Last night I brewed my 30th batch!

Keeping with my recurring theme of making mistakes and learning quickly by them, here are a few improvements I’ve recently made.

  1. I’m always using a blow-off tube for the first few days of fermentation to avoid another explosion.
  2. It’s better to have a small batch than watered-down beer. Last night, I should have followed a previous learning: Don’t water it down. I was making a 2-gallon recipe, so I sparged out 3.5 gallons of wort anticipating about a gallon of evaporation during the boil. Nope… just a gallon. So, I have a half gallon too much wort for a 2-gallon recipe. This dropped the OG for this recipe from 1.070 to 1.055. That could mean 1.5% LESS alcohol. That’s not cool.
  3. I used my electronic brew log instead of the paper one last night. There are quite a few improvements I need to make such as removing un-necessary fields and adding more fields for things like the various types of grain.
  4. Labeling beers is time consuming and expensive. For a 5-gallon batch, it might cost me $9.00 to get quality labels printed. That’s pretty bad considering it costs about 19$ for all the materials to make a 5-gallon batch. I’m going to make the labels smaller for batches 30 and beyond. There is no need to have a large label. Smaller labels are easier to put on the bottle and will cost much less. I also don’t need a bunch of information about the beer on each label. The QR code can take people to the recipe pages if they want to learn more.
  5. Idea for next time: I need a better watering can. I think I am oxidizing the wort too much during vorlauf. I’m also disturbing the mash bed too much. It takes several gallons of continuous sparging to get my wort to clear up. OR… When re-circulating, I just need to use a small bucket with a spigot and hose to capture drained wort and gently place it back into the mash tun.
  6. For a while, I was using the idea that as soon as a beer is bottle carbonated, it’s ready to drink. This is true, but, give it another week or two in the basement, and it clears up and settles the yeast out. So, I think after this short experiment, it’s back to this timeline:
    1. 2-3 weeks Fermentation/Conditioning
    2. 2 weeks carbonation
    3. 1-2 weeks bottle conditioning
    4. AT LEAST 2 Days of chilling

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