We got down to the brewery a little earlier than our 11am start time, which gave us ample time to get everything set up. We got pretty lucky and managed to snag a spot right next to New Main Brewing, which came in pretty handy later in the day (more on that in a bit). After getting everything unloaded and setup, I went and got my base 2-row grains from inside the brewery. The only ingredients you can use that aren’t provided are any base grains other than 2-row, and any specialty grains you want to use. Hops and yeast are provided by the brewery. They do this so that the winning recipe is as close as possible to how it was brewed by the homebrewer when they scale it up to brew on their system for the Pro-Am beer.
Dad and I lugged the brew kettle over to the hot water spigot and got just under what I needed for mash water. Since the water was around 180F, we used ice to cool it down to where I wanted it, which also helped get me up to the correct volume. I added my specialty grains to the 2-row and dumped everything into the water to start the mash. Meanwhile, David had started a little earlier than me, so he was getting ready to start his boil.
It was a very windy day on Sunday, and David had some problems getting his wort up to boiling. It took him a good hour and a half to get it going, which allowed me to catch up. Since I was using quite a bit of pilsner malt, though, my boil was an hour and a half compared to just an hour for him. Boiling went fine for both of us, with the exception of having more boil-off than we normally do. That was probably due to having to keep adjusting the flame to compensate for the variable winds.
Once David’s boil finished, we used my wort chiller as a pre-chiller. I had a big tub that we filled with ice, then used my chiller in that, and connected it to David’s chiller which was in his boil kettle. This got the cooling water very cold, which helped immensely in cooling his wort. This is where being set up next to each other really came in handy. The timing was also perfect, as just as his wort was done cooling, my boil ended. It was a simple matter to transfer the (sanitized, from being in his boil) chiller from his kettle to mine. Once mine was cooled, it went into the carboy, and we all packed up and re-loaded our stuff into our respective vehicles, then headed home. Oh, and in there somewhere David grabbed the yeast for both of us. I pitched when I got home and got the carboy into the chest freezer. It took off pretty quickly; I had a good 2-inch krausen the next morning.
I'll get the recipe up on the Recipes page here soon.
Speaking of David, he’s part of a podcast called AtypicalDFW. They talk about beer mostly, but all kinds of other random topics as well, and they asked me to come on this week and talk about homebrewing. I’ve listened to their shows in the past, and it sounded like a good time, so I agreed. I headed down to their Arlington studios (one of the guys’ apartment) and took some beer with me. This was my first podcast to be a part of, and I had a blast. You can check out the episode here if you’re interested. (NSFW) It’s just under an hour and a half long (it seemed like about half that recording it, though).
That’s all for now. Future brewing planning is taking place as we speak…gotta get ready for the fall competitions!