I did another brew today - my fourth overall and third using a full mash. They had been getting progressively better but I had decided to look after the yeast a bit better for this one and made a starter for the first time. I pitched a packet of Safale S-04 into 1L of weak dry malt extract solution the evening before and left it overnight.
I had been determined to not pitch too hot so cooled the starter down to 18C before popping the yeast in, to give it a nice gentle start. I included some wheat in the mash for the first time as well, because this supposedly helps with head retention. We'll see.
All went well and I cooled the wort right down to under 20C before pitching the yeast starter in. A few hours later and there was plenty of bubbling going on, all the trub had congealed into a nice krausen and the body of the liquid was looking really clear. Textbook stuff.
After everything was finished, I cleared out the copper first, putting all the spent hops onto the compost heap as it's meant to be good fertiliser. I had to go out for a bit, so filled the mash tun up with water to stop the grain drying out and left it until later to clean.
When I took the grain down to the compost heap later on, I was surprised to see a hedgehog sitting next to the pile of hops.
I'm no hedgehog expert but it didn't look very well. Naturally, I turned to Google for help and it turns out that spent hops can be really bad for dogs. I couldn't find any reference to hedgehogs but I figured that the hops seemed likely to be the cause of the little fella's current predicament.
I had no idea that hops could be so poisonous and feeling very guilty, decided that I had to try and help. I don't give the little thing much chance but it's now in a box, with plenty of warm newspaper and some food and water on hand. Come on, little dude!