First Brew down, accidently made a mid-strength APA

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jgriffin

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Well first brew back, into the land of this single vessel electric brewing. A shiny new Grainmaster G30 to try out, a new fermenter to fill, a sparge tank waiting for a drop of water to heat.. and so it started.

I was looking forward to a simplified day - no gas burners to worry about, no eskie mash-tuns with bunnings fittings subject to stuck sparges, no lifting vessels around. Gee it all sounded pretty simple.
I decided to run the brew manually rather than trying to program the Grainfather software. I figured it would be hard enough to not stuff up without adding in software to screw things up.

All in all the day went pretty well, no major issues except my OG was way hell off what I was aiming for (1.036 rather than 1.046). I only seemed to get around 65% efficiency! Ouch
I guess I added too much water to the mash and too little to the sparge.
I started with 20L in the vessel and sparged with 8L. I suspect I left too much sugar in the grain. Oh well, lesson learnt. I'll also sparge slower next time to see if that makes a difference.

Lessons learnt:
a) yes that silicon sealed bottom plate is a pain in the bum to install.. until you really really wet the grain basket. Still.. a little over fiddly
b) if you try to use the CFWC upside down, the march pump will stall constantly. Whoops.
c) check all fittings under pressure before the brew.. my hose fitting on the CFWC would not stop leaking and I did not have enough time at the end of the boil to fix it, so ended up just dousing the spray with a rag and dealing with it later
d) sodium perc does not cut the mustartd as a cleaner. I thought GF included their own cleaner but it appears not. I think i also used too much, it took about 4 rinse outs to get to a point where i could no longer see any film on the water.
e) I really dislike the screw-on fitting on the CFWC / sparge arm on the GF. One of those cam-locks is in my future
f) I really dislike the centre "malt pipe". It just seems to get in the way and want to attract grain. Are there any upgrades / hacks that remove it?

So.. for the first brew in 10+ years I was happy. No spilt wort, not major cleanups, no burns and what should be a drinkable beer at the end (maybe). It's bubbling away like crazy in the fermenter so looking forward to my first dry hop in a few days.
 
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