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The Barney – Part IV


I finally got the remainder of the parts to complete Barney, my weldless brewstand. Here’s an updated photo:

I had leak-tested everything, run some preliminary tests, and everything looked good to go, so I decided to make some beer.

I just picked up a 50lb sack of Maris Otter barley from UBottleIt, and have been enjoying English IPAs lately, so I decided to try to brew one myself.

The recipe is pretty simple:

  • 20lb Maris Otter
  • 1lb Crystal 40
  • 1lb Crystal 120
  • 1lb Biscuit
  • 4oz Challenger @ 60 min
  • 4oz UK Fuggles @ 10 min
  • 4oz UK Kent Goldings @ flameout
  • 2 vials White Labs WLP022 Essex Ale Yeast

I loaded up my HLT with 14gal of RO water, added some 5.2 conditioner, and turned on the gas. While the strike water was heating, I conditioned and ground the malt. Once the strike water was up to temp, I transferred the water to my mash tun, fired up the recirculating pump and RIMS, and started adding grain.

I had added about 3 lbs of grain when the recirculating flow suddenly stopped, and the RIMS temperature started to climb rapidly. This is not a good thing, so I quickly shut down the RIMS and pump and started to investigate.

A quick check of the silicone tubing going to the pump showed that it was full of grain. I suddenly realized that I had completely forgotten to put the false bottom into the mash tun, a stupid rookie mistake.

Now I had to:

  1. Drain and save the liquor from the Mash Tun
  2. Remove and save the grain
  3. Rinse out the Mash Tun
  4. Clear the tubing lines
  5. Drain and clean the RIMS tube
  6. Disassemble and clean the pump head
  8. Place the liquor back into the Mash Tun
  9. Restart the pump and RIMS
  10. Wait for the liquor to get back up to strike temp
  11. Add the grain
  12. Pick up where I left off

This took the better part of 2 hours to complete, but since I use tri-clamp fittings for the Mash Tun, pump head, and RIMS tube, the actual disassembly, cleaning and reassembly was easy.

After about an hour in the Mash Tun, I transferred the wort to the boil kettle and fired up the gas. I then batch sparged the grain with about 6gal of strike water, recirculated for about 15 minutes, and transferred that to the boil kettle, for a total of about 13gal.

The boil was uneventful, hop additions were on time, and then I transferred the wort to two 5gal ported Better Bottles. The transfer was accomplish by gravity feed, through my Brewer’s Hardware Hop / Trub Filter and my Keg Cowboy 40-plate Wort Chiller. Both worked flawlessly, giving me clear, cooled wort. A quick check with my refractometer showed all of my gravities were spot-on, so I added the yeast and put the carboys into the fermentation chamber.

My checklist now has an entry to double check for the false bottom.

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