Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
As you've already read I have a batch of barley wine going in it's 2nd week in the secondary fermenter once it is racked to bottles I plan on harvesting some of the yeast form the carboy to rinse and save for future brews. My plan is that since the secondary fermenter doesn't generally have as heavy of a yeast deposit as the primary I'm planning to gather what yeast I can and use my new stir plate to make a starter just to get the cell count up, then put it in the fridge to hibernate so I can dip into this culture for future brews.
Ok so enough of my yammering. . . . . on with the pictures:
Below is a view of the front of the stirrer. The case came from RadioShack along with most of the parts. It is the 6x9x3 enclosure Catalog #: 270-1809. The power switch is Catalog #: 275-711, and the Rheostat (Speed Control) is Catalog #: 271-265, with the control knob being Catalog #: 274-402. The material on top of it is just an old mouse pad that I cut and glued in place with the rubber side up to provide a non-slip surface and to help level the surface with the protruding bolt heads. It also helps absorb some of the vibration and control some of the noise. I also cut squares from the mouse pad and glued them to the bottom of the case for the same purposes. By the way those bolts are temporary, they're just what I had around the house. I do plan to replace them with ones that sit flush with the surface eventually.
This picture is an overview of the open case showing the wiring. I harvested the fan from an old computer power supply that I had lying around, all the wire came from it also. You can also see that I used plastic soda bottle caps for spacers to mount the fan to the top of the enclosure. You can't see the magnets but they are a pair of 3/8"x3/8" round neodymium magnets which are glued as far apart as I could get them on the center hub of the fan. I had to pick these up at an industrial magnet store (Northwest Magnet) for $3, Radioshack didn't have any that were strong enough at the time.
The next picture is of the back of the case showing the power jack with the adapter plugged in. You can see it gives it a nice finished look along with providing the flexibility of being able to use different AC adapters.
So that's pretty much it there's not much to it. If you are even slightly mechanically inclined you can most likely make one too. It cost me around $15 to make and I used as many improvised/recycled parts as possible to keep cost down. My only advice is be careful with the neodymium magnets, those little bastards are strong and can hurt if you get a finger, or skin pinched between them when they're flying together.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Here is a video of it in action. Keep checking back for a parts list and pictures.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
Red Kettle Big Bad Barley Wine
Started on 2/10/2008
13 lb Light Liquid Malt Extract
2 lb Corn Sugar (Dextrose)
2oz Simcoe Hops (60 min)
2oz Centennial Hops (30 and 15 min)
(Somewhere around 70.6 IBU according to the Tinseth method)
¼ lb Victory
¼ lb Munich
¼ lb Crystal 40
¼ lb Crystal 120
1 tsp Irish Moss (45 min)
2 11.5g packages of Fermentis Safale US-05
I steeped grains for 30 min at 150° in 1.5 gallons of water, sparged with 2 quarts of 150° water. Removed from heat, added extract and stirred until dissolved and then brought it to a boil. Then I added 2oz Simcoe at the beginning of boil, 1 tsp Irish Moss at 45 min, 1oz centennial at 30 min and 1oz Centennial at 15 min. For a total of 60 min.
Notes: The night before I made a 3 liter starter with one 11.5g packet of Safale US-05 yeast and froze a one gallon jug of water to use for cooling. Once finished boiling I added the ice to the hot wort and got it to workable temp within a few minutes. After boiling I also scooped as much of the hops from wort as possible and strained them through a sieve. I strained remaining hops through the sieve when I poured the wort into fermenter. I added 2 chilled gallons of spring water and the temp was still at 115°. I had one more gallon of cold water available to use but the wort was already a little past 5 gallon mark. So I filled bath tub with cold water and allowed fermenter to sit in it for 30 min. This brought temp to about 82° and I decided to pitch despite high temp. I pitched the 3 liter starter and I ended up with only about 2.5” of head space in fermenter. Before Pitching I took a gravity reading of 1.116 (adjusted for temp) and decided it might be a good idea to pitch the extra package of yeast I had bought. I pitched it dry along with starter and within a half hour there was activity in airlock. I had bought two packages of yeast with the intent of using the second for bottling. Since this was going to be such a high gravity beer there might not be enough viable yeast left for bottle conditioning due to such a high alcohol content. Anyway it looks like I’m going to have to pick up one more package of yeast before bottling after all. Overall I’m looking at around 70.6 IBU according to Beersmith using the Tinseth method.
Day 2 comments: I checked the temp this morning it did not come down as I had hoped. It was still at 81° this morning when I woke up. Lucky for me I always put my fermenter in a large plastic storage tub during primary to protect my carpet in case of blow off. So I placed a wet towel around the fermenter with about 6 inches of water in the storage tub and put a fan blowing on it to promote evaporative cooling. Within 2 hours my temps have already dropped to 73°. Still a degree high but I can live with that, plus it’s better than 82°. If the temp doesn’t drop within range in a few hours I filled most of the storage containers I have in the house with water and put them in the freezer so I’ll add them to the storage container once they freeze.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
So I guess I should be more diligent about keeping this blog updated but my attention lately has been consumed by watching Deadwood. Anyway it has been one week since bottling. I primed with brown sugar hoping to impart some residual molasses flavor which I think will compliment this dark stout well. Before bottling I went on the hunt for bottles from some local bars. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a case of 20oz Young's Double Chocolate Stout bottles for the cost of the deposit. These are some of the best bottles in my opinion. They are thick and durable, plus they are so dark you can hardly see through them. Which is important for protecting the beer against UV exposure and causing it to become skunky. Also the benefit of larger bottles is less bottles to fill and cap so it was a great score especially for a nickel a piece. I did actually end up having to purchase a case of 22oz bottles from the brew store. I ended up with 13 of the Young's bottles and 12 of the brew store bottles which was perfect because that was exactly how many bottles I had on hand. I am considering sampling one of the bottles today to see how the carbonation is coming along. But I will wait for at least another week to partake in any more just to allow enough time to fully carbonate. Check back later this evening for a sample report.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Some notes about various things:
1.I think the reason for the fermentation being stuck was lack of aeration to wort prior to pitching. Thus causing reduced growth and reproduction of the yeast during the lag stage. I did attempt to aerate by using a hand held shower head on spray setting when I added water to the(concentrated)wort thinking this splashing action would aerate it enough. The problem was I aerated the wort when it was still hot. Essentially I added the cold water in an attempt to cool the wort. When the wort is hot gases are less soluble so the O2 that I attempted to add escaped during the long cooling time. In order to avoid this problem in the future I think a wort chiller will be my next purchase . I would also like to get an O2 injecting system eventually as well.
3. After doing research I realized that 2oz of DME may have caused the gravity to be a bit higher than optimal for a starter. From now on I am going to make a larger starter of at least 1 liter (2 liters preferably) and be sure to keep the gravity at about 1.040. I would have made a larger one but the brew shop only had 500ml Erlenmeyer flasks in stock. I did not take a gravity reading from this starter but I am assuming the gravity was high due to the ratio of DME to water that I used. The optimal ratio of water to DME is 10:1 (1 gram of DME for every 10 ml of water) my starter was approx 10:1.2. Not too bad but a little high none the less. I do plan on making a starter for all brews from now on and eventually I would like to get a stir plate.