Archive for May, 2007

The How To Section has Arrived

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

I’ve added some “how tos” to the site. I plan to add more as time goes on including building of some good gadgets such as mash tuns and keggerators in addition to tips and guides. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Cheers,
Steve

Is this a good thing?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I racked my Pale Ale that I brewed about a month ago to the keg and took a sample. 1.004. That seems low to me. Now Cal Ale (WL001) is a work horse, but that beer was 1.061 when it went in there. I’m fearing a bit of contamination. It didn’t taste off, but then that doesn’t always show up right away. It was about the clearest beer I’ve EVER made, but… that nagging feeling persists. I did make a fat starter for the yeast, so who knows? I’ll leave it in the keggerator for a week and then deliver the results. Here’s ta hope! 🙂

The good news is that the Amber I brewed up a few days ago was absolutely boiling with yeast activity!  Very much looking forward to that!

So I have some streamlining to do

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

So fired up the brew machine and despite having created a nice checklist for myself, the whole brew took over 4 hours. Closer to 5 if I’m really being honest. I suppose I could break it up a bit. I could mill the grain the night before etc… but honestly there has got to be a way to streamline this just a bit. I could save some time on brew day by collecting all my filtered water (I use an charcoal filter) the night before, though that’s only about 10min worth of work. Anyway, here’s how it breaks down for me.

  • Weigh out and mill grain – 15min
  • Collect all my brew stuff and get it outside and set up – 20min
  • Fill sanitizer bucket and dump in stuff that requires sanitizing – 5min
  • Sanitize/clean mash tun and kettle – 8 – 10min
  • connect filter and collect water – 10 min

Note: I’ve now blown an hour. I think getting things setup quicker may be the key. Writing this out is really helping

  • Get water heated for mash – 10 min
  • Mash – 60 min
  • Collect and heat water for sparge – this happens within the mash time so I’ll say 0 min for this
  • Mash out -10 min
  • Sparge – 30 min
  • Heat wort to boil – 25 min (I may be able to cut this down a bit if I really crank the burner)
  • Boil – 60 min
  • Chill wort – 35 min
  • Transfer, pitch yeast and aerate wort – 30 min
  • Cap carboy with airlock – 0 min
  • Fin

So there’s a bit over 4 hours in the actual brew time adding the extra hour for setup for a grand total of a 5 hour day. Granted that last 30 min for transfer/pitch/aerate is something I don’t have to really watch over (the 30 min of aeration that is). But I don’t see a lot I can do to get the brew time itself down. It takes what it takes. Guess I’m going to have to figure out how to set up faster, or perhaps do most the setup the night before. Still workin’ out the kinks.

Ok, I’m back and we’re brewin!

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Well I did just about everything they tell you not to do when you mess with your brewing system.  I changed literally every piece of brewing equipment I have and fired it all up for a brew session.  All went very well for the first bit.   I hit both my target mash temp and target gravity after sparging.  Then I got the kettle boiling on my new 75,000 BTU burner… yeah, let’s just say that 75K of BTUs is a bit of overkill.  I managed to boil 6.5 gallons of wort down to just under 4 in an hour.  So there’s a bit of adjustment needed there.  I did a simple pale ale which normally turns out well, so hopefully the addition of some good old filtered water won’t hurt too much.  We shall see.