Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Beer Bottled

Mint Chocolate and Gingerbread are done.  I must say, the ginger did not come out like it did this year, but I've found with spiced beer that less is usually better.  Either way, it's a nice stout.  The Mint Chocolate was good, with plenty of chocolate and a slight mint flavor.  As usual, we didn't end up with as much as I would have liked, but still enough to share.  Last night Santa made his list.  Were you naughty or nice?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tiny, the 15.5gal fermentor...

I had a keg that I wanted to make into a 15.5gal fermentor. Initially I wanted it to be a "conical" one, but I soon realized that the cost of adding the cone to the bottom was enough to warrant a real conical. I don't have $500 right now (for more beer "tools"), so I just added a dump valve and a collecting valve and engineered a way to make a lid that seals. Well, actually I saw a similar idea in the Internets and made my own version usiong leftover brewery components. The gasket is 1/8" Thick, 12" X 12", FDA Buna-N Rubber Sheet Gasket(McMaster-Carr)...

(above)The lid is a little wider than the hole, for overlap. I kept one of the lids from a previous keg conversion and reinstalled it's ball valve after removing the old pickup tube. (below) I seal the lid by using a bar that clamps using the handles of the keg. One side is stationary, the other has a bolt that pulls the bar down and applies top pressure to the lid. I used a couple scraps of the gasket material to make it extra tight.

The finished product was pretty nice. I made a stand out of scrap 2x4s, but the only part that doesn't function well is the dump valve for harvesting yeast and dumping trub. You could not bother with a dump valve and just set it wherever you like. Still a great fermentor!

Friday, December 05, 2008

I lied! Long overdue updates!!

I didn't even know it!  Anyway, a lot has happened.  I recently finished a 15gal fermentor using a 1/2bbl keg and ran my first 15gal batch of brew.  I must say, it's exciting to have a "triple" batch of beer.  I would love to go even bigger, but for now 10-15gal of beer is all I am willing to screw up at a time!

Other Items
  • New casters for the brewer, the original ones are failing and leaving the brewery "on tilt".
  • 15gal of Cockhammer v3.0 fermented an conditioning for drinking.
  • My second shot at O-Fest was much better,  very good actually.  It is on tap and drinking smooth!
  • Christmas Beers are also conditioning.  I brewed a version of the Santa's Bootstrap, and separated the two batches into kegs (5gal each).  One will be a remake of the bootstrap called "Gingerbread Stout", the other is "Mint Chocolate Stout".  7%ABV.  I am using chocolate nips this year, man to they add chocolate to the flavor!  Same idea as last year, soaked beans and spices in vodka and will ad to "spice" the brew.
  • I will be taking the BJCP exam in February, got to study!!
Here are the label proofs for this year's brews: