Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AG #10 - Standard Stout II - Brew day

Lots of Chocolate Malt &
Roasted Barley in the
grain bill.
So finally after 5 months of a brewing hiatus I got to brew a beer last weekend. I decided on a version of my Standard Stout recipe that I had brewed previously and that I was really happy with. This time round I gave it more of an American Stout twist by adding some late addition hops. Here is the full recipe.

Brew day took a little while to get going as I started to work out how to brew in my new surroundings. Eventually decided to take over the shed for the day and set everything up in there. This worked out quite well and I ran a water hose and extension cable from the outside water and electricity points at the back of the house. I was a little worried that the single outside electricity point would not be able to handle a 60 minute boil with two x 2 kw elements on the go, however all went well and resetting of trip switches was not required.

I have not yet become fully accustomed to my new surroundings and so there was a little reorganization of brewing vessels as the day went on, however I have learned from this and will have a proper three tier set up for my next brew.

Wort aeration system in action.
The brewing went very well with no particular issues. However I did introduce one new technique into my brew day that I have to say gave great results. A couple of months ago I ordered a few brewing gadgets from the US, one was a refractometer, the other a wort aeration system. The wort aeration system comprises of an air pump, filter and aeration stone. Basically the air is generated by the air pump, passes through the filter, down a tube and through an aeration stone that you submerge in the wort for 10-20 minutes before attaching your blow-off tube. This seemed to work very well as about 8 hours later the wort was fermenting away and continued solidly for three days.

The 'Brew-Shed'
As mentioned I think I learned a lot from this brew day about how my new surroundings can be used better to make brew day a little easier. I will certainly construct a three tier gravity fed set-up in the shed before my next brew day and that should mean that there will be no need to be shuffling vessels around during the brew day. Also I think the aeration system will be a very worthwhile addition to my brewing equipment. Another change that I have made is to change the volume of beer I have will be brewing. Ordinarily as home brewers become more competent they tend to increase the amount of beer they make on a brew day, however I am doing the opposite. Fed up with bottling and all that that entails I have decided to brew 19-20 liter batches and then just keg the resulting beer. My system can cope with up to 27 liters and so if I could get my hands on a 1/2 corny (9.5 liter) I could increase once again and be getting one and a half kegs per batch. The only problem is that those 1/2 corny's are so hard to find :-(

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