So.LA West Coast IPA
Saturday gave me the chance to brew the CraftyBrew So.LA recipe kit from Brewuk.co.uk, it also was the first time that I would be using my new all-in-one system. At the start of the year I had the budget to move from a 20-litre stock pot system to an all-in-one. So, after researching into the different makes available (Hopcat, Ace and of course the Grainfather to name a few), the Grainfather was out of my budget.
After looking at the options there was the Klarstein Maischfest Boiler Mash Kettle, which was at the right price and which also allowed me to pick up 3 stainless steel fermenters for the price of a 50 litre Hopcat system.
Anyway, on to the brew day…
The system heated up nice and quickly, with 20 litres of water reaching temp within 30 minutes (give or take), it was time to mash in. Going slowing and avoiding any major doughballs it was time to turn on the new pump.
This is a 12v submersible solar pump that connects via a DC adapter, I’m not going to lie, this was a first for me. I am not really that technical when it comes to electronics and wiring. However, it works – so if I can do it, I’m sure anyone can. The pump worked solidly for the 1-hour recirculation but I did swap out the tin foil with punch holes as it just didn’t seem to be offering anything to disperse the flow.
The grain basket was a little cumbersome to remove from the mash, mainly due to having it on the kitchen counter and not on the floor. However, with standing on the chair and with a little help from Louise, the basket sat on top and drained in about 10 minutes.
After the sparge water was added, N.B this is a part that I will need to work on, as there are no marking within the kettle or anyway to see how much liquid there is collected underneath. But I cracked on nonetheless and guesses I had about 25 litres in the kettle ready to boil.
The boil was reached within 10 minutes and with the 3000 element turned on, it is a very vigorous boil and would lead to quite a lot of loss due to evaporation. I opted to turn it down to the 1500 option and this has a gentle rolling boil for the hour.
The cooling is where I used the submersible pump to all of its strengths, the ground water was sitting at around 22 degrees so that was my target. Using the supplied stainless-steel immersion chiller along with a bucket of ice, it brought the temperature down to 22 degrees within 20 minutes.
I did however have a problem with the hops clogging the tap and then the auto syphon. So, I had to resort to a large sieve on top of the fermenting bucket and slowly pour from the kettle from there. With not to much spillage or splash back, I collected 21 litres and aerated for a few minutes.
Adding the yeast on top and then putting it into the fermentation fridge, it stayed in the there for a week. Fermentation was a quick turnaround with US-05 yeast and dry-hopping in a muslin bag (they arrived after the brew day) for 4 days it was then put into a sanitised keg for carbing.
Now with the World Cup on, there is always an afternoon and evening game to enjoy with a cold beer. Which is what I have been doing with the Pale and the Sour beers on tap – I just know they will kick soon and I will have to brew this kit again – aw poor me.
So I would give this beer 8 / 10 as I know I can improve on the brew day mishaps and that might grab an extra point next time round.
- Really happy with the system so far
- Great tasting beer – best one I have brewed yet!
- Fermentation fridge works a treat
- Hop blockage
- No easy way to measure pre-boil volume of liquid
- Cumbersome removal of the grain basket