Monday, August 13, 2007

Mashematician - Take One

I finally used my newly constructed mash/lauter tun (aptly named "Mashematician") this past Friday. Here are some photos taken by the delightful Vivian:

I ended up employing the design described here. My outlet assembly is a bit more straightforward (read: simplistic) than in the plans, but it's been working well so far. If it has been leaking, it's probably been doing so into the insulation itself. (That is, leaking into the space between the two plastic walls.) I plan on installing a better-sealed outlet in the near future, but this seems to work well enough for now. It's a work in progress after all.

Here's a shot of me recirculating some wort. It ran off quite clear after vorlaufing about 5 liters or so.

Lastly, here's a shot of the outdoor burner hard at work.

I concluded that I achieved an extract efficiency of about 67%. It isn't exactly what I'd wanted, but I think that I can improve it by sparging more. As things are, I usually end up on the low side for volume in the fermeter. This would seem to indicate that I should probably continue to collect wort. I recently invested in some high tech pH measuring equipment (okay, it's actually just litmus paper), so I can periodically check the pH of the runoff to ensure that I don't take it down too low.

Speaking of extract efficiency, you may be wondering how I calculated this number. It just so happens that I'll be explaning what extract efficiency is, how to calculate it, and how to put it into a spreadsheet tomorrow for Technical Tuesday.

Finally, I got some awesome birthday gifts from the lovely Vivian as well! Not only did she bring back some very delicious and very interesting beers from her recent trip to Scotland, she gave me a shirt from Valhalla Brewery, a copy of The Homebrewer's Garden (now I can now when to harvest all those Centennial hops growing in my backyard!), and a copy of Sacred Herbal and Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. I started reading the latter last night and am enjoying it already. Needless to say, I always appreciate it when I have more to read, especially about beer! Thanks Viv!

1 comment:

v. said...

you are most welcome!

I am surprised to see that Valhalla has a sparkling new website. It makes it look so fancy considering it's on an island with only one main road and no traffic lights. And that beer was totally being brewed by a kid no older than 16.