Thursday, July 2, 2009

First 5 Gal Boil

I had to round up a few more pieces of equipment and lots of ice before I could commence my first 5 gal boil but I was able to get everything I need. First was a big plastic tub to hold the ice water to cool the hot wort kettle.

Next recognizing that moving around 5 gals of high gravity wort can be hard on my aging body, I bought a wheeled cart from my local home center.

Being a rank beginner, I bought a a brewing ingredients kit from MoreBeer called "Speakeasy 3rd Aniversary Brew". This is an extract+steeping grain kit that sounded like some beer that I wanted to drink. MoreBeer ingredients kits do not include yeast so I went with the Safale S04 dry ale yeast that I bought at Tokyu Hands.

MoreBeer brewing kit together with their ingredients gets you just about everything that you need to boil, ferment and bottle your beer. Of course I had to provide the boiling and bottling equipment and of course yeast.

I followed the instructions that came with the ingredient kit but I did run into a few unexpected (not if I had done additional research but more on this later) problems.

The process calls for
1. steep the flavoring grains in 170℉ water for 30 minutes,
2. add the liquid malt extract and bring to a boil,
3. add the bittering hops as soon as the boil commences
4. add flavoring and aroma grains according to schedule
5. add whirlfloc with 15 minutes left to boil

And that's it! Actually, this is when the process gets interesting, the whole cooling and racking to the primary fermenter.

I put 13 kg of ice into my plastic tub and then place the hot wort kettle on top. Once about half of the ice melted, I hosed in some water to bring the level up about halfway up the outside of the kettle and started gently rocking the kettle to get good exposure to the cold water. I think I was able to cool the wort to 85℉ in about 30 minutes. For future boils, I have plans on a hybrid sort of counter flow chiller to cool the wort.

At this point I brought the wort kettle inside and started setting up the equipment for racking to the primary fermenter, a better bottle plastic carboy.

When I opened up the lid to look at the cooled wort, I was shocked to see the huge amount floating trud in the wort. I guess the whirlfloc did its job but I was at a loss as to how to rack without bringing all this trud along to the carboy. Had I done better research prior to this step, I would have learned that I should have stirred the wort to create a whirlpool which would have compacted the trud in the center where it would have settled. Instead, I let the trud settle on its own and when it looked relatively clear I started the siphon. About 2/3rd of the way through, the unsettled trud entered the siphon much to my horror. Unfortunately I let it pass until about half a gallon was left in the kettle. What could I do at this point but to continue on. Because of all the trud that got sucked into the carboy, I decide I would rack to a secondary fermenter after a few days.

Anyway I pitched the rehydrated yeast at about 78℉ and shook the carboy for the aeration. In the future, I have ordered a portable battery operated aquarium air pump for this step. I added the airlock and placed into my bathtub where the water temperature was a pretty steady 69℉. BTW, in the picture above, the carboy is sitting on the rolling cart that I bought for about ¥2,000. This is a great back saver for moving 5 gals of wort around.

This is after 24 hours. There was a very active fermentation going on which was amazing to watch. So now all I have to do is to wait a few days and then I can rack to a secondary fermenter for further settling of the sentiment.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, it's hard cooling 5G of wort in just a tub - especially for me because I've no room to make ice (freezer is filled with hops!). I'll be getting my plate chiller tonight - looking forward to using it for the first time!