Pics from my brew day last weekend. This one should be interesting because a 48 inch water main broke the night before my brew day. While I was waiting for the ESB to come up to a boil our county issued a boil water order. At that point my Russian Imperial Stout was already in the carboy, and I wasn’t going to dump out my ESB. After all I was going to boil it for an hour. I felt connected with the brewers of the Middle Ages because I never thought I would use the boil to make the water safe to drink. Luckily I didn’t have to find my magic stick to stir the chilled wort with.
Waking up to water that is already at temperature will never get old. Neither will having a bunch of inline thermometers. I’m really happy that decided to set them up. Being able to add a thermometer inline anywhere that I want is really helpful.
I did get to use my HERMS for the first time and it worked like a charm. There will be some fine tuning as I work out all of the temperatures that I need. Due to the amount of grain that I was using I didn’t use my recirculation arm. It just wouldn’t work when there was so little space left in my mash tun. Both grain bills were around 25 pounds, I did a ten gallon batch of the ESB. However I was able to setup some hoses to do the recirculation.
One addition that I hadn’t really used yet was the sight glass on my HLT. Previously I had to pump into another measured pot to get my sparge volumes. Being able to just pump out of my HLT is great. One less pot to clean up and one less thing to lift.
Since these recipes called for 14 ounces of Fuggles I did have to open up a fresh bag. The RIS called for 2 oz at 15 and 5 minutes. The ESB called for 2 oz at 30 and 1 minutes, and it will be dry hopped with 4 ounces. Remember the ESB is a 10 gallon batch. Yes that’s on the higher end of dry hopping for style, but I think it works. I’m not a hop head but the smell of a fresh bag of hops is pretty nice.
One thing that wasn’t great about the brew day was that I figured out that I’m going to have to work on the manifold in my boil kettle again. Either that or start using hop bags. On my RIS there was an issue with hops clogging my lines while trying to whirlpool. When I made the ESB I tied the hops up in very loose cheese cloth bags. When I did this the manifold and screen worked like a charm. The whirlpool did a great job of gathering trub at the center of the boil kettle. The screen did a great job of keeping the trub pile from being pulled into the manifold. One more thing to tinker with. That is part of the hobby.