Today’s brewday was Northern Brewer’s Honey Brown Ale All grain kit.
8 lbs Rahr 2-Row Pale
.25 lbs English Chocolate Malt
.25 lbs Briess Caramel 120
.25 lbs Belgian Biscuit
.25 lbs Briess Special Roast.
.75 oz Cluster, 60 minutes
1lb honey, added after cool down.
Wyeast 1945B NeoBritannia. (66-74 degrees farenheit). Washed and mixed with a started from a previous batch.
What made this brewday a little different was that I skimmed off the yeast off of my previous batch of brown ale, and saved it. I made a 1 qt starter with all of the yeast I recovered, adding in 1/4 cup of pale DME, I bought seperately for the purpose. I wasn’t too confident that I could pull this off, so I also bought a packet of Safale US-05 to back me up. The starter was vigorously fermenting though, so it wasn’t necessary.
Back to the process:
I did my initial soak at a target of 154. I dropped the grain bag in when temps hit 156, and they dropped to 152. I kept the flame on low, and the temps seem to continue to slowly drop, hovering around 150. After about 25 minutes of this, I put on the power burner, and let it rip until I saw the temps hit 160. Unfortunately, the temps picked up by the thermometer were lagging, and the temp continued to climb to around 160. I completely shut the burner off, but my cast iron grates must have retained a lot of heat, because the temp did not fall below 160 until the very end. Kind of unusual.
I also completely wrapped the grain bag around the edge of the pot and stirred the grains up in there, where previously I would just treat it like a giant tea bag and dip it up and down. This was a vastly improved method, and I hit my gravity of 1.050 right on the nose. 1.050 was actually before the honey addition.
Anyway, I did a mash out at 170 that went perfectly, then continued to boil from there, adding the cluster hops at the beginning of the 60 minute boil.
I cooled down by filling the sink with cold water, but I changed things up a bit by freezing a half gallon of water in a freezer bag the night before, and dropped it in the wort when it hit about 90 degrees. This worked really well, getting my pitching temps down to about 66- I generally pitch at about 80 because I can’t get it any cooler. Looking forward to this one.
Update 10/14/2012: I let this sit in the fermenter for 4 weeks, and the final gravity came out at 1.007. bottling was uneventful. ABV 5.64%, not including additional honey (this is going to be quite strong).