I actually did this on Friday, but I was too tired to post it. This took about 4 hours from start to finish, mainly because I had to wait for all of that water to come to a boil after steeping the specialty grains, and it took longer than expected to cool everything down(even with my wort chiller). The day went very smoothly, though. I think it helps that I read tons of books in preparation, and watched dozens of videos.
The recipe I chose was the Liberty Cream Ale from Midwest supplies, the same place I bought my equipment kit. I actually didn’t buy the ingredients for this batch from Midwest, but it is their recipe. I bought the LME(liquid malt extract) from Brew Camp while I was visiting my family in Illinois in August. And I bought the specialty grains, hops and yeast from Maltose Express in Monroe, CT, after going to their malt extract brewing class a couple of weeks ago.
As for the brew session, I think I learned a couple of valuable lessons for next time. First, I should start heating up the water for the main boil right away, even before I start steeping the grains. I used a smaller pot to steep 8 oz of Carapils, and I heated another 5.5 gallons in my large brewpot. after steeping grains for 30 minutes, and adding that water to the main pot, it still took another 40 minutes to come to a boil. I did a full volume boil, so I was heating up 6.25 gallons, with the extra volume for evaporation losses during the boil. The second area I need to improve is my cooling. I made a copper immersion wort chiller, and it worked fairly well. No leaks(I tested it twice before brew day), but it is fairly short(20 feet), so it took much longer to cool than I anticipated. Next time, I’m going to cool the wort to around 120°F, and then use a submersible pump to circulate ice water through the coils. I’m hoping that will get me down below 80°F a little faster.
Other than those two issues, everything went well, and cleanup was a breeze. I’m planning to rack to a secondary next weekend, and then I’ll probably bottle on the 27th or 28th! I still have some Mr. Beer Blue Patriot and Bohemian Bronze in bottles, but I’m really looking forward to this! Have a great day, everyone! Here are a few pics