Monday, September 12, 2011

Corona, not beer.

This past brew day didn't go exactly the way I wanted...

Friday afternoon I brewed a batch of Saaa-Wheat for a party I'm going to in December. Always feels good to give a homemade gift, because usually homemade gifts are frowned upon. I tried something new this time. Coworker Paul recently got his hands on his own Corona Mill(for free I might add) and offered to lend it to me so I could give it a try. I had passed on last weeks brew because I was trying a few new things and I wanted to see if my new methods improved my OG separate of milling my own grain. Last week was a success, and this week was yet to be seen. In parting, Paul mentioned to wrap a bag around the outlet, because the thing sprays grain everywhere.

"Everywhere" doesn't do it justice. I'm pretty sure more grain comes out of the top of this thing than the bottom. It really does spray grain everywhere. After doing extensive research (about 20 seconds) I came across a video showing it in standard operation with the hand crank. Ok, at slow speed with about 50-60 RPMs, sure the grain doesn't go anywhere. But that's lame. Now slap a hex screw in there, and go at it with your favorite high speed hammer drill (2,000 RPM baby!), and you've got some flying grain. With a big enough hopper at that speed though you can go through all your grain likely in under a minute. Paul did say he wouldn't mind trading it back and forth, so I wouldn't mind building a little rig so we can mount it on a bucket. In time.

Brew day was a little hectic. Really the only reason was because my pickup bag didn't contain the orange peel I paid for. I had to run back to the store during my sparge, and when I got back my HLT was up to 200 degrees, and my mash tun had run all but dry. I cooled my HLT, got liquid level up and flowing again. I decided to compensate for the screw up I would sparge a little extra and boil a little longer. In the end it all paid off.

The mill worked fantastic and raised my brewhouse efficiency from 75% to a killer 82% which I'm totally stoked about. From what I understand that's about as high as you want it, otherwise you start extracting tannins that will contribute to off flavors (are there tannins that contribute on flavors?). So thanks Paul! Great partnership, and I'll start designing that mount.

On a side note, props to my wife. She's a true hop-head. She loves IPAs but I wasn't sure if she could handle Stone's Arrogant bastard. That beer is far too much for me. If I may quote from the bottle... "this is an aggressive beer. You probably won't like it." Well yes, it was too much for me, but she loved it and downed it like water. I love her.

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