Friday, 22 June 2012

Brewday - Wheat 21/06/2012

Most days are pretty trying, but some days are more so. It was one of those days yesterday.

I had planned to brew, but needed to get finished relatively early. So I prepped everything the night before, had vessels full and ingredients weighed, milled and ready to go. The plan was to switch the hot liquor on before breakfast, so I could mash in early and start the sparge as soon as I returned from dropping little'un off at school.

I awoke plenty soon enough and went to hit the switch to get the HLT fired up. Trouble was, the garage smelt like a brewery. Although half-asleep, it was readily apparent there was beer everywhere.

My latest pale ale, which had been racked into a cask and was conditioning at 12C in my conditioning fridge had decided to cause me grief. Beer was dripping from the fridge door and there were puddles everywhere; seeping under another fridge, under a freezer, under my bottle crates..... you get the picture.

Inside the fridge, the cask just sat there. Minus a shive. Perhaps I racked too early. Perhaps I over-primed. I definitely lost beer and the sad thing is, it was a good beer too. I had sneaked an early bottle a couple of nights before, to see how it was coming along and it was good.

So I lost an hour of my day, cleaning. Then, when I attempted to commence the new brew, I was faced with another problem. I got the hot liquor to strike temperature plus 3C (as I tend to lose about 3C in the transfer to the mash tun). I checked the temperature in the MT before commencing with the malt, to find it hadn't lost 3C. It had lost 23C.

Impossible? Yes, I thought so too. The HLT thermometer was faulty. I checked the liquor in the HLT with the other thermometer and it read 20C lower than the original reading. I then got my spare thermometer and double-checked. The original liquor was definitely 20C lower.

So the cleaning delayed mash-in, was now going to be delayed again, while the liquor was returned from the mash tun, back to the HLT and reheated.

Ultimately beer was made and I guess it goes to show it's prudent to have a spare thermometer or two (and a spare hour or two...)

As for the beer, it was an ale containing 30% wheat. I don't like to call it a wheat beer as I'm not keen on the style and haven't used an appropriate yeast. So it's more a pale ale, with 30% wheat, fermented with an ale yeast. Cascade and Galaxy are providing the fantastic aroma that's currently coming out of the fermenters.

I hope the beer is more enjoyable than the brewday itself.

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