Teach a Friend to Homebrew Recap

Ahh, a crisp sunny day in fall.  What better way to spend it than teaching some friends how to brew?  That’s just what a dozen PG brewers did on Saturday, November 7th, the official Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day as designate by the American Homebrewers Association.

Our host and instructor for the day was Neil Saund, who graciously offered up his duplex for the event.  In his mash tun was a dark concoction of 2-row malt, flaked barley and roasted barley destined to soon become “Black Gold Stout II”.  The temperature had been adjusted to 150oF to optimize the dryness of this Irish-style dry stout

While the mash enzymes were doing their magical work, Neil offered up two selections from the “Monster Brew” session back in May, including a Munich Helles and an Oktoberfest.   These two lagers were soon joined by a keg of IPA provided by Carl Townsend.  The beer scene was now set, but, sensing a lack of munchies, Carl scurried off to get a couple platters of cold cuts, crackers and hot wings.

In the meantime, Neil set up the sparge and started collecting wort in the brewkettle.  He hit his starting boil volume of 13 gallons just as the refractometer informed us that the sugary goodness of the mash had been depleted.   Then it was on to the boil.  A single 60 minute addition of East Kent Golding pellets made up the entire hop schedule.

Finally, Neil hooked up his way-cool brazed-plate counterflow heat exchanger and circulating pump.  By cleverly having put his hops into a mesh bag, the chiller flowed freely, avoiding this session from becoming a #&!!^*%%! brew session.   Soon the two six-gallon carboys were filled to the working volume at a perfect 68oF.  A second appearance of the refractometer informed us that the wort actually slightly exceeded the target OG of 1.048.  While most brewers would be delighted with the higher efficiency, Neil was somewhat dismayed.  “It’s supposed to be able to float for black-and-tans,” he explained.   He topped it up with a bit of additional water and dumped in a very healthy-looking yeast culture of WLP013 London Ale yeast.

With the brew safely in carboys and the sun starting to set, we helped Neil clean up his duplex, knowing that it would be just a couple of weeks before we head back for the holiday party.  Thanks for hosting Neil.  And, as a testament to your teaching skills, two of your students have already succeeded in producing an all-grain batch!