So recently I have discovered an issue with my brewing process. Some background:
Been brewing for about 6 years, I’m the only one of my “brewing” friends who does all grain, because I’m the only one who seems to care about learning. My friends are great and good beer fans, just don’t like to think about recipes and science too much, so they stick to extract brewing (nothing wrong with that of course). I write industrial software for a living, so I decided to automate my home brewery. This includes pumps, auto valves, and a kettle with a heating rod mounted inside.
For the last year or so, id say about half of my brews were turning out wrong. Some were merely not as good as I hoped, but some were terrible and undrinkable. The other half ranged from good to great.
The last brew I did, I definitely scorched my beer. Badly. The heating element was getting too hot, and the wort I had must have had too much proteins/sugars/some-chemistry-thing and the heating element was covered in caked on blackness. At about 30 minutes into the boil, the beer smelled “toasty”. After the boil ended, I sanitized a small cup and tasted it… Tasted like burnt toast with some hops and sugar in the background. So, I am going to move to a propane burner for the boil on my next and future brews, thus hopefully increasing my success rate. I have no idea why some beers worked great with this kettle while others flat out sucked, I can only assume it’s recipe dependent.
Also, I didn’t keep the wort moving while the element was active, and I don’t have a temp controller to decrease the temperature. It’s either on or off.
I write this post to share my follies, but also ask what other silly or not so silly mistakes you guys have made? Something that made you frustrated, made you laugh, or gave you a eureka moment that changed it all for you? Let’s hear it!