A Beer and a Dog

"Why should I blog about brewing?", I asked. "Nothing like a beer and a dog...", So Sayeth Virtual Wayne.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mash Tun Upgrade…

Went to Lowes & asked if they were the guys that match prices or if it was Home boy Depot.  They said that it was them, So I put the 52 dollar 10-gallon cooler on the counter & said that the store price for the same item at HD is $39.65.  She looked it up and it wasn’t.  It was $36.95 at home boy’s so that’s what I got it for.  Then I went home to disect the thing, see what I needed:110529_MashTun03

The 3 thingys at the bottom of the pic are the valve and seal assembly from the cooler.  I purchased the ball valve, nipple, thick 5/8 washer, a 1/4-NPT bayonet fitting (not shown) and a union.  I also added a length of electrical conduit as a spacer and a 16mm thrust washer.  I could have gotten a shorter nipple, but you know how guys are about nipples…..  Moving right along…..

Assembling the new system, I used the seal and nut that came with the cooler and the other items mentioned.  It looks like this when it is all together:


I boiled the off the shelf items to cleanse off the coolant and etc. from the parts that are no doubt still on ‘em when you buy them and cooled them in cold water to allow me to assemble them.  After applying nylon thread dope and putting them together the whole thing looks like this on the inside (with my false bottom installed)  and when sitting next to a 5 gallon carboy full of beer:

110529_MashTun07                110529_MashTun08

I thought that I lost the bayonet fitting that screws into the 1/4-NPT union, but it was in my pocket.  It isn’t shown in the first pic for that very reason.  Now that I have a cooler to use for mashing I can retire my old sleeping bag that I have always wrapped around a bucket.  Of course, now I have an extra bottling bucket.  Maybe I can swap it for something….

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I’ve been drinking on my first batch or Märzen…

Brewed in February, I took a couple bottles to a brewing event the other week to have The Original Doug to give me a diagnosis of the issue confronting this, my first triple decoction.  The verdict: Phenolic taste.  Was it the process? Was it the yeast?  I dunno.  Maybe the next batch, now in the cooler, will tell the tale.  If not the same, I’ll assume that some of my components were not… ah… satisfactorily sanitized.  At any rate, I’m reluctant to share this first batch with the Pilgrims.  No prob, I’ll call it My Private Stock.  BHH!  (Tha’s shorthand, according to Virtual Wayne, for: Bwa-Hahahah!)

(must get another one..)Picture

Other than the phenolic taste, the carbonation is excellent, the head is to style, and with a little more cooling (along with the next batch in the freezer) the clarity should improve.  Has a nice malted phenolic taste.  Incidentally, I ate a few malted milk balls before tasting, and the phenolic taste isn’t as noticeable… Coincidence?  Cleaner bottles?  Not give a shitlessness?  Who is to say; I’ll enjoy this beer til the bitter end.  Mmmm… bitters.

…which is the next beer being fermented at the moment.  I brewed another ESB (using the same Fermentis English Ale Yeast #4 that I’ve used for the last two batches) last Saturday at Blue Ridge Hydroponics & Home Brew Supply for the Spring brewing demo which I renamed ‘Learn a Frien’ to Home Brew’ to reflect our regional heritage.  It’s all the rage… Heritaging, that is.

More, as it happens….

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Placed the new batch of Märzen into the cooler today…

Looks like I will wind up with under 5 gallons.  I put a bottle from the last batch into the fridge to see what it tastes like…. Actually, to cool so I can taste it and… you get the picture.110514_triple decoction matrix    And here’s a picture: a matrix I did in Excel to use as a guide to doing a triple decoction, it wasn’t very clear while I was brewing the current batch and I missed my first temperature… also I broke the rule that shouldn’t be broken: I consumed mass quantities of beer while I was brewing… That didn’t help with the confusion issues.  But it turned out well, and a good time was had by all.  I’ll do this process again, but not real soon. Next is another ESB at Learn A Frien’ to Home Brew, a brewing event that is held locally at our fav brew supply shoppe.  More on that when it happens…

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Big Brew: Today I brew

Today is the day that Homebrewers all over the country (with the exception of Alabama and one more state, for some reason) celebrate the day that Jimi Cartier made Home Brewing legal once again in the US.  Today at High Noon, we lift a glass to Jimi and brother Bili too: for he was probably the one that lit the fire under the flame, so to speak, to get things going.  At least I’ll toast Bili.

Today I’m going to attempt another batch of Märzen using the Triple Decoction method, a real pain in the ass but it makes such a NICE Oktöberfest, for the edification (or edu-ma-cation) of my fellow brewers.  (Mental note: DON’T FORGET THE SCHEDULE!)  Looks like it might rain today but hopefully I’ll get there to secure a spot under the club tent.  I d’wanna get sunburned like I did last year.  I’ll use the same recipe as last time, altho’ I couldn’t find my torrified wheat… (Hmmm.  I’d bought a pound last time…) and substituted more Crystal.  I’ll make an adjustment in the bill and the revision level tomorrow or sumptin’.

Now’s time to cleanse the scaly bod and shave, and begin loading cargo.  More on this later….

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Contract engineering, working in the field in which I truly love: Mechanical Design.


That was it, apparently

"Bonus Nachos!" as we say on my planet. "And CHEERS!"