2014 PROOF Brew Day

Woo. It’s been a long day. It is now just after six and I still have some clean up to do, but I’m done brewing and I’m done writing, except for this paragraph, of course. As you can see below, my brew day started at nine in the morning. Currently, PROOF is fermenting like crazy in the basement and Evidence is in it’s lag phase in the kitchen. Below is how I got here.

Began heating pre-measured mash water on the stove and went off to get some non-brewing related stuff done before fully diving in.

Strike temperature was reached (166º), began adding small amounts of the water and then malt. I normally add all the water then the malt, but I was afraid of overflowing the mash tun so I did it this way. This is at a ratio of a quart to a pound to be sure it will all fit. As soon as it was all in and stirred, I started heating the strike water for the BIAB mash on the propane burner. Once that was started, I checked the temperature in the mash tun and saw it was a bit low and I knew I had a bit more space so I started to boil some water on the stove to try to raise it up. Temperature is currently 147º so there will still be conversion, but I’m going to try to get it up at least over 150º.


I started the mash somewhere around 9:45 but I’m not specifically timing it. I’ll time the BIAB mash and by the time that is done, it will have been plenty long for the initial mash. Extra water raised the temperature to 152º.

Started the BIAB mash. Both mashes have settled right around 151º. I’ll check on them around 10:30. The BIAB mash will probably drop significantly. I plan to direct fire it to heat it up.

I stirred both mashes. The temperature is holding in the cooler, the BIAB is down a couple degrees.

I turned the burner on under the BIAB mash. I haven’t done this before, keeping a close eye on the temperature. Brought the temperature up to about 158º and turned off the heat.


Getting ready to lift the bag of grains out and turn the heat back on to bring the BIAB mash temp up to 185º to use as sparge water for the big mash. Once it’s heating up, I’ll start draining the big mash (after another good stir).

Propped the bag of grains on top of the kettle and began draining the other mash into another kettle. After both were drained, I started adding the BIAB mash into the big mash. It didn’t all fit, so I kept the rest on the side to add to a second runnings beer.

I’ve run all the wort through the mash, added it to the main kettle and put the bag of grains in the other smaller kettle with what was left from the original BIAB mash. Starting the boil and figuring out how to do the second runnings beer… Refractometer reading shows 20 Brix, or about 1.085. Slightly disappointing, we’ll see where the long boil takes it.

Took out a gallon of the wort to boil separately on the stove. Neither have reached boil yet.

The gallon on the stove is boiling away, the big one is starting to get there. I’m going to wait a bit to start the timer. I added the grains from the BIAB along with the extra wort to the cooler mash tun. I topped it up with more water at about 180º. It was full to the brim. I stirred as much as I could without spilling it everywhere and then let it sit for a few minutes. After that, I drained it into a kettle and collected about four gallons of wort around 1.065. I’ll write more about this second runnings beer, which will become Evidence, tomorrow.

It’s been boiling for a few minutes but I just got it settled and started the timer. Two hour boil. After that, I started measuring out the hops and realized that I completely forgot about the first wort hops. Oh well. These hops are really just going to be trying to balance the beer, so I’ll just skip them. I have four ounces of Columbus measured up to add with ninety minutes left in the boil and another two for the last five minutes.

I’ve now got three boils going on simultaneously. I added the first charge of hops to the big one a little bit ago. Now I have about an hour of making sure there are no boil overs.


Aside from tending to Evidence, I also decided to measure out some of the sugar for PROOF while I’m waiting for the boil to finish. I measured out seven baggies with six ounces of light brown sugar in each. There is about thirty five minutes left in the boil, half hour until I add the other hops. I’ll have to go rack my Single Hop IPAs while PROOF is chilling so I can use the yeast cake from the Galaxy IPA.


I got a little tied up and haven’t kept up with the notes. Everything is done but the clean up. Let me try to get caught up. About twenty minutes from the end of the boil, the small kettle on the stove got really low and was starting to scorch. I decided to add another gallon from the big boil to keep it going. This seemed to work well, I don’t think there was too much damage and this wort was very dark, syrupy and smelled delicious. It should add a lot of malt character to the beer. I would like to try this method again with a smaller beer to try to make it feel bigger than it actually is.


Aside from that, everything else went more or less according to plan. I added the immersion chiller and some Irish Moss with fifteen minutes left in the boil, then the last two ounces of hops with five minutes left. When the boil was done, I added the smaller boil back in. The wort got noticeably darker with this addition. After that, I began chilling. This took longer than normal. It’s very hot out today but I think the strength of the wort may have also had something to do with it. I chilled it cooler than normal, down close to 60º. I’m sure this is going to heat itself up pretty far while fermenting so I want to fight that a little bit. I am fermenting in the basement which is still several degrees cooler than the kitchen where I do most of my ale fermentations.

I poured the wort back and forth between the fermenter and the kettle a few times to get some oxygen into it, not nearly as much as it should have, I’m sure, but better than nothing. Once I got the wort in the fermenter, I’m using my eight gallon bucket to make the sugar additions easier, I took it to the basement. While the wort was chilling, I racked both of my Single Hop IPAs to secondary, leaving the yeast cakes behind, and put the tops back on the carboys. After I got the new wort down to the basement, I poured a couple cups of it into each of those carboys and shook them up to get the yeast into suspension. I also set about a quart of the wort aside in a growler for a starter for the second yeast addition. The original plan was just to use one of the yeast cakes, but I decided to throw both in.


The secondary yeast, a vial of White Labs’ San Diego Super Yeast will be added on Thursday or Friday. Until then, I added it to the quart of wort in the growler and put an airlock on top. I will dump the whole starter into the main fermentation.

I’ll start the sugar additions on Thursday night and determine then if I want to add the new yeast with the first of them or wait until Friday. I believe I’m going to up the sugar additions significantly from my original plan after more research on San Diego Super Yeast has basically told me it will ferment anything you throw at it in a matter of days. I don’t want to let it drag, so I’ll hit it extra hard.

This is getting very long, though so I think I’m going to break it up and post more about the sugar additions on Thursday as I start to do them. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the other beer I brewed today, Evidence. This stuff is already fermenting like crazy after about an hour on the yeast.



2 thoughts on “2014 PROOF Brew Day

  1. Pingback: Old 2012 Strong Barley Wine | Non-Existent Brewing
  2. Pingback: PROOF Tasting Notes | Non-Existent Brewing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s