I recently made some modifications to my Grainfather's wort chiller and recirculating pipe connections in the hope that this would make those connections easier to use and more reliable. Today was my first attempt to test those out.
The goal of this brew session was twofold. First, I wanted to test the modifications to The Grainfather using a simple recipe with ingredients I had on hand in quantity, so that if something went hideously wrong I would only be losing a few bucks' worth of ingredients. Second, I wanted to see how Viking Pale Ale Malt tasted when brewed by itself.
4 pounds Viking Pale Ale Malt
0.5 tsp. pH 5.2 Stabilizer (mash)
1 capful Phosphoric Acid 10% solution (mash)
0.50 ounces Mandarina Bavaria hops pellets @ 9.6% AA (15 min.)
0.70 ounces Mandarina Bavaria hops pellets @ 9.6% AA (5 min.)
1/8 tsp. Brewtan B (mash)
1/4 tsp. Brewtan B (boil - 20 min.)
1/4 tablet Whirlfloc
1 packet Safale US-05 yeast
2.5 gallons mash water (tap, filtered through whole-house carbon and Brita filters)
- Note: I recommend using 2.75 gallons next time
1.25 gallons sparge water (filtered the same as the mash water)
- Note: I ended up actually using 1.0 gallons, but probably should have used 1.25 since my fermenter volume came up a little low (around 2.3 gallons)
- Original Gravity: 1.046 SG estimated (1.045 SG actual)
- Pre-boil Gravity: 1.038 SG estimated (1.039 SG actual)
- Final Gravity: 1.009 SG estimated
- Batch Size: 2.5 gallons
- SRM: 4.3
- IBUs: 29
- ABV: 4.9% estimated
- Brewhouse Efficiency: 77.5%
- Fermenter: Spock
- Bottling Wand: Stainless 2
- Cap color: Blue
- 15 minutes mash in at 120F (Beta Glucan rest)
- 15 minutes mash at 140F (Alpha Amylase rest)
- 30 minutes mash at 156F (Beta Amylase rest)
- 15 minutes mash out at 168F and sparge
- 60 minutes: No additions
- 20 minutes: Brewtan B
- 15 minutes: Mandarina Bavaria (0.5 oz.) and Whirlfloc
- 5 minutes: Mandarina Bavaria (0.7 oz.)
- 0 minutes: Chill to 62F and transfer to fermenter
- Days 1-7: Ferment at ambient temperatures (64-69F)
- Continue until the gravity holds for four straight days, per Tilt Hydrometer
Post-Brew Notes and Observations
01/12/2020: I can't say the brew went flawlessly, but it was actually pretty close to textbook. The only minor hiccup was that I didn't have quite enough mash water, so I shifted a quart from the sparge container to the mash tun and all was well.
The modifications to The Grainfather's recirculation pipe allow for considerably more wort flow than before. The change to the counterflow chiller's input dripped once from the cooling water side, but that's all. There appeared to be maybe a few drips from the recirculation pipe, but those could have been a spill changing from recirculation to chiller.
Checking the mash water pH during the first 30 minutes or so proved useful. The mash was running about 5.7 pH at the start. I added a capful of 10% Phosphoric Acid, which dropped that down to around 5.25-5.35 pH. A half-teaspoon of pH 5.2 Stabilizer seemed to keep it close to 5.2 for remainder of the mash.
The Ohio winter weather meant that our tap water temps are pretty low. Coming straight out of the counterflow chiller, my wort was reading 62F... plenty cold enough for Safale US-05. I pitched the yeast without hydrating it while cleaning everything up, then shook the fermenter to ensure that it all got mixed in and hydrated.
Gravity readings pre-boil and in the fermenter were within a point of the Brewfather calculated amounts so I wasn't upset about that at all.
01/15/2020: Gravity is down to 1.014 SG today, and the temp is continuing to hold at 65F. That puts me within 5 points of the estimated final gravity.
01/20/2020: Gravity is down to 1.013 SG today and has held there for the last 2-3 days. I think we may be at the final gravity figure. I learned that when doing smaller batches, The Grainfather boils off more like 0.67 or 0.68 gallons per hour rather than the documented 0.4. That explains why I ended up with a lower than expected volume on this recipe.
01/21/2020: Gravity has dropped to 1.012 SG. Temperature is 62F.
01/24/2020: Gravity has held at 1.012-13 SG since January 21. Temperature is holding at 62F. It will probably be time to bottle this soon.
01/26/2020: Gravity has held at 1.012 SG for several days, so today I bottled the beer in 12-ounce bottles with 3 small carbonation tablets per bottle.