Brewed batch #13 Greenbelt Double IPA. First time with the big kettle and the chiller. I started with 6 gallons of spring water in the pot and it took well over an hour on the stove to reach anything even approximating a boil. 2.5 pounds of various steeping grains at 155 for 25 minutes, then the “boil-” 11 pounds of light malt syrup. bittering hops, flavor hops at 15 minutes. I messed up and missed a half ounce that were supposed to go in for aroma at 5 minutes, too excited about the chiller. I’ll put them in for the dry hop at the end. The chiller worked very well, through in my excitement I forgot to turn off the burner for the first few minutes of chilling. I had the wort down to a temperature of 75 degrees in 15 minutes. I was able to move the chiller around and get a whirlpool going, which made siphoning easier without getting too much hop gunk. Nevertheless, moving chunky wort through the siphon was not ideal and it makes me nervous about infection issues.
I ended up with a little over 5.5 gallons in the fermeter, which is what the kit instructions said I should have. Gravity was 1.075, close to the target of 1.077 called out by the kit. It smelled wonderful. I made a one-quart starter with a 1.040 wort and a smack pack of Wyeast “Greenbelt” and pitched that starter after 30 hours, not really high krausen but with about a half inch of yeast sediment in the starter. I observed some signs of fermentation within an hour and moderate fermentation within 18 hours.
I’ll put a hole in the kettle soon enough to do a spigot. I may also get a big tea ball so I can dry hop right in the keg. I’m planning on a 5-6 week primary for this beer with no secondary and two weeks in the keg for natural carbonation before the first taste. Realistically I won’t plan on drinking much of it until the beginning of April.
The first outing with the big kettle and full boil was an overall success, but I can tell I need to get this operation outside. The shopping list now includes a weldless bulkhead kit to make draining the kettle easier, an outdoor propane burner with a tank of gas to make the boil faster and more vigorous (and to get things out of the kitchen!) a big tea ball to dry-hop this beer in the keg, and a new piece of tubing for my autosiphon so I won’t stay up nights worrying about infections.