Using blankets kept the mash temperature within 2 degrees of target. I only had to put the flame on once. My equipment includes a 15 gallon (58L) Brew Built kettle and a Dark Star 2.0 propane burner with manual flow controller.
I used a long spoon to stir the grains.
It was only 15F (-9C) outside. A very cold November day. Had to stand on a chair to lift the bag.
I hung the bag on my bicycle stand to allow the wort to drip into my 22L extract brewing kettle. Got 7 cups (1.7L) of wort to return to the boil.
I purchased this thermometer the day before the brew and calibrated it at 212F (100C). I found this was easier than trying to calibrate at 32F (0C).
Everything seemed to be going fine when I heard a trickling noise from inside the kettle. The chiller supply line sprung a leak at the connection between the tubing and the copper inlet! I think I had the flow too high. In addition, the chiller is built for a smaller kettle so the tubing was inside the pot. 2 gallons of fresh water flowing through 50 feet of garden hose entered the wort before I realized what was happening!
Initially, I decided to put the flame back on to boil off the extra 2 gallons. Then I decided that was a bad idea. Plus I was tired after being at this for 5 hours. So, I repaired the chiller, cooled the wort, and put it in the fermenter. The OG was only 1.040 while the target was 1.058. It will be a "light" APA if it turns out. I'm a bit worried because active fermentation hasn't begun yet, two days after pitching the yeast. I've never had an issue with 13 extract brews before this. Perhaps 13 was my lucky number. Wish me luck!
- 11 gallons of water is really heavy! Purchase a food grade hose to get water to the kettle while it is on the burner.
- Take the time to boil water in your new pot to understand the loss rates. This would have reduced my stress levels while wondering how all that water was going to boil off!
- Blankets work very well to insulate the pot. Tuck them above the flames so you don't burn them like I did!
- Immersion Chiller - Important to periodically agitate the wort or chilling rate slows considerably.
- Check connections to the chiller and limit the flow rate to avoid over-pressurizing the lines.
- Expect a lot of trub to come out of the ball valve, if you have one. Consider using an auto siphon if you want to avoid some of this.