It’s been a while since I last had some spare time for brewing, but with a new kitchen finished, last weekend was the time to try it out for brewing.
I used the Brewdog DIY Dog book to attempt a Dead Pony Club clone, and used Beersmith to help adjust the recipe to the 5 litres I was looking to finish up with.
This was my first time buying all the ingredients separately, rather than in kit form, and I got all the malt from The Malt Miller who had a great range including all the malts and hops I needed.
I was determined to be more organised this time, so had all my equipment and ingredients out ready, and measured out where necessary. It was also my first time using Wyeast, so I got that out the fridge first thing in the morning and gave it a ‘smack’ to active the yeast in plenty of time.
I used the thin-walled cooking pot I had previously bought as a mash tun – with a couple of towels wrapped around it, it holds temperature amazingly well.
I bought a second stainless cooking pot, for the boil. This one has a much thicker base as it was nearly impossible to get the other one up to boiling temperature. This was also helped with a new induction hob, that brought the temperature up quickly.
I sparged a couple of times, moving the grain between the 2 pots hoping that this would compact it in the sieve to ensure a much clearer wort than the last time I tried this.
The boil was where the first of my challenges arose – our scales don’t go to less than a gram, and I was using a small amount of hops. It is a bit of a guess how hoppy it will come out.
The second challenge was discovering that I didn’t have a lid for the 5L fermenter! In the end we transferred to a gallon demijohn and a slightly smaller one. Before this, we poured the wort into a fermenting bucket through a muslin to strain out any bits of grain and hops – we then siphoned into the demijohns for fermentation.
The whole process was much smoother than last time, I spilt far less of the beer and fermentation was taking place within a couple of hours. There are definitely a few things needed to improve for next time though:
- More accurate set of scales for weighing hops
- A digital cooking thermometer (the sugar one we had wasn’t accurate enough or entirely on the right scale)
- A lid for the fermenting bucket!
- A tap on the fermenter to allow easier sampling
I also need to figure out a way to improve the sparging process without spending too much money! My OG was lower than I would have liked, so there’s definitely room for improvement here.