IainM's brew days

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IainM

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After an 18 month brewing hiatus, I'm back in the brew shed. Seeing as my old brew day thread has disappeared, I thought I'd start a new one.

First up, and to get back into the swing of things, I did a boring ale a couple of weeks ago, based on the Jennings Cocker Hoop recipe in the old Graham Wheeler book:

4kg pale malt
75g torrified wheat
120g flaked wheat
25g black malt
37g Challenger 6.1% 90 minutes
15g Styrian golding 5.8% 10 minutes
18L strike at 74C with 0.5tsp lactic acid 80%
10L sparge
Got 17L into the fv, at 1.056.
Pitched MJ new world strong ale.

Kegged it today, and it finished at 1.012, so about 5.8%. Why the MJ new world stong ale? It's not like it fits the style for a bitter. That's because this beer was really a starter for a big imperial stout, which I dumped on to the yeast cake.

So, today I did the big stout using a reiterated mash and an overnight mash, both of which are firsts for me. I'd heard that an overnight mash with dark grains can end up with astringency or excess bitterness, so I only added them in the second mash on the day of the boil.

8kg pale (4kg in mash 1, and 4kg in mash 2)
304g cararye, half in mash, 1 half in mash 2
150g chocolate, mash 2
175g dark munich, half in mash 1 and half in mash 2
356g special w, half in mash 1 and half in mash 2
306g dark crystal, mash 2
176g black malt, mash 2
65g warrior 14.7%, 90 minutes
2x MJ new world strong ale plus, the yeast cake for the previous beer.

This worked really well. I was planning on doing a 17L mash, but my efficiency was through the roof, probably because of the overnight mash, so ended up doing 20L. Mashed the first lot of grain in 15L strike water with an 8L sparge, for 90 minutes in the bulldog brewer, then turned off the heat and left it overnight. In the morning, I brought it back up to 65C with recirculation, sparged and did the second mash. I then sparged up to 25L and boiled down to 21L-ish, of which I got 20L into the fv. The OG was an amazing 1.118, so I think this should end up around the 12% mark. It's bubbling away at 18C. Can't wait to try this one.
 

Oneflewover

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Great to see you back here and brewing Iain. The old Bulldog Brewer still doing the business then? Mine's fine, replaced the pump ages ago and more recently had to get a new bazooka - went for a 12" version, had to cram it in but seems to work better than the original.

The RIS looks great 👍
 

IainM

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Great to see you back here and brewing Iain. The old Bulldog Brewer still doing the business then? Mine's fine, replaced the pump ages ago and more recently had to get a new bazooka - went for a 12" version, had to cram it in but seems to work better than the original.

The RIS looks great 👍
Hey Richard! Yup it's battered and dented, I also replaced the pump, and the electronics blew so I had to replace the circuit board. But still going strong. Where did you get the bazooka from? I could do with one of those as the one that came with it clogs with big beers. How are the chillies? I got rid of the greenhouse this year so my seedlings are a bit battered.
 

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Wow, second brew back a 12% RIS! Not exactly easing yourself in. Super stuff! :hat:
 

Oneflewover

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Hey Richard! Yup it's battered and dented, I also replaced the pump, and the electronics blew so I had to replace the circuit board. But still going strong. Where did you get the bazooka from? I could do with one of those as the one that came with it clogs with big beers. How are the chillies? I got rid of the greenhouse this year so my seedlings are a bit battered.
If I recall correctly I got it from the homebrew shop. I think it was this one Bazooka 12

Chillies are coming along nicely. 8 varieties this year. Didn't have a great year for chillies last year, has loads of other stuff on. Hoping for better this year as I'm having to buy too many pods and too much sauce.
 

IainM

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If I recall correctly I got it from the homebrew shop. I think it was this one Bazooka 12

Chillies are coming along nicely. 8 varieties this year. Didn't have a great year for chillies last year, has loads of other stuff on. Hoping for better this year as I'm having to buy too many pods and too much sauce.
Sweet. Does it fit straight on the tap or did you need to get a fitting?
 

Oneflewover

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Sweet. Does it fit straight on the tap or did you need to get a fitting?
The original actually has a female to female collar, no additional fittings needed. It's a bit of a faff because, like I said, I had to cram it in and bend it in a couple of places. Consequently you can't turn the bazooka to fit it like you do with the original. However, get everything in place with the collar on the bazooka and you can wind the collar back a few turns (i.e. half of the thread on the bazooka and half on the tap). Works ok for me 👍
 

IainM

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Well that's an explosive fermentation. Airlock fully clogged and the brew fridge truely decorated .
 

IainM

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Bottled the RIS yesterday. It finished at 1.028, so 12% thereabouts. I got 18L into bottles, which I'm pretty happy with. Trial jar was very clean, not much in the way of off flavors to condition out, so I think this will be drinkable in a couple of weeks.

Up next: Belgian Pale.
 

IainM

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Right, brew day today. Did a Belgian Strong Ale.

Belgian strong ale
4.6kg Pale
500g caramunich
19L + 1tsp 80% lactose for mash
Sparged up to 25L
Boiled 70 minutes
37g EKG pellet 5.8% 70 minutes
13g Saaz pellet 3.7% 10 minutes
38g Saaz pellet 3.7% 0 minutes

Got 19L into the FV. I was initially going to pitch the WHC Labs Bubblegum liquid yeast, but when I looked at the packet I saw that the manufacture date was last July, and I didn’t have time to make a starter, so I chucked it in at 21C anyway, then put a packet of M41 Belgian Ale yeast too. OG was 1.067, so should end up around 7.5% for a nice refreshing drink in the summer. Currently sitting in the brew fridge at 21C.
 

IainM

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The Belgian strong ale has turned out great. Really fruity banana/bubblegum. It finished at 1.010, so about 7.5%.

Today I brewed an ale to use up various bits I had around.

3.5 kg pale malt
100g chocolate
180g carapils
320g caramunich III
50g aromatic
50g biscuit
18L dough in at 74C
60 minute mash, 65C
10L sparge, or a bit more
60 minute boil
15g Rakau pellet 10.1%, 60 minutes
15g Rakau pellet 10.1%, 15 minutes
13g Rakau pellet 10.1%, 5 minutes
½ protofloc, 5 minutes
OG was 10.52, got 20 litres into the fv, so around 82% brewhouse.
MJ M15 Empire Ale yeast, temp. set to 20C, although it was a bit cooler than that when I pitched it tho.

It should finish up just over 5% abv, so something sessionable.
 

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The equipment looks great. What were you using before to brew.
The saying above means your a lucky boy. The foyle bring a local river 😄😄
 

IainM

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The equipment looks great. What were you using before to brew.
The saying above means your a lucky boy. The foyle bring a local river 😄😄
Yeah, I just about managed to figure that one out. I was brewing with a Bulldog Brewer. It's a good bit of kit, but this grainfather seems a lot sturdier.
 

IainM

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Right, before I got the GF kit, I did an American IPA. This was for the first get-together with my old school buddies since before the pandemic. It went down a treat. A nice juicy hoppy number to drink in the sun. The whole keg was gone in a few hours.

American pale, based on zombie dust
11/05/2021
4 kg pale
400g munich
140g carapils
140g crystal
140g melanoidin
65 minute mash, 18L 70C strike temp for 65C mash temperature
Recirculated without bazooka filter, because I forgot it, but seemed to work well
60 minutes boil
13g citra pellet 13% 0 minutes
15g citra pellet 13% 15 minutes
25g citra pellet 13% 10 minutes
25g citra pellet 13% 5 minutes
25g citra pellet 13% whirlpool
122g citra pellet 13% dry hop
100g amarillo dry hop
Dry hop split between days 2 and 5.
MJ66 Hophead ale yeast 2 packets

Finished about 6.5%, I think, I forget to take and OG but it ended at 1.014.
 

IainM

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So, today was the inaugral brewday with the “Grainfather Advanced Brewery Set Up” (Grainfather Advanced Brewery Set Up). I did two brews in the end, a session IPA that went into the GF Conical Pro, and a slightly modified version of David Heath’s raspberry wit which I put into my Anvil SS FV. TL;DR impression: really nice equipment, easy to set up and work with.

I previously used a Bulldog Brewer, which is also great piece of kit and always gave me good (80%+) efficiency. So here I’m going to compare it against that. I don’t think the original BB is still available for sale, but when I bought it it was about half the price of the GF. The build quality of the GF is clearly better. Thicker steel throughout. I can’t see the GF getting as dented and battered as the BB.

First I made a workbench, so that the glycol chiller can sit under the FVs. I made it so that the Anvil can also sit alongside, if I decide to get the conversion kit so that I can attach it to the glycol chiller:
IMG_20210612_125639.jpg

IMG_20210612_125646.jpg


Things I like about the GF:

You can set it and forget about it. The recirculation just worked. Very hands off and I found that I didn’t need to keep checking to see if the pump was clogged. I did anyway, but it was always fine.

Sparging was perfect. I’ve previously had issues with sparging being too slow or too fast. Here I did a barley brew with a bit of oats, and a wheat beer. Both sparged at a good speed and all I needed to do was top up as the same speed it drained away.

The GF connect controller will adjust the power depending on how close you are to target temperature. This is something I had to do manually with the BB.

The counterflow chiller is very effective. No more standing around swirling a copper coil. The wortometer makes it easy to get the wort into the FV at exactly the right temp.

The thermometer is pinpoint accurate across a broad range of temeperatures. The BB was ok for mash and boil temps, but at lower temperatures when chilling it was wildly inaccurate.


Things I don’t like about the GF:

The tubing that connect from the GF to the counterflow chiller is really short. This is annoying and restricts where I can brew.

The silicone seal for the base of the malt pipe make it a pain to get in without coming off. However, having the base plate detachable makes the malt pipe much easier to clean than the BB.

There is a ball and spring in the recirculation pipe which clogs. I took it out.

The way the recirculation arm and counterflow chiller attach doesnt’ seem very sturdy. I think I’ll have to be careful attaching and detaching them without damaging the recirulation pipe.

Despite having the graincoat, it took a while to get to boil temperature compared to the BB. It appears that the grainfather has one heating element, rather than the two which the BB has.

The conical fermentor and glycol chiller seem very nice. The chiller was easy to prime and set up. Both pieces of equipment communicate without issue. I like it how the heating element or chiller are automatically controlled and keep the fermenting beer within a fraction of a degree of the desired temperate. I’m looking forward to using the dump valve, especially for hop-forward beer where the trub / yeast cake material can bind to some of the dry hop aromatics and bring the beer down.

Session IPA:
4.5% / 10.5 °P
Batch Volume: 23 L
Boil Time: 60 min

Mash Water: 15.65 L
Sparge Water: 15.95 L
Total Water: 31.6 L
Boil Volume: 28 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.037

Vitals
Original Gravity: 1.042
Final Gravity: 1.008
IBU (Tinseth): 39
BU/GU: 0.93
Colour: 16.7 EBC

Mash
Temperature — 66 °C — 60 min

Malts (4.5 kg)
3 kg (66.7%) — Hook Head Irish Pale Malt — Grain — 5 EBC
500 g (11.1%) — Light Munich Malt — Grain — 14 EBC
500 g (11.1%) — BestMalz Vienna — Grain — 9 EBC
300 g (6.7%) — Crisp Crystal — Grain — 145 EBC
200 g (4.4%) — Crisp Flaked Torrefied Oats — Grain — 5 EBC

Hops (216 g)
16 g (25 IBU) — Columbus (Tomahawk) 13.2% — Boil — 60 min
30 g (5 IBU) — Amarillo 8.3% — Aroma — 30 min hopstand
30 g (8 IBU) — Simcoe 13.3% — Aroma — 30 min hopstand
70 g — Amarillo 8.3% — Dry Hop — 5 days
70 g — Simcoe 13.3% — Dry Hop — 5 days
Hopstand at 80 °C

Miscs
5 ml — Lactic Acid 80% — Mash

Yeast
1 pkg — Fermentis US-05 Safale American 81%

Fermentation
Primary — 20 °C — 12 days
Carbonation: 2.4 CO2-vol


I undershot the volumes and overshot the OG. I ended up with 21L in the FV, of 1.047. The Raspberry wit is this one:

RASPBERRY WIT BEER
Belgian-Style Witbier
5.0%
75% efficiency

Batch Volume: 19 L
Boil Time: 30 min
Mash Water: 17.91 L
Sparge Water: 6.5 L
Total Water: 24.41 L
Boil Volume: 22.33 L
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.041

Vitals
Original Gravity: 1.046
Final Gravity: 1.008
IBU (Tinseth): 12
BU/GU: 0.25
Colour: 9.9 EBC

Mash
Temperature — 67 °C — 60 min
Mash Out — 75 °C — 10 min

Malts (3.72 kg)
1.674 kg (45%) — Weyermann Wheat Malt, Pale — Grain — 3.9 EBC
930 g (25%) — Fuglsang Munich — Grain — 14 EBC
930 g (25%) — Fuglsang Pale Ale — Grain — 8 EBC
186 g (5%) — Briess Oats, Flaked — Grain — 2.8 EBC

Other (1.2 kg)
1.2 kg — Raspberry (Fruit) — Other — 0 EBC

Hops (30 g)
30 g (12 IBU) — Saaz 3.7% — Boil — 30 min

Yeast
1 pkg — Lallemand Wit Belgian 83%

Fermentation
Primary — 20 °C — 14 days

Carbonation: 2.4 CO2-vol

This one I undershot the OG and overshot the volume, and got 21L of 1.042 into the FV.

A few pics:
IMG_20210612_125934.jpg

IMG_20210612_151407.jpg

IMG_20210612_102159.jpg

IMG_20210612_092329.jpg
 

IainM

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Since the last post I've brewed a Polly's Falter clone (thread), which was fantastic and I've bought the ingredients for a re-brew. I've also moved house to a place with a garage. It's so much nicer to have the space to store everything properly on shelving.

Last week I put a session NEIPA on, using the latest Ozzie hops Eclipse. They smell great and I'm looking forward to this one.

3kg Extra Pale Golden Promise
650g wheat
400 naked oats
300g lactose
3.5g columbus (13.2%) 60 minutes
30g eclipse aroma stand
30g galaxy aroma stand
20g eclipse after 24 hours
20g galaxy after 24 hours
50g eclipse when fermentation subsides
50g galaxy when fermentation subsides
1 packet verdant yeast
Got 21L 1.046
 
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