Sunday, April 25, 2010

Amarillo Pale Ale

Saturday, April 24th, 2010, I brewed my first solo all grain batch of beer. I am eager to see how it turns out, since I failed on so many levels.

- Killed my thermometer, and didn't know the exact temp of sparge water.
- Apparently when I took the pre-boil specific gravity reading, the first running and the second running weren't mixed properly, so it showed 1.060, freaking me out.
- Added approx 3 quarts of water, to the boil correcting the then feared "to high of efficency."
- At end of boil, wort was at 1.050, way under what I wanted.
- Took longer to chill than I wanted.
- Forgot to aerate wort.
- When pitching yeast, found that the Activator smack pack wasn't "smacked." Before brewing, I tried for 20 minutes to break the tiny inner pouch, thought that I did. However, at pitching time the pack was swelled tight.

Looking back at the few facts:

After boil and water addition specific gravity: 1.050
Starting pre-boil wort volume: 7.5 Gal
Freakout water addition: 0.75 Gal
After boil wort volume: 6.75 Gal

Entering that info into several online calculators, I can deduce:

The actual pre-boil SG was: 1.045, which translates to a mash efficiency of 80%. (Pretty Good!) Had I left it alone and not diluted the wort, it would have been fine, with a OG of 1.056, or 5.6% ABV. Instead with the 0.75 Gal of water added, I'll get 4.9% ABV, which is what I would have had with a 70% mash efficiency.

Lessons learned:

- Stir wort before taking preboil gravity
- Buy waterproof thermometer
- Need 50' wort chiller
- Don't brew on empty stomach, low blood sugar affects brain function
- Make checklist to follow while brewing, I.E. don't forget to aerate.
- Make a yeast starter

Who knows, it will probably turn out to be the best beer I've made yet.