The Brewing of Jack Amber

After an aggravating and exhausting morning (which was that of November 5) I decided it was time to brew my amber.  So, I gathered all my utensils and ingredients and set forth.  First, the equipment needing a good washing, as it always does before any session of homebrewing.  I submerged them in soap and very hot water.  In fact, my hands were quite numb and tingly afterward because of the heat.

After rinsing them with very hot water it was time to do some sanitizing.  Here’s what I have for that:

The mash started well this time.  I believe a big reason it went so well is that the ambient temperature is much lower than in May, when I did my last batch.  It’s November and had even snowed the day before I brewed.  I heated up my mash water to around 160 – 162 degrees then dumped in seven pounds of grain.  The mash stablilized at 148 – 150 degrees.

I always forget how good brewing smells.

The mash held at the above temperatures for sixty minutes.  I put the fire on briefly to raise the temperature and then it was sparging time.

Here’s my simple setup at home.  The sparge water is in the kettle on the right.   My bottling bucket is doing duty as a sparging bucket this day via a large grain bag.  The mash has already been poured into the bucket here and the mash kettle is ready to collect the wort.

At 170 degrees, the sugars and starches just rinse right off those beautiful grains and make a tasty wort.  The sparge took approximately forty-five minutes, maybe a little longer.  I was very happy about that; my last sparge was only around thirty minutes.  I even remembered to snag a hydrometer sample as I sparged.

At around 120 degrees the reading was 1.048.  This picture is the final reading at room temperature and it’s 1.051 or 1.052.  I was happy with that.  The last batch was much lower.  Obviously it’s now time for boiling.

It was a sixty minute boil.   To the boil was added one ounce of Glacier hops.

I don’t remember how long it took to chill the wort, but it was longer than it should be since I no longer have a wort chiller.  That’s on my list of Wanted Equipment.  But it eventually cooled and I pitched White Labs Cream Ale.  Granted, that’s not standard for an amber.  It sounded like a good fit, however.

It was brewed on the fifth of November and bottled on the twelfth.  The gravity reading at bottling time was 1.015.  I collected 36 twelve ounce bottles.  I tried one beer on the twenty-fourth.  It was still a little young.  The hops were too prevalent.  I’m going to give it about another week.  A review will appear here for all interested.  There may even be samples that go out.

Next up … Jack Brown.

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