This past weekend as many of you know (if you aren’t following our Instagram you are missing out) we brewed our first 5 gallon batch of beer. In last week’s post we talked a lot about the potential concerns for brewing this larger batch. There was one issue that we didn’t even consider until two days prior.
The ingredient kit I purchased was Brewer’s best, the same we have been using, and it was for an Amber Ale. However, the kit talked about brewing a concentrate and then adding water to the carboy in order to create the 5 gallon batch. It required a 2.5 gallon brewing pot, which was something we didn’t have so I went to my local homebrew store to pick up something bigger. Once there I found out instantly that in order to take this brew where I wanted there was no way I was going to be able to do it on the stove.
I purchased the Bayou Classic – a homebrew starter kit. It is a stainless steel, propane driven outdoor burner that came with a pot that could hold up to 7.5 gallons. It came highly recommended for someone moving up to 5 gallons but was also sticking with extract brewing. If I want to eventually move to all grain, I will need to invest in a 9 gallon pot but it too will fit on the burner.
After minimal debate we did a test run – just boiling water to see how fast we could heat the 5 gallons and how we easily we could control it. We found it could be heated with extreme speed but controlling the temperatures particularly during the grain steeping was going to be a challenge.
Like many of our other brews we were fortunate to have a few things that went well, the first and hopefully the always was sanitation. It’s more difficult with the large setup but is very controllable. Next up, we were able to get the wort boiling and maintained at a nice low roiling boil for the hop addition, which was built on the success we had with temperature control during the grain steep.
LME (liquid malt extract), it was our first experience with this sticky substance and it proved to be difficult to get all of it out and into the boil with the powder malt extract. Also, we definitely struggled with getting the 5 gallons to cool from 202 to 70 degrees to make the transfer into the carboy followed by the addition of the yeast. Next time we need to make sure we have a better system (no wort chiller yet) and more ice.
The Good News
We got the temperatures right for the yeast because it was fermenting nicely the very next day and in the days that followed. Next up is the transfer into the secondary fermenter, or as I am calling it, another arm work out.