First brew day with my Bulldog brewer V3

Discussion in 'Beer Brewdays!' started by Dmet, Feb 26, 2018.

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  1. Mar 5, 2018 #21

    Dmet

    Dmet

    Dmet

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    Yes I have the sparger. When I got the brewer for £395, I got a sparger for £50, special deal. Sit it next to the boiler, fill it to the top do I have more than enough water. Then top it up with cooling water to heat for cleaning.
     
  2. Mar 5, 2018 #22

    Dmet

    Dmet

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    Sorry just realised what i said lol. I need to reduce the power on mash. I notice it does keep switching on and off a lot.
     
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  3. Mar 5, 2018 #23

    Dutto

    Dutto

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    I love an optimist! :wave:

    I hope you noted down everything that you did.

    Personally, I make up and print out a Recipe which has a comprehensive Checklist that states the Ingredients and then lists the Preparation, Mashing, Boiling, Cooling and Pitching stages.

    I then transfer the information that I write on the Checklist into a Brewing Diary and save the original A4 sheet in a file-box just in case I need to refer to it in the future.

    Brewing isn't really a hobby, it's more an obsession! :thumb:
     
  4. Mar 6, 2018 #24

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

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    I got one after doing quite a few brews heating the sparge water in a stockpot on the hob and using a jug to sparge. The sparger made the process a breeze. There's a guy online who suggested it could also be used as a boiler for small batch biab.
     
  5. Mar 14, 2018 #25

    Dmet

    Dmet

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    Well the first batch is now sat in the garage for the cold break after being sat in a relatively warm conservatory. I took another gravity reading and it is 1.010 but still giving the odd blip and the fusel flavour seems to have dissipated from what I thought was too high a fermentation. It still has a lot of particles in suspension so I may leave it until the weekend for bottling to clear down (or might just call it a NEIPA!). I have a beer festival for the next couple of days anyway so no rush.

    The second batch is still working away, the Safale S-04 is working well and I have managed a fairly constant fermentation temperature this time between 19 and 20° so will move this to the empty fermenter when I bottle the first batch.
     
  6. Jun 7, 2018 #26

    Dmet

    Dmet

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    So an update on brew one and two and batch number 3.

    Brew one is now mellowed out and apart from a haze, is drinkable. I prefer the second batch which is lower alcohol as I had a longer length at the end than batch one, but there is not much between them in flavour. I think I over primed slightly and I am suffering from losing head but there are bubbles rising through the beer all the way down. I don't think my choice of hops were the best to be fair, challenger, EKG and Saaz but the 2 people I have inflicted with the beer have given me positive reviews.

    I did brew 3 based on the American IPA recipe in the Greg Hughes book.

    6 Kg Pale malt,
    Citra 29g start of boil
    Citra and Simcoe 15g each last 10 mins
    Citra and Simcoe 44g each at turn off
    Nottingham yeast

    I mashed in a lot slower than I have before and made sure the grain was fully soaked. I used about 16 litres for the mash which was probably a little short. Mashed for 1 hour at 65°C but I was suffering from a stuck mash yet again. I think this is now due to the crush clogging the bazooka as I could see wort at the side of the malt pipe and I did lift out the malt pipe and scrape the bazooka and the flow came back. I think I either need to take out the bazooka altogether or look to use some husks. Worried that I might clog the pump without the bazooka. The pump did stop at one point as I was distracted and I ended up stripping it down as I think I overheated it.

    The wort took a lot of time to drain through as I think I compacted the grain bed but there was no sweetness to the malt. The boil went well but I think I boiled a little too high as when I filled the fermentor there were scorch marks on the bottom. Again, could be from the malt flour going through the malt pipe sitting on the element. Boiled for 1 hour 10 and was just a little over the 27 litres which resulted in an OG of 1.055 rather than the 1.060 expected. Should probably have boiled for a few minutes more. Tasted really good.

    Cooling was fine and I got down to below 30°C this time not using the recirculating pump, just stiring every now and again, before running off into the fermentor, . This took an absolute age as I was having to constantly clear the bazooka, scraping my mash paddle along it. I had used hop bags so it wasn't from this so the pre-crush I have must be a little too fine.

    I realised after I had started the starter that I had some Mangrove Liberty bell which I should have used instead of the Nottingham. I may try this again using the different yeast. I put it into the beer fridge which is its first time out and set the fermentation temperature at 18.4°C as the recipe states 18° and I wanted to be on the slightly warm side. I was worried the next morning nothing much was happening but I tightened the cap and the airlock went like a rocket with bubbles. Krausen had risen about 1.5 - 2 inches above the wort so everything looking good. Fermentation slowed right down by day 3 but I will leave it for a full week.

    Really looking forward to this one.
     
  7. Jun 7, 2018 #27

    Oneflewover

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    Hello again. After problems with the pump during recirculating and with draining the brewer post boil I think I have found a way forward.

    I agree that the bazooka gets clogged by grain during the mash. I also agree that removing the bazooka would have adverse implications for the pump. Since I have been underletting (details in my brewday thread) I have avoided these problems. I have taken a slight hit on efficiency I think, but I can live with that!

    During the boil I have settled on bittering hops in leaf form directly into the brewer and aroma hops in pellet in a large nylon bag. The leaf hops seem to help filter out the break material and avoid the bazooka getting clogged. Too many leaf hops in the kettle = too much lost wort though in my view.

    Hope this helps and congratulations on your beer!
     
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  8. Jun 7, 2018 #28

    IainM

    IainM

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    Yeah, the bazooka blocking during the mash can be a right pain. I now give the crushed grain a shake so that the flour and fine grains go down a bit, leaving more husky material on top. That way the first few scoops are a bit more husky and help with better drainage and filtration at the bottom of the malt pipe. Even better is to start the recirculation slowly with the valve almost shut, then increase it bit by bit as the mash progresses. That way the grain bed doesn't get drawn in and compact which gives the pump an easier ride. Even by the end of the mash I rarely have the valve fully open, yet still get good flow. Another thing, I would probably go with a bit more strike water for a 6kg grain bill. The recirculation works best with a slightly thin mash with more grain to be suspended. All in all, if you can get past the first 15 minutes without the bazooka clogging, the grain bed filters nicely and the rest of the mash is a breeze I find. I often do a second or third stir of the mash after 30 minutes or at 20 and 40 minutes, for the sake of efficiency, but don't stir it all the way down to the bottom of the malt pipe, so as to keep that part draining and filtering well. Happy brewing!
     
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  9. Jun 7, 2018 #29

    Oneflewover

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    Yep, absolutely agree with all that too. I generally go for mash consistency of 3 - 3.5l per kg.
     
  10. Jun 7, 2018 #30

    Dmet

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    Thanks for the feedback. Seems I am on the right page. Every day is a school day and I am pleased I am thinking what everyone else is doing.

    I have not been stirring the mash which is another thing to try. I also had on my first 2 brews the experience of the recirculation settling down and it may well have happened this time if I hadn't had to go buy hops as I realised I didn't have any! Good job I have a supply 10 minutes away.

    I have seen husks may be a way forward and I did think of shaking the grain to get the flour away from the bottom of the tube. I have thought of loading the tube and lowering it into the liquor during mash in.

    I do think I have to dry a mash so will be using more water on the next brew. I do start slow on the recirculation but I think the blocked bazooka is the issue.

    Thanks all.
     
  11. Jun 13, 2018 #31

    Dmet

    Dmet

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    So after 9 days in the fermentor at 18°C, the Nottingham yeast got the FG to 1.008. Racked into the secondary and now in the beer fridge to condition at 12°C as per the recipe. Disappointingly the hops have really died off and I hoped they would have more punch but will see how if turns out.
     
  12. Jun 13, 2018 #32

    Oneflewover

    Oneflewover

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    I understand that Nottingham may do that....
     
  13. Jun 13, 2018 #33

    Dmet

    Dmet

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    Hmm, should have researched it before I did it. Can dry hopping give me something back? Is it worth throwing something into the secondary?
     
  14. Jun 13, 2018 #34

    IainM

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    It sure can, and for me dry hopping an AIPA is essential.
     
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