Monday, June 27, 2011

Pump Up the Jam

Last week I brewed my last beer of my great brewing binge. My final beer for this four week fiasco was a smokey porter that I called the "porky porter." Really no reason for the name, I just needed to come up with something to file it into Beersmith. The beer has been fermenting well, and is ready to transfer to the secondary. It seems that missing my OG has been plaguing me, for I've missed it for my last 4 brews. Right now the only thing I can think about attributing the miss to is an inconsistent sparge water temperature. From my readings, a temperature that is too cold will fail to extract all the sugars that it's supposed to, and the sparge water should be around 168.

The reason why I haven't been monitoring my sparge all lies within my brewing method. Usually, I use the water from my HLT, which starts off at 180. Well then I have to pick the keg up off the burner and place it on my table. The only way I can do this without burning myself (well, burning myself less) is by spraying the outside of the keg with water until it's cool enough to pick up. Things still remain as hairy as bigfoot's Shick ultra, because I'm attempting to hoist probably about 100 lbs of keg & water & hotness from waist height to about head height. Awkward as an adjective doesn't do it justice. I almost throw my back out more often than a French soccer player takes a dive.

To the forums batman! After some scouring I realized that I could probably use my pump to pump the hot water up to my mast tun instead of the heavy lifting. Originally I figured I couldn't use the pump because of the autosparge I use. The autosparge acts like a toilet tank valve, when the sparge water gets too high, it will shut off the flow. But if there's too much pressure behind it, I was afraid it would be forced open. The forums suggested to put a valve on the outlet of the pump so you can throttle it back. Brilliant! Since the pump is externally cooled with a fan, as long as the impeller spins the pump wont overheat. Now I have to get my furry little butt to Lowe's and get myself a valve.

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