Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Van Den Heuv Ale ok?

It's been over a week since I actually brewed this beer, and I didn't do my normal brewday summary post. Whoops.

Brewday went well overall though. Collected over 6 gallons of wort, and appear to have gotten a good gravity. I used my 5.2 ph Stabilizer for the first time, and from what I can tell it kept my mash at almost exactly 5.2. While definitely not the most scientific method for calculating mash and sparge efficiency... my spent grains were the least sweet they have ever been. I still don't think I broke the 70% efficiency mark though... so I think I'll have Karl double-grind my grains next time, and maybe I'll use some rice hulls to prevent the possibility of a stuck mash because of the extra fine grind.

Hot liquor tank was ok... it leaked a little bit, but it was passable. I think when I've got spare cash (not anytime soon...) I'll replace it with a new cooler.

Boil went great, no boil-overs and kept it rolling pretty hard the whole time.

The new wort chiller was a thing of beauty. It cooled 4.5 gallons of wort from boiling to UNDER my target temp of 65° in about 15 minutes! I actually hit close to 55°!! Absolutely spectacular, and for less than $25, AMAZING.

I did only end up with 4.5 gallons of wort after the boil... which doesn't bother me. As John Palmer says... the goal is to brew good beer, not brew 5 gallons of beer! If I get 5 gallons of good beer, all the better.... but that's secondary. Gravity into the fermenter was 14° (technically) balling, but close enough to Plato or Brix to use any of them.

Of course the real question of all questions here was... would I end up with an infected mess? And I don't think I did! I did things a little different this time... different wort chiller, poured my wort into the fermenter outside, and something appears to have made the difference. I wasn't too sure a few days ago when I checked the gravity (approximately 2.5°), as there was some definite off-flavor... but it's been a while since I've tasted such a young beer so I might have just been tasting early yeast by-products. Today it seemed better.

I racked to a glass carboy for secondary fermentation today. With the OG of 14 and FG of ~2.5, I'm looking at about 6% abv on this one, right at the top of the APA range. The bitterness, which was very strong before primary, has subdued a bit, so that I think this will make a good APA, pushing the limits on all counts but not quite an IPA.

I'm a happy guy right now. Which means I'm already planning my next beer ;-) I think I will brew River Grand Brown Ale again, it was my best, and I would love to have some more of it!

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