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Baptism Amber - Nov 2015

posted Jul 4, 2016, 2:26 PM by Tony Scarpino
My wife had mentioned about making a beer to the baptism.  So I asked her what type she wanted, she replied an Amber.  We were going to have a large party at my parents house so it seemed a good time to display my brew.  One thing I did learn from the Dark Brown was doing an all grain didn't seem any more work than the partial mash.  So I decided to add the extra difficulty of doing an all-grain, on a beer that I was brewing for family and friends.  Given this was the first time I was using the mash tun on my own I knew it wasn't the best idea and potentially presenting a lower quality beer, but I went for it anyway.

I got the hot liquor tank water up to infusion temp and starting pouring it into the mash tun.  I made the mistake of slowing pouring the water in as I kept moving the grains to make sure they did not clump.  When I got to my expected 2 gallon in the mash tun, temperature was only 145-150.  I wanted 155, so I started warming the water up quickly and poured more in.  After a 1/2 gallon more water, I had it up to the right temperature.

After about a 1/2hr of mashing, I got my sparge ready.  This is where I had my second mistake, I forgot the hot liquor tank had cooled and I needed to add more.  I had quickly heated it up which delayed sparging by 20 minutes.  When the water was ready I remembered about prepping the grain bed, I poured a few pints back into the top of the mash tun to get the grain bed filtering clean.  I poured a lot more back in than I probably needed to, thinking I wanted the wort clear instead of just free of husks and large particles. Concerned about the tun getting too cool, I started to sparge.  I remembered my friend warning against over sparging and pulling out tannins, so I had that on my mind too.  After the sparge was complete I wasn't sure if I left too much sugar in the mash tun as the spent grains tasted a bit sweet.  Too many concerns.  After the boil and cooling I took my OG and found it was 1.062, which was a 1 above the expected, I switched back to being concerned about tannins.  I needed to remember the rule of "relax, drink a home-brew".

When fermentation was done the final gravity was 3 lower than expected. So I figured I did good.  
After talking to my friend, the mistakes I made and concerns I had were minor.  Longer time or more water in the mash tun are not big problems and only have a marginal effect.  Later I learned more about mash temperature and I suspect the lower temperature extracted more fermentable sugars.

The moment of truth came and the beer was good.  I served this one and the Dark Brown and the Amber was consumed more.