Tuesday 5 December 2023

Gladfield American Pale Ale - BrewZilla Brew Day

Here's a quick run down and photo dump from our most recent BrewZilla brew day (night). Details of the recipe can be found here.

We've brewed this batch as a means to use up a whole bunch of leftover hops we have sitting around in our fridge. There were some varities that had obviously staled and didn't make the cut and were subsequently tossed, but we're reasonably confident those that made it into the beer were still OK - certainly not the freshest but didn't have any strange smells to them, so will be interesting to see how it turns out!

Laying everything out the day/night before we find helps us feel more organised and a little less frantic.

As usual we setup our BrewZilla and Digiboil units and adjusted the water accordingly.

After mashing in we left the grain bed to settle for 10 minutes before taking our first pH reading. Pretty much right on the money at 5.48 for the mash

We had some dramas with our sparge water - our initial acid addition left the pH a little too high (I think it was in the high 5's - maybe 5.9) - so I added a tiny bit more, and then after checking again we were far too acidic at around 4.8. Essentially I had to dilute the mash water with more filtered tap water to raise the pH again (used about 2L all up) and got the reading pretty much the same as the mash pH at 5.49.

Around 0.1mL is all it took to get such a massive drop in pH of around 1 full pH point - I maybe need to get a dropper or something for these acid additions to make them more accurate.

Using our Sargeant Sparge Head on the recirculation arm, our recirculation flow was fairly good. We didn't bother using any rice hulls in this one since we didn't have any wheat or oats which can really thicken up the mash. Though from memory, I think Gladfield suggest using them with the toffee malt, but we got away without them this time.

After our 60 minute mash at 65°C followed by a mash out at 75°C for 10 minutes, we sparged and whilst waiting for the wort to come to the boil we took a gravity reading and got 1.048 - 1 point above what the recipe predicted.

After reaching a boil we added our hop additions as per the recipe before chilling the wort down using our stainless immersion chiller

We took another gravity reading after the boil which was 1.049 - close enough to the 1.050 we were expecting

We then transferred to our Nano-X fermenter. We haven't been using this one lately as we've been going for the simplicity of our Apollo Titan, however we wanted to give the Nano-X another go this time. I think we're a bit worried about the lid not sealing properly, but we did some quick testing before filling and we're pretty sure we got the lid sealed OK (using some food grade lubricant on the seal is definitely a must to get it to seal correctly)

Due to the relatively warm weather on our brew night, we ended up transferring the wort at around 28°C as we couldn't get it much cooler than this with our warm tap water. We had planned to chill the wort in the fermenter in our fermentation fridge prior to pitching the yeast, but in our haste poured the packet in at 28°C! Certainly not the original plan, however yeast is often rehydrated at temperatures like this, so we chilled the wort to around 20°C over the next few hours in the fridge, well before signs of fermentation had started so we're reasonably confident this one will be OK.

Fermentation was underway within 24 hours of pitching the yeast.

Update: After dry hopping this beer it turned out way too bitter for our liking - check out our Tasting Results and Review post for more info.

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