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.