Monday, June 15, 2009

All Grain Kolsch Brew Day

So I decided to finally take the plunge and try my hand at all grain brewing. I had been slowly acquiring the parts and pieces for it. I moved to full boils last summer, and I built all the parts to convert a cooler into a mash tun over the winter. I broke down and bought a 5 gallon round cooler at Walmart for $20 and ran to the homebrew store on Friday to pick up the ingredients. For my first brew I decided to start with a Kolsch. I really enjoyed the one I brewed last spring and wanted to try it again. I made a yeast starter on Friday, got up at 6 on Sunday and started my brew day.

My recipe called for 11 pounds of grain and I was mashing with 3.5 gallons of water. My strike temp was 161, with my mash at 150 and once I doughed in and checked my temp I found that I was at around 160. I think that the problem came from my poor temperature taking procedure that really didn't get my thermometer deep enough into the water of the HLT. I dumped in some air temp water that I had sitting around and that brought the temp right down to 150. I mashed for an hour, recirculated the run off 3 times (although I didn't note a lot of clearing occurring in my run off, it was pretty clear to begin with) and move on to sparging. I sparged with another 3.25 of water and after it all ending up in my kettle, I found that I was a bit short of my expected boil amount (maybe 2 gallons). I quickly heated up some more sparge water, but decided to start my 90 minute boil with the 5.5 gallons I already had in my kettle. It took almost a full 30 minutes to finish with that extra sparge (next time I will make sure I have some extra water heated and waiting for sparging, along with another pot to catch my first runnings). I added my hops just before adding the 2nd sparge run off, brought it up to a boil again. At the end of my boil I had a bit less wort than I expected, some of that was due to the longer boil. I pitched the yeast at around 68, and will ferment at 64.

I am reserving the right to judge this brew until after I have a chance to taste it, but I can say I was not displeased at the process itself. I need a second pot (around 3 gallon) and it would be cool to have a larger boil kettle so I can end up with a touch more wort and less boilover risk, but these are the things I learn.

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