I took my new Delta Brewing Systems (DBS) 6.6-gallon brewing kettle and 4-gallon Fermtank for a spin yesterday by finally digging into a bag of Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise I purchased last fall. I also used a hop spider I had Arbor Fab build for me out 1526 micron mesh for use with whole cones.
The DBS kettle and fermentation vessel are very nice. The only thing that I believe really needs work is the gasket for the lid. Unlike the gasket in the lid of my 7-gallon SS Bewtech Brew Bucket, the gasket in the lid of the 4-gallon fermtank merely sits in the channel instead of locking into it. I had to work at getting it to remain in the lid when flipped over.
The Arbor Fab 1526 micron mesh hop spider is money with whole cones. I went with 1526 micron mesh because the holes are just under 1/16th of an inch. Having used a false bottom with whole hops, I knew that 400 micron was why smaller than needed. The suggestion to use 400 micron mesh with whole cones never made sense to me. The standard 300 micron mesh hop spider that litters most homebrewing shops clogs so badly with break material that there is almost no flow through it by the end of the boil, not with 1526 micron mesh. The wort boils up through and around the hops. I also owned a 400 micron Arbor Fab hop spider, and while better than 300 micron, wort never boiled through it either. I brewed with really hard water that I built using Bru'n Water, so there were big aggregated chunks of break threatening to clog my filter, but they did not. Break would accumulate on a part of the spider only to get washed away by a change in the direction of the boil. It was cool to watch.
This batch was my first experience with Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise. It has been a long time since I used a base malt that produced that many dough balls. The yield was 29 PPG and the malt flavor of the wort was good. I pitched the Ballantine ale strain (a.k.a. Y-7408). I do not know why it took so long to try the culture. Y-7408 is not remotely like BRY-96. It is so flocculent that it reminds me of the Whitbread B family.