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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: jrp5u on March 14, 2013, 01:48:33 AM

Title: Switching to All Grain
Post by: jrp5u on March 14, 2013, 01:48:33 AM
Hello,
 My husband and I are pretty new to home brewing. We have used kits previously with liquid malt extracts but I wold like to try switching to all grain method. Do any of you have any suggestions for the first route we should take? Methods? Recipes? Suggestion?

We would love some input!

Thanks!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: adruma on March 14, 2013, 01:53:15 AM
Check out www.dennybrew.com and you'll be on the right path!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: euge on March 14, 2013, 02:10:54 AM
Batchsparging is probably the easiest. My suggestion is to look into the type of water you have. Some types of water and their mineral or "salt" contents are ill suited for certain styles.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 14, 2013, 02:28:32 AM
The first time I did all grain, I said after it was all done - " that is all there is to it?". It was good beer!
 
The last 18 years have been about making better beer and doing variations on the process. Sometimes a simple single infusion mash is a thing of beauty, and quick and simple. Sometimes a double decoction is fun, just because.

Don't be afraid of all grain. You will end up making beer, and it will probably be good beer.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: sparkleberry on March 14, 2013, 02:58:09 AM
I started all grain by doing 3gallon biab batches and had a blast. I knew I also wanted to try batch sparging and have since moved to it using the Denny link above. I love it. the last brew day I had was my best go at it and I think I've got my system just about dialed in. I still biab on occasion just to change it up. my only regret was buying a small chest freezer because I can only ferment 2 beers at a time!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: fmader on March 14, 2013, 02:38:04 PM
The first time I did all grain, I said after it was all done - " that is all there is to it?". It was good beer!

This statement was true for me too. First off, let me throw out there that I've only been brewing for a year and all grain brewing since last June, so by no means am I a pro. I learned the routine of mashing and sparging by watching YouTube videos. I would recommend batch sparging. It's simple, it works, and it's faster. Check out Denny's page. He has everything you need to know to get you started with the batch sparge technique. Your brew day will become a bit longer (5-6 hours total), but it is worth it. As far as recipes go, I created my own for my first all grain batch. I learned how to do this by reading Designing Great Beers by Daniels. My first was a pale ale... Something simple. I still remember taking the first drink of it and thinking, "wow! I made this! This is great!". I probably went in over my head with my second grain batch with a cherry stout, but it too was good and actually the beer I entered into NHC. But you did the first step of becoming a better brewer by asking for help. I didn't become a member of the AHA until just before Christmas. It has been by far the best investment I have made to become a better brewer. These people on here are full of knowledge!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: dean_palmer on March 14, 2013, 03:10:10 PM
Follow the simple and humble guidance on DennyBrew.com and you'll be well informed.

Literally all you need is a cooler to soak/mash the grains and some way to filter them out of the resulting wort. No multi-cooler "all-grain kit" or special equipment needed. Keep it simple as it is only difficult if you make it that way :-)

Almost 10 years ago I ran out to the hardware store and bought a cooler and some parts and have never looked back. Never started with extract, and was sparging into a bucket, and using the brew kettle (turkey fryer pot) to heat the water. Then poured the wort into the kettle for the boil. Simple, basic, cheap.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: Jeff M on March 14, 2013, 04:09:03 PM
Most LHBS should have some sort of all grain kit if you are wary of making your own recipe.  This is what i did for my first all grain just because i wanted the process to be as easy as i could make it for my first attempt.  Now i have 2-3 more recipes that i have found with that im confident in doing because i understand the process.  I think i spent about 600 bucks on new equipment for All grain.  New 15g kettle, propane burner(because no way am i putting a 15g kettle on a electric stove), immersion chiller, and a bunch of other stuff i probably didnt need.  So keep it simple.  make sure your kettle can handle your recipe, have your mash tun with false bottom or steel braid and keep it simple.  then worry about things likes spigots and hosing and streamlining your process.

2 cents
Jeff
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: beersk on March 14, 2013, 04:26:02 PM
*cough* brew in a bag *cough*, IS probably the easiest way to try it out.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: gsandel on March 14, 2013, 04:36:59 PM
Quote
Don't be afraid of all grain.
+1,000

It is easy to accomplish but difficult to master every aspect of brewing, and that, besides the beer, keeps it fresh for a lot of us.

In so many ways, I thought that except for the time element (taking longer than extract) it was easier to just mash your own, and was a more relaxed experience (more to do, but more time to do it in).

I agree with Beersk, brew in a bag is the easiest way to try it out.  Post your experience.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: Jimmy K on March 14, 2013, 05:14:09 PM
I'm going to go against the grain - as it were - and suggest holding off (for a little) on all grain. Instead read up on pitching proper amounts of yeast and controlling fermentation. All-grain is sexy and everyone wants to jump in to become a "real brewer" but yeast will have a bigger impact on making better beer. I fully believe that when people complain about extract flavor, usually the are talking about yeast problems.
 
Depending on your situation, better yeast management will require less or no additional equipment compared to the all-grain switch.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: hubie on March 15, 2013, 03:00:09 AM
I never understood the mystique of all-grain.  When I started out I read up a lot on brewing and scouring the brewing boards and mailing lists, and many times people would make it out like it was one of the labors of Hercules, something that "I'll move up to when I'm ready."  If you are not intimidated in the kitchen, if the idea of making a loaf of bread from scratch doesn't worry you, then you'll wonder what all the fuss was about too.  Look at it like making cookies from scratch verses using the refrigerated dough from the store; making from scratch involves a bit more work up front and a bit more work in the cleanup.

Grab a recipe for whatever style you like making from extract.  If you don't want to commit to a bunch of equipment at first, do a brew-in-a-bag.  If you don't have a large boil pot, scale your recipe down to whatever your current boil pot holds and make a small batch.  If you already have a decent sized cooler sitting around, try out a batch sparge session.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: cornershot on March 15, 2013, 03:52:42 AM
I'm going to go against the grain - as it were - and suggest holding off (for a little) on all grain. Instead read up on pitching proper amounts of yeast and controlling fermentation. All-grain is sexy and everyone wants to jump in to become a "real brewer" but yeast will have a bigger impact on making better beer. I fully believe that when people complain about extract flavor, usually the are talking about yeast problems.
 
Depending on your situation, better yeast management will require less or no additional equipment compared to the all-grain switch.

I definitely agree. With that said, I got started with dennybrew and I found that not hitting my mash numbers in a picnic cooler to be quite frustrating.  With more experience I  always hit my numbers but the idea of the hot wort absorbing toxins from the plastic was always disturbing.  Sorry Denny!
I've recently tried brew in a bag and loved the simplicity, shorter brew day, low investment, and ability to apply direct heat. Cons: more particles in wort but easily remedied by allowing more time to clear before transferring to fermenter. Can't do very high gravity beers. Messy- not a good option for the kitchen stove.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: erockrph on March 15, 2013, 11:47:38 AM
Cons: more particles in wort but easily remedied by allowing more time to clear before transferring to fermenter. Can't do very high gravity beers. Messy- not a good option for the kitchen stove.

Just to touch on some of those cons:

Even if you get more particles in your fermenter it will clear just fine, IME. You can still do high gravity beers if you are OK with brewing a smaller batch.

The messy part can be avoided if you don't start drinking until after you pull your bag  :P  But seriously, I just quickly swing my bag into an empty bucket on the floor then deal with the grains later. There's no real mess involved there.
Title: Switching to All Grain
Post by: denny on March 15, 2013, 02:53:34 PM
cornershot, I have never seen any evidence of "hot wort absorbing toxins from the plastic".  AAMOF, after a recent discussion on HBT I'm more sure then ever that there's nothing to worry about.  What am I missing?
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: cornershot on March 15, 2013, 03:37:06 PM
cornershot, I have never seen any evidence of "hot wort absorbing toxins from the plastic".  AAMOF, after a recent discussion on HBT I'm more sure then ever that there's nothing to worry about.  What am I missing?


Denny,
I mean no disrespect.  Dennybrew was imensely helpful in my transition to all grain. So thank you for that! There's enough articles, books, and documentaries out there stating the dangers of plastic to make me think what if they're right? I'd rather not take the chance of regularly ingesting chemicals that mimic estrogen and cause breast cancer among other nasty things.
 I Still enjoy batch sparging as well as fly sparging and biag. I just do it in stainless steel. Look for the "evidence" and you will find it. Here's an article to get you started: 
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=plastic-not-fantastic-with-bisphenol-a
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: reverseapachemaster on March 15, 2013, 04:00:26 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: cornershot on March 15, 2013, 05:03:38 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.

You're right and #2 is considered safer by the government and big business. For those of you who put blind faith in the government and large corporations, go for it. I'll stick to stainless.
Sorry to hijack the thread. BIAB!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: theDarkSide on March 15, 2013, 05:25:36 PM
Plastic fine...I living proof
(http://www.badmovies.org/movies/toxicavenger/toxicavenger7.jpg)
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: denny on March 15, 2013, 05:28:28 PM
cornershot, I have never seen any evidence of "hot wort absorbing toxins from the plastic".  AAMOF, after a recent discussion on HBT I'm more sure then ever that there's nothing to worry about.  What am I missing?


Denny,
I mean no disrespect.  Dennybrew was imensely helpful in my transition to all grain. So thank you for that! There's enough articles, books, and documentaries out there stating the dangers of plastic to make me think what if they're right? I'd rather not take the chance of regularly ingesting chemicals that mimic estrogen and cause breast cancer among other nasty things.
 I Still enjoy batch sparging as well as fly sparging and biag. I just do it in stainless steel. Look for the "evidence" and you will find it. Here's an article to get you started: 
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=plastic-not-fantastic-with-bisphenol-a

No offense taken.  Coolers are made of HDPE and AFAIK and have found there is no BPA in HDPE.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: denny on March 15, 2013, 05:31:19 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.

You're right and #2 is considered safer by the government and big business. For those of you who put blind faith in the government and large corporations, go for it. I'll stick to stainless.
Sorry to hijack the thread. BIAB!

Actually, I put my faith in a couple homebrewer friends who are plastics chemists.  They tell me HDPE is fine and I have no reason not to believe them.  Use whatever material you like...no problem.  But be sure your decision is based on sound science.  I think I have.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: weithman5 on March 15, 2013, 05:55:53 PM


 ingesting chemicals that mimic estrogen and cause breast cancer among other nasty things.
 

then i hope you don't eat soy.  more than one guy has shown up in my practice with man boobs because of this.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: breweite on March 15, 2013, 06:08:11 PM
My best friend works in a research lab and I must say that plastic scares me too!  After all I've heard my general consensus in regards to plastic is: You can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig. No matter what they say the plastic is made of or what # it is...  My logic is; it will still contain a ton of endocrine disruptors whether measurable or not...  However, I'm a hypocrite because my buddies all use igloos, I drink it all the time and it's damn good beer..  I myself prefer stainless steel BIAB. my .02
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: cornershot on March 15, 2013, 06:22:44 PM


 ingesting chemicals that mimic estrogen and cause breast cancer among other nasty things.
 

then i hope you don't eat soy.  more than one guy has shown up in my practice with man boobs because of this.

Aren't we off topic enough?  Let's not get into gmo's and pesticides too!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: fmader on March 15, 2013, 06:27:23 PM
You can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig.

Bacon is delicious!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: erockrph on March 15, 2013, 06:52:55 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.

You're right and #2 is considered safer by the government and big business. For those of you who put blind faith in the government and large corporations, go for it. I'll stick to stainless.
Sorry to hijack the thread. BIAB!

Do you use any plastic fermenters? Do you buy milk or water in plastic jugs? And the BIAB bag you brew in - I'm assuming that's plastic too, right?

I'll take my chances with HDPE and nylon (I BIAB, too) unless solid data in reputable, peer-reviewed medical journals tells me that it is grossly inadvisable.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: cornershot on March 15, 2013, 08:00:52 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.

You're right and #2 is considered safer by the government and big business. For those of you who put blind faith in the government and large corporations, go for it. I'll stick to stainless.
Sorry to hijack the thread. BIAB!

Do you use any plastic fermenters? Do you buy milk or water in plastic jugs? And the BIAB bag you brew in - I'm assuming that's plastic too, right?

I'll take my chances with HDPE and nylon (I BIAB, too) unless solid data in reputable, peer-reviewed medical journals tells me that it is grossly inadvisable.

Don't trust plastic, especially at higher temps. Never will. I know it can't be avoided but I try to minimize the amount of plastic that touches my food and drink. You're exposed me for the paranoid, health nut, sexy, hippy beer drinker that I am. My sincerest apologies to all the plastic lovers i've pissed off. I'll share a beer with any of you any time! Happy brewing!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: euge on March 15, 2013, 08:25:07 PM
I believe mashing, fermenting etc is very safe in hdpe but boiling perhaps not. For a while there I was boiling in coolers and buckets with heater elements. The beer tasted fine but I subsequently came down with some GI complaints that took a couple years to resolve. Things cleared up once I abandoned the practice.

BTW Denny is our resident hippy. You may have to armwrestle him for the privilege.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: weithman5 on March 15, 2013, 08:50:20 PM

BTW Denny is our resident hippy. You may have to armwrestle him for the privilege.

yes, but he said sexy hippy... 8)
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: denny on March 15, 2013, 08:51:26 PM

BTW Denny is our resident hippy. You may have to armwrestle him for the privilege.

yes, but he said sexy hippy... 8)

OUCH!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: ynotbrusum on March 15, 2013, 09:11:19 PM
I think the toxicity is related to the color of the cooler - or at least I read that on the internet.... :P
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: fmader on March 16, 2013, 12:04:46 AM
I think the toxicity is related to the color of the cooler - or at least I read that on the internet.... :P

I would assume that this means that toxins do not exist in blue coolers, correct?
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: cornershot on March 16, 2013, 12:42:22 AM
Hello,
 My husband and I are pretty new to home brewing. We have used kits previously with liquid malt extracts but I wold like to try switching to all grain method. Do any of you have any suggestions for the first route we should take? Methods? Recipes? Suggestion?

We would love some input!

Thanks!
[/quote

Start with a simple all barley pale-colored beer like a blonde ale and cut your tap water 50/50 with distilled or RO.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: euge on March 16, 2013, 01:03:01 AM
Really thats just a shot in the dark. Contact the local water utility or send a sample off. What if one was diluting something already perfect or of an extremely low ppm concentration of mineral salts?

Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: cornershot on March 16, 2013, 01:25:36 AM
........unless you have really soft water. It's their first batch. There's enough to worry about. Keep it simple.
At least we're back on topic!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: euge on March 16, 2013, 01:29:49 AM
Very bad advice. Revisit your thinking.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: euge on March 16, 2013, 02:46:12 AM
Grow some skin. We welcome your participation. Don't give up that easily my fellow brewer! ;D
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: lornemagill on March 16, 2013, 03:47:31 AM
bi bye by
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: malzig on March 16, 2013, 02:26:41 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.
My Igloo cooler is HDPE (#2) only on the outside.  The liner is polypropylene (#5), another one of the plastics that are considered food-safe and heat stable, though there may be reasons to avoid going over 160-170F.  PP doesn't contain BPA, but it can release trace amounts of quaternary ammonium, which might have reproductive effects but is also a pretty ubiquitous anti-microbial used in food preparation, water treatment and cosmetics.

I assumed all coolers were lined with the same plastic.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 16, 2013, 02:36:46 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.
My Igloo cooler is HDPE (#2) only on the outside.  The liner is polypropylene (#5), another one of the plastics that are considered food-safe and heat stable, though there may be reasons to avoid going over 160-170F.  PP doesn't contain BPA, but it can release trace amounts of quaternary ammonium, which might have reproductive effects but is also a pretty ubiquitous anti-microbial used in food preparation, water treatment and cosmetics.

I assumed all coolers were lined with the same plastic.
Quaternary ammonium is also used as a sanitizer in the brewing industry. One brewpub I have done a couple of my recipes at use it to sanitize the floor IIRC. The brewers call it "Death Spray".
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: ynotbrusum on March 16, 2013, 03:14:00 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.
My Igloo cooler is HDPE (#2) only on the outside.  The liner is polypropylene (#5), another one of the plastics that are considered food-safe and heat stable, though there may be reasons to avoid going over 160-170F.  PP doesn't contain BPA, but it can release trace amounts of quaternary ammonium, which might have reproductive effects but is also a pretty ubiquitous anti-microbial used in food preparation, water treatment and cosmetics.

I assumed all coolers were lined with the same plastic.
Quaternary ammonium is also used as a sanitizer in the brewing industry. One brewpub I have done a couple of my recipes at use it to sanitize the floor IIRC. The brewers call it "Death Spray".

Sanitizing floors?  Man I hope that doesn't leach much - I just mashed a dubbel in my white marine cooler - I guess I'll call it "Death Spray Dubbel"!!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 16, 2013, 03:17:14 PM
BPA is in #7 plastic (confirmed in the article posted). Plastic coolers are #2 plastic.
My Igloo cooler is HDPE (#2) only on the outside.  The liner is polypropylene (#5), another one of the plastics that are considered food-safe and heat stable, though there may be reasons to avoid going over 160-170F.  PP doesn't contain BPA, but it can release trace amounts of quaternary ammonium, which might have reproductive effects but is also a pretty ubiquitous anti-microbial used in food preparation, water treatment and cosmetics.

I assumed all coolers were lined with the same plastic.
Quaternary ammonium is also used as a sanitizer in the brewing industry. One brewpub I have done a couple of my recipes at use it to sanitize the floor IIRC. The brewers call it "Death Spray".

Sanitizing floors?  Man I hope that doesn't leach much - I just mashed a dubbel in my white marine cooler - I guess I'll call it "Death Spray Dubbel"!!

The brewery has a room with open fermenters, should have stated that.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: ynotbrusum on March 16, 2013, 03:50:06 PM

The brewery has a room with open fermenters, should have stated that.


I figured something like that... Still hoping my white rectangular Igloo cooler doesn't leach much quaternary ammonium - yikes!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: ynotbrusum on March 16, 2013, 03:57:13 PM
I wouldn't have looked, but I did per Igloo's FAQ at its website:


"Which coolers will hold hot beverages?
If you own an Igloo Beverage Cube with the friction-fit lid design or a Classic Stainless Steel Beverage cooler – these models can accommodate hot beverages. All other Igloo coolers are NOT recommended for use with hot liquids."

Oh oh :-[



Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: denny on March 16, 2013, 04:10:51 PM
I wouldn't have looked, but I did per Igloo's FAQ at its website:


"Which coolers will hold hot beverages?
If you own an Igloo Beverage Cube with the friction-fit lid design or a Classic Stainless Steel Beverage cooler – these models can accommodate hot beverages. All other Igloo coolers are NOT recommended for use with hot liquids."

Oh oh :-[

Calm down.  Same thing they've been saying for at least 15 years.  They say that because they haven't tested them with hot liquids, not because they don't work or aren't safe.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: ynotbrusum on March 16, 2013, 04:28:40 PM
Off the ledge, now.  But it sure is intimidating...FDA approved PP for hot liquids, or so it seems according to a quick search.  I'm going to put this out of my mind and get back to my boil.    ::)
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: fmader on March 16, 2013, 04:55:26 PM
Fortunetely, I am using an Igloo cube! But I live in the Ohio River Valley. I have a 35% more chance of getting cancer than the average person using a non-FDA approved cooler. You only live once... Do what makes you happy!
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: malzig on March 16, 2013, 08:29:38 PM
Quaternary ammonium is also used as a sanitizer in the brewing industry. One brewpub I have done a couple of my recipes at use it to sanitize the floor IIRC. The brewers call it "Death Spray".
Sanitizing floors?  Man I hope that doesn't leach much - I just mashed a dubbel in my white marine cooler - I guess I'll call it "Death Spray Dubbel"!!
It's also used in the food industry for sanitizing things like cutting boards, as well as being in things like handcream and shampoo, so it is probably in a lot of food that you eat.  Polypropylene is also the common plastic used for baby bottles and quaternary ammonium is also part of Bactine, wet wipes, hand sanitizers and eye drops, so you are going to continue to get exposed.  It has been considered to be safe in the trace amounts that we would expect to see, and any research indicating otherwise is still considered preliminary, by most.

I assume that the "death spray" nickname is just a joke.
Title: Re: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: erockrph on March 16, 2013, 10:08:41 PM
I assume that the "death spray" nickname is just a joke.

Unless they are referring to its effect on microbes. Quats are also used as medical disinfectants in the OR and in our IV hoods.
Title: Re: Switching to All Grain
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 17, 2013, 02:42:22 AM
Quaternary ammonium is also used as a sanitizer in the brewing industry. One brewpub I have done a couple of my recipes at use it to sanitize the floor IIRC. The brewers call it "Death Spray".
Sanitizing floors?  Man I hope that doesn't leach much - I just mashed a dubbel in my white marine cooler - I guess I'll call it "Death Spray Dubbel"!!
It's also used in the food industry for sanitizing things like cutting boards, as well as being in things like handcream and shampoo, so it is probably in a lot of food that you eat.  Polypropylene is also the common plastic used for baby bottles and quaternary ammonium is also part of Bactine, wet wipes, hand sanitizers and eye drops, so you are going to continue to get exposed.  It has been considered to be safe in the trace amounts that we would expect to see, and any research indicating otherwise is still considered preliminary, by most.

I assume that the "death spray" nickname is just a joke.
[/quote]

The floor in the room with open fermenters. Should have said that. Yes, the term is a joke. It was always a fun day working with this bunch as they have a great sense of humor. The spray was applied via a spray bottle attachment thingy on a garden hose. I got to do this last time.

I also got to climb into an open 7 bbl SS fermenter and scrub it and the attempering coils all down with acid.

All in a days work in the glamorous craft brewing scene - cleaning, scrubing, sanitizing, and chemicals while wearing eye protection, big rubber gloves, and boots on one of the hottest days of the year.