Link to the Tracker – Keg Tracking Overview: Moving from bottling to kegging was a snap. I wanted to go a different direction, and perhaps not spend as much time taking over the kitchen when my beer finally dropped bright. It was taking way longer than I initially thought, and I was getting inconsistencies in the amount of carbonation from bottle to bottle. I knew it was a mixing issue, but no matter what I tried, there were always a few that were almost flat, and a few of those that were gushers. At 12 gallon batches, purchasing carbonation drops were too expensive to take seriously, and I was afraid of getting too much oxygen stirred in when I added the boiled sugar syrup. I dropped a pretty obvious hint that I wanted kegs for Christmas (uhh, honey? Here is a link to what I want for Christmas, and let everyone […]
This post is a continuation of the Process Lockdown: Overview post I put out last week. We will just call this Equipment List version 1.0, as I am planning on adding a few of fermentation related items and testing hardware during this year. Here is an equipment list that supports brewing and packaging beer in my home-brewery. It tends to be very eclectic, and I have not sourced it from one place. The bio-diesel websites have surprised me with the extend of quality goods they carry for homebrewing.
A logical approach to brewing has many steps and categories, including planning, purchasing, execution, process control, evaluation, analysis, reflection, adjustments, and record keeping. A lot of these categories and steps are combined and intermixed in ways that are hard to separate and think about logically. A few of them are standalone, and easy to capture and document in a way that makes it easy to further refine and improve. With a background in unique high tech manufacturing, my experience shapes how I brew my beer. Without drinking too deeply from the lean manufacturing principals koolaid, or from the lean six sigma voodoo, I have learned enough over the years to develop an approach that should apply well to brewing. For me, the greatest achievement in my brewing is the ability to brew an award winning beer, judged by my peers and by professionals, and to brew it over and over […]
I am writing these old embarrassing stories first. It is odd, I guess that I feel it’s best to get this kind of stuff off my chest first. Nobody is perfect, and we all have made mistakes. I tend to remember these brewing days better, as the failures have helped to define why I do certain processes now. These stories certainly help to improve my writing, which probably needs some help, and no pictures this time, as I was not thinking of starting a blog yet…
These first few posts are a little scattered, as I am going back and writing on ales I have made last year, then bottled or kegged, and consumed. I have some follow-on to the posting layouts, future plans, how-to’s, and recipes that are yet TBD. This posting is in reference to a text exchange my wife and I had yesterday. My humor trends on the dry side, and so when I can make myself laugh so hard my coworkers begin to stare, I figure its worth posting about. I have 3 different beers from very recent brew sessions in the fermenters I got with my brewing equipment. My wife is gracious enough to allow them in the kitchen, and they do tend to take up some room. The constant glug and gurgle of fermenting beer is soothing to me, and I like to listen to the activity knowing that I have provided […]
By this time, the hot liquor tank has been sitting over a burner all day, and is now in the 190 degree range. Because I wasn’t paying attention, I went ahead and started to fly-sparge, only realizing once about 5 gallons is in the boil kettle that my sparge temp was too high. I stopped the fly-sparge and drained the mash, deciding to batch sparge instead. Once the 190 degree temp water that had made it into the mashtun was drained through the grain bed, I thought my best option was to add cold water to the liquor tank and allow the temp to settle prior to running it through the grain. While filling the tank with ground temp water from the hose, the boil kettle came to a boil, with about 5 gallons in it. The boil kettle burner was on full blast, because I was expecting to fly […]
I am going to be a pro, I thought to myself Saturday morning as I hauled hot water by the 5 gallon bucket from the bathroom tub faucet out to the garage and poured it into my hot liquor tank. I had gotten up early and was too excited to eat any breakfast. I fired up the burner on the liquor tank, and hauled enough water to fill it (14.5 gallons). I estimated a campdon tablet was good enough for my very soft water with only chloramine in it. The mashtun piping was primed by opening the liquor tank ball valve and allowing the water to flow through all the lines until it started to “underlet” into the mashtun. This is basically a way to let all the air escape out of the lines and pipes through the system. If there was an air bubble it could get pulled into […]