Batch #1 – Pale Ale
This is my first “brew day” on the Royal Catering 30L Mash Tun. This is basically the same machine as the Brewmonk, Ace Hopcat, BrewDevil, etc.
You can view my recipe on Brewfather.
- 3500g Crisp Best Ale Malt
- 500g Crisp Light Crystal 150
- 60 minutes: 20g Northern Brewer 10.7%
- 45 minutes: 20g Cascade 5.5%
- 10 minutes: 20g Cascade 5.5%
- 0 minutes: 50g Cascade 5.5%
- 1 packet – Fermentis S-04
- 15 minutes: 1/2 Protofloc Tablet
- Water: 1 Campden Tablet
- Strike: 71°C
- Mash: 66°C for 60 minutes
- Mash out: 75°C for 10 minutes
I filled the mash tun with water (about 30 litres, just to be safe), added the Campden tablet and heated the water to a strike temperature of 71°C.
I removed water from the mash tun into a spare fermentation bucket to keep for the sparge, until I reached about 16.9 litres left (probably closer to 17 litres).
I added the grain basket and doughed-in, making sure I poured slowly and alternated between pouring and stirring. I set the temperature to 66°C, the timer to 60 minutes, and turned on the recirculation pump.
The strike temp of 71°C was probably too high – the water temperature didn’t drop as much as I expected.
I checked frequently that there wasn’t too much wort on top of the grain bed. I made a mistake here – putting the top-filter on-top of the overflow pipe, rather than seating it directly on the grain bed – this meant I couldn’t really see what was going on with the grain bed.
I played around with the power settings. I think I set it to 1100W, but I can’t remember exactly. I think the temperature wandered a bit.
After 60 minutes I started a 10 minute mash-out at 75°C.
I lifted the grain basket and began the sparge. I added some kettles of boiling water to the water I had collected earlier, hoping to raise the temperature to 78°C – but it never made much difference to the temperature. I’ve since learnt that the temperature of the sparge water doesn’t make much difference – a lower temperature just increases the time to reach the boil.
I began to sparge slowly, about 1 litre at a time. Unfortunately I lost track of how many jugs I poured and think I over-sparged by at least a litre, maybe more. I should have been paying more attention to the desired pre-boil volume in the recipe. My pre-boil gravity was 1.035 (Brewfather predicted 1.038).
I turned the power up to 2500W and set it to boil for 60 minutes. I added my 60 minutes hops in a muslin hop-sock. I added other hop additions to the hop-sock at the appropriate time. Protofloc was added directly to the kettle.
The immersion chiller coil went into the kettle at 15 minutes left in the boil to sterilise.
I thought the boil was initially a bit ferocious, so I knocked the power back to 2000W (and maybe even lower, I didn’t record the power settings in my notes). This meant I didn’t have a really good rolling boil, and this affected my boil off rate. The profile in Brewfather says about 5 litres per hour boil-off, I got 3 litres.
At the end of the 60 minutes I turned off the kettle and added my final hops to the hop sock. The recipe doesn’t state whether to hop-stand these at a certain temperature or not, so I just left them all in while the wort cooled – something to look at for future brews.
Chill & Whirlpool
I turned on the cold water to my chiller and collected a bucket of hot water from the hot-side to use for cleanup later. The rest of the water went down the drain – in the future I’ll collect into the waterbutt, but it was already full from the rain here in Scotland.
I tried to create a whirlpool using a large spoon, but it was difficult with the cooling coil in the kettle. I cooled to about 20°C and then used the pump to transfer the wort to my fermentation bucket. The pump doesn’t have a filter and I also transferred quite a bit of trub – I’ll either get a pump filter or use the tap with the bazooka filter next time.
Half-way through transferring I sprinkled the yeast into the wort (a tip I got from David Heath’s YouTube videos). I think I got 21 litres into the fermentation bucket, which was 2 more than expected (due to the reduced boil off rate, over-sparge and using the pump not the tap on the kettle). The original gravity was 1.038 (target was 1.047, so quite a bit lower than expected!).
I set the heat-pad to 19°C. Fermentation began to happen and I measured the gravity occasionally. We had a heatwave in Scotland, so I saw the temperature rocket up to 24°C towards the end of fermentation.
Fermentation finished at 1.010 (prediction was 1.011).
I syphoned the finished beer into a bottling bucket, with 120g of granulated sugar dissolved in some wort (boiled together). I bottled and got about 34x 500ml PET bottles.
I sampled some of the uncarbonated and unconditioned beer that was left-over: very smooth, decent amount of bitterness, not much hoppiness, not much body.
The beer is over-carbonated – it gushes when you open a bottle. If you really chill it down, you can open without gushing, but pouring is hard and results in about 1/3 glass of foam.
The yeast has settled to the bottom of all bottles – but has only compacted softly, so there is some floating sediment in a poured glass.
The taste is great, particularly for my first all-grain beer. Very drinkable, not too bitter and not too heavy. Not a lot of aroma, but a decent taste. Probably not the most exciting beer ever, but a decent first attempt.
- Original gravity: 1.038
- Final gravity: 1.010
- Final volume: 17 litres
- IBU: 46
- EBC: 21.5
- ABV: 4.1% (bottle conditioning added ~0.3%)