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Brew day Heather Wheat Ale

Wednesday morning, the 16th of September, was a very comfortable temperature for a brew day. My younger brother Eric, loves my Heather Wheat Ale so much, (and he drank so much of it!) that he paid for a new batch to be brewed. Eric has always been just the average guy beer drinker too. But he has been developing his beer chops quite a bit with my home brew.

  Eric also wanted to help brew the batch as well. Boy was he in for a surprise! He did not have a clue as to what would be involved with the brewing process. I also thought, free labor for all of the clean up.

Well Eric showed up right on time at 10:00 am. That was a surprise. We both set about getting the equipment set up in front of my garage, and then measured out the water for the mash tun and hot liquor tank. Then while we were waiting, we started on our first beer of the day. I had some of my pale ale, and Eric started with the semi-historical ale that Kent and I brewed up on July 4th. I always love having beer at breakfast time!

The mash temp was set for 151 degrees, and we hit it perfectly. I had Eric pour in the grains while I stirred it into the water. It was really nice to have some help with this part! Then it was time to let it steep for an hour. Then we had another beer or two while we waited.

Mash out was next, and that went well. I recirculated the wort, all the while explaining to Eric the brewing process. Then we set up for sparging. Water flow was adjusted to make a nice slow flow through the sparge arm. It took almost an hour for the sparge to finish. We had already started the fire under the boiling kettle, so it did not take long to get a nice rolling boil. Then the first edition of hops was added. While we were watching the boil and smelling the delicious aroma,  we decided to have yet another beer.

We added the last addition of hops at 30 minutes, irish moss at 20 minutes, then the first addition of heather at 15 minutes. The last addition of heather came at knockout, and that steeped for another 15 minutes. Another beer was in order for the wait.

Now came the cooling. I showed Eric how to hook up my counter flow wort chiller to the boiling kettle, hose, the out flow hoses, and pump. I did not need to pack any ice around the chiller this day to speed up the process of cooling. I fired up the pump, turned on the water, and the wort started flowing into the carboy. The OG target was 1.051, and when I took a sample for testing, it was at a nice 1.054. We also had another beer while we were waiting.

Once we filled the carboy, I had Eric lift it to bring into the house so I could pitch the yeast. Again it was really nice to have someone who is strong to carry the heavy carboy.

Yeast was pitched, and the carboy was swirled to mix in the yeast. The airlock was attached, and the carboy put into a water bath. Then we had another beer.

Needless to say Eric did all of the clean up while I drank a beer. He emptied all of the spent grain into our composter, flushed out the wort chiller, and scrubbed and dried all three kettles. It is nice having a "mash monkey" to assist on brew day!

Eric now has a new found respect for what it takes to make beer. He had know idea how much work was involved, and that I do it all by myself. So we celebrated a great day of brewing with, you guessed it, another beer.

Heather Wheat Ale 5 gals.

6 lbs. domestic 2 row

5 lbs. domestic wheat

1/2 lb. rice hulls

1.25 ozs. willamette pellets 4.90 AA 60 mins.

.50 ozs. willamette pellets 4.90 AA 30 mins

1 tsp. irish moss 20 mins.

1 cup dried heather tips 15 mins.

1 cup dried heather tips knockout steep for 15 minutes

White Labs WLP-001 yeast in starter

Mash 1.25 qts. water per pound of grain at 151 degrees for 60 minutes

Boil time 60 minutes

Target OG 1.051

Final 1.012/1.010

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