Sunday, September 30, 2012

Belgian Ale

Well it has been a long while since I posted and a lot of brewing and other beer work has gone on around my home so look for a few updates!

Today I stepped back from all grain and just did a kit.  Mostly because I put off finding a recipe too long before the local HBS was due to close for the weekend.  But all is well, I'm going round two with a True Brew (tm) Belgian Ale kit.  A cool feature of this kit is the rock candy sugar. 

About a year ago I brewed this same kit and it went very well and I was delighted to finally have a Belgian beer ON TAP in my house!  This had been a goal for longer than I care to admit.

Now I must look into some all grain recipes for Belgians and pick something out.  Cheers!

brewed: 9/30/2012
O.G. 1.058 (right on target)
secondary fermentation:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

European lager's were only made possible by global exploration

Could it really be true that lagers would not have been possible without sailing voyages from half way around the globe?  Would we even have lagers today or would we all be brewing only ales and stouts.  Are there other yeast progeny yet to be discovered that could change the whole landscape of beer offerings?

The mystery of lager yeast has been revealed, read all about it here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

May Wheat

brewed: 5/15/2011

Batch I (5 gal carboy)
4.75 oz Carapils
4.125 oz C-20

Batch II (6 gal carboy)
4.5 oz Carapils
4.5 oz C-20

repitched yeast cake from last month  WPL 351 Bavarian Wheat Yeast

O.G.  10.56
secondary fermentation:
kegged: 5/23/2011


Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting ready for summer wheat

brewed: March 27, 2011
O.G.       1.058
secondary fermentation:

4.25 oz Briess Carapils (Dextrin)
4.25 oz Briess Caramel 20
7.6 lbs Muntons Wheat LME
1 oz Perle (German)
Bavarian Weizen Ale Yeast White Labs WLP351

This is a fast and easy brew session.

A 20 minute steep of the 8.5 ounces of grains in 1 gal. of spring water at ~160 degrees

Dropped that into the boil pot and topped it very close to the top.  This was a little uncomfortable as I expected some boil over.  Added in the hops and malt then boosted the temp up to boiling.

We were lucky, constantly eying the temperature I had no boil overs but a steady 212 rolling for 50 minutes.

Cooled down to ~120 with the water chiller and topped off the fermenter with cold water.

Next time I will suggest straining the hops a bit better so things get into the fermenter without delay and cooling the wort down to 100 degrees or less since I had to wait on the temp to drop before pitching.  Since things went so smoothly and I still have almost 2 lbs of the grains on hand I will probably brew up several more batches of this throughout the summer.  Reusing the yeast cake should make this interesting and only about $25 per 5 gallon batch!

Ted assisting with the Chillin' process

Monday, January 3, 2011

Word of the Day - Gambrinus

This comes from

Word of the Day for Tuesday, December 28, 2010
gambrinus \gam-BRAHY-nuhs\, noun:
A mythical Flemish king, the reputed inventor of beer. 

I would have suspected them to capitalize the first letter.  I've heard of St. Arnold, but never Gambrinus, it's always fun to learn more beer trivia.

"It is also possible that the original Gambrinus was Duke John I of Brabant (1254-1298), who was called Jan Primus."
Could this be the origin of Primary Fermenter?  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cleaning the Soda Fountain

In yesterday's post you could tell that this old dispenser was in need of some TLC.  To get it ready for my hand crafted concoctions I need it to be up to the task and as we all know sanitation is the utmost importance.  In a machine like this it means disassembly and attention to detail.  So here is my Day Two with the soda fountain.

First you will notice that these taps are a bit different from the ones brewers usually see.  The screw on the right side of each tap is an adjustment, it increases a gap inside.    

Pardon the picture, it shows some residue from the NeverDull that I hadn't wiped off yet.  That is good stuff for cleaning chrome surfaces.

Breaking down the tap we see a spring.  This is nice because it puts the tap back into the closed posistion when you let go of the handle.  Several times I have cause a little mess when cleaning lines due to leaving a tap partly open.  That shouldn't be a worry with this unit.

The spring is held in place by the cups and the screw clamps it all into the valve.

On the left side you see the adjustment screw.  The right tap has it comepletely removed.

There are two types of plastic grommets.  The white ones are used for the final short line between the metal fitting on the coils from the ice water tank and the back side of the taps.

The red grommet is slightly larger and goes on the liquid out side of the keg.

Notice how that nasty soda had stained the plastic over the years.  I had never heard of Teem soda until seeing this fountain.  There are removable badges like this on the customer facing side of the unit to show what is being served.

From this top down shot you can see the coils in the ice water tank.  It looks like there are more than 12 feet of tube for each tap.

I filled the tank with water and about 1/2 cup of bleach and let it sit for a few hours.  That took care of most cleaning, I still had to scrub the top edges due to the overflow port.  Obviously the overflow port keeps you from filling all the way to the top.

After all the cleaning was done it was time to get the system back together.  Here you can see I've replaced the short lines with new tubes (thanks to the guys at Rebel Brewer).  Doesn't that front look nice now.  ;)

I'll say at this point that the Cornelius company made this gear very easy to take apart.  It looks like I could have just removed a couple more screws and been able to take the coils out of the tank.  Every surface seems to drain in a logical way.  Notice the tube in the lower left - that will drain the water tank.  Anything that leaks in the area shown here will drain through the short pipe poking out from the middle behind the taps in this picture.  When it's all together that pipe is poking through the drip tray.  So the drip tray is really draining any area you can expect liquids to be.

Next I fliped the taps up and remounted them.  Only two screws and presto.  The dispenser is ready to fill with water and connect the lines to my kegs!

Notice that shiny surface now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Soda Fountain

It must be good Karma to share your homebrew!

Yesterday an acquaintance called me up.  He had inherited these soda fountains from his parent's skating rink.  He just wanted someone to use them and remembered sharing a beer after work one day.  Apparently they are pre-1985 Cornelius brand soda fountains and even came with a few kegs that still had pressure in them.

After doing a little research I found that other people have used these "pre-mix" machines for serving beer.  The more modern "post-mix" machines blend carbonated water at the tap with syrup from a box.  The syrup in a box is popular now and that's why we find so many used kegs!  The post-mix machines do not lend well for serving beer.  So here is my Pre-Mix Bonanza Beer Cooler experiment.

Rick is an appliance repairman so he showed me how simple these machines break down.  Noting that the cover grill has to face the correct way for the fan to push air correctly.  It looks like the fridge unit can be installed either way by just moving it's plug from one side to the other.

I'll be replacing these little hoses between the cooling lines and taps. 

This part is filled with water.  Each tap has it's own tube that you see running up and down through the ice water.  That is the only thing between the kegs and taps.  Pre-mix units are cool like that.

The first thing I did was fill the tank with water and bleach.  I used a cloth to scrub the upper part because the overflow hole won't allow water to go all the way to the top.

The refrigerator coil shown here sits down in the water and cools it.  There is a paddle which stirs the water.  I believe it's purpose is to keep the tank from freezing up, I'll check the water temp after I get one running.

Fountains and tanks arrive at the Bonnie Brewery.  Soon to serve a more important role!


The Cornelius company - making kegs and equipment for many refreshing beverages!