Friday, March 14, 2008

Busy Brewer

Man I've been busy with brewing stuff. After getting the cider racked to secondary I decided that it was time to start gathering the necessary stuff to get going with all grain brewing so I have been putting together a mash tun. I was lucky enough to find a guy selling coolers on Craigslist for pretty cheap so I picked up two for $6. One to make a mash tun and another to use as a cooler. I ended up getting a 48qt Coleman and a 24qt Rubbermaid (both were chest coolers) and I decided to use the larger one for the project. For the manifold I used 1/2" CPVC pipe and a combination of brass and stainless steel hardware (i.e. ball valve, coupler, washers etc.). The cooler I used was an older model so the drain was just a hole with an attached plastic cork on a hinge type thing so I didn't have to remove a valve, or drill any holes. Anyway there's not a whole lot that goes into making one, the most time consuming thing was getting all the parts. So here are a couple pics so you can see how it goes together. Feel free to leave any comments or questions.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Secondary Cider

Ok so I racked the cider into secondary today mainly because well. . . .I was bored, and I wanted to free up my primary fermenter in case I feel like making something else. I took a gravity reading of 1.001 which gives me about 8% ABV, but it's still fermenting. I also tasted it and it is quite dry as I expected. I'm considering sweetening it with lactose when I bottle because lactose is unfermentable and will not cause bottle explosions. It looks like the formula should be about 2lb of lactose and 3/4 cup of brown sugar for priming since I'm planning to make it sparkling. Bottling is a long way off so I might just leave it dry, I like it nice and tart personally.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Big Bad Bottling Day

I just got finished bottling the Barley wine today. I primed with 3/4 cup of corn sugar and a packet of re-hydrated Safale US-05 since it was such a high gravity beer. FG is still at 1.015. I actually tried a little while bottling and I cant wait for it to finish. The little bit I tasted actually made my ears warm. This recipe may become a staple in my line up. Christi tasted a little sip and she didn't think it was bad either, and that's impressive since she doesn't like beer. I think she's a little afraid of it though because when she was helping me bottle she said "one of these big bottles is gonna get me drunk isn't it?". He he he. . . . Anyway I ended up with 12/22oz bottles, 13/20oz bottles, and 12/12oz bottles. Looks like I'm gonna need some more bottles for the cider since I only have about a dozen twelve ouncers left.