Not Quite Normal

Home Brewing | Brew Days | AG #1 - Old Yella

My first all grain brew was an Old Yella kit from Barley Bottom.

Ingredients and Method

Old Yella

4KG Maris otter
200g Flaked Barley
180g Pale Crystal malt (50SRM)

31g First Gold 6.2 90 min boil
15g Fuggles 4.8 90 min boil
20g First Gold 6.2 1 min boil
1 Protafloc Tablet 15 mins boil

1 pack of S-04 yeast

OG 1045
4.3% ABV
30.2 IBUs
7.1 SRM

(Click on images for full size versions)

Started at around 11am. Treated the water with half a campden tablet per 5 gallons. Mash tun strainer didn't have too many slots in it but I was tired of cutting them with a hacksaw. This would bite me on the ass later.

The grain bill in the mash tun

Doughing in

I read the batch sparge water levels wrong and added too much hot liquor - Should have been 10 litres and top up with 9.5, I had 19.5 in my head - ended up realising after I had put around 16 litres in so mash was a bit thin - around 4:1.

Measuring the mash temperature after doughing in. I was aiming for 66C so 67.5 isn't too bad.

The mash tun all wrapped up for 90 minutes. Only lost around 1C so was pleased.

Topping up the mash tun ready for the first runoff. I need a bigger mash tun.

It was here that I encountered my first (and thankfully last) major problem. The runoff stuck after a few seconds as I'd not cut enough slits in the strainer. I tried stirring the mash and other things but couldn't get it going so had to jug it through a sieve into the boiler. Filled it back up for the second runoff, but it stuck again after a couple of litres. I'm making a new strainer / mash tun before my next brew.

The hops - First Gold and Fuggles for bittering with some more First Gold in the final minute of the boil for aroma.

Finally got 27 litres of wort in the boiler and got it to a rolling boil. Added the First Gold and Fuggles hops.

Chiller went in for the final 20 minutes to sanitize it. Protafloc tablet in the last 15 to help get a good cold break. Aroma hops in for the last minute. Started cooling the wort down - took around 20 minutes to get it to pitching temperature.

Running off into an FV - big drop to airate the wort for the yeast. I took a hydrometer reading at this stage - 1041 - a bit short of the 1045 specified by the recipe but this was probably because of the crap mash efficiency due to the runoff problems.

Trub left behind in the boiler.

Full FV prior to pitching the yeast. I collected around 19 litres - a bit short of the 23 litres I wanted. The sparge problems and underestimating the evaporation during the boil both contributed. All part of getting to know your setup.

Pitching the yeast - I didn't rehydrate it before pitching.

Brewbelt on for warmth and we're done. Finished at around 7 pm so a good 8 hours - with practice I hope to get that down to around 5.

It's been bubbling away for 36 hours now and has almost finished. The brewbelt gets the fermentation going quickly but may be keeping it a little too warm - around 24-25C rather than the 21C I'm aiming for. I'm going to rack to a secondary FV after it's finished on the primary and then bottle it. In the meantime - time to make a bigger and better mash tun for my next brew :)

Update: I've turned off the brew belt after consulting some other brewers - apparently it's better to ferment a little cooler for longer than too quickly at too higher temperature as it can impart off flavours into the beer.