On Monday we brewed the Black Rye IPA mentioned a couple of posts back. This was our first brewday testing out our new mash tun and hop spider. The mash went quite smoothly, and the flow rate of the wort during the mash (recirculation) was much higher than in our previous setup, allowing for more precise temperature control. I also think we managed to squeeze out a couple of extra litres of wort from the tun. Mashing didn’t go perfectly though, as after the mash we first noticed that our pre-boil gravity was much lower than that predicted by Beersmith (@65% efficiency): 1.051 vs 1.065. The second problem, was that the weight of the false bottom and grain had made some marks in the bottom of inner bucket, which I assume had softened up a bit because of the warm temperatures. The false bottom is kept above the bottom of the bucket with 5 screws, and I think we need to distribute the weight some more to prevent further ‘damage’ in the future. The boil went smoothly, and the hop spider managed to keep the hop pellets contained. After the boil we recirculated the hot wort for 10 minutes through the hop spider to catch as much trub as possible. Pumping into the fermentation vessel went smoothly, and we ended up with 24 liters of 1.065 wort (= 65% efficiency), instead of the intended 20 liters of 1.078 wort (calculated with 65% efficiency). So in the end, the low pre-boil gravity was a result of using too high of a mash volume. A quick glance at the BeerSmith settings, and I realized that I had setup the mash tun loss as 8 liters. I lowered this to 4 liters, which should hopefully result in us hitting the correct gravities in the future. I don’t really mind the lower gravity, since now the ABV will be lowered from around 8.3% to 6.3%, resulting in a more drinkable beer. Anyways, the wort tasted really nice with lots of hoppy bitterness and some light roasted tones. The pre-boil sample tasted really chocolately, which I assume is from the Chocolate Rye, which is known for its milk chocolate flavours. We pitched one pouch of US-05 and one of S-04 when the wort had hit 17 degrees C, and placed the fermenter in our fermentation chamber set at 17.5 degrees C. The next day there was already lots of activity in the airlock, and I’m hoping the beer turns out great!