I’m both happy and frustrated with today’s session. The intention was to brew a bog-standard American Pale with a neighbor:
10 gallon batch
25 lb (96.2%) Maris Otter
8 oz (1.9%) Crystal 20
8 oz (1.9%) Crystal 60
1.25 oz (21.7 IBU) Amarillo 10.4% @ 60 minutes
2 oz (15.7 IBU) Amarillo 10.4% @ 15 minutes
.5 oz Amarillo @ 0 minutes
.5 oz Simcoe @ 0 minutes
That didn’t happen. We adjusted for the fact that the Amarillo was only 8.6%. Not a problem. What we weren’t able to adjust for was the fact that a minor equipment change shot the mash efficiency up to 80%. Our American Pale was now in American IPA territory. We could adjust the pre-boil gravity from the 1.056 we had to the intended 1.044, but that would be a hell of a waste, and we had some extra hops on hand.
In the interest of adventure and throwing caution to the wind, behold the spur-of-the-moment American IPA – Oops Version.
I believe the reason for the efficiency boost is due to a new setup for recirculation and sparge. I picked up a mash recirculation kit and sparge ring from BrewHardware.com so I could ditch the clunky and error-prone lay-the-hose-on-top-of-the-mash-and-hope-it-doesn’t-sink method. It also allowed me to keep the lid on the mash tun the entire time, allowing for the best temperature control I’ve seen on this gear to date.
The rest of the day went as expected, and it’s always great to have someone to help out and talk beer with during the slow moments. It was a full 8 hours from setup to cleanup, with the biggest delay being trying to decide what to do about the high pre-boil gravity. I’m really happy with the efficiency boost, but frustrated that we ultimately didn’t end up with the product we intended. We’ll know in a couple weeks what we have on our hands.