Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Once and future HERMS

School has started again as have the multitude of projects I find to distract myself from it.

I am close to completing an electric 240 volt HERMS brewing unit - I already have a small control panel box that I have been using to do electric boils which I need to expand to having a PID.

here is the control box - the knob is for the pulse width modulator which controls the flow of electricity to the element in the boil kettle

I will post pictures of all the equipment and fittings as they arrive.

I have already removed the lids from all my kegs - three in all - 1 Hot Liquor Tank, 1 Boil Kettle that is 90% complete, and one Mash Lauter Tun that needs one more hole drilled and a fitting soldered on.

I suffered a great loss of beer a while ago - an infected carboy has been ruining my beer - something I have tried to fix.

Monday, November 21, 2011

State of Fermentation

This is a view into the past, about two weeks ago. I used the 26 cubic foot freezer that was going to be a keezer as a fermentation chamber - its been put to good use. 

seen here:
5 Gallons Apfelwein
5 Gallons Grapfelwein
10 Gallons of Graff
5 Gallons of my first attempt at an IIPA
5 Gallons of a Chimay Red Clone

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Update to my tap addiction

The taps  and handles have been done for a while but I have been so busy with school that I haven't taken any new photos. 

here is the final version, not entirely happy with the drip tray but I don't think I can cut it down without messing up the stainless steel. 

All the lines work, although only 4 of them have kegs on them right now. I just kicked my munich cascade smash - which I will be making again today with a few slight tweaks. 

For anyone interested as to whether or not the salt water chiller is working - it is - and continues to impress me with the fact that a 30 dollar pond pump can do so well in a below freezing high salinity environment.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Last of the extracts - found it in my beer tunnel

As you can see this is highly carbonated - I think I over-primed by about an ounce when I bottled almost 2 years ago.

the beer has aged pretty well, no signs of oxidation.

A little background on this beer.

It was a Phat tire clone recipe kit from Northern Brewer that I brewed the same night as I brewed a hefeweizen kit from them. I had two yeasts to pitch and wouldn't you know it I switched them. So I ended up with a brown hefeweizen and a lighter colored ale.

I thought I had gotten them all but this one survived my late night scroungings.

It has a fruity background, a caramel note to it and almost no hop aroma or flavor - I suppose two years of aging will do that.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Brewing in the Snow

As the great pre halloween snow storm of 2011 is nearly upon us - some soap box jockeys screaming 10 inches of snow - I thought it best to make some more beer.

A new brewing associate Aaron and I will be making a batch of "Chimaybe" a Chimay red clone attempt I came up with today. He gave me two bottles of Chimay and I cultured some yeast from one of them

We will also be making two batches of Brandon O's Graff which I have made before and loved. This time I will be making an all grain version using .5 ounces of cascade hops, 3 pounds of Pale malt, and 1 pound of munich malt.

I plan on mashing this for an hour then boiling the runoff for 30 minutes adding the hops at the beginning of the boil.

Last week Aaron and I brewed up a low end of the scale DIPA - I used beersmith 2 to work it out, I'm still learning the program so I know there are some errors.

Type: All Grain Date: 10/22/2011 Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal Brewer: Ian Boil Size: 8.24 gal Asst Brewer: Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Stainless Kegs (10 Gal/37.8 L) - All Grain End of Boil Volume 6.24 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 % Final Bottling Volume: 4.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 86.4 % Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0 Taste Notes:


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2 26.7 %
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 32.6 IBUs
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 7 10.7 IBUs
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 8 3.2 IBUs
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 0.0 min Hop 10 0.0 IBUs
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 3 6.7 %
10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 66.7 %
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 6 12.5 IBUs
4.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Dry Hop 14.0 Days Hop 11 0.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 45.0 min Hop 5 14.9 IBUs
2.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 1.0 min Hop 9 1.4 IBUs
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.078 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.046 SG Est Final Gravity: 1.020 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.8 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 % Bitterness: 75.4 IBUs Calories: 151.6 kcal/12oz Est Color: 7.7 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out Total Grain Weight: 15 lbs Sparge Water: 5.16 gal Grain Temperature: 54.0 F Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 54.0 F Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20

It is still bubbling away in the fermentation freezer, along with a cascade Munich smash IPA I made the day before.

Friday, October 14, 2011


We finally got rid of cable! in exchange, we got a Boxee Box. You can get the software for free and build one yourself but for $169.99. So far it seems like a good alternative, it requires a bit of learning but doesn't seem to be like an old linux system or anything. I would liken it more to a slightly more complicated version of an On Demand Cable Box.

The remote is really neat with its simple layout and full keyboard.

I also found some third part applications that allow you to use hulu(which has been sadly removed from the official boxee app area) and almost all other tv networks. There are also massive databases of movies and television shows through some off the radar apps - just spend some time looking.

At the moment it seems worth it - no monthly charge, no limits on what you can watch(some shows do cost money but there are ways around that, others are just ad supported which just means that every once in a while there will be an ad. Cool Remote to play with as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Night Running with the Magicshine

I just got back from a 3 mile run - so out of shape - it took me 29 minutes.

I like running at night because there are fewer people to point and stare and because it is so much COOLER. Winter running is fantastic, but I prefer spring and fall because of the cooler air and pleasant smells.

My constant companion used to be a Gamma Headlamp from Alpkit - a nice little piece of kit but I have had two of them break on me - which the company offered to replace gratis but I am still sad about the product. Now I use a Magicshine light from here:

This thing is the brightest headlamp I have ever used and is a Chinese knockoff of a Lupine lamp that is almost 100% close to the original. The Lupine lamp costs nearly 400 dollars if I remember right. I bought the optional headlamp strap( it was meant to be mounted on bike handles I think) and while it is nowhere near as streamlined as a Tikka it isn't all that bad to run with. The battery pack takes some time to get used to - I strap mine on a chalkbag strap and put that around my waist as tight as I can stand which stops it from moving around.

The magicshine is nearly as bright as a cars headlights and will really make sure motorists don't miss you on the side of the road. I have gotten some weird looks from police officers driving by but so far no arrests for lurking.

On a side note, the website where I bought it issued a recall on the battery packs about 8 months ago, I sent mine in and while it took a really long time I got a nice new(better constructed) battery pack that will not burst into flames.

Happy running