I decided my next piece of brewing equipment would be a new mash tun so I started looking around for a good price on an appropriate vessel. I found a new 10 gallon rectangular chest cooler for $20 last week so I picked it up and started the build on Saturday.
I wasn't quite sure what design I wanted but this was definitely going to double as a lauter tun so I needed some sort of filtration system. Rectangular false bottoms are tough to find and fairly expensive so that was out. I originally headed to Lowes figuring I'd use a steel braided hose for filtration but after I got there I decided to build a PVC manifold instead.
I drilled a bunch of 1/8" holes in the top and sides of the manifold for filtration. I ended up with a stuck sparge a couple of times so I might need to widen them a little bit next time.
An inline ball value connects to the output PVC and a 90 degree plastic PEX barb is a perfect attachment for a plastic hose and is easy to unscrew for cleaning.
I let everything cure overnight and brewed my first batch on Sunday, a citra pale ale. I calculated my efficiency and figure I hit about 80%. My collection volume was a ballpark estimate so this could go a few percent either direction but even low balling at 75% is pretty good for a batch sparge. It was reasonably easy to clean and can double as a chilling vessel if I need to drop wort temperature down really low for lager brewing. Overall I'm pretty happy with the new tun and at about $50 it was a real bargain.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
At the same time, I've been meaning to build a new mash tun so Brent and I set out on a weekend of beer. I'll make another post about the mash tun but here's the recipe for the citra pale ale.
Size: 5 gallons
Estimate FG: 1.011
Estimated Color: 8.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 42.5 IBU
Est. ABV: 4.67%
8 lbs American 6-row pale malt
0.5 lbs 60L crystal
0.5 lbs honey malt
Single infusion at 150F for 75 minutes. Mashed out at 168 with a double batch sparge. Ended up with about 7 gallons of wort.
We did a 60 minute boil with the following hop schedule and 1tsp of irish moss at 15 minutes.
0.5 oz nugget (13.8%) for 6o minutes
0.25 oz fuggles whole (4.0%) for 30 minutes
0.25 oz citra (12.3%) for 30 minutes
0.25 oz amarillo (7.2%) for 30 minutes
0.3 oz fuggles whole at flame out
0.5 oz amarilla at flame out
0.75 oz citra at flame out
Chilled down to pitching temperature and added a 1.5 liter starter with SafAle US-05. Had to add about a liter of extra water to pull up to a fermentation volume of 5 gallons.
Some fermentation was already happening a two or three hours after we put it in the primary. Planning a secondary in a few days so we're using a plastic bucket for the primary.
Efficiency was pretty good on the new mash tun, about 80%. There was a bit of a stuck sparge so I might need to open the holes in the manifold a bit.
22 July 2010 Update
Racked to secondary today. Fermentation was around 70-72F and down to 68F at racking time. A gravity reading was at 1.003 which is lower than I expected but I hadn't used US-05 before. Clarity was good and the nose had a nice pineapple and citrus edge. Flavor was pretty good; a little bready but this will likely fade with some carbonation. I plan to leave it a few days to a week for the remaining protein and yeast to drop out then I'll bottle for a couple of weeks.
2 August 2010 Update
Bottled today after a week and a half at 68-70F. Gravity still at 1.003-1.004. The color is a little darker than I hoped for, more an amber brown, but still good. Flavor is quite bready with a pleasant citrus hop aroma. The hop is fairly week but that's to be expected with no carbonation. I mixed with 4.3oz of corn sugar, going for a fairly well carbonated finished product to lighten it up a bit.We bottled five 6-packs and four 1L flip tops. I expect it'll take a couple of weeks to get a good carbonation going but I'll probably pop a tester next weekend just to check on the progress. When I taste expect a new post with a full report.