Homebrew #4 – American Red Ale
This was my first full 6 gallon batch, as well as my first brew using my own recipe. I actually used an award winning recipe from Jamil Zainasheff (a well-known homebrewer) and then modified it slightly to work with my equipment, conditions and hop availability. The first step after formulating the recipe in BeerSmith, was to take the brewsheet to my local homebrew store and have them prepare the grain for me. The Vineyard was great, they took a list of the grain bill, went to the back of their shop, measured up the different grains I needed, milled them and returned 10 minutes later with a nice big 12.75 pound bag of cracked grain. Then I picked out my own hops and yeast and blammo, I was ready to go.
I was really excited and confident about this beer, so I got up in the morning and started setting up right away.
Here was all my equipment out, prepped and ready to go:
I started heating up my strike water right away, got the mash going for 60 minutes and continued on from there. I won’t go into the details, but I pretty much went through the entire process problem-free. Right off the bat, my digital thermometer broke which was a hassle, but luckily I had a backup regular thermometer to get me through it.
More pics below:
“Doughing In” – The first few seconds of the mash.
Pellet and Whole-leaf hops. I didn’t use the Amarillo.
Finishing up the Mash. This is after the grain has ‘mashed’ or steeped in the hot water for 60 minutes and it’s time to drain the first runnings to make the wort.
The wort getting close to boiling. You have to be very careful at this point, when the wort gets close to boiling certain proteins metabolize and a boil-over can break out in a matter of seconds. A.k.a… HUGE mess.
Cooling down the wort as rapidly as possible. This home-made contraption runs colder water through a spiraling copper pipe and back out into the sink, cools down the wort to yeast pitching temperatures in less than 15 minutes.
Well, that’s it. She is quietly sleeping now in her fermentation vessel (fancy-speak for carboy) at perfectly ideal temperatures for this beer/yeast. In another week I will bottle the beer for a 2nd and final conditioning/fermentation and she will be ready to drink 2 weeks later.