ExBEERiment #1 – Intentional Oxidation

This ExBEERiment is intentional oxidation.

Similar to split batches, exBEERiments are ways of testing things (generally in the bottle) that you’ve read or heard of, but never seen first-hand. You might lose a bottle or two in the process, but hopefully you’ll learn a lot more!

Exbeeriment_2

At bottling time for the Vienna Lager we intentionally aerated the heck out of the last 2 bottles. We then marked them carefully (different color caps, sharpie label on the cap AND electrical tape on the neck of the bottle!) and put them away with the rest to carb up. I think it’ll probably take some time for the beer to develop noticeable off flavors, so maybe we’ll wait a month or so for the first bottle, then two for the second. We’ll pair it up with a non-aerated bottle that has been kept under the same conditions and do a tasting.

exbeeriment_1

Once the time has passed I’ll put my notes here.

*I saw that great term (exBEERiment) on a blog a while back and it was just too good to not steal it!

Why we love split batches.

SplitBatchOntheCounter

I love the concept of a split batch.

There’s something so precise and grown up about having a control. I also love knowing that the differences between two beers is solely due to that one little thing that you changed. I really enjoy being able to set up an experiment and see if any random “fact” that I read on the internet is repeatable. It also allows you to iterate faster with any given boil size when you are tweaking recipes.

Process

We brew 5 gallon batches, some BIAB and some extract. We end up with around 4.5 after trub loss, and we can put half into either carboys or the often raved about 3 gallon corny kegs. Carboys are easier for primary (like yeast splits), but cornies are easier for secondary or when we add fruit, oak, or other solids.

You’ll definitely see a lot of split batches on here. Here’s a list of things we’ve wanted to test or still want to test. I’ll put links to the brew logs when we end up making them.

Split batch ideas

Oxygenation (maybe just a few bottles at bottling time would be best)
Light struck to different degrees
Different yeasts Notty vs US-05 in a dry stout
Fresh fruit / frozen Lager with Raspberries vs NoBerries
Different oak char levels
High / low ferm temps
Consistent / inconsistent ferm temps
Different dry hops
Different length boils
Low vs High ABV (by adding vodka at bottling)

How to convert a pin lock corny keg to a ball lock one

Corny_keg_explodedKnowledge is power, and not buying that screamingly cheap keg simply because it is not whatever style of connections you have can cost you in the long run. Depending on how well you shop around you can buy the pieces to convert a keg from pin to ball or vice versa for around $10. There are a few things you need to know.

What kind of keg do you have?

“Corny kegs” were manufactured by a lot of companies, with the lids generally being interchangeable, but the posts often use a different threading. You need to find the manufacturer so that you can buy the right threading. Look on the side of your keg to find inscriptions. Firestone and Cornelius are the two big manufacturers, so look for those first. Another useful tip is that firestone kegs generally have rubber that is not continuous. What I mean by that is that it is not one full circle at the top. It dips down in between handles. Here is a great link on how to tell different kegs apart.

What kind of fittings do you need?

Continue reading How to convert a pin lock corny keg to a ball lock one

DIY Spunding Valve?

Lately I’ve been really intrigued with the concept of spunding valves. A spunding valve is like an air regulator that you attach to the gas port on a closed fermentation vessel. It is generally adjustable and you can dial in the point at which it will release the excess co2 to the air. Something like a spunding valve is necessary in order to do pressurized fermentation.

OK, but why?

Brewers use these during secondary or the end of primary to carbonate the beer while it is finishing. It has the benefit of skipping (or combining) the force carb step, and that means that you can go grain to glass faster!
There are a few different ways to build one of these. Here is an article from BYO, here is a post from homebrewtalk, and here is a ready to buy version from morebeer. All of those cost around or a little over $30.

Continue reading DIY Spunding Valve?

Ball lock vs Pin lock Corny keg?

Shiny5GalCorny

Once someone decides that a kegging setup is right for them, the very next question is usually:

“what is the difference between ball lock and pin lock kegs?”

The answer is pretty simple. The kegs are usually quite similar, but the connection point that the gas and beer lines use is slightly different.

This is an example of a ball lock post
Ball Lock Post
and this is an example of a pin lock post.
Pin-Lock-Posts
Notice the small pins that poke out of the base of the pin lock post. That is why it is named “pin lock”

History

In the past these kegs were used predominantly for soda syrup. Coke used the pin lock kegs and Pepsi used the ball lock kegs. They could have easily used the same system, but it was probably obfuscated in order to discourage restaraunt owners from switching soda companies as well as to keep the kegs circulating in their respective distribution pools.
Continue reading Ball lock vs Pin lock Corny keg?

Batch #18 – Evil Twin Part II – Dry Stout BIAB

Batch# 18 – Dry Stout BIAB Split batch

Days000

Date Brew:4/24/2014 Rack:0/00/0000 Bottle:5/27/2014

Recipe:

http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/9665/brads-dry-stout-biab

Goals:

Make a simple recipe for our first foray into BIAB. Not very much hops, not a ton of grains, and (theoretically) fairly simple. I was in the homebrew store trying to decide on yeasts and someone brought up the idea of doing a split batch.
Continue reading Batch #18 – Evil Twin Part II – Dry Stout BIAB