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Category Archives: Build

We bought a stir plate on eBay. It was a bit corroded, so we sanded some of the old paint off and hit it with our signature orange.

The next yeast starter will be stirred on this new gadget. The hope is for faster starters and better yeast performance.

We finally got adding a water filter to our brewery. After a couple of classes at Eagle Rock Brewery hearing about removing chlorine and chloramines from our brewing water we made the move.

Total order was $90 for a good 10 inch canister with brass hose fittings and two CFBC-10 filters. We also bought a wrench and a mounting bracket.

We are hoping this will clear the water of added chlorine compounds that can lead to the medicinal “chlornophenolic” taste you sometimes get from straight tap water.

Probably overkill, but so much of what we have been doing is overkill. Overkill is good.

After many attempts to chemically clean the inside of the kegs, good old-fashioned scrubbing got it done. Some assistance from various power tools assisted as well.

Hole was drilled, bulkhead fitting and false bottom were attached.

Also some improvements to the stand were added. Wind shields for the boil side were fabricated and installed.

A Sunday brew day awaits us. It will feel nice to have that extra room in the BK for. We need it.

Repeats of the American and Euro_trash blonde ales next.

We bought two kegs from a small brewery to upgrade our rig. First cut is the top.

We are hoping to replace our boil kettle with something bigger than the current Guinness 50 liter keg with an American 15.5 gallon keg.  This should give us an extra 20% of room in the kettle.

We also are thinking of replacing our HLT as the current one is bashed up and our pick up tube is a installed an inch and a half too high (we usually can get all the water out if running continuously, but if we stop within the last few gallons, our pick up tube starts sucking air into our pump).

We may reuse the Guinness keg as a fermenter.  More to come on that.

 

We got the parts together for our Blichmann Beer Gun and have given it a try.

We got eight 22 ounce bottles cleaned and sanitized. We put them in the fridge to bring them down to the same temperature as the beer.

We used 3lbs of pressure to push four bottles of American Blonde and four bottles of IPA into our clean, chilled bottles. Capped them off with some color coded caps (green = IPA) and put them back in the fridge. We shall see how it works out.

We added an aquarium “under tank” heater in an effort to bring our fermenting chamber temperatures up to target.

We shall see how it works…

 

Our low reading mash tun dial thermometer tested accurate within 3 or so degrees of a couple of control thermos.

I am now thinking something in our mash tun setup is causing a poor reading. Maybe our sight glass setup is to blame, or the level at which we are mounting it. Either way, we need a better set-up.

The best performing thermo I have is the Taylor digital. I bought two, and one arrived with a dead battery and the other got wet internally despite its waterproof claim.

I cleaned them out and replaced their batteries. They both seem to work and are within a half a degree of each other at room temp. Best of all, they can be calibrated.

I hope to fashion some type of extra waterproofing for them. Perhaps I will wrap it in saran wrap. I thought of sugru but it is not food safe.

We had no real way to regulate the temperature on our new display refrigerator. The internal thermostat keeps the temperature at 39 degrees F no matter how you set the dial.

This controller will allow us to dial in the temperature to within 1 degree Celsius. We have ordered a controller that will control heat as well as cooling. When that one arrives, we will put it into this enclosure and move the current, cool only, controller to the kegerator.
We will add some kind of element to warm the fridge for those very few nights when the ambient temperature might bring the fridge temp to below our target. This is probably overkill, but temperature control is vital to good fermentation. Lagering is something we want to get good at too.

We found this display merchandiser on Craigs list. Good price and in better than fair condition.

We can fit twelve Cornileus kegs or eight carboy fermenters.

Overkill? It will make for a great lagering chamber that we can serve from as well.

All we need now is a controller to dial in temperature as this unit is optimized for 34 to 38 degrees.

We added a Blickman autosparge to our mashtun. This feels a bit like overkill as we have had no problems with stuck mashes. We have not, however, really gotten into the nastier ingredients (oatmeal, wheat flakes,etc). Hopefully this will keep our mash experience pleasant when moving into new ingredients.