week we had a couple big upgrades to our equipment.  Due to my temporary hiatus from the daily grind I’ve had a bit more time on my hands lately and I’ve been tinkering around with things.  Brian got sick of ice-bathing our wort to chill it and got us a shiny new stainless steel wort chiller and after seeing a friend brew with a fly sparge head I built one for our setup.  While cleaning the gara… I mean brewery out I stumbled on a partially built aquarium stand that a buddy started and never finished and I had an idea.  We’re going 3-tiers, baby!

Pretty simple build out here.  I added a platform to the top of the stand to put our hot liquor tank on (tank, bucket.. whatever) and then put some blocks on the front of the stand to keep the MLT from sliding off and still allowing us to tilt it and get all that delicious wort.  With the addition of a few feet of high-temp hose and some clamps we had a gravity-fed 3 tier system happening.  I’ve run a test with water through it and it works great, this Saturday we’ll be having a Brewbecue and we’ll test it out on a live batch.  Wish us luck.

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The fly sparge head in action.

In addition to the equipment upgrades we also bottled our White House Honies honey ale.  Our Horse Pop lemon wine and an all-grain version of Hair of the Dog Oatmeal Stout (HOTDOS) will be ready to bottle up soon.

 

By the way, if you happen to run into us and try our beers we ARE on Untappd!  So log away. 😀  Have a great week!

Our R&D department is always working.

Our R&D department is always working.