Sunday, December 16, 2012

MacGyvered IPA brewday

We had no business brewing today. We had it all planned, but we over thought the whole brew day and it should have cost us.

In a all hands on deck approach to recent issues in the brew house we pulled all the hardware off the pots for deep cleaning. We also popped open our pump for an inspection and cleaning. Putting it back together I made a clean cut through the o-ring. No bueno.

Attempts to place the broken o-ring in the pump to seal it back up failed. A Sunday search of hardware stores failed. The last option to salvage our brew day would have made MacGyver proud. We took a tiny section of heat shrinking tubing and used it to reconnect the o-oring. It worked immediately and never leaked once.

The reason for pulling everything apart is that our recent brews have all suffered from similar off flavors. This flavor is tannin and gives a wine like character to the beers. The problem also happens to coincide with the setup of our brewtroller system.

We settled on temperature as the most likely cause. For whatever reason the temp was reading lower than what it really was, and the result was overheated water pulling tannins from the grain.

For today's brew session we kept a couple of calibrated digital thermometers around the mash. We also went back to using our old temperature control system. We also skipped mash out. I am pretty confident we did not overheat today.

In addition to all that, we also used our newest entirely unnecessary but totally cool and overbuilt brew toy. The "Ultimate" sparge arm from Morebeer. This thing was super easy to use compared to our previous sparge apparatus. That one require a balancing act and sometimes resulted in falls from the mash tun. The arm adjusts up, down, left, right, and the output can be placed just below the liquid level, but above the grain bed. The results were really nice too. We always recirculate our mash and get nice clear wort, but this time it seemed even cleaner and clearer.

I sure hope this beer turns out great and we can put this past bullshit behind us. The batch we brewed is a clone of Cigar City's Jai Alai IPA. I can honestly say it is one of the greatest beers I have ever had. It is impossible for me to get in my area, so I hope this is a close match!

No comments:

Post a Comment