Instead of asking individual questions a hundred times, I thought I’d write out exactly what I do and how I do it, and have you guys give your opinions as to what I do well, and what I should change.
Here’s an IPA I like brewing. I brew 2.5 gallon batches because it’s just me and I end up with a nice round case of 12oz bottles in the end.
4.25 lbs Two Row
1.5 oz C120
1lb cane sugar
1oz Chinook hops (60 minutes)
1oz Simcoe hops (30 minutes)
1/2oz Cascade (10 minutes)
1/2oz Cascade (at flame out)
1 oz leaf dry hop
I follow a rule of 1 quart of strike water per pound of grain. In this case, I’ve used just under 5 quarts of water. I’ll heat my strike water to ~170F and pour that into my MT and let it cool to roughly 167F, and dump in my grains. Give a good stir, check the temp and with any luck, I’ve hit ~150F. Spin on the lid and let that sit for 60 minutes. (MT is a 3 gallon beverage igloo cooler)
At around 20 minutes remaining, I measure out 3.25 gallons of sparge water and heat that to ~180F, pour that into my bottling bucket with a valve at the bottom. I let that cool to ~ 170 and begin sparging. I let the sparge water trickle into my MT, keeping about an inch of water on top on my grain bed, while I open the valve at the bottom of my MT and let that trickle into my kettle, aiming for ~3.25 gallons.
I set that to boil for 60 minutes and aim for a post boil volume of 2.5 gallons.
Now would be a good time to inform my readers that I still consider myself a novice brewer. I started out brewing just to see if I would maintain any amount of passion to continue. No doubt the passion has remained and now it’s time to step up my game and brew BY THE NUMBERS. The only figures I’ve paid attention to are my FG readings after fermentation for the purpose of knowing when to bottle.
That’s about to change as today, I’m going to my LHBS to buy myself a refractometer. I’ve always known that I needed to take more readings, but being that I my batches are small, by the time I take all of the hydrometer readings I should be taking, I’d end up with a 6 pack at the end of it all. So that’s why I’m opting for the refractometer.
This next batch, (tomorrow) will be the first time I measure brewing efficiency, preboil gravity and post boil gravity. And that brings up a question right off the bat. I know that I want to have a post boil volume of 2.5 gallons, but what if my post boil numbers aren’t there yet? Do I have the logic right that I want to hit my number at the same time as my post boil volume?