Yesterday I was finally able to break in all the new equipment I've been collecting, building, and blogging about the past few weeks. This was my first true 'all-grain' beer, since I have been using the BIAB (brew in a bag) method up until now for all of my beers (not counting collaborations on other peoples equipment, of course). I wanted something I could put on tap without having to wait months for oaking, aging, or souring, so I decided I'd brew an IPA to fill up my last keg. I drew a lot of inspiration for the recipe from some clone recipes (Pliny the Elder, Knuckle Sandwich, and Stone Ruination to be specific) and some sage advice from fellow homebrewers.
My friend Rick showed up for the brewday, he brought a few IPAs for "inspiration" and I cracked open a couple beers from the cellar as well. I had a great time but next time I definitely need to get an EZ-up because I almost fried in the near-100 degree heat without any shade.
I was expecting a few hiccups along the road, but nothing major really happened. I will need to upgrade to a larger HLT (that one only holds 6 gallons) for my next batch though; I didn't add enough water to the mash tun so I did an accidental cereal mash for 15 minutes while I hurriedly heated up a second batch of strike water. Other than that, this was probably the smoothest brewday yet, and it almost seemed easier than doing BIAB. Best of all, my efficiency for this batch was ~76%, which is way better than I was expecting. All in all it took about 7 hours from heating up the strike water to putting the carboy into the fermchamber.