Friday, August 2, 2013

IPA Kit and a New Chiller

When the IPA kit arrived in the mail the first thing I noticed was the enormous bag of hops.  My first kit had
3 oz of hops in it.  This one had over 14 oz.  As a new-found hophead, needless to say, I was excited.

The recipe called for a few brewing techniques new to me.  The first was dry hopping, a process where you add hops (either pellet or whole) to the fermenter directly without boiling.  Additionally, the recipe called for secondary fermentation, also known as racking, where you siphon the beer from a primary fermenter to a secondary container for further fermentation and polishing.

But these weren't the only new brewing techniques I would be trying on this batch.  I was also going to be using a wort chiller. I know I've gone on about not buying a bunch of expensive equipment when you are just starting, which I still believe.  This was a freebie.

My boss, a former homebrewer, gave me his copper wort chiller that had been sitting in his garage for the last ten years (the coils looked a little gnarly).  After reading various blogs and forums, I learned that you can clean the chiller by boiling it in a vinegar solution.

So now there were three new brewing techniques I would be using.  All this had me a little nervous again. Add to the fact that the kit with all the hops was a little more expensive, I did not want to mess this one up.

I used the wort chiller cleaning as a practice run for brew day.  I boiled the chiller in a mixture of vinegar (10% by volume) and water for 15 minutes and then set up the tubes to see how long it would take to cool down. It was faster than my ice tub method, but not as fast as I thought it would be.  But I had to remember I was in Florida and it was June.  The garden hose was in direct sunlight, so the temperature differential was not as good as it could be.  One of the tubes was leaking water into the pot - a potential source of contamination.  So I remedied that before the brew session.

All in all this batch went well.  No major mishaps.  The wort chiller did take much longer than I thought it would, around 22 minutes.  I attribute that to the hot temperature outside and direct sun baking the 50 feet of garden hose. My next project will be figuring out how to reduce the wort chiller time.  I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure which will work best.  Time to experiment...

-Brewer Brendan

Post a Comment