Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy holidays!

And preparation for a year of serious brewing.

While all my beers are snug in their beds,
Chilling and aging,
To produce a good head.

Fermenters and pots,
Are gathering dust
The bottles are full,
And kegs are all stuffed.

But away at his desk,
with pen and some brew,
Eugene was designing,
A HERMS to debut!

Sorry. I couldn't help myself. I've been reading about multi-temperature mash rests and the benefits, and I figured now would be a good time to get a design out there and start gathering parts that work together. So I've come up with a design that I'm going to post here. I'm going to head over and throw it in front of the gentlemen at homebrewtalk.com and get the details hammered out.  I've decided to go with a HERMS (Heat Exchanged Recirculating Mash System) because I feel it will cost less for me in the end and will integrate the equipment I have effectively. The way I see it, running the mash through a copper coil through hot water will produce a less drastic change in temperature and I'll be able to control the temperature much more closely. I also plan to have a bypass loop so I can continually circulate the mash, which should give me a much more even temperature profile across the mash tun. Well without further delay, here's my schematic:

Ideally in the end I would like the temperature control to be automatic. So I'd have a temperature controller monitoring the temperature of the mash and controlling the motorized valve to switch between the coil and the bypass. As things progress I will give further updates.

Again, happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Foamy Beer? No Fear!

Stay tuned for results.

When I dropped my new set of beers into the kegerator recently (Pilsner, Irish Red, Nut Brown, and Root Beer), I've been having some serious foaming issues. Head's great and all, but not when it's over 2/3 of your pint. I did some scouring on the homebrewtalk.com forums (of which I am now a proud member of, check me out username:Splobucket), and found an interesting thread for the "cure for your short hose troubles" (Link Here).

Apparently there are some serious epoxy guns out there that you can order special tips for. Known as "mixer nozzles". You can get them at McMaster-Carr (the part number used here is 74695A58). Well in these mixer nozzles are these fancy (and easy to remove) plastic mixing sticks. And according to the thread, will restrict the flow in your beer lines so you don't have to worry about running 15' of tube inside of your kegerator. Lets find out.

Not realizing at first in the thread, but the mixing sticks come in a plastic tube. They pop out of the tube very easily with a Phillips screwdriver. And here's what you get (shown on my hand for size reference):

Install is quite idiot-proof and straightforward (which was probably redundant to say). Relieve the pressure from your keg, take off the disconnect from the liquid side, and slide your stick right in. It should drop right in:

I am waiting to post results until I let my kegs settle for a few days after all the commotion. I'm excited for the results! And thanks to "pjj2ba" over at homebrewtalk.com for the great tip!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bottles bottles bottles.

Man alive, I bottled beer last night. First time in a while since I've been using my kegs. What a pain. The entire time all i could think of is how much easier kegs are. Oh well, that's the price of the love i guess! Another week or two and my new American Pale Ale will be ready to drink.

I'll post a picture and review of my new nut brown ale shortly!