First Brew

Last weekend we brewed our first batch of beer – Protector, our Imperial IPA. Wouldn’t say that it went smoothly, but it did create a batch of beer that after week 1 tastes pretty good. We started on Saturday at 7:30am and finished up around 11am Sunday. It was a long brew.

Things went slowly because we were getting used to our new system and some things did not go according to plan. But we learned a few lessons and can’t wait to do it again. Here’s what we learned:

  1. When pumping the mash from the mash-kettle to the lauter tun, a lot of the wort pulls out first and leaves a very thick mash solution – it doesn’t move through pipes too well. Taking the hose and, using filtered water, spraying the mash into the drain to the pump speeds up the process and prevents clogging.
  2. Adding a small mesh filter on our lauter grant (aka Ulysses S Lautering Grant) would greatly improve vorlauf time.
  3. Unless you want hot wort shooting several feet up into the air, always close the sight-tube valve before initiating the whirlpool.
  4. One gets a lot dirtier when brewing in a 3 bbl system than a homebrew system.
  5. Shortage of buckets on brew day is not fun.
  6. When vorlaufing, start pulling directly from the base of the mash tun before going through Ulysses S Lautering Grant. This gets a lot of the small particles out quicker.
  7. Our kettle evaporation rate is half as much as we estimated (aka, we brewed more beer than we wanted to)
  8. If one plans on a long brew, be sure to put insoles in your rubber brewboots unless you want numb toes for a few days.
  9. Pump #1 sounds exactly like a goat when you turn it off. It is now lovingly called Goat Pump. Coincidentally, goats also eat our spent grain.

Pics from the brew day:

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