This brew was the first time I had the opportunity to use my new immersion chiller. That together with doing the boil in the kitchen instead of in my back yard as I did in my previous effort, made this a much smoother and efficient operation. But there are always inprovements but this went very well with a couple of exceptions.
Here is the immersion chiller with my boil kettle:
I'm using my double ring burner with an external propane tank so doing the boil was no problem.
This was my brewing plan:
Prep the boiling area.
-burner and gas tank
-wash boil kettle
-wash immersion cooler
-sanitize fermemtation bucket, lid, airlock, stirring spoon, measure cup etc
Boil 2 gal water and let cool (for yeast and to make-up the loss due to boil)
Mash tun (really steeping because these grains don't have any enzymes)
-bring 2.5l water to 150℃ and add grains in bag
-maintain at 150℃ for 30 minutes.
Boil kettle - steeping
-add 4 gal water and bring to 150℃
-sparge from mash tun (2liter)
-sparge additional 2 liter
-add DME slowly and stir
-add LME slowly and stir
-add 4 tablets alpha-galactosidase (Beano, 600 GaIU) and stir, leave for 30 minutes
-bring to boil and turn off heat
Boil kettle - boil
-add 2 oz Northern Brewer hops, boil 50 minutes
-add 1 oz Willamette, whilfloc insert immersion chiller, boil for 10 minutes
-turn of heat
-hydrate the yeast
-add 1 oz Willamette
-add cherries and cocoa, stir wait 15 minutes
-add cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
-cool to 20℃ or so.
-siphon into fermenter
-add remaining hops for dry hopping
-shake rattle roll the fermenter to get good aeration.
-pitch the yeast
This what the wort looked like after the steeping and the DME and the LME were added:
Looks like a stout to me. And the wort tasted damned good even at this stage. Before continuing with the boil, I added the Beano and let it do its magic for 30 minutes. Not sure what this will to the F.G. and the alcohol content but this is something I wanted to try.
After the boil, I was so excited about using the immersion chiller that I forgot to add the whirlfloc! But the immersion chiller did its job, cooling the hot wort down to 25℃ in under 30 minutes. I don't have a pre-chiller so I added a bag (sanitized of course) of ice into the cooled wort to bring it down further to yeast pitching temperature.
After adding water to bring the wort volume back up to 5 gals, the O.G. came in at an amazing 1.098! The predicted O.G. is 1.093 so I'm not sure what this means.
I'm doing the fermentation in a plastic bucket fitted with a valve and because I'm not planning on doing a secondary fermentation, I will be able to bottle straight from the bucket, saving an extra racking step.
I had planned to use my aeration pump to do the aeration prior to pitching the yeast but the package I sent it in still has not arrived yet so I had to "shake the baby" which was a bit of a chore.
Well the yeast is starting to wake up and seeing the tremendous work it has in front of it. It will be a busy several days ahead for the little buggers. I plan to ferment for up to 2 weeks to give the yeast plenty of time to bring down the S.G. and up the alcohol.
Overall, I was very pleased with how this brewing effort went, especially compared to my last effort which was a back breaker. Doing the boil next to the sink so that I don't have to move 5 gals of liquid is a much better way to go. I should have got the chiller earlier.
This type of high gravity brew will need a long conditioning time, the original brewer suggested it gets better over time, up to a year. So I'm planning on drinking some this holiday season and saving the rest for next year. Can't wait to taste it.
***UPDATE*** 15 hours later
Wow, this is the most vigorous fermentation ever. I started with the airlock but it was clogged when I woke up this morning. I removed the lid and saw this:
So I removed the kraeusen and replaced the airlock with a blow off tube:
Here is some kinky blow off tube action:
Damn, I can hear the bubbles coming through the blow off while I'm typing this. Those yeasties are having a ball.