Brew Day (My First All-Grain): Dark Chocolate Stout
Considering that this was my first time brewing all-grain, brew day was a smashing success. Everything went pretty smoothly, and all of my tools worked well. Jess was a big help, and she did a great job taking pictures of all the activity. Wes was able to join us for the last part of the boil and to help clean up. Brew day did take a bit longer than expected. I was expecting about 5 hours; it ended up taking 7.5. I’m sure this will improve as I refine my process. The recipe loosely follows this recipe
from the database at homebrewtalk.com
. I’ll give you the recipe details, and then take you on a pictorial tour of brew day.
- Dark Chocolate Stout
- 10 gallons
- Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale
- Grain Bill
- 16 oz Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder
- 24 oz Lactose
- 1.2 oz Nielsen-Massey Chocolate Extract
- Original Gravity
||Time in Wort
||% Alpha Acid
The IBUs are a bit of a surprise. This may turn out to be a more bitter beer than I had hoped for. I wasn’t able to get Crystal hops at my brew shop, so I substituted Mt. Hood. The Mt. Hood was a little higher in alpha acids than the Crystal (4.2% vs. 3.1%) If I had it to do again, I would probably recalculate and try to get closer to the ~25 IBUs that the recipe called for.
Previously, I had made a plan. I pretty much followed this plan throughout brew day. I have reproduced this list below, with a few edits to reflect what actually happened. Wherever I have pictures of what’s described, I have included them inline.
- Mix sanitizer into a bucket and fill spray bottle with sanitizer fluid
- Fill the boil kettle with 10 gallons
- Bring water to 175-180 degrees
- Drain 6 gallons of water to mash tun
- Stir water and cool to 172 degrees
- Add grain
slowly, stirring [more or less] continuously.
- Check temp, should be 154 degrees [thermometer read 155 degrees]
Adjust temp by adding hot or cold water, and stirring.[Temps were close enough: 155, 154, 154 and 153 (at each 15-minute interval). Temps would measure a few degrees in either direction at different spots in the mash. I tried not to worry about it.]
- Add water to boil kettle to reach 10 gallons, heat to 180 degrees
- Check mash temp every 15 minutes.
Adjust as necessary to keep 154 degrees. [didn't bother]
- Mash for 60 minutes.
Test a sample of wort with iodine to test for full starch conversion. Will turn dark purple/black if starches are not fully converted. Continue to mash until all starches are converted, and iodine does not change to purple/black.[The kind folks at homebrewtalk.com talked me out of this one. The wort is already nearly black, and the consensus seems to be that it isn't worth measuring.]
Lift mash tun to desk and [Whoops, did that already.] rack first runnings into a bucket [Don't forget to vorlauf!]
- Add sparge water in two batches from kettle at about 180 degrees for first run, and 170 for second run, and drain until we reach 12.5 gallons of wort, in two buckets [Whoops, forgot to vorlauf the first sparge. Also, the first sparge water addition was at 174 degrees. I ended up doing three sparges trying to reach my pre-boil volume. I ultimately ended up topping up the boil kettle with 1.5 gallons of water.]
- Empty boil kettle
- Rack wort from buckets into boil kettle
- Check gravity, should be 1.049. Adjust upward with DME if necessary. [Corrected gravity reading at the start of the boil was 1.040. I added two pounds of DME to bring up the gravity, but I didn't measure pre-boil gravity again afterwards.]
- Boil the wort
- Add 4 oz hops, once boiling (now starts 90 min boil)
- With 30 mins remaining, add 2 oz hops
- Santitize wort chiller
- With 10 minutes remaining, add 24 oz lactose and 16 oz cocoa powder
- At knockout, stir wort up into a whirlpool
- Wait 5-10 minutes for whirlpool to settle
- Put wort chiller in pot, and run it
- Once wort is 70 degrees, remove chiller
- Check gravity and record [was 1.060]
Sanitize coat hanger[I just used sanitized hands]
- Rack into 2 buckets, using hop blocker
Using hop blocker: [Completely failed at this. I wasn't paying attention when the fluid reached the critical point, where you raise the shield. I lost flow and couldn't get it back again. I just ended up sacrificing about 1.5 gallons of wort and trub that I couldn't filter. What follows is what I should have done.]
- Once level of kettle reaches top of blocker, reduce flow to 1/3
- quickly pull up hop blocker screen with hanger
- Continue racking at 1/3 speed
- [Pour wort back and forth between buckets to aerate.]
- [Decant beer from starters, and swirl up yeast from the bottom of the growler.]
- Add a starter to each bucket
- Sanitize two airlocks
- Place lids with hammer
- Insert air lock [and fill with vodka], move fermenters, and wait…
- Bottle around 2 weeks
This morning, at 10 AM, the airlocks were bubbling vigorously. I think brew day turned out really well, and I’m looking forward to doing it again! I also can’t wait to try this beer. I think it’s going to be fantastic.
Any comments on any of the above? I welcome any advice, tips or feedback of any kind.