Is This Love - Whitesnake
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my dog starts out hanging with me, then he gives me a look like "is this it?" and asks to go inside
The neighbors cat on the other hand watches the boil for me.
Being pragmatic, I've gotta ask if you've worked on your crush. That's generally the biggest variable and it's a hell of a lot easier to deal with than water chemistry! But if you have experimented with crush, water is the next place to look.
I haven't really noticed the kettle-recirc pump whirlpool to be much more effective than hand stirring either. Most 5 gallon batches I don't even bother with my pump anymore.
My primary objective in wanting to get a pump to recirculate for chilling is so I can just put the lid on the kettle and let it go. That way it's less exposed to things getting in it (like bugs) and I can work on cleanup while it's chilling.