Monday, June 25, 2012

Rainy Day Blogging

So during the summer it rains almost daily in Florida. That seems like it's an awful lot to be called the sunshine state. The deal is that yes, it rains daily, but that daily rain is from about 3:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon, give or take an hour or too. It's not often that we wake up and go to bed with rain, but today is definitely one of those days.

So we had a little party last night. A little party where I only new a quarter of the people there. I didn't expect to hand out much beer, not knowing the pallet of our audience. The wife had all bases covered and bought a 18 pack of Miller Light (with the siiiick vortex long necks). By the end of the night, only 4 Miller Lights were empty. With the number of pints I handed out, those numbers equal the score of game six in the Stanley Cup this year (6-1 for the uneducated). People loved A Tale of Two Brewer's beer.

This is also one of the first time's I've had all four taps going at the same time. On tap was my Carpe-IPA, Saa-wheat!, and my most recent brews, Northern Brewer's SH2B (ESB), and Beersmith's Pilsner! The ESB was a big hit, and so was Saa-wheat!.  One IPA lover loved Carpe-IPA. The lager received decent reviews.

Speaking of the lager, for my first I'd say it came out great. The beer itself was mildly cloudly, and sweeter than I would have liked. Still, everyone agrees, it's refreshing and easy to drink! I'm getting ready to brew up another batch. This time the batch is going to be my first double batch. Since it takes so long for the Lager to, well, lager, I'm going to have two running at the exact same time. Which also means I have to upgrade my brew kettle.

This afternoon is going to be spent designing the frame of my brew rig on AutoCAD. I want to push to brew on the 14th and use my new rig, so it's an ambitious schedule. In the meantime I'll also have to get a keg and cut it up for my new keggle. We'll see how it goes!

I'm going to need a name for my brew-rig. It's gotta be badass. Any ideas? Brew-magnon? Brew and Let Brew? UberBrew?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Unexpected Results

I have this whole afternoon to myself. I'm pretty stoked to keg some beer and clean out the kegerator. Well...

The wife and I had a great idea for some shelves to put in the man room to spruce up a wall and create more storage for my growing collection of beer related goodies. After two weeks it went up yesterday, and it looks fantastic (if I do say so myself)! It's all carpentry-like and such. I cut notches in the posts and the shelves that interlock, and I even covered over the screw holes so you'll never see them! I feel I'm really kicked my carpentry up a notch. We made sure it didn't interfere with anything like the dart board scoring machine or the swing of the keg door. Right... the door. Well it turns out while we are clearing the keg door, there's not actually enough room to pull the kegerator out itself. It gets a little more than half way out and stops. I've got no room to move the kegerator from side to side either. This is going to take some engineering to figure out how to do this without creating any major destruction. So my plans for kegging this weekend are shot. Maybe sometime this week though. I'll cross my fingers.

On a side note, a momentous occasion has occurred. I finally kicked my bottomless keg of porter. I've been trying to kick that keg for a number of months now. While I'm not really complaining... I need the space in my kegerator to keg my next two batches. I was going to planning on kicking it Wednesday night, well, 3 nights and 8 beers later it's finally kicked. Not that I can do much with it though. It's stuck in the kegerator at the moment, held hostage by the shelf.

I just put in the order for my first Banjo Burner from Amazon. Should be here by Wednesday. I guess this unofficially marks the beginning of the creation of my brew-magic style brew stand. This one isn't going to cost me 6 g's though (looks like that price has gone up). I plan on starting with welding the frame together and mounting the burners to it. After that it should be a piece by piece build from there on out. Mount the pump, controls, gas, etc. Soon I'll be brewing in style.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hot Zone

Today... wasn't the greatest day. Not really for any particular reason. Just in a 'get out of the wrong side of the bed' sort of way. Really nothing was going wrong. I was just in a poor mood.

That's when I decided to put my regulator away. I open up my closet...

And there's mold growing on my beer.

I can't even explain how I feel about that.

Well I guess I can, cause that's what this post is about. That was such a downer. This was the ESB from my extra long brew day with my valve issues. All down the drain. Probably soon after this post I will be dumping it.

I can't say I don't know what I did wrong. Which is a blessing and a curse. At least I can learn from it and not do it again. However it also means I knew exactly what was happening when I screwed it up.

At the end of my boil in the brew session, in transferring the beer to my nice and clean fermenter, my flow stopped. Dead stop. Not a trickle. I had a mass of dry hops at the bottom of my pot thicker than the peat marsh of Ireland. Well I decided to use my fancy new funnel with a built in screen which should have worked great. Well that got stopped up too. Before I knew it I "sanitized" my hand and reached through my wort and pulled the screen out. When I did it I thought it was a bad idea. But I was at the end of a 7 hour brew day, and I was tired, and I wanted to move on.

Like I said, at least I can learn from this. I've been having increasingly greater troubles due to the fact I don't use hop socks. It just seemed like a waste to me. Well, now I know better, and last time I was at Heart's I picked up 10 of them. Also I now know that hands don't sanitize very well (which I kind of expected). C'est la vie.

Speaking of troubles, remember that CO2 leak I was paranoid about? Turns out my paranoia was a reality. I replaced that CO2, and a month later that CO2 ran out. I went to Heart's and I got a new manifold. I was constantly paranoid about my old one leaking. I installed it, pressurized the line sans keg to see if the gas side would hold. Next morning, no pressure. So I isolate the gas side. Great. But at this point I'm sick and tired of leaks so I take the entire gas system from the CO2 to the disconnects to the pull and dunk the entire thing up to the gauges (dont want to get those wet). The leak made itself known quickly. I swore it would be my disconnect, but nope. Those are built well. Turns out the barbed fitting I screwed into my new regulator had a steady flow of CO2 escaping. Well, I've since taken it apart and using Loc-Tite, sealed the threads and re-attached. We'll see how my plumbing skills prove themselves.

... and wow. Just figured out something. I went to edit my shot of my "infected" beer and it turns out it's not mold, but just bubbles that formed on the top. I popped the cork and it smells great! Hallelujah! Anyone ever see bubbles like that?