Saturday, April 30, 2011

From Start to Finish with Fred

I took all of my home-brewing gadgets over to my Dad's house today to brew his first batch. I used some of the new things I have created. Brewing is an art. Art is refinement, whether the increments are large or small.

Getting the strike water up to temp.

My mobile gravity system.

Inside of the mash tun. Check out the youtube video for a how-to.


Letting the grain bed settle.

Returning the wart to the mash.

MMMMMMMMMMM almost beer!

New sparge.

Working well.

adding a bit more sparge water.

the ball valve really helped control the sparge flow.

pre=boil and hops. Very clear and Great color.

Dawson's Red Multigrain. Thanks Northern Brewer!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New Gadgets, Ideas, and Brew

DISCLAIMER: I am, in no way, form, or fashion, an expert, just an experimenter.

Here is what I am going to use as a sparge tank. It is a two-gallon Coleman cooler. I will add a brass ball valve so that I can control the flow rate for the sparge.

Here is the most awesome thing I have created to date. It is my sparge arm. I used what I had. Note to everyone, never use pvc. You must always use cpvc designated drinking water, especially when running hot water through it. That is also high temp water line with small holes drilled every inch or so....

In an attempt to combat the growing Florida heat, I have been devising a plan for a cooler locker each night instead of counting sheep. This is the bottom of the pantry which generally just collects grocery bags waiting to go to the recycling bin.

Here is a picture of the inside. This is the American Wheat which I transferred to the secondary and added an oz. of Cascade hops today. There is also a frozen two liter(litre) for the brits, which is helping regulate the temp. I intend on adding a small ac vent and foam to the locker to make it as efficient as possible. The ice is working pretty well. It is sitting around 70 degrees.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How I made my Mash Tun

This is a great and ingenious "How To" video that I found on Youtube. I used all of the parts that were listed but instead used a cylindrical Drink Cooler. The genius really lies in the use of of the braided stainless steel in lieu of a false bottom. I generally haven't been too successful at saving money by creating devices and gadgets thyself BUT, in the end I did make them myself, didn't pay shipping, and....didn't have to wait for them in the mail. ENJOY

Sunday, April 24, 2011

All Grain Dry Hop #1

First of all, my wife insists that I quit saying "Dry Hop." So as the rule of the universe works, I find myself repeating that small phrase in regular conversation with her present. I don't mean it, my attention deficit is forcing it to be the every third looping thought. Do you have those too? I definitely get them. Sometimes they are harmless thoughts like "Dry-Hop" other times they are " "LIFE IS TOO BIG!" Depends on the day. ANYWAY, I did bottle my first attempt at an all-grain.

Here is a pic of my empty carboy (sad sight) and these great little plastic coke bottles that I used. The plastic bottles are great for measuring carbonation without having to pop a bottle open. And then when my mind can't take it anymore and I have to open one, I don't waste as much. That's the thought for now .

John Prine's Grandma and Mo Would Be Proud

In an attempt to be as self sufficient as possible, I purchased a circa 1956 SINGER sewing machine. The boys and I set out yesterday morning for a bit of thrifting and came across it at a little place called Finders Keepers in East Palatka. Before we made it over the bridge I had already called my sister to enlist her help in getting it going. By nightfall she was threaded up and purring like a.... well a sewing machine. A little oil, a little new thread, and a little overcoming the fear of my Grandmother Mo's tale of a needle going through her finger, and I was in sewing business. How does this relate to brewing? Well, my first attempt at becoming a seamster resulted in the Bergen Beer Bib.

Here it is and I know, it looks like a beer ghost. This is a dry hopped pale ale (all-grain) that I don't think is ever going to stop fermenting. It spent one week in the primary and is going on three weeks in the secondary. I am ready to try it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

American Wheat + Columbus

This morning I woke at 5:00, couldn't go back to sleep and decided it was time to brew while the family slept. I put a pot of water on, turned Coltrane down low, and brewed a pot of coffee. Today I tried a second attempt at an all-grain brew. I purchased a Northern Brewer American Wheat Beer all grain kit. The kit included:
  • 4 lbs. Rahr White Wheat malt
  • 4 lbs. Rahr 2-row pale
  • 1 oz Willamette hops
  • 1 oz Cascade hops
I upgraded the yeast to a WYEAST pouch and added an extra 1 oz of columbus hops. The first time that I tried an all-grain, I used a nylon bag and it turned into a ridiculous barrier. I reconfigured my mash tun and this time the mash and sparge were so much easier and efficient. I will detail my kit in a future blog.

Here is a pic of the WYEAST fully activated and ready to pitch.
Spent grain in the mash tun (old cooler)

Here is my brew pot which is a 7 gallon turkey fry pot. It works. Something stainless steel, with valves, gauges, and gnomes that do everything for me would be awesome but not needed to get it done.