I’m two weeks into my new job (about time I got a job an stopped enjoying myself!), so it was time to start a new brew. I’m drinking my citra pale ale at the moment, lovely stuff it is too, and the single hop galaxy pale ale is in the cooler conditioning – should be ready in a week’s time.
I had decided a month or so ago that I would ignore my ‘single hop’ rule and try and mix up the ‘C’ hops – a new tradition which is meant to work well for tasty beers. This beer is going to have a strong cascade base, with Columbus late in the boil, and a little citra I had left over joining the others in a late whirlpool just after flame-out. The full recipe is at the end of this article, so feel free to give it a go yourself – I’ve never made it before, but it can’t be a bad-un can it? 🙂
It was my first time using the 20 litre Braumeister, and I’m sure it will become second nature to me after a couple of brewdays. It was all fairly easy – I would have liked to have cleaned it for the first time the day before, to save myself time, but I was out at a gig so there wasn’t time. So first thing I put some oxy cleaner in with enough water to well cover the heating elements, and turned the Braumeister into manual mode, warm to 35c, and pumps on. That gave the pumps and heating area a good clean – bit of a wipe down the sides and a rinse with clean cold water and I was ready to go.
I filled the Chronical fermentor with starsan and water – I always soak it for ages, to to really make sure all the germs are wiped out, no point taking any chances with infection. I remembered to remove the silicon seal around the lid, giving that a soak too. That seal/grommit is a bugger to fit back, especially wet with starsan which acts as a lubricant. Got it fitted into it’s slot in the end.
I didn’t want to do too fancy a mash first time out – in fact there’s probably little point for pale ales / IPAs etc, I think it’s more important for lagers and wheat beers, but I need to read up more. Anyway I programmed in my mash times, and a 60, 30, and 5 minute hop addition. Actually I also added at 15 mins – I used my usual timer to prompt me for the hop additions in the end.
Filling up the malt pipe of the Braumaster is a bit tricky with what I was using, I think I need a proper ‘scoop’ with sides – as I did get the odd grain falling outside the grain tube, which isn’t what you want at all. 5.2kg of malt, so well within the 6kg limit.
Because of the way the Braumeister re-circulates the wort (a floor mounted pump forces the wort up through the body of the malt, and it overflows gently out of the top of the malt pipe, rejoining the rest of the wort to start the cycle again. The unit kept the target temp of 65c very well – I could see it drop 0.5c every now and then, but the heat turns on instantly, and within about 5 seconds the 65c was hit again, and the heat off. The pumps stop for a minute every 15 mins, I guess not only give it a rest, but also to allow the malt to settle back down in the grain tube. After about 30 or so minutes, it was obvious the wort was clearing, and after about 50 mins it was crystal clear. I’ve never had my wort so clear EVER – and while it might not mean better beer, it’s a great sight.
After the mash was finished, the unit ‘bings’ to get my attention, ready to pull the malt pipe up, and then a bit of sparging. Now the only difficult bit of using this unit is the lifting of the water logged malt pipe – there’s some suction, but with 5+ kg of malt, and 5kg of liquid, plus the steel tube, it’s a bit heavy. It’s then awkward, as I had to use some steps to be able to get the height above the unit (as I had it on the kitchen side, as I didn’t want to move it before draining to the fermentor). I heated 10 or so litres of sparge water in my previous boiler, and just used a jug to add the 75c water to the top of the grain pipe, leaving the filters in place. The fluid soaks through fairly quickly – this isn’t really a true sparge, and the re-circulation has done most of the work – it’s more a wash through, and not a great deal of water is needed as you mash with 25 litres of water to begin with. I probably need some more solid steps – as I almost over-balanced when I took the pipe out after draining.
The machine heats the water pretty quickly – and the boil was fairly good – not a really strong boil, but OK. It probably didn’t help that I had a fan blowing across it to push the steam out of the open window. I do that rather than have it rain inside as the steam ca build up pretty badly in the kitchen. I did buy the optional insulating jacket, to help save a bit of power, and it fits very snugly and is very very easy to fit.
I also bought the Speidel hop filter, which just slides down the wall of the boiler, protecting the hole where the wort drains out through the tap. It’s works with whole leaf hops – holding them back, creating a natural filter to keep most of the trub out of the fermentor. I did use some hop pellets too. During cooling I used my home made copper immersion chiller, which luckily fitted the unit well, it being about the same diameter as my big 45l tea urn boiler (probably just a touch less wide).
Cleaning was easy – once out, I just took the malt pipe to the bin outside, and emptied into a black bag, it just needing a quick wash in warm soapy water. The main unit post chill was pretty easy too, even thought it looked a mess of hops n trub. First just empty a few litres of water into it and swill/pour out, to get rid of the bulk of crap, repeat a couple of times, then fill with enough water to cover the heating elements by at least an inch or two, then turn on manual heat, to 35c or so. Add some oxy cleaner, and leave pump on for 10 minutes to clean out the internals. I then used a soft cloth to clean / wash the sides using the warm water, and rubbed down the heating elements. Pour out the warm cleaner, and rinse a few times with cold water. I cycled the pump again with the cold water in, and then turned the machine upside down to drain/dry.
All in all the unit worked well, was easy to fill/use, and easy to clean. The lifting parts were the only ‘tough’ bits, where you do have to be careful. If you buy a 50L unit, you will need some lifting solution, and probably use the unit on the floor so you can stand over it and lift safely. The new stainless steel fermentor is now doing it’s job – I won’t know how it’s done until after I taste the beer – although I can tell now it seals very airtight, and I’ve got airlock activity after only 2 hours. I used my tea urn boiler to prepare my sparge water, but you don’t need that – just a big saucepan will be enough, as long as you’ve got a thermometer. You only need 3-8 litres of water really – just to wash through the grains and to top up the wort in the boiler.
The wort hit 1.052, one point higher than the beersmith software predicted, so that’s pretty damn spot on!
UPDATE: First beer is 5 days in the fermentor, and the first gravity reading after day 3 showed 1.012, so it’s going to hit its target. So I drained the trub today – turn that valve nice n slow and don’t open it too far! Flowed out pretty well with no issues. Used starsan to clean the tap afterwards.
UPDATE: Wow, this has turned into the clearest beer I’ve brewed – after just 7 days in the bottle (starting cool stage now) it is clear – not quite fully bright, but darn close. I’ve only seen my beers do that after MONTHS in the bottle. I’ve tried it, it’s quite a dry, more suble beer than I normally brew, which was pretty much the plan, I didn’t go mad with dry hopping. FG was 1010, so a 5.5% beer. I’m hoping to take some to a local pub beer festival at the Hand & Heart, with donations to charity for a bottle (us home brewers can’t sell our beer, always remember that!).
Bit of a video of the Braumeister brew day…
3C Pale Ale Recipe, by Krispy Brown
American Pale Ale (10 A)
Batch Size: 23.00 l
Boil Size: 27.75 l
Boil Time: 75 min
End of Boil Vol: 25.25 l
Final Bottling Vol: 21.00 l
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage
Est Mash Efficiency: 81.5 %
Mash or Steep Grains
|4.50 kg||Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC)||Grain||1||84.9 %|
|0.50 kg||Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L (19.7 EBC)||Grain||2||9.4 %|
|0.30 kg||Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC)||Grain||3||5.7 %|
|Name||Description||Step Temperature||Step Time|
|add malt pipe||Add 25 l of water and heat to 40.0 C||40.0 C||0 min|
|Protein Mode||Heat to 52.0 C||52.0 C||10 min|
|Maltose mode||Heat to 64.0 C||64.0 C||70 min|
|Mash Out||Heat to 75.0 C||75.0 C||15 min|
|30.00 g||Cascade [6.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min||Hop||4||18.5 IBUs|
|10.00 g||Cascade [6.50 %] – Boil 30.0 min||Hop||5||4.7 IBUs|
|30.00 g||Cascade [6.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min||Hop||6||9.2 IBUs|
|10.00 g||Columbus (Tomahawk) [12.70 %] – Boil 15.0 min||Hop||7||6.6 IBUs|
|1.00 tsp||Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)||Fining||8||–|
|10.00 g||Columbus (Tomahawk) [12.70 %] – Boil 5.0 min||Hop||9||2.6 IBUs|
|15.00 g||Citra [14.00 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min||Hop||10||4.0 IBUs|
|10.00 g||Columbus (Tomahawk) [12.70 %] – Steep/Whirlpool 10.0 min||Hop||11||2.4 IBUs|
Pitch Yeast and Measure Gravity and Volume
|1.0 pkg||Nottingham (Danstar #-) [23.66 ml]||Yeast||12||–|
- Measure Actual Original Gravity _1.052_ (Target: 1.051 SG)
- 29 Mar 2015 – Primary Fermentation (4.00 days at 19.4 C ending at 19.4 C)
Primary Ingredients Amt Name Type # %/IBU 0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days) Other 13 –
- 02 Apr 2015 – Secondary Fermentation (10.00 days at 19.4 C ending at 19.4 C)
|30.00 g||Columbus (Tomahawk) [12.70 %] – Dry Hop 7.0 Days||Hop||14||0.0 IBUs|
- Measure Final Gravity: __1.010__ (Estimate: 1.009 SG)
- 5.51% ABV.
- Date Bottled/Kegged: 12 Apr 2015 – Carbonation: Bottle with 110 g table Sugar
Remove chiller at 20c, whirlpool with paddle, leave to stand 45 mins to settle. Drain slowly into fermentor, splashing away to add o2