Sunday, May 8, 2011

Updates and a Look at my Kegerator

First... A few quick updates...

10 Gallon Mash Tun... I brought the manifold I built to work. I added the slots to the bottom of all the pipes. The first time I built the manifold, I used a hacksaw to make the slots. This made a huge mess with the cpvc shavings inside the pipes and it was a huge pain to clean up with a file. This time I used a cut off wheel in an angle grinder. It made nice clean cuts with very little leftover shavings inside the pipes. The new cuts are a little wider as you can see in the pic... I am a little worried that the higher flow rate will affect my efficiency but we will see..

BIPA... Gone. (sadface) Will definitely brew again. This is one of my favorite brews so far. Went so fast due to pure awesomeness. So... I had to clean the keg and tap tonight. Also since my taps are dry tonight, I am drinking Sam Adams Latitude 48. I used to be a huge SA fan when I started getting into craft beers. Idk if my tastes have changed, or if SA has changed things... (probs the former) but I have not been impressed with anything SA, except for this IPA... love it! Maybs I am turning into a beer snob...

Cider... I tested to see where I was with the fermentation. As I said last time, I am trying to stop it before it ferments all the way. I didn't take an OG (Original Gravity) reading. But,g uessing I started between 1.070 and 1.080.. Tonight I tested and it was 1.034. Not quite there yet, trying to stop at 1.010 I'll give it a few more days and test again. If it's where I want it, I'll keg, chill, and carbonate.

SMaSHed Pils... Kegged! Holy C. R. this smells amazing... I dryhopped 10 days ago with 2 ounces of Aurora hops. Took a sample just because. Tested at 1.010 as expected, had confirmed fermentation was complete before dryhopping. Sample was crystal clear, I decided to take a whole glass to chill and sample.

I am not overly excited by the clarity, because I know that as soon as I chill it, it will haze up. Half hour in freezer:

This is chill haze. As I understand it, the proteins from the grains that are floating around, invisible at room temp, coagulate (?) at chilled temps and become visible causing the haziness. In my experience, if it sits at serving temps for a few weeks this will eventually settle out and clear again. This doesn't happen in commercial beers because most commercial breweries filter their beers.

So... SMaSHed Pils smells and tastes amazing... Compared to the IPA style it does not quite fit... compare the color to the Latitude 48. The Pils is obviously lighter in color. Bitterness is not as present in the SMaSHed Pils. The flavor profile of the hop is nice but it does not have the bite an IPA usually does. The Aurora hops do not have huge bittering strength. The flavor profile is dominated by the hops. Lots of citrus. I had said I thought maybe I tasted apricot, but after hearing the LHBS (Local Home Brew Store) guy describe it as tangerine, that's totally what it is. I'm really excited about this beer. so I am force carbing to hurry it up.

Sidenote: Someday I hope I will remember to either take off my socks or put on shoes before cleaning and sanitizing in the kitchen... Wet. Socks. Suck.

An IRL, non-brewer friend had asked me about my kegerator. So while cleaning my taps and kegging the SMaSHed Pils, I snapped a few pics and figured I would do a quick description of how it works... I have said several times, bottling is the worst... Not trying to scare anyone away from it, but even though I loved brewing, I hated bottling (so much) The solution was kegging. So I needed to build a kegerator. Some people use a chest freezer and control the temp so it is fridge temp with a different thermostatI. More work and takes up more space but you can fit way more kegs and taps. (I have seen some on the forums with twelve different taps!) To save space, I went with a kegerator with two taps. I built this from a new, dorm sized, fridge. I got the idea and plans from the forums...

I got the tower, taps, COtank, lines, disconnects, and regulator from my LHBS.

I started by taking the top off the fridge and digging the insulation out so I could see where the refrigeration lines were. Then I drilled a hole in the top for the beer lines to go through. I ran the lines through copper pipes to try and keep the lines cold. I did this to reduce foaming from the first pour. It works ok... I guess... could be better. 

The kegs are old pepsi kegs. Basic overview of how it works... CO2 comes from tank, pressure is adjusted by regulator, gas goes into the top of the keg and pushes the beer from the bottom of the keg through a diptube and out the beer line to the tap. When the tap is opened, the beer comes out. Just like at the bar. I have two taps and can fit two kegs and the tank in the fridge. So I can have two different beers on tap at any time. So far it's been hard for me to keep up with brewing enough to keep two on tap. But once I go to ten gallon batches, it will get a lot easier...

That's it for tonight... Planning brewday with full write-up for next weekend. I think I decided on a quick Belgian Witbier. Later...

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