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English Brown

Yesterday I took advantage of the good weather and brewed 20 gallons of English brown ale. The brew day was long (8+ hours) and went pretty well, despite a couple small hiccups. I left the mash tun valve open while I was pumping the water over from the kettle, which then dumped hot water all over my shoes and the grant electronics box. The grant box is pretty well sealed so it didn’t hurt anything, and all I had to deal with was a slightly thicker mash than I would have otherwise (and a wet foot). I also ran out of propane once, but I stole the one off the grille and kept on going. The yeast was a re-pitched slurry from the Smoked Porter a couple weeks ago, and since all 20 gallons are vigorously fermenting this morning (<12 hours), I'm taking that as a good sign of health.

The original gravity is also a little higher than I intended at 1.058, but even though it doesn't fit within style guidelines I doubt anyone is going to complain. I used 36# Optic pale and Maris Otter base malts, 2# Crystal 60L, 1# Special Roast, 1# Carabrown, and 2# Pale Chocolate malts with 2oz Magnum for bittering and 5oz Sonnet Golding for flavor and aroma. This is the first time I've brewed this recipe, and I realized that breaking out the 20 gallon equipment for "experimental" batches doesn't freak me out anymore. I'd never make 20 gallons of something totally wacky without testing it on a smaller scale, but for run-of-the-mill mostly-to-style kinds of beers – sure, no problem. Besides, I'm likely giving away 10 gallons of this batch anyways.

Nearly all my fermenters are occupied right now – I've got one 6.5 gallon fermenter that's empty and a 3 gallon that I hardly ever use, but the 8 others (1 12gal, 2 6.5 gal and 5 5 gal) are all full… That should help fill most of those empty kegs I've got sitting in the basement.

I probably won't brew again until March 27th – my next All-Grain class at How Do You Brew?. I was in there on Thursday picking up 3 sacks of grain and Marlana told me the class (20 people?) is already full. Teaching all-grain is always rewarding, and hopefully the people get something useful out of the class too. If nothing else, they should realize that if this bozo can do this, so can I…

Categories: Brew gear, Brew session
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