Here we go! Today is Belgian-style Stout day, and I got to do it in the company of family. Alex and Connie were kind enough to help out.
The RIMS was up and running in no time. Strike water heated from 60 degF to 156 degF in about 40 minutes.
60 min mash @ 156 degF
18 lb 2-row pale
5 lb Belgian pale
5 lb German Munich
2 lb Caravan I I special
1 lb Midnight wheat
1 lb British chocolate
2 lb Special B
3 lb light roasted barley
2 lb homemade candi sugar (added at flame out)
4 oz Norther Brewer, 60 min
2 oz Cascade, 5 min
White Labs 500
Initial wort gravity: 0.075
OG: Approximately 0.084 (estimated, see explanation below)
FG: To be measured.
The mash was messy. It barely fit, and my hose ended up pointing upwards, losing about a pint of wort all over me and the ground. I guess I needed equipment losses somewhere. That’s what I get for running my mash tun right at capacity. This seems to be a recurring theme.
Sparging went smoothly enough, although I underestimated my sparge volume. Boil went smoothly with only a small mess with the hot break.
Chilling went great! It was much easier to manage with the pump mounted to the cart.
Also, I used the new GUI for the data from my countercurrent exchanger. This is just a modification of my fermentation cabinet GUI, with the data feed coming through the serial connection to an Arduino Uno attached to an nRF2401L and programmed to relay data from the board monitoring the exchanger.
The only hiccup during chilling was a malfunction with a new piece. As you can see in the screenshot, there was a hang in the middle of chilling where all temperatures dip low.
This happened because flow stopped on the wort side, while water flow continued and cooled the entire system! A bit of troubleshooting revealed the problem. After last brew session’s big clog, I installed an inline Y strainer. Unfortunately, the mesh in the strainer is too fine, and the small amount of debris from the pellet hops completely clogged it!
Thankfully, I was only trying out this piece and had a redundant, coarser strainer at the bottom of my kettle. Surprisingly, I also had the foresight to mount it with cam locks on each end for easy cleaning. I removed the Y strainer from the line and continued cooling.
After chilling was done, I pitched my yeast and called it a day. During cleanup, however, I realized that my homemade candi sugar was still cooking in the slow cooker! I took some dredges from the bottom of the kettle, made a slurry, and poured it through a funnel into the conical. It was messy but things worked out okay.
The biggest problem is that I didn’t get a sample reflective of the actual original gravity. The running from the mash came out at 1.075. With two pounds of candi sugar in a 10 gallon batch, that should adjust the gravity to about 1.084. That’s what I’ll go with.
I can’t wait to taste my first stout. Cheers!