it’s alive! resurrection pale ale

As I chronicalled in a post last week, my first attempt at all-grain brewing got debacled. Well, I tried again this week and it went much better. I’m not sure what was going through my head last week, but I must not have been in the right frame of mind to brew.

I’m not sure how the final product is going to turn out. Since I only have a five gallon brew kettle, I can’t sparge the grains as much as I need to, so I’m sure my efficiencies are going to be extremely low. My initial gravity was only 1.018, so I might have to call this Untamed Beer N/A. On a positive note, there are already signs of fermentation so there will at least be some alcohol in it.

The color also looks really good. This is a pale ale, and for the first time, I’ve actually been able to achieve a very light, straw color. In my extract brewing experience, even my pale ales would end up a bit amber.

I also tried a little bit of the wort before putting it in the fermenter. This beer is going to be hot-pocket-level-destroy-your-taste-buds-hoppy. I’ve thrown balance to the wind by using 6 ounces of hops, including dry-hopping which I’ll do in the secondary. I always like to push the limits of civility, so we’ll see how it turns out.

Here are some lessons learned:

  • Do not heat your mash water with the grains in it. You will end up with oatmeal. Heat the water, then add the grains. Don’t I feel sheepish.
  • Make sure your grain isn’t too finely milled.
  • Write down all your steps before you start, even if you think you’ve got the process down. When the bullets start flying, it’s easy to forget stuff.

About Brian

I like beer.
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2 Responses to it’s alive! resurrection pale ale

  1. Evan says:

    I’ve been getting really good efficiency by batch sparging via a reusable nylon bag. But it’s a pain in the butt. Roughly: Steep all 10-12 lbs of grain in bag at whatever temperature your recipe calls for with about 2.5 – 3 gallons of water. Lift grain bag up and allow wort to drain freely (usually a minute or two). Remove bag from brew pot. Put semi-drained grain bag into separate bucket. Let rest for several minutes. Slowly rinse the grains with 1 liter of hot water. Let soak for several minutes. Pick bag up. Drain wort. Pour that into the brew pot. Basically rinse and repeat that process until you’re at about 3 – 4 gallons. Then start the boil like normal.

    As you might have guessed, it’s pain because holding a 30 pound bag of grain while it slowly drains off sugars gets difficult after a while.

  2. Brian says:

    That’s a great suggestion. I’ve used the mesh bags before and they’ve worked well. But you’re right, holding a soaking wet bag of grain for 5 to 10 minutes is not easy.

    I did run the “first runnings” through the grain in my double-five-gallon-bucket strainer setup, hoping that a second rinse would work. This would all be solved if I invested in a 10-gallon brewpot. If I only had $250 laying around…

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