New Year's Eve Brew - Great To Disaster To Great

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RIP bum
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NYE: Nothing to do in the day so I decide to put down a brew, keg blew the day before so was feeling like I HAD to :)

Here is the story, some words, some pics -

Tried to solder the elbow that joins the upright bit connecting my manifold to the bulkhead, no luck, kept failing, removed the oxides with starsan etc, no help. Gave up... Should have put the teflon tape back on though!

Started the day off with a bottle of "My wife's bitter".

Alright, crush went smoooth.. thos ozito concrete mixer drills really kick ass. My cheap juice bottle hopper held up pretty well.

Mashed in 2.5 Kilo Wheat and 2.5 kilo Pils malt with 100 grams of crystal. Should've rung an alarm bell in my head as I was literally pouring wheat flour into the tun. Anyway.. plod on, decocted twice, some really nice aromas. Opened a Schneider weisse now, for inspiration!

Ah, before I forget, I haven't made an HLT, so I'm heating water in a pot on the stove to sparge etc. PITA... note to self, make an HLT before next brew.

So, I fill the mash tun up with the mashout water, muddy mess in there so I have a brainwave and connect the pump up that I've been keeping around for when I put together a proper rig, good recirc happened, no jugs ;)
DSC00283.JPG DSC00281.JPG
Good thing I did, I ended up using it a lot through thte brewday.
Recirc done, I start draining to the kettle, opened the valve too much and the flow stopped.... So, I take the mash paddle and try to break up the grain bed a little (Its a hefeweizen.. doesn't matter), flow starts but I notice that I have grain flowing through to the kettle!! wtf. Quick feel around with the mash paddle and this elbow I really wanted to solder had gotten quite loose with the heating and cooling under the flame and now its just fallen right off!
A few attempts to double up on the glove and connect a new elbow up and my hand is burning so I give up that idea. Decesion made, pump it all to the kettle and then fix the manifold and pump it all back and drain again. OK, so I connect up the pump again. Get it low enough to work with the manifold and fix:
Now, its 42 degrees out in the sun eh! I'm not getting any better for all this stuffing around. Getting a tan perhaps!
OK, so the manifold is fixed and I pump it all back, its not draining from the tun this time!!! Grain got into the manifold itself in all that and its blocking flow. I decide, **** it, I'm gonna lauter this *******, sort of 'goomba style'. Here goes -
^ really high tech lauter. Did an outstanding job! Albeit, because the tap hole in my tun is a bit high, there was some loss of volume because of not being able to use the manifold. Not much I could do except sparge a lot (need an HLT!!!). Still, last runings were 1023 :S
Anyway, the wort is in the kettle. Finally!
All OK from there really.
A pic of the brew on a balcony setup:
And the recirc I managed to get, if only the grain bed had obliged and the manifold not failed...:

All in all, PITA day, didn't expect so much trouble with a big wheat %, but I guess I was asking for it. Like everything 2011, it was painful but I didn't give up on it! Right now waiting to see if my vial of 3638 will fire up in the starter I made or I have to pitch a dry munich wheat yeast. 20L batch hopped with 20-22g of motueka pellets for 45 minutes.

J Grimmer

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what a way to end the year! I hope it works out for you.