So, the beer is boiling. Lets go quickly over what has been done up to now.
First, I put the Light Malted Barley and the Flaked Oats into the Mash Tun. Then I poured a little under three gallons of hot water in over them and mixed it together. I adjusted the temperature to 152 Degrees Fahrenheit, and let it sit for a little over an hour. Then I added the Chocolate Malt (Dark malted) Barley, and the Roasted Barley. I added about a gallon of boiling water to bring the temperature back up, and let it sit for another 20 minutes.
Next, I drained the liquid out and did what’s called “Sparging”. In this process, you add more hot water (175 F) to the mash as you drain it. I ended up adding around 5-6 gallons of water to the mash during sparging. Also, following some advice I got online, I poured the first half gallon I got out of the tun back in on top as part of the sparge.
It’s important when sparging to put the water in gently so as not to create channels in the mash. If you do it wrong, the water runs through the channels and doesn’t pick up as much flavor, sugar, or enzymes from the mash. I achieved this by simply floating a plastic potato salad container lid on top of the mash, and pouring the water onto it.
When all is said and done, you should end up with 7 gallons of liquid out of the Mash.
I put this in my big pot (it just BARELY fit), and set it to boil. From 160+ degrees, it still took nearly 45 minutes to come up to a boil again.
While it’s heating, and first boiling, nasty foam forms on top. Skim this off with a ladle or something, as it will make the beer really cloudy otherwise.
So, I let it BOIL for 15 minutes, then add the first set of Hops.
And that’s where I am now. It has to boil for ANOTHER 40 minutes before I add the finishing hops. So, a little more time to kill.
At first it smelled like cooking oatmeal cookies mixed with hot cereal, like cream of wheat. But within seconds of adding the hops, it smells like beer.
Anyway, when the 40 minutes is up, I’ll add the second set of hops, and a little Irish Moss, which is supposed to help clarify the beer. Then it will boil for 20 more minutes, then sit for half an hour to cool and settle, THEN once it’s cool enough (80 F) I’ll add the yeast and seal it up.
More as it happens.