My overwhelming impression of the experience was how long it took to do. Several things lead to it taking much longer than I anticipated:
- The boiler kept cutting out after the 1st hour of boiling. This is apparently a well known problem with my boiler, and down to the thermostat and the element having temperature cut-outs built in. I don't remember this happening last time, so I'm going to try cleaning the limescale off the element before next time.
- I had to cool the wort using a couple of frozen coke bottles full of water. This seemed ingenious to me when I thought it up, and I imagined plunging the frozen bottles into the wort with steam flying up round my ears. It was, in reality, much less dramatic and less effective than I thought. It took well over half an hour for the wort to cool to pitching temperature, meaning I didn't get a cold break (the beer will be cloudy), and it took longer.
- I don't have a hop filter fitted to the tap of the boiler, and couldn't find any hop bags, meaning that the tap got very clogged up with hop debris when I was running the wort out into the fermenter. This took absolutely ages, and I ended up having to blow up through the tap several times to clear it.
After this experience, I have decided that I need the following pieces of equipment:
It is my birthday coming up, so my family should really be reading this...
Anyhow, the beer is fermenting now (I hope), I realised after I'd opened the packet of Safale yeast that there is twice as much as such a short brew needs in that pack, so I'm hoping it should go like bajeezus. I ended up getting about 8ltr from the boiler and topped that up to 12 in the fermenter to give me a starting gravity of 1.035. it should turn out as a nice, session type ale, but very very hoppy (possibly too hoppy).