All posts by becausebeer

Check your ball valve!

(^ gross, isn’t it?)

I’ve read a few things on reddit and homebrewtalk about brulosophers post. He had a friend who had a long series of bad batches and they ultimately pinned it down to a lot of gunk in his ball valve. There was even a few photos showing all of the gore.

Welp, it’s been a bit since I read that and I finally got around to checking my valve. Yep – mine was dirty.  I’ve removed it, boiled it, and it’s squeaky clean again. There are a lot of little bits and bobs that you need to sanitize in the brewing process. Finding and fixing process flaws like this are stuff that makes us all better, and ultimately makes our beer better.

In the future we need to recirc hot water more frequently, recirc some hot cleaner more frequently, and break down the valve and inspect it more often.

 

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DIY Black Iron Pipe Draft Tower

I saw this draught tower on pinterest and I knew I HAD to build one.

IronPipeTowerHI

It totally matches my style in almost every way. Black, industrial, rugged. Did I mention that BEER COMES OUT OF IT?!? They are selling them on etsy for $285 with faucets and glycol lines, but I’m the kind of guy who never wants to spend money buying something I could conceivably build it myself, so I started pricing out pieces from amazon. You can see on the tee that it’s a 2″ tee, so I designed everything else with 2″ black iron pipe.

I haven’t found prices to be significantly better at HD or Lowes vs amazon, and I like being able to get it all from one place as opposed to a bunch of different vendors so I spec’d out the first round at amazon
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DIY Spunding Valve – one-stop parts shopping on amazon

Spunding valves are an interesting little tool for brewers that let you control the pressure in your fermenting vessel (almost always a keg for homebrewers) They are an adjustable blow off valve that will release at or above a certain pressure point. The benefits of using one  are primarily that you can end up with carbonated beer straight out of the fermenter, and that they can allow increased fermentation temps (specifically in lagers) with fewer off-flavors. I don’t know if I have seen any proof of the second point, but I have certainly read it often.

The auxilliary thing I like about having a pressurized keg that is still fermenting is that it is VERY easy to take a sanitary sample using a picnic faucet, and there is essentially zero chance of O2 entering the keg, as the gas pressure is far more reliable than an airlock (that may require topping off.)

One down side to spunding valves is that some yeasts put out off-flavors in their gas, especially early into fermentation. If you’ve ever smelled cabbage or eggs coming out of a vigorous ferment you can see how disconcerting that could be coming off of a pint glass.  Most commercial breweries vent off any natural carbonation so that they can inject the beer with pure co2 at bottling, and some people say that this gives a cleaner taste.

Continue reading DIY Spunding Valve – one-stop parts shopping on amazon

Batch #28 – ApfelWine

Batch# 28 – ApfelWine (AKA apfelwein)

Date Brew:12/04/2014 Rack:0/00/0000 Bottle:0/00/0000
Days 0 0 0

Recipe:

Here is EdWort’s recipe. It’s also mentioned here in popular mechanics?!

I don’t know much about how this recipe tastes, but I know that the forums seem to be going insane over it. The only way to find out is to brew some! It’s a pretty cheap and super easy recipe, so here goes nothing!

Goals:

Put something in the fermenter on a day that we were doing a double-batch bottle and some other housekeeping.

Continue reading Batch #28 – ApfelWine

Batch #25 – Pumpkin Porter

Batch# 25 – Pumpkin Porter

Date Brew:10/16/2014 Rack:none Bottle:12/1/2014
Days 0 0 47

Recipe:

Extract kit from strange brew. We waffled on adding the pumpkin, but ultimately decided to go for it.  The people at strange brew are super nice and they have an interesting stock of new and used kegging gear. I only wish they were closer to my house.

Goals:

After both of our houses flooded, we hadn’t brewed in a few months. We decided to start back up with a simple extract kit. This was also our first test of Ross’ Electric kettle.

Continue reading Batch #25 – Pumpkin Porter

The selfish gift guide for homebrewer’s wives.

disclaimer - not all brewers need to be men, and not all gift-givers need to be married. I just titled it that way to sound catchy :) If you are looking for homebrewer gifts for your significant other (who happens to be a woman) BUY HER EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST. You are in a relationship with a talented woman and you need to do everything you can to encourage her to continue being awesome!) Now, back to the list

So, you’re married to / dating a homebrewer?!

First off: you have my condolences. Sticky floors, steamy kitchens, and closet after closet of bubbling concoctions are a plague that many significant others have to deal with. This list is a sneaky thing, because it is entirely designed to show you how each “home brewing gift” specifically can give you back your kitchen, reduce their total brewing time, or get rid of those piles and piles of bottles. There are also a few general gift ideas thrown in at the end, just in case your little home brewer has been very, very good this year.

Making less mess

The single biggest complaint about homebrewers is making a mess in the kitchen. Brewing can be messy, and sometimes it’s better to focus on safety over spotlessness. The single easiest way to keep the kitten clean is to move the brew operation out of the kitchen! It will also give them more horsepower to get the temp up to boiling faster (and therefore cut down on total brew time.)

Here is a Blichmann outdoor propane burner – You could go with one of those cheaper turkey fryer ones, but you could also probably walk to work, right?

 

 


Continue reading The selfish gift guide for homebrewer’s wives.