Feels like home to me…

Posted by Nate in Homebrewing.
Friday, August 26th, 2005 at 10:55 am

Ahh… beer. This is a shot of batch sparging during my Wednesday brew session – the grains are in the cooler on the table, and the sweet wort is being siphoned into my 9 gallon brew kettle for the boil. That white-handled thing poking out is what’s being called a heatstick, basically a hot water tank element attached at an angle to some plumbing so it can stay submerged. (And yes, for safety it’s grounded and plugged into a GFCI socket – unfortunately in the bathroom. Probably put one in the kitchen to make my life easier – in fact they’re required there in new building codes (pdf).)

Anyway, the good news is my efficiency was at about 75%! This is a great step up for me, in our old place I was hitting only about 65% even using 5.2 pH stabilizer in the mash. I noticed our water here feels just a bit harder, whatever’s in there must be playing nice with the amylase enzymes to convert more starch to sugar!

Unfortunately, while I’m in love with the gas stove the single big burner doesn’t put out enough heat for anything more than a very weak boil… Remember, we’re trying to boil 6.5 gallons down to about 5, that take a lot of heat! And for proper hop utilization it needs to bea pretty vigorous boil… So I ended up boiling with the big burner almost on full plus the heatstick – the heatstick generates a really localized crazy boil, seems to keep things moving in the pot enough to spread the heat and avoid carmelization of the wort. Maybe next time I’ll try spanning two burners, but I’m afraid they’re too far apart for that.

The brewing went off without a hitch, and I have 5 gallons to delicious beer bubbling away in the basement – I’m planning to rack it over 5 pounds of blueberries I’ve been keeping in the freezer, hoping to make a yummy blueberry beer. Mmmmm. Blueberry beer…

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One Response to “Feels like home to me…”

  1. M&R Says:

    Holy smokes – you should have been a chemistry major. I looked at the How to Brew site and it’s amazing how much chemistry is involved – I guess that makes sense, but I never think of it as I’m downing a cold one!