Brew Day Notes: Bamf Simcoe IPA – “The Second Running”

This is the second time we brewed this beer. Another 10-gallon batch. We didn’t tweak the recipe at all, really. We just wanted to do the same beer, back to back, to really try to nail down our efficiency and streamline the process just a tad. Matt also wanted to try a different yeast strain. I continue to stand by Pac Ale for this beer. Matt has now switched from Burton Ale to Cal Ale V yeast. We’ll see how it goes!

Here are the notes I took during the brew day:

Strike at 11:02am. Nailed target temp of 152ºF. Outside temp is ~40ºF. Wind is pretty slight. Noticed we now have steam in our new blichmann thermometer on our mash tun :-(

12:01 – first runnings. Mash got down to about 148F. Heated first 3.79g batch sparge water to ~168F.

12:07 – dumped first batch sparge water in, started heating second 3.79g batch sparge water. Thermometer on the mash tun says 152ºF. Nice.

12:19 – almost done with second running. Next batch of water is too hot, and we’re wondering if we’ll pull what we need in terms of volume into the boiler.

12:23 – just dumped final sparge water into mash. Mash tun says 152ºF we dumped in a little extra on the second batch – 4.25g instead of 3.79.

12:35 – final runnings read ~5.75º Brix. We were short on the amount in the boiler. Good thing we added a little extra water.

NOTE AFTER THE FACT: we could’ve added water to the boiler, but the gravity of the runoff was still quite high. Why not grab those extra sugars!?

12:41 – just took pre-boil gravity reading (had to wait for sample to cool and stuff) – 10.5º Brix. Roughly 1.042 I think. Target post-boil is 1.057, so this is probably pretty close. We have 13 gallons in the boiler, on the button.

1:17 – just started to boil – added 1.5oz simcoe

2:00 – added three whirlflock tabs. I also let Matt talk me into *not* putting the boiler on top of the workbench. We’ll try to leave it in place on the burner and see if we can keep the flow going using the little bit of gravity we’ll have between the chiller and the pump. Should work, but our luck isn’t always good here. :)

2:05 – just added 1oz simcoes.

2:24 – flamed out 2:15, matt’s carboy is half filled. Pump working fine. I hereby pronounce that Matt was right about leaving the boiler in place.

2:33 all done – post-boil gravity is 14º Brix ~1.056, but we haven’t used a conversion calculator yet – that’s just stupid ‘brix * 4′ guesstimation.

So, all in all, a really fast brew day considering it’s a 10-gallon batch. There are a couple of things we’ve done to help speed up the brew day:

  1. Batch sparge. We have zero problems with efficiency using this method. Even better than the fact that it’s fast is that it’s about as simple as you can possibly get. We have the whirligig attachments, all the necessary stuff, and we used fly sparging for eons, but I brewed a batch of ESB by myself one time, and didn’t tell Matt I batch sparged until after he raved about the beer. MUAHAHAHA. That got him to agree to try it on our next batch, and now we’re both hooked.
  2. Burner. We bought one of those square “Bayou Classic” burners. We bought it as much for stability as anything else, but it’s also higher output than our old one, which also was bad because it had raised edges, and the keggle didn’t fit on it properly, forcing us to put a grate over the whole thing for the keggle to sit on. Lower output, greater distance from flame = more time on the burner (and more money on propane).
  3. Pump. We’ve made good friends with our March pump. I still hold that it’s not an ideal brewing pump, because it has an exposed housing that needs protection from drips, and it’s not self-priming. The benefits of the March, though, are cost (it’s cheap), and its heat capacity (you can pass 212ºF liquid through it, no problem). The builder who gets all of these things in one pump will become the new de facto standard home brewing pump. Anyway, moving liquid with a pump is really fast, and reduces the need to move things around into position for gravity-based transfers.
  4. Chiller. We have used the Shirron plate chiller for a couple years now, and we just cannot fathom the idea that there’s enough of a benefit to using the Therminator over the Shirron to warrant anything close to the $100 price jump to move to the Therminator. We move 10 gallons of beer through the Shirron in probably 10 minutes, and it’s perfect pitching temperature, and we don’t ever turn our garden hose all the way up.
  5. 1/2″ copper. Stuff does move a little faster here than with our old 3/8″ tubing. We’re looking to propagate 1/2″ tubing throughout the system – there are still little pockets of 3/8″ in there.

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