Ale - first for 2011

[Lot no. for this batch bit.ly/gxZgon]

A week ago or so, Jim arranged a trip to Rockmill Brewery.  What a decadent surprise to have Belgian style ales that had been made just a few hundred feet away.  Thanks to all at Rockmill for your hospitality  (also, see Jill's post on the day's visit).  I arrived home inspired and tossed this ale recipe together with my new brewing rig with overhead stirrer.

Stirring a mash isn't common for a homebrewer.  Because of my background, I can't imagine heating a suspension without a stirrer, so I rigged one on my pot.  I was hoping for greater uniformity in temperature, and maybe slightly better extraction.  I was making an ale and first hardened Columbus' city water with 1.5 g epsom salts and 5 g gypsum for an anticipated final volume of 5 gallons.  I did a full volume infusion mash at a max temp of 153°F for 60 minutes, pulled the grains, boiled for an hour, chilled, fermented and bottled.  Pretty simple, not many snags.  The winter tap water is cold(!) this time of year, chills quick.  Here's some action shots of the brewing.  I'll save you a couple brews Matt and thanks for the outing Jim!

Breiss 2 row, 10-11 lbs
Crystal malt 60°, 1 lb
Black patent malt, 100 g
30 L water hardened as described in text
Northern Brewer Hops, 1.5 oz, 60 min
Fuggles, 1/2 oz 30 min, 1/2 oz 15 min to end
Wyeast, American Ale
OG 1.052 (refractometer)
FG 1.012
Bottled 26-Jan-11

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Oh, some clips from our visit. Some of the manly men in our party sabered some bottles (I'm a clutz, I wimped out):
John: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5_12IG_Zyg
Ben: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsJvy24Iois