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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Brew Notes: Irish Red Ale

I brewed the Irish Red Ale kit a little over a week ago. Here are a few notes about that session.
I did hit my OG of 1.054. In order to accomplish this, I had to add about 1/2 gallon water back to the boil, near the end of boil. This brought me up to about 6 1/2 gallons. I had started my one hour boil with about 6 1/4 gallons, added 7 lbs. of LME and by the end with the 6 gallons left, the OG that was a little higher than I wanted. Bringing it back up to 6 1/2 seemed to do the trick. Note that with this amount it looks like I will only yield about 4 1/2 plus gallons in the bottling bucket.
I need to remember to put no more than one ounce of hop pellets in the small sized fine mesh bag. I had 2 oz. in one and the bag was pretty maxed after taking on liquid. Hopefully I didn't lose too much utilization there.
Air temp outide was about 55 degrees that day. One thing to note is that I siphoned when wort temp was 65 degrees. By the time I had the carboy settled in and temp control plugged in, wort temp was 58. Need to remember about this drop when brewing in the winter. Temp slowly came up and I ended up pitching at 64 degress. Good news is that is got to proper temp of 68 within a couple hours (starter temp was about 70 degrees). By morning, a nice krausen had formed.
My basement gets as low as 51 degrees this time of year but with a couple of towels around the carboy, it seemd to have no problem holding 68 degrees for fermentation. I will probably go straight from primary to bottle after about 2 1/2 weeks. Other responsibilities in life depending.
Not too much protein settling on the bottom so it should be a clean transfer to bottle bucket.
A couple of shots:

Steeping grains - about 2 lbs. total. I always try to make these bags no more than half full for better utilization:
I pitched at about 6pm. This is the krausen about 12 hours later at 6am:
Notice the basement temperature on the left and the temp controller on the right sitting nicely at 68 degrees. The basement gets as cold as 50 degrees but I have no trouble holding 68.

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