Saturday, March 28, 2015

#41 Amarillo-Simcoe-Centennial XPA - Brewday

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

This brewday was pretty ambitious.  I tried to brew the dark mild at the same time, plus I opened up the HopRocket, trying to fit that into the cold-side plumbing without having inspected it before hand to see how it works.  Well as you probably guessed, it was a bit of a mess.

To start things off, the mash temperature was way off.  I had some friends helping with the brewday which is the only reason we even got this thing off the ground, but I also should have inspected their work more closely.  It's hard to hit the strike temperature just right using a propane burner and aluminum pot as the pot continues to transmit heat to the water well after the flange is shut off.  Because of this, our strike water was likely well above the target temperature, bringing the mash to 160F instead of 150F.

Next we set to work on the hop back.  The HopRocket has 1/2" threaded fittings--the rest of the system is 3/8" hose barbs--so we had to rush to Home Depot for adapters.  Then there wasn't enough pressure to drain from the brew kettle through the hop back, the chiller, and into the fermenter, so we had to hook up the pump (also a first) and of course find out we didn't have fittings for that either.  Once that was all ready, we circulated oxi clean (haven't mixed up any home made PBW yet), water, and Star San to clean and sanitize the whole post-boil assembly.

After all those hurdles, we finally got the beer knocked out.  It flowed through the HopRocket without a hitch, though we'll see how much flavor and aroma comes through.  My initial impression was not as much as I expected.

Wort cooled to 68F, 45 sec oxygen.  Yeast pitched from smack-pack and placed in fridge at 65F.

1 Day:  Yeast is already throwing up a healthy krausen, unlike the mild...

3 Days:  Temp bumped to 70F.  Looks like there has been a bit of blowoff.  No surprise with an aggressive yeast like Chico and such little headspace.

5 Days:  Looks like there was a problem with the temperature controller (I'm getting real sick of this...) and the heater wasn't coming on.  Thankfully the yeast heated themselves up to 70F anyway (67F ambient).  I added the dry hops here as I'll be out of town for the next week.

15 Days:  Racked to keg.  Normally I would have cold crashed after 5 days to minimize extraction of unwanted flavors (not as much a concern with leaf hops) and drop any yeast still in suspension, but ... I forgot.  I was out of town and definitely not thinking about minimizing polyphenol load.

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