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The Chaos that is a Buffers Brewery brew day

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Buffers brewery

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Greetings all. Thought I’d have a go at this brew day blog thread, so here goes...

Some of you know me as a bit of a gadget freak so it should be no surprise that brew days for me are as much about playing with my brewing kit as it is about making beer. So my brewday account will include a lot about my kit including pics, so if that’s not your thing, stop reading now! ashock1

As I don’t have a dedicated brewing space, brewday is actually brew-two-days. Day 1 involves setting up my kit, including a gazebo (protection against low-flying seagulls) and getting everything clean and sanitised.
AB2A788D-986A-4966-88E3-0CC1CE31D1B4.jpeg


Day 2 is brewday and clearing away.

So, day 1 and trestle tables are erected followed by the gazebo and the kit is unpacked from the garden shed and cleaned. First up, the mash tun. A plastic cooler fitted with stainless steel tap and temperature probe.
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Once that’s clean in goes my “false bottom” that consists of glass balls!
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Because I use small water pumps it’s important not to get any “bits” in the pipework so I use a BIAB style net bag in the mash tun to hold the grain.
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Sitting on top of the mash tun is my first gadget, of which I am most proud, my reciprocating sparge thingy.
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The coolbox lid sits atop to reduce heat loss.
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The kettle is stainless steel stockpot fitted with a stainless steel tap, a copper coil and whirlpool pipe. Inside the kettle I’ve attached a stainless steel elbow to the nipple from the tap. The elbow points down towards the kettle bottom and there’s a gap of about 5mm between the bottom of the kettle and the elbow entry. This acts as a syphon when emptying the boiled wort.
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The copper coil was originally fitted as part of a HERMS circuit. I’ve since made a dedicated heat exchange for the HERMS circuit so the coil is now used as a chiller.
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The HERMS heat exchange consists of a small, plastic flip-top waste bin fitted with a kettle type heater element, a temperature probe and a re-circulating pump to reduce any temperature gradients.
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cont’d......
 

Buffers brewery

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The pumps used in the HERMS and whirlpool circuits are the small solar submersible 12 volt dc pumps. Flow control is by a model railway (my other hobby) controller rather than taps.

So, after everything has been cleaned, flushed and leak tested, it’s time to get ready to brew. First job is to fill the kettle with all my water for the brew. Water comes from the outside garden tap using a food grade hose through a 10 micron carbon water filter. The appropriate quantity of CRS and 1 Campdon tablet is added. That’s the end of day 1.



Day 2, brewday starts with the HERMS heat exchange being turned on and check the set temperature. It takes 45-60 minutes to get up to constant temperature. Next, some of the treated water is drained from the kettle into a clean fermentation vessel that I use as a temporary holding tank. The remaining strike water in the kettle is heated to strike temperature, circulating it through the whirlpool circuit to heat it evenly. While that’s happening a kettleful of boiling water is added to the mash tun to pre-heat the glass balls (false bottom).
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The grain is then added to the tun.

4kg Marris Otter pale malt
0.3kg Crystal 100 EBC
0.1kg Crystal 318 EBC
0.1kg Chocolate malt
0.5kg Carapils
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When at temperature, the strike water is pumped into the mash tun through the tap.
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After all the water has been transferred, the mash is stirred to eliminate any dough-balls.
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The lid is then placed on top and the pipes rearranged to connect the HERMS heat exchange to the mash tun tap and the sparge thingy.
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HERMS pump turned ON, sparge thingy motor turned ON and mash timer started. Sparge water temperature is monitored as it returns from the heat exchange
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and mash temperature is monitored using the fitted temperature probe.

While the mash is underway, the water that was transferred to the temporary holding tank is returned to the kettle and heated to temperature ready for the second mash.
 

Buffers brewery

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After an hour the first mash is completed and the wort is transferred from the mash tun to the temporary holding tank and SG noted using a refractometer.
BC8E6D72-13E1-4344-848F-0036B6ED90FD.jpeg

Half the quantity of hot water is then transferred to the mash tun using the sparge thingy and then circulated through the HERMS circuit for about 30 minutes. The wort SG is measured and then transferred to the holding tank after which the remaining hot water is transferred to the mash tun for the third and final 30 minute mash. At the end of the third mash the SG is measured and the last wort transferred to the holding tank. This is where the net bag comes in handy as it can be used to squeeze out as much wort as possible from the grain.
D86D4A4A-93AD-42F8-94F7-81BDF1F53EC1.jpeg

The wort is then transferred back to the kettle for the boil. Salt and Epsom salts are added to the wort that is heated to come to the boil. I want this beer not to be too bitter so I added the hops after 30 minutes of the boil.

15grms Northern Brewer

I use leaf in a net bag together with a couple of stainless steel balls to help it sink. A small float is attached to the hop bag so it can be easily removed for a squeeze at the end of the one hour boil.

15 minutes before the end of the boil a protofloc tablet is added and whirlpool pump turned ON.

Flame out, hops squeezed and out. Water connected to the chiller coil. In the warmer months I use 2 chillers. One to chill the mains water by immersing the coil in a bucket of water and ice and the second the coil in the kettle to cool the boiled wort. While the wort is cooling the yeast (Lallemand English Style Ale yeast London) is re-hydrated as per the instructions on the packet.

40 minutes later wort temperature is 20 degrees C and is transferred to the now sanitised fermentation vessel, previously used as the temporary holding tank. SG measured using a hydrometer (1.054 - oops, a bit high! I think I over did the pale malt) and the yeast is pitched. FV lid on and my “adapted” airlock fitted. Had to make the “S” bend for the trap as there’s not enough headspace in my fermentation fridge.
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The wort can be “wheeled” down the garden path to the shed where the (now raised) fridge is.
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The following morning it’s going like the clappers!
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Be back in 10 days or so.....
 

Pavros

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If you're going to use an airlock with a plastic fermenter, then this is the way to do it!!
Love the airlock/copper blow-off tube crossover thingie to make it fit in the fridge! clapa
 

Buffers brewery

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Back sooner than planned! Checked the FV last night and noticed a significant thickness of crud in the bottom.
F1755F6C-57F4-4236-B457-8B2F2367A514.jpeg

As I have bottom taps on my FVs, I didn’t want a load of crud going into my barrel when fermentation was finished. As I had a spare FV, I decided to decant the still fermenting beer into the spare, clean FV. One FV lid is fitted with a HB valve (yes, I know!)
E65892DB-E2B3-4E9F-A6EE-C4F63A542333.jpeg

so I squirted some CO2 into the sanitised FV and left over night to settle. This morning, I decanted the beer to FV number 2,
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gave it another squirt of CO2 and back in to the fridge to finish fermenting.
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Measured the SG of the slurry that came out first and last.
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OG 1.054. Day 3 slurry SG 1.026. Going in the right direction. Should be back in 7 days or so taking a cleaner SG I hope.
 

Gerry99

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After an hour the first mash is completed and the wort is transferred from the mash tun to the temporary holding tank and SG noted using a refractometer.
View attachment 28992
Half the quantity of hot water is then transferred to the mash tun using the sparge thingy and then circulated through the HERMS circuit for about 30 minutes. The wort SG is measured and then transferred to the holding tank after which the remaining hot water is transferred to the mash tun for the third and final 30 minute mash. At the end of the third mash the SG is measured and the last wort transferred to the holding tank. This is where the net bag comes in handy as it can be used to squeeze out as much wort as possible from the grain.
View attachment 28993
The wort is then transferred back to the kettle for the boil. Salt and Epsom salts are added to the wort that is heated to come to the boil. I want this beer not to be too bitter so I added the hops after 30 minutes of the boil.

15grms Northern Brewer

I use leaf in a net bag together with a couple of stainless steel balls to help it sink. A small float is attached to the hop bag so it can be easily removed for a squeeze at the end of the one hour boil.

15 minutes before the end of the boil a protofloc tablet is added and whirlpool pump turned ON.

Flame out, hops squeezed and out. Water connected to the chiller coil. In the warmer months I use 2 chillers. One to chill the mains water by immersing the coil in a bucket of water and ice and the second the coil in the kettle to cool the boiled wort. While the wort is cooling the yeast (Lallemand English Style Ale yeast London) is re-hydrated as per the instructions on the packet.

40 minutes later wort temperature is 20 degrees C and is transferred to the now sanitised fermentation vessel, previously used as the temporary holding tank. SG measured using a hydrometer (1.054 - oops, a bit high! I think I over did the pale malt) and the yeast is pitched. FV lid on and my “adapted” airlock fitted. Had to make the “S” bend for the trap as there’s not enough headspace in my fermentation fridge.
View attachment 28994
The wort can be “wheeled” down the garden path to the shed where the (now raised) fridge is.
View attachment 28995
View attachment 28996
The following morning it’s going like the clappers!
View attachment 28997
Be back in 10 days or so.....
This has to be the best, most inventive system I’ve seen. It looks as much fun setting it up as actually brewing. Brilliant job Sir. Good luck with your enterprise!
 

Buffers brewery

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SG check today.
IMG_20200718_115714986.jpg

1.018 or thereabouts. That makes it 4.7% ABV by my calculations. I was going for a sweeter outcome so we'll see what it's like in a couple of days.
In the meantime...
IMG_20200718_115923231_HDR.jpg

..sample is heading for the fridge to chill it off a bit for a taster later wink...
 

pilgrimhudd

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Looking at this on my phone, saw the first pic and thought wow, what a lovely hillside view. Then realised it was the gazebo! 🤣

Nice set up!
 

Mavroz

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Looks like a lot of work has gone into this setup and seems very interesting.
Far too complicated for my liking and a long time to set up and clear away unfortunately.

Very organised and professional.
 

Buffers brewery

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Second SG check today.. .
IMG_20200720_161539214~2.jpg

I make that 1.019/1.020. That's near enough the same as the first SG reading so I'll turn the fridge stat down to 4 degrees C and give it 3 days to sort itself out.
 

Buffers brewery

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Time to transfer my beer to a PB. First off, I prepared my priming solution, 2.5 ounces of granulated sugar with 16 fl. ozs. of water, brought to the boil then chilled to room temperature. PB and bits get sanitised along with the hose I use for transfer. Tap connection on FB is sanitised and the tap opened to clear any trub.
IMG_20200725_163632999.jpg

Hose connected and tap opened to bleed the hose the end of which is the dropped into the PB.
IMG_20200725_164547192.jpg

When all the beer is transferred, the PB cap is sanitised and fitted to the neck and the PB given a couple of puffs of CO2.
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Bolts are tightened down and a bit more CO2 injected and the PB put in the fridge set at 20 degrees C.
IMG_20200725_170251041.jpg

Give it a week or so to carbonate and then condition for 3 weeks at 12 degrees C.
I did a little experiment with this brew. Tried out a mod to my FV. I fitted a float from one of my PBs to the bottom tap outlet. The idea being that the float will ensure clear beer is drained and the murky stuff at the bottom would be left in the FV.
IMG_20200725_170436490.jpg

It worked but left a lot of good beer in the FV. Might mod the float a bit for next time :laugh8:ashock1asad.aheadbutt
 

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So as the fridge is now empty, last brew has been transferred to my conditioning/serving fridge, looking to do a single hop pale ale next week. Cascade is my hop of choice this time. Using my Mandarina Bavaria recipe I did last time which I really enjoyed, just changing the hop variety. Considering adding a hop tea with the priming sugar when transferring to my empty King Keg. I tried dry hopping and wasn’t impressed. Not done a hop tea before so should be interesting. Any suggestions/guidance gratefully received.
 

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So as the fridge is now empty, last brew has been transferred to my conditioning/serving fridge, looking to do a single hop pale ale next week. Cascade is my hop of choice this time. Using my Mandarina Bavaria recipe I did last time which I really enjoyed, just changing the hop variety. Considering adding a hop tea with the priming sugar when transferring to my empty King Keg. I tried dry hopping and wasn’t impressed. Not done a hop tea before so should be interesting. Any suggestions/guidance gratefully received.
I'm still not sure that I'm persuaded by hop teas, but the method I use is an amalgam of various tips found online. I have a small cafetiere, fill that with boiling water, let it cool to below 80c, add the hops, leave overnight to cool at room temperature and the following morning press down the plunger on the cafetiere and add the hop tea to the brew. It is easier to do with pellets rather whole hops, but I feel that whole hops give better results despite the likelihood of their introducing more O2.
 

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Cafatiere sounds like a good idea if it becomes a regular thing. I was just going to use one of my hop bags that I use during the brew. I was only going to let it stand for 20-30 minutes as I’ve read that is as long as it needs.


As I said, planning to use it with priming sugar for carbonation rather than in the FV. Got to get the brew going first. As I brew outdoors in the back garden, I’m on thunderstorm watch at the moment! :laugh8:
 

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Cafatiere sounds like a good idea if it becomes a regular thing. I was just going to use one of my hop bags that I use during the brew. I was only going to let it stand for 20-30 minutes as I’ve read that is as long as it needs.


As I said, planning to use it with priming sugar for carbonation rather than in the FV. Got to get the brew going first. As I brew outdoors in the back garden, I’m on thunderstorm watch at the moment! :laugh8:
Cafatiere sounds like a good idea if it becomes a regular thing. I was just going to use one of my hop bags that I use during the brew. I was only going to let it stand for 20-30 minutes as I’ve read that is as long as it needs.


As I said, planning to use it with priming sugar for carbonation rather than in the FV. Got to get the brew going first. As I brew outdoors in the back garden, I’m on thunderstorm watch at the moment! :laugh8:
Lucky you. Desperate for some rain here - and some cooler temperatures for brewing............
 

Buffers brewery

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Set up my brew gazebo last night ready for a brew day today. Treated Water temperature in my kettle this morning was 25C. Temperature in the shade at 9 o’clock was 26C and rising. Turned fermentation fridge on to 20C as I doubt I’ll be pitching yeast today, that’ll be tomorrow morning’s job.
So I had a quick check around the kit before I started and noticed an illegal.....
37CE06A6-7E8F-4275-96C2-673E78090C26.jpeg

N.B. The kettle lid is not green, that’s the reflection of my brew gazebo:laugh8:

Simple single hop pale ale today.
6kg pale malt
500 gram carapils

Cascade hops 25grm @ 30 mins, 25grm @ 15 mins, 20 grm @ 0 mins and 30 grms in a hop tea at priming.
100grm zeast from fresh Jaffa oranges @ 10 mins

Wyeast 1056

Half way through the mash as I speak

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This is my view while I’m waiting..
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BTW I had an early taster of the Not So Mild I brewed last time..
7CE56076-377E-4EEA-B2D0-5A0F47D773EB.jpeg

It’s coming along nicely at 5.5%ABVacheers.
 
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Buffers brewery

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Finished the first 60 minute mash and got a little over 2 gallons of 1.078 wort. Got another 2 gallons at 1.048 from second 30 minute mash and 3 gallons at 1.020 from the last 30 minute mash. Wort gravity before boil was 1.045.

With the weather being so hot today I chilled initially with just water in my pre-chiller but added a bag of ice when the wort temperature reached 40.
E64AC931-F293-48DD-9CB8-6000C0B071B9.jpeg

Managed to get down to 27 but that was it so hop bags were fished out and squeezed out and the wort transferred to the FV.
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Hydrometer reading of a 27C sample was 1.060 which after correction gives 1.061!
C6BAE032-8AA6-4E99-BC02-3847F89CE587.jpeg

Wort is now in the fridge set at 20C and I’ll pitch the yeast tomorrow.
It didn’t go without a fight though! As I was lifting the FV up to put it in the fridge, somehow the tap handle in the bottom of the FV caught on something and opened the tap. Picture it! There I am with 25 litres of wort in my hands with warm wort running down the front of my trousers ashock1. Fortunately I was able to close the tap quickly and only lost about a litre or so on the shed floor! I wonder what that will smell like in the morning :?:.
 
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