Sunday, September 2, 2012

The first RevLabs 1BBL brew day

1 BBL was our goal for this weekend’s brew session. It could be the last brewing we do for a little while so we wanted to make sure there is plenty of beer around. Today the brewing rig will be torn apart so we can rebuild it to run on the brewtroller platform. Phase one will be automating the HLT and MLT and setting it all up to be run from an iPad.

As for the beer, we tried our first parti-gyle style brew session. The first beer we brewed was 20 gallons of what I hope will be a nice Pale ale. The grain bill is pretty standard for a Pale. The hops were all a compromise because the ones we really wanted to use were not available. So as we were mashing we came up with the hops schedule

RevLabs Pale Ale
Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.061 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.012 FG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.1 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.5%
Bitterness: 37.5 IBUs
Est Color: 6.2 SRM

35 lbs
Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
76.1 %
8 lbsVienna Malt (3.5 SRM)
217.4 %
3 lbsCaramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)
36.5 %
5.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop424.6 IBUs
3.00 ozPerle [4.00 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop55.3 IBUs
2.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop64.9 IBUs
2.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 5.0 minHop72.0 IBUs
1.00 ozWillamette [4.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min
0.7 IBUs
2.0 pkgAmerican Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [124.21 ml]Yeast9
4l starter

This beer went about as perfectly as planned. We nailed our targets just as planned, and all equipment worked out flawlessly.

Once the wort for the pale ale was in the kettle, we started on the little bastard. The plan for this beer was to make 10 gallons of a sessionable harvest ale, or wet hop ale and use the 46 pounds of grain still in the mash tun.

The first step was to add 5 gallons of water to the tun, check gravity and then add up to 5 more. The strengh was ok so the other 5 was added. At that point we did not feel the gravity was high enough so we added fresh pale malt and a small amount of crystal 60. I felt we were now ready to brew that lower gravity ale.

For bittering hops we used Hopshots obtained from Northern Brewer. 5 ml went in at 60 minutes. That should have been about 25IBUs. Another 5ml went in at 30 mins (12.5IBUs?).  At this point I gathered the family and and we all went to work on harvesting the cascade hops I have growing in the yard. We gathered up a pound and they went in at 15 minutes. Another half pound went in at flame out.

At that point we had hops clog up our recirc so we had to take emergency action. We quickly put our tri clover strainer into place and because of the small amount in the kettle I was able to tip the kettle and put our kettle screen into place. From there it was a breeze to chill down to 70 degrees.

The only problem is that with a pretty rigorous boil, and all those whole hops, we increased the gravity, and lost wort to the hops. We ended up with 6 gallons of 1.054 wort. Kind of a bummer, but still had a great time brewing it.

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