The device above is part of what is called a “bubble pump” from a coffee maker. It is an aluminum tube with resistors wrapped around it. The resistors get current and heat up the fluid in the tube. In the coffee maker there is a one-way valve on one end of the tube. The water in the tube heats up and gets to the boiling point. When it boils it pushes out in both directions from the tube. The one way valve activates and then all of the boiling water is pushed out by its own pressure to the coffee. That is how 99% of home drip coffee makers work. Neat, isn’t it?
You can dig one of these out of almost any coffee maker you find in a thrift shop or on the side of the road. It will be in the base of the unit, under where the pot rests. There may be a lighted switch somewhere in the middle. Keep that – it may be useful when you build your enclosure.
Continue reading DIY $5 RIMS tube
This post is to help beginner brewers understand what to be worried about and why.
When you start brewing it seems like everything is impossible and your beer is guaranteed to be ruined. In reality yeast is a pretty resilient creature and it’s very easy to make drinkable beer. Making amazing, world-class beer can take a few more levels of concern but one needs to know what to let slide and what to stress out about. The list is questions I have seen frequently from beginners and answers with explanations.
My airlock dried up / popped off – is it ruined?
Probably not, and there is almost no way to know without waiting. The risk of something bad getting in to your beer is probably about the same as if you were to open up the lid and look at it mid-ferment. People do that all the time (for whatever reason.) The best thing to do is to replace the airlock, fill it up, wait it out and see at bottling time. IF it tastes bad at that point – toss it.
Is this infected?
Continue reading Homebrew “disasters” #1
Batch# 31 – Belgian Tripel
Found a very simple and straightforward recipe on brewtoad.com:
We have not had a lot of luck with Belgian styles in the past. A very early attempt at a saison (batch #1?!) was not great, and our Allagash White clone tasted like vinyl. (Note: I have successfully brewed the Allagash clone from Extreme Brewing several times in the past, but only since the collaboration began with Ross and his anti-Belgian agenda have we had poor results. Coincidence? Because beer.)
So, this was a stab at a Belgian style that BJCP says was “Originally developed at the Trappist monastery at Westmalle.” My favorite example is Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde, even though it’s not brewed in Belgium.
Continue reading Batch #31 – Belgian Tripel
As an update to my first post in this draft tower, the iron pipe has arrived! As you can see in my rough test-fit in the kitchen this thing will look pretty badass when it is completed. I went for an 8″ pipe on the riser where the original seems to have a much larger one. I may end up swapping that out if I get a tall drip tray, but it’s pretty much perfect as-is.
Here are all of the pieces of the tower at amazon.
As I expected, the long shank faucets didn’t work out very well. I have since bought two of these shorter shanks and we’ll see how they fit.
I’m planning on losing the chrome collar if possible. I love the idea of having the nice shiny chrome faucet coming right out of the black metal pipe. Nice contrast.
Batch# 30 – Chinook SMaSH
This is the same recipe as the BYO Citra SMaSH, but I swapped out Chinook for Citra. I love the Citra recipe, so it may make for a fun exploratory hop line.
Play around with hops a bit and see how one change affects the beer.
Continue reading Batch #30 – Chinook Smash
I use the very popular Winco 40qt aluminum kettle as my boil kettle, and I recently made an affordable false bottom. It turns out that this pizza pan is a perfect fit inside of the kettle. Adding 3-4″ stainless steel bolts and 6 nuts for feet completes it! It’s honestly about a 5-minute project. There is about 1/16 of an inch of a gap between the false bottom and the kettle wall.
Even if you don’t have my specific pot, looking for a pizza pan can easily provide you with a simple base for a false bottom.
After I posted this it was pointed out that I was only looking at this as a false bottom for my personal brewing style – BIAB. This won’t work for people who want to mash solely with this as a filter (i.e mash tun / 3 vessel.) This is designed to keep the bag and grains off of my heating elements and allow me to adjust the mash temp easily mid-mash. I bet that there are actually pizza pans out there that have finer holes, or you could buy one with no holes and drill it yourself.
(^ 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.