Lots of peace and quiet in the basement, and an uneventful brew day. Leads us to an ancient brewer’s curse:
May your brew day be exciting.
Lots to be said for a boring brew day with no equipment malfunctions, no missing ingredients, nothing wrong with anything and even, unheard of here in Colorado, no wind to fight with. Peace is a wonderful thing. Brewing in the zone is zen.
A couple of process changes: I did First-Wort Hopping for the beer. I want bitterness but no harshness so I went with the old German way of hopping. Nothing new there but during the lauter, I put the kettle on a hot plate turned up to full. This kept the wort at or above 175 degrees and should have bound more hop acids to sugars, giving me more of the good stuff from the hops. Time will tell. Second in my drive to drive harshness from my beers was mash capping.
To cap a mash, you add crystals and dark malts at sparge or second runnings. I did this with the CaraVienne and Blackprinz. The result was a beautiful wort, about exactly the right color, but the roasted and crystal grains in minimal contact with water. Should make for a smoother beer. Again, I’ll report in about two months – the Altbier, while an ale, needs to cool condition for a while.