Back in the saddle

After several brew mishaps I took a bit of time off from brewing.  Most of the issues centered around my grain crush so I used the time off to take a deep dive into my mill.

My grain mill has been used quite frequently for the past 3 years.  During that time I’ve never cleaned it.  Tearing it apart and cleaning it was the first order of business.   In doing so I found that the knurls on the main roller were definitely worn.   After cleaning it I figured it would be a good idea to invert the main roller and reassemble the mill and test it.   Unfortunately I encountered the same problem that plagued my recents brews; the mill would just spin and not crush grain.  A closer look was necessary.   A few days go by and I take a second look and notice the the rollers were worn more on the ends.  That’s when it clicked.   I finally realized it was the hopper was extending too far into the mill and rubbing on the rollers.   That would certainly cause them to not spin freely.  So that leads me to my most recent brews.

After figuring out my mill issues I decided I’d enter the AHA National Homebrew Competition (NHC).  Of the 100+ brews I’ve done I’d say my Kolsch and Black IPA are the best beers I’ve made that are “to style”.  So I figured I should make new versions of those beers and submit them in the NHC.

First up was the Kolsch since it needs as much cold storage time post fermentation as possible.   It ideally needs 2 – 3 weeks to “lager” so I brewed it 5 days ago.   In this version has Hallertau, Tettnang, and Saaz hops.  The later of which I dialed from previous versions.  It’s almost done fermenting so I should be transferring it to a keg within a few days.

Next up the Black IPA.  This is one of my favorite styles of beer, it’s hard to find a great commercial example.  I’ve had plenty that are good, but non that are “great”.   The first Black IPA I made was based on the Ace Of Spades kit.  That brew and research on others is what inspired NHC version of my Black IPA.   So the malt bill is quite different and the hops are mix of Pellets & Crypo Hop Pellets.  It should be interesting.  Today was brew day and I’m happy to report every thing worked as expected and I hit my target gravity.

So I’m back in the saddle with two brews happily fermenting away.  I hope they turn out well.

Fingers Crossed