Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why hello there...

Rather than juggle between twitter, Facebook and ElJay, I thought I would consolidate my ramblings about my various hobbies here on Blogger. I might as well make use of the account, It came free with the email address. ;-)

I am recovering from a long hiatus off of the bike, I spent quite a long time in my 30's in the saddle and plotting revenge. I have a new job that is not conducive for saddle time so I have been making do with my bike trainer and the occasional trek around town.. not to mention hitting the ETBT yearly.

I recently took up home brewing as a hobby and that is my main inspiration for this blog.

My first batch was a clone brew of a wheat bear from North Coast brewery.. a not-quite Blue moon. I picked up some supplies from Tim over at Brew Ferment Distill and a 35 quart turkey fryer from the local big box hardware store. Here's some pictures:

My 35 quart pot... there is a handy spigot in the bottom, so I don't have to lift and pour 5+ gallons of wort into my fermenter.

This is a pic of my first batch in the fermenting bucket chillin':

By all accounts.. it came out really good (which is great, since this was my first time). My second batch, a clone of Fat Tire Pale Ale did not come out so well. I bought a hydrometer but I forgot to get the dry malt extract. I had to substitute sugar for it. The alcohol by volume came out low.

After about a week in the bottle, it actually tastes pretty good but the alcohol level was very low (only about 2%, target volume was 4%)

I decided to try again with all the correct ingredients and the spec. gravity going into the fermenter was on target and it is chugging away happily:
It took a long time last week to cool the wort down enough to pitch the yeast into it...so I decided to procure an immersion chiller. Since immersion chillers retail for $75-$150, I decided to make my own.

I went over to the home despot and picked up a 20' coil of copper tubing, some vinyl tubing, clamps, a barbed hose end and an attachment for my faucet. Total cost for this was about $35. The result is as follows.. though I need to do a little soldering to solidify the structure. I am looking forward to using it to chill the next batch of wort:
The next batch will be a full grain one.. eschewing the dry malt and liquid malt extracts. I've been looking at the idea of making a mashing tun but it seems to be more trouble than it is worth since I found some instructions from an late 70's brewing book about mashing without the tun.

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