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Brew Day, Part 2

Saturday, continued.

Flame’s back on. Kettle’s boiling just as the sweat starts dripping from my nose. Step inside to cool off and pour a bit of pale ale. Sit and sigh for a minute. Brew will be done before dark — for once — but was it really supposed to get this hot today? Second t-shirt of the day. DC Brau.

Hear quiet sizzling. Sprint back outside and turn off the propane as the boilover keeps burning on the cast iron burner. Could be worse: hosing off a patio beats scrubbing a kitchen stove.

Skim, drip in some defoamer, and relight the burner. Back to a boil in no time. Skim off more hot break and bring a few drops of wort to the refractometer. Numbers look okay.

Hops go in on schedule, then some yeast nutrient and whirlfloc, then the chiller. Last addition of hops and the flame goes off for the day. Check numbers again. Gravity’s over. Volume is under. The burner will cooperate one day, just not today. Top off with more water and pour myself a little more pale ale.

Warm groundwater chills poorly but offers plenty of time to clean and put stuff away. Carboy’s sanitized and the wort is finally cool, or at least cool enough. Rack, seal, shake shake shake. Carboy sits in the fridge for a bit. More coughing, this time on PBW dust, and more cleaning.

Drag a heavy trash bag of spent malt and out to the trash. I guess the pros have to do this part too, but with shovels and 30 gallon trash cans. Every day. At least they make some cows happy. I feel guilty for not composting.

Decant and pitch some yeast, rinse out the Erlenmeyer. We did it. We made wort. The yeast are making it into something much better. Something a lot of people will be able to enjoy.

Sweaty mess at this point. Burned thumb and forearm. Sore back. Time for a shower and some fresh clothes.

And a beer.

Bill Jusino wishes his brew days went this smoothly. He can be reached on Twitter at @billjusino. Please don’t wake @JUSINO_CAPS.

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