Homebrew number two

May 5 is the eleventh anniversary of when Tom and I started dating. To celebrate that, Cinco de Mayo, and National Homebrew Day/Weekend, we collaborated on a beer together. Since I had Tom's partnership in this endeavor, we decided it would be fun to try an all-grain recipe. I was intrigued by a cool looking malt bill in an English Mild recipe I saw in Zymurgy, and started brainstorming around that. We ended up brewing the Mild recipe out of John Palmer's "Brewing Classic Styles" book, and I have a cunning plan to dryhop the Mild (which obviously makes it not a traditional style) with Simcoe hops. So it's like a British-American combination, much like Tom and myself.

Doing a mash and a batch sparge and vorlauf and all that stuff was pretty labor intensive, I kind of almost forgot everything I learned on my first brewday. However! It did all come back to me, more or less, with some gentle reminding. We went to Brewstock to acquire some Maris Otter, Crystal 60, Crystal 120, Pale Chocolate Malt, Black Patent Malt. Aaron was out for the day at Jazz Fest, but the folks there were super helpful and actually measured and crushed the grains for us. Got some Wyeast (liquid smackpack this time!) some Kent Golding for bittering and Simcoe for dryhopping, some sanitizer, and one of those adhesive thermostats so I can better monitor the fermentation temperature this time around.

Grains before the mashing

The general set up - mash tun on the left, brew/boil kettle on the right

Having a homebrew while homebrewing


Sparging some more...

From mash tun to...

... boil kettle

Brewing assistant/cellarcat

The Cooling of the Wort

Brew days are very exhausting!
The efficiency wasn't as great as one might hope - only at 68%. But hopefully we will still have a good beer at the end. I've rigged up a plastic container with some water and ice packs to keep it cool (in the 68 degree range) and Tom covered the fermentor with an old T-shirt to let evaporation do its thing all over it and keep things cool. I am hoping this will help with the issues I ran into with fermenting too warm last time.

I'm excited to see what happens! Hopefully, something generally delicious.