a.k.a. Planning Evil – part 2 (be sure you’ve read part 1!)

A rare moment in history: Ahmadinejad and Bush sing a hop duet

A rare moment in history: Ahmadinejad and Bush sing a hop duet

The weekend is almost here so it’s time to finalise the plan for Sunday. This post is mainly to give me a plan to follow on Sunday, but it’s also a good indicator of the work that’s involved in a typical brewday.

The equipment I’ll be using for making Axis of Evil IPA is:

  • Grain mill
  • Aluminum kettle (pot) with weldless kit (tap)
  • HLT (insulated tank for hot water, with tap)
  • Mash tun (insulated tank for mashing – steeping – the grain, with tap)
  • Plate chiller for cooling the boiled wort
  • Pump for making the beer flow through the plate chiller
  • Stove for heating and boiling
  • Fermentation bucket
  • Lots of tubing
  • Stainless steel aeration stone and pump

This is how I’ll be doing it – remember I’m using all the equipment here for the first time.

Part 1: Mashing

  1. First I’ll try using the plate chiller with the pump since I’ve not used the place chiller yet. When it comes to use these for real, I’ll be pumping boiling water from the pot into the chiller which could be dangerous if I screw something up. So first I’ll try it with cold water and make sure there are no surprises, then I’ll try it with some boiling water to get an idea of the chilling power and whether the plate chiller heats up or not. Finally, I’ll run some no rinse sanitiser through the pump and chiller. Then I’ll disconnect everything.
  2. Next I’ll rinse the HLT, mash tun, and a basin. I’ll dry the basin with kitchen towel because I’ll be putting grain into it.
  3. Once that’s done, I’ll start to heat water in the pot. For the first stage I’ll need the water to be 65 degrees after I add the grain, and I’ll need 19.73L – so I’ll heat up this amount of water to 73 degrees (allowing 8 degrees because I’ll lose heat when I transfer to the mash tun and again when I add the grain).
  4. While the water is heating, I’ll pour a litre of boiling water into the mush tun, swirl it around a little and then put on the lid. This will start to heat the mash tun and reduce the amount of heat I lose when I pour in the 73 degrees water.
  5. Also while the water is heating, I’ll weigh the grain and grind it into the basin. My grain mill is manual and it’s my first time to do this  – I have no idea how much it’ll whack me to grind 6+kg of grain. I’ll also weigh out the hops at this point and set them aside with the Irish Moss with labels for timings.
  6. Once the water is at 73 degrees, I’ll empty the boiled water from the mash tun, connect a hose to the tap on the pot (I may need to cool the tap slightly with ice if it’s too hot), put the mash tun onto the floor, and transfer the water to the mash tun by gravity, then disconnect the hose again. I’ll then put the temperature probe into the mash tun, put on the lid, and wait until the temperature readout stabilises.
  7. I’ll then add the grain, stir, and check the temperature again. It should be 65 degrees. If it is much less I’ll add some cold water; much more and I’ll add some hot water.
  8. Once the temperature is stable at 65 degrees, I’ll lift the mash tun onto the counter, cover it with a blanket and start a timer – I’ll be mashing for an hour. Over the hour, I’ll stir approx every 15 minutes. I’ll also monitor the temperature – if it falls by more than 3 degrees, I’ll add more hot water. Hopefully the mash tun is good quality and it wont.
  9. While mashing is going on, I’ll heat up the second batch of water in the pot. I calculated I need 16L for a target temperature of 76 degrees. To allow for a fall in temperature when I transfer to the HLT I’ll aim for 80, and to allow for needing extra water I’ll heat 20L. While I’m heating the water, I’ll pour some boiling water into the HLT, swirl it around, and put on the lid – this will heat up the HLT.
  10. Once the water is at 80 degrees, I’ll empty the boiled water from the HLT, connect a hose to the tap on the pot (I may need to cool the tap slightly with ice if it’s too hot), put the HLT onto the floor, and transfer the water to the HLT by gravity, then disconnect the hose again. I’ll then put a lid on the HLT and cover it with a blanket to keep the heat. The HLT has a temperature probe so I can monitor the temperature easily.
  11. After the hour of mashing is complete, I’ll recirculate the wort in the mash tun until it becomes clear – this is done by taking a litre of water at a time out the tap and pouring it back into the mash tun at the top, repeating until the wort runs out clear.
    Note: I’ve decided not to do a mashout – since I’m doing batch sparging, I don’t think it’s necessary.
  12. Once the wort runs clear, I’ll do an iodine test. If there is still unconverted starch, the iodine will be dark blue or black – if that happens, I’ll mash for a bit longer. It’s unlikely to happen though.
  13. Once the test is successful, I’ll put a metal scrubber inside the tap of the pot – this will prevent any hop matter getting into the plate chiller later (very important!).
  14. After the hop filter is in place, I’ll put the bittering hops into the pot (First Wort Hopping) and then transfer the wort to the pot a litre at a time – I’m doing it this way rather than using a hose so that I can work out how much wort I get out. I should get 9L.
  15. Now I need to work out how much water to use for stage two – it should be 16L but if I get less/more than 9L then I’ll need to adjust.
  16. After the wort has all been transferred, I’ll move the mash tun to the floor and the HLT to the counter. I’ll then connect the hose between the HLT tap and the mash tun lid and transfer the correct amount of water minus 2L (16L +/- adjustment) to the mash tun. I’ll then stir, check the temperature and add the remaining 2L in the form of HLT water, hot water, and/or cold water as appropriate to get 76 degrees.
  17. Once the mash tun is full again, I’ll move the HLT out the way, move the mashtun to the counter, put on the lid, cover, and start a timer. I’ll leave this for about 20 minutes.
  18. After 20 minutes, I’ll recirculate until clear and then transfer to the pot a litre at a time. Hopefully I’ll get exactly 25L, but if it’s less or more I’ll need to live with it and learn.
  19. Mashing is now complete. I’ll stick a temperature probe into the pot with an alarm at 98 degrees, and start to heat. While I’m waiting for the boil – probably a good 30 minutes – it’s time to clean up.

Part 2: Boiling

Not much to say here – 60 minute boil, adding the hops and Irish Moss at the right times. While the boil is going on, I’ll sanitise the plate chiller, fermentation bucket, a thermometer, and any hoses which have not yet been sanitised but which will touch the wort.

Part 3: Chilling

  1. After the 60 minute boil is complete, I’ll cut the heat and “whirlpool” – using the stirrer to create a whirlpool effect.
  2. I’ll leave the wort sitting for about 15 minutes. During this time, I’ll chill the tap on the pot with ice then connect the pot to the pump, the pump to the plate chiller, and a hose from the plate chiller out to the fermentation bucket via another tap to regulate flow. I’ll also connect the cold water tap to the plate chiller and a hose from the water out of the plate chiller. If I’m ambitious, I’ll try to collect this water to use in the washing machine later (it’s just warm clean water) – if I’m not, it’ll go down the sink.
  3. After the 15 minutes has elapsed, I’ll open the tap from the pot, switch on the pump, and regulate the flow from the plate chiller so that I get a reasonable temperature out. With Tokyo water, I’ll be lucky to get 25 degrees – more likely to get 30.
  4. Once all the wort has been transferred I’ll turn off the pump, cover the wort, fill the airlock with sanitiser, and then stick the bucket in the fermentation chamber. I’ll leave it in there until it hits yeast pitching temperature, which might take a few hours.
  5. Time to clear everything up – I’ll need to run boiling water through the pump and plate chiller, probably using the HLT as a source, and clean up the pot and other equipment.

Time elapsed so far will be somewhere in the range of 5-6 hours I expect – maybe more since it’s the first time to do all this process together.

Part 4: Yeast

  1. Once the temperature of the wort is at 19 degrees (hopefully before midnight, but I might need to leave it overnight), I’ll rehydrate some yeast in boiled and cooled water.
  2. As the yeast is rehydrating, I’ll take a hydrometer reading to determine the initial gravity of the beer. I’ll then add some wort to the rehydrating yeast.
  3. Next I’ll sanitise the aeration stone. Once that’s done I’ll put the stone into the wort, switch on the aeration pump, and spend the next 30 or so minutes bubbling the wort to ensure there’s enough oxygen there for a healthy fermentation.
  4. After 30 minutes, I’ll add the yeast (assuming it reacted to the test wort, meaning it’s healthy) and do some extra aeration – splashing with a sanitised ladle.
  5. Once that’s done, I’ll put back on the lid of the fermentation bucket and stick the bucket in the chamber.
  6. Final step: clean up the aeration gear.

That’s it done. Now it’s just a case of waiting for the first bubbles to appear over the next 24 hours, and for a week of hopefully healthy genki fermentation! The beer will then be dryhopped for 5-6 days before being kegged, force carbed, and consumed with a very big smile!

I’m exhausted writing this – but I also feel better to have everything planned out. Making beer was so much easier when I just used extract, steeping grain, hops, and a sink of cold water to chill!

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