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Chalk it up to… distractions

Brew day gone bad...


I think it is good once and a while to be humbled… and today, well, is one that I would rather forget. Ok not good to be humbled… maybe good to tell the tale?

I fill my HLT directly from the R/O filter, and somehow, got distracted while measuring out my mineral additions. So I managed to spill over a few gallons of liquor. Not a huge deal, but it does make the floor slippery. I pumped over the 8.5 gallons to heat for mash in – and realized I needed to double check my water/grist ratio. Then when opening the recipe – I realized the new Beer Smith 2.0 update – completely changed my IBU usage (they added in whirlpool bitterness contribution). And so the day began.

There was a fair breeze, and the Brew-Magic struggled to maintain stable mash temperatures. So I was fiddling on and off with the direct fire, and decided to check the mash temp against the thermo-probe… and, that is off. So I am going to have to replace the probe and then figure out my “actual” calibration temps. The system has been pretty stable – so I am hoping this might be a fluke. The temp was low – so I tried to make up the 3 degrees with hotter fire. Never really got the system stable at “155F” which should actually be “152F.” Regardless – I got sweet wort, just really no good idea of the actual mash temps. On the good side, I hit mash pH dead on.

Knock out to the kettle went fine. Got my additions in (after fighting with Beer Smith) the right position, a FWH addtion, a 10 minute addition and whirlpool additions. I modified my kettle to do a more traditional whirlpool… and I thought this brew would allow me to calibrate the kettle configured for whirlpooling – and for the most part, the whirlpool seemed to work ok. I spun the wort pretty hard – and let it spin and settle for 30 minutes. The result was a beautiful pile of nearly 9 ounces of hops (whole and pellets) and trub. I think that I left behind about 1/4 gallon of sludge, etc.

So here is the rub. When I cleaned my conical fermenter – I left about 12 gallons of star san in it. I drained a portion of that this morning to sanitize the Chill Wizard, but didn’t drain it all. Went to chill – and with my pre-chiller – was thrilled to see 60F coming out – but and you can guess by now… I forgot to drain the star san. I didn’t realize until about 5 gallons had been drained and mixed with the star san. So I dumped that whole mess. So there it is – I have little to no idea of total volume now into the conical (4-5 gallons?), and I have a S-05 pitch ready for 11 gallons.

Thought about capping the mash with another 5 gallon recipe – and topping up. Don’t have enough base malt. Lesson – stick to a planning routine. I let too many things distract me.

Bummer day. Humbled. Irritated.

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One thought on “Chalk it up to… distractions

  1. So I tear this down today to thorough clean and the whirlpool has clogged up the Chill Wizard. So I tear that down… OMG the nasty crap that came out of the plate chiller.

    Finally built a good hose to back wash it good – baked in the oven for 3 hours… re-flowed and back washed again. Clean water finally. What a nasty thing. Lesson – clean it all out ASAP when done. Don’t be afraid to take something apart to clean.

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