Well if you haven’t watched the news in a few days, you may not have heard that the Northeast/New England just got hit by a nice sized blizzard. After spending Friday night and most of the day Saturday clearing myself out from a pleasant 28 inches or so of snow, brewing on Sunday seemed like a good activity. What else was I going to do (other than drink beer)?
I initially wanted to make a Black IPA kit that I had purchased from MoreBeer.com, but once I started looking it over I realized I didn’t have the yeast for it, so I went with the American IPA kit that I had from Christmas still. Before I go any further with post, I don’t need need to be told how awesome this post is, but I also realize I am missing some awesome-points since I forgot to take any pictures whatsoever while brewing. Oops.
The kit was pretty straight forward, I did a partial boil for it in my garage. For those new to brewing, with extract brewing you can either do a full or partial boil. Assuming most kits are for 5-gallons, a partial boil would be boiling and cooking with 2.5 to 3 gallons and then when transferring to your fermenter, top off to 5 gallons. With a full boil you start with 6 gallons, figure 1 gallon will boil off, thus giving you your 5 gallons. I think this will be my last time doing a partial boil. A full boil, in theory will give you better saturation with your grains and hops. Obviously a partial boil is easier to do since you don’t need to find a huge pot/cooker for the boil (10 gallon is probably the smallest you would want). I’m working on converting an old keg (15.5 gallons) to a cooker for brewing, so doing a full boil in that won’t be a problem at all.
Anyways, once I got my water boiling and ready for my grains, I dropped them into the water in the muslin bag. For grains I was working with:
- 2- Row – 1.5 pounds
- Pilsner malt – 1.5 pounds
- Crystal 60 – 8 ounces
While I am posting ingredients, I also had:
- Extra Light LME – 6 pounds
- Bittering hops – Apollo (1 ounce)
- Flavor hops – Cascade (1 ounce)
- Aroma hops – Cascade (1 ounce)
- Dry hops – Bravo (1 ounce)
- Wyeast 1056 (dry)
Yesterday was probably my messiest brew day ever. Never before had I boiled over, but sure enough I boiled over this time. Thankfully I boiled over when bringing my wort back up to a boil for my bittering hops, but before adding them. I don’t think I could handle losing some precious hops.
Rest of the brew process went fairly smoothly, I had a small incident (and now burned hand) when adding my LME. Again, I am a dummy. I love brewing with liquid extract because it is so much more stable in my experience than dry extract. Dry extract seems to have a mind of it’s own, and the only thing on its mind is “I NEED TO BOIL OUT OF THIS POT.” Liquid on the other hand is much more manageable and kind of just stirs right into your wort nicely. My only problem with liquid is since it is like molasses, its never easy to get it all out into your wort. Usually I run the extract under hot water in the sink to loosen it up, and then I “clean” the container(s) out in the hot wort since that is plenty hot to dissolve the extract out of the container. On this day, I decided to partially fill the container with hot wort, cap it, then swish it around.
BAD IDEA NICK
For those needing a recap of basic physics, heat expands. So I took this near boiling wort, sealed it in a container, and then agitated it. The air in the container expanded with the heat, blew the lid off, and sprayed hot sticky wort all of me. Not cool , but damages were minimal. I like to look on the bright side of things, so between the small boil over and extract/wort explosion, my garage smells awesome. I’m not even kidding, I love the smell of homebrewing.
Rest of the boil finished up without incident. I let my wort cool in the set-tub before dumping into fermenter, topping off to 5 gallons, taking OG, adding yeast, sealing up and agitating. I was a little shocked that I had boiled over more than a gallon, meaning I had to top off with almost 3.5 gallons of water, but ultimately reasonable given my few mistakes during the brew. Thankfully homebrewing is fairly forgiving. Before adding my yeast, sealing up, and agitating I took my original gravity (OG).
My reading was 1.052 for OG. Calculated OG according to brew sheet was 1.063. So we’ll see in a few weeks what I end up with. Final gravity should end up around 1.016 with an ABV of 6.24% and 70 IBUs.
After the exiting picture above, I think I will be purchasing a carboy next. Plus that frees me up to have more than one beer brewing at a time, since the above fermenter is my only fermenter. I’ll crack that open again in 3 weeks or so to dry hop, then let ferment for another week, before siphoning into a keg.
Many thanks to DIY Brewing for the kit. Seriously the guys there are awesome and incredibly nice. If you’re looking for new kits, parts, or advice give them a call. Tell them I sent you! The owner Mike is very passionate about what he does and I’ve never had a bad experience dealing with him.