Today was my first brew day on my 1 gallon stove top system. I brewed up a beer that was made as a dedication to my friend and brewing partner's grandfather after a rough hospitalization that unfortunately took his life. This beer was created not as something that would be used to mourn his death, but to remember the little things that make life what it is. While I never met Papa, I have to say that I thought of him while brewing this. I had heard many stories of him teaching my friend how to cook on Saturday mornings. When I decided to start brewing in my kitchen again, I thought of this and knew that Papa's Pale Ale had to be the first beer brewed.
On to the beer. The recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. It is an American Pale Ale with outstanding hop flavor. I start with a base of 2-row pale malt and supplement it with a bit of crystal 40. This gives it a bit of sweetness and color without it being a sticky pale ale that happens when people randomly toss crystal malts into their brews because that is what you did when you were steeping grains. This is on the third iteration of the hop schedule however. The first batch we did was a single hopped cascade pale. The next batch I was experimenting with hops isomerizing after knockout during the whirlpool and attempted to brew it with no hops added in the boil. Only a 45 min whirlpool addition and a dry hop addition were added, each a blend of cascade, centennial and columbus for that punch you in the face American profile. This batch tasted great, but with no bittering addition tasted very unbalanced and the flavors dropped quick with no bitterness to hold them up. The latest version took that whirlpool/dry hop theory and just added a small bittering addition to help pump it up. Depending on how things go it will either get a 7 or 14 day primary with a 7 day dry hop in secondary.
The process. This was my first 1 gallon batch, my first BIAB(brew in a bag), my first using this kettle and stove, and my first trying to keep my mash temps without a cooler to insulate things. I heated up my strike water(a measly 3qt) and added my grain to my vinyl bag and doughed in. It took a minute to make sure that there were no clumps, but when I checked my temps I had hit my mash temp of 152F dead on. Absolutely stoked that I hit my mash temp on the first try I put the lid on my kettle and placed it in my oven which was set to warm. I checked the temp again 30 min later and flipped when I saw 167F come up on my thermometer. I pulled the kettle out stirred it around for a minute and it was back down to 152F. I think I may have just temped a hot part of the mash or even touched the kettle while temping, but I reluctantly replaced the kettle in the oven, turned off the oven and waited another half hour for my mash to complete. Mash ended at 149F and I placed the grain bag in a strainer and began to sparge. Sparged up to 1.5gallons and checked my gravity. My estimated preboil gravity was 1.037 and my actually gravity was 1.039 so I am fairly optimistic that I didn't completely screw up my mash. The boil went on without a hitch. My only complaint is that I have to buy another scale because the one I have is only accurate to within 0.1 ounces or 2 grams. When doing 1 gallon batches some of my hop additions are at 0.05 ounces. So time to buy a jeweler's scale and try to not look like a drug dealer in the process. After the whirlpool I chilled in my sink with cold water and a bit of ice, pitched 1/3 of a packet of US-05 and placed it in a dark closet to be ignored for a week.
Today was a learning experience, but if I didn't learn anything what's the point? I have some spent grain bread in the oven as I type this and will be enjoying that all week until I get to brew again. Next brew up? St. Nick's Nog v2 Christmas Spiced Brown Ale.