Single Speed Brewday
A man can only be told so many times to do something before he finally caves in and writes on a blog even though he doesn't really know what that is supposed to be.  Anyway, I'll share how my day goes today brewing Single Speed American Red Ale.  This is a 10-gallon batch brewed on the larger of the 2 systems I have.  Picture ans some information below.

The brewday really starts a few days in advance as I make "yeast starters."  Basically yeast are cool little fellas that eat sugar and poop alcohol and carbon dioxide.  They turn sugar water into beer.  By making a small solution a few days in advance I can verify that I have active yeast that will produce a quality beer. 

Last night I weighed out the grains that are needed and put them through the Barley Crusher grain mill.  This takes the grain and tears the husk off and breaks it open.  This will allow the inner starch of the grain to be exposed to hot water on brewday and be converted to sugars (thanks again high school chemistry & biology).  After crushing the grains they're sealed off for the night and I do some nerdy calculations.  After all, brewing is essentially science and I'm an engineer so yes I follow numbers pretty closely.

Finally brewday.  After getting more propane I'm ready to start...
10:15am.  Heat 9 gallons of water (called strike water) to 165° to mash in with the grains.
10:55am. Mash in.  Basically mix the strike water with the grains that The Boss and I weighed and crushed last night.  Check out pictures...she was a good little helper!
11:30am. Start heating sparge water.  This is used to "rinse" the grains to get any extra sugars out.
11:32 am. Open a beer to keep the homebrew gods happy. Besides, you can't drink all day unless you start in the morning!
11:50am. Recirculate wort (the strike water now has sugars from sitting for an hour with the grains so it's now called wort) through the mash tun to clear grain dust from the beer.
11:55am. Pump wort into boil kettle.
12:00pm. Pump sparge water into mash tun.
12:15pm. Pump sparge wort into boil kettle and start flame.
12:20pm. He-Man brew kettle and 12 1/3 gallons of wort onto new burner as typical brew kettle burner had gas leak. Sweat profusely. 
12:45pm. Open another beer.  Hell, nobody's standing here telling me not to!
12:50. Clean CFC (counter-flow-chiller). Neat little series of plates that is used to cool the boiled wort to the correct temperature to pitch the yeast.  Hot wort goes in 1 end, cold water goes in the other, they travel through a series of plates crossing over each other, and the cold water draws the heat from the hot wort.  Thank you heat transfer class at Marquette University.
1:00pm. Boil has started.
1:05pm. Add bittering hops.  Hops that are boiled for 60minutes add primarily bitterness to the beer. Hops boiled for 20-40 minutes contribute flavor, and Hops boiled for under 10 minutes add primarily aroma.  Dry hopping (aging the beer in a fermentation vessel with extra hops inside) adds only aroma and is a wonderful thing. I'd expand more on what hops I'm using but please refer to the recipes page for more information.
1:45pm. Add flavoring hops.
2:00pm. Add aroma hops.
2:05pm. Flame out. Cool wort through CFC into sanitized fermentation vessels and pitch (add) yeast.  

Clean up sucks but is a necessary evil.  I'm not going to go into detail on that.

That's pretty much how the day goes every time I brew using the 10-gallon setup.  Next time I do a 5-gallon batch I'll document that as the equipment is a little diffferent.
From left to right: HLT - Hot liquor tank. Used to heat strike and sparge water. MLT - Mash/lauter tun. Used to mix strike water and crushed grains to produce wort. BK - Boil or Brew Kettle. Used to boil the wort and add hops. Not shown is the pump mounted on the lower deck to transfer liquids. Lifting 150# scalding hot barrels isn't fun.

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