Stovetop: 2nd edition

Yesterday was a learning experience. Today, I do it again. The biggest problem was definitely with the pots. The one I was mashing in gave up too much heat, and it wouldn’t fit inside the large kettle, so I couldn’t make a double boiler. I was really worried about directly heating the mash (going to hot and leaching tannins or scorching the grain, melting the grain bag, etc), so maintaining 153 degrees was a challenge, and in fact, I’m not sure I succeeded (didn’t quite hit the expected gravity, but wasn’t horribly off). Today, the 2 gallon pot is resting inside of a 4 gallon pot that I was able to pick up this morning. Half an hour in and I just measured the mash at 153.1°. I just have to fire the outer pot every once in a while to maintain. The mash is done and I’m definitely feeling better about this than I did with yesterday’s batch. Pulled the grain bag and the first runnings were at 152.7°. Maintaining temperature throughout the mash is what we call “good.”

The boil. however, didn’t go as well. Even in the 4 gallon pot, my stove had a hard time getting the beer up to a boil. Slow to boil means not a very good hot break (a bunch of proteins in the beer clump together and “fall out,” so that junk doesn’t end up in the finished product. Additionally, it only barely reached a boil, it was never a rigorous boil. I believe a side-effect of a minimal boil is that the liquid doesn’t really stir itself up, and so the wort begins to burn & scorch. So this batch will likely have some excess carmelization and  be way darker than expected. Gonna have to find a way to improve my boil…

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