Hop stand, second time around.

UPDATE! See bottom.

Over two years ago I posted some reflections after a brew day. I had tried doing a hop stand for the first time and I was excited. Even though I don’t remember exactly how the beer came out I think I remember it was good! Here’s a link to the post.

Today I did another batch exercising the hop stand technique. It was also one of those clear out the hop storage brews.

I used the pump in the braumeister this time to make sure the hops stayed in suspension, I believe the hops will release more oils that way instead of stacking up at the bottom. With a immersion chiller hop stands are super easy. For my 50-liter braumeister I cooled down until I reached two degrees above my target (today I used 88°c, 71°c and 65°c) and then turned the water of and waited for a while until the temp was right. There’s a lag time and therefore this method works really well. The first rest was 10 minutes long and the second and third was 15 minutes each. With a total of 45 minutes hop stand the cool side of the brew day is ridiculously long!

As last time I used the BYO article on hop stands, link: http://byo.com/boiling/item/2808-hop-stands

Until the beer is fermented I can’t say more than that the wort smelled fantastic! I will do a tasting update later on and until then, here’s some pictures and the recipe.

DSC07828-2

The bowl to the right says 60° but I threw in the hops at 66.DSC07830-3 DSC07832-4 DSC07833-5 DSC07834-6

Malt and mash:

64°c fo 75 minutes, 76°c for 15 minutes.
Adjust water to 280 ppm SO4.

88% Pale malt
6% Carapils
2% Caramunic I
2% Red Wheat (Bries)
2% Beet sugar

Hops:

Bittering – Magnum 37.4 IBU, Herkules 17 IBUs.

Hop stand – Veriety/AA%/Grams for stages 1 to 3.
Simcoe /11.7/ 12, 12, 8
Chinook /11.9/ 10, 10, 18
Centennial /10.3/20, 20, 27
Citra /11.9/ 30, 30, 30
Mosaic /11.5// 9, 9, 10
Columbu/Tomahawk/ 16/ 30, 30, 30

Update 6/7/15

Gravity reading 1.012 after 8 days. I raised the temp from 18 to 20c yesterday. I’ll be kegging with some gelatin on monday. It’s pretty cloudy right now.
wpid-wp-1433591196588.jpg

How to keep beer cold during competitions

One of the most appreciated things during a competition is when you can serve the guests cold beer. If you are traveling by bus or train it’s hard to bring equipment or a good cooling solution and thus you have a hard time serving cold beer for longer periods of time. This will result in a poor experience most of the time. Some beers do benefit from higher serving temperatures but most beers should be served cold or cool. And it’s always easier to let a beet warm up than to cool down holding it in your hands.

My solution to this is a light, but sorry to say, very bulky home made cooling box. It fits two 18-liter corny kegs and several ice packs. It keeps the beer cold all day, all night and even lets you have a cool pour for lunch the next day.

The construction is simple, cheap and not very durable (currently it’s also very dirty and desgusting). Here’s some pictures to help you understand:

IMG_5575 IMG_5578 IMG_5576 IMG_5577

Stuff you need to make one these:

  • Moving box, you kind find them at any hardware store in Sweden. I bought mine at k-rauta.
  • Styrofoam, I guess you kind find them at most larger scale hardware stores. I bought it at k-rauta aswell.
  • Duct tape, If you ain’t got any – get some!

Tools:

  • Saw to saw all the pieces.
  • A smart or poor friend. These moving boxes are tricky! Either you need someone whose got a engineering degree or some who moves a lot.

Usage

The box is not very sturdy and will break if your lift it with kegs in it. I use a hand truck (pirra in Swedish) which i got from my grandmother when she brought home 192 cans of beer from Finland.

I also use ice packs to keep the beer cold for sessions. I figure the beer would keep cool for a while without them but they are no hassle to put in and with the hand truck the weight doesn’t matter.

Kegerator build: The tap

UPDATED 2015-05-23 / check bottom

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way my home brewing hobby will keep me interested is if I solve the dispensing problem. Here’s some background for y’all. I brew at my mom and dads place. They have a big house and a garage where all the stuff fits very well. Since I live in a small apartment brewing at home is not worth the hassle since my parents only live 15-20 minutes away. See this intro as the reality for people with a brew club with their own brew house.

Even though it’s very nice to have a place to brew it comes with some problems:

  1. I can never monitor the yeast activity as detailed as I want. I have to disturb my dad whenever I wanna check fermentation status. I’m lucky he is very ambitious and committed to home brewing.
  2. Spontaneous brew session seldom happens. I know would happen if I still lived at home, since that was what I did when I lived there.
  3. The third big down side is what this post is all about. Since we don’t bottle much these days I have to bring home keg to enjoy beer. This is not a big problem during late fall and early spring since I can keep the beer cool on my balcony. But during winter and summer it’s either too cold or too hot to keep the kegs outside. Therefore even when I have finished beer I sometimes can’t enjoy it.

The solution to all this is a new way of dispensing. A kegerator! I have a great girlfriend who have a high tolerance for my crazy ideas. I live in her apartment which makes me not wanna modify stuff too much since. Even though I want, it doesn’t feel right to tear down walls and install fossball tables (all original ideas of mine). But one thing we’ve decided on is to install another fridge where I can store and dispense my beer from.

About two weeks ago I order a beer tower from aliexpress.com and it arrived today. Pretty nice since I was expecting it to be way longer delivery time. Here’s a series of unboxing photos:

Chinese package, a bit rough upped. (compulsory unboxing knife pic)

Chinese package, a bit rough upped. (compulsory unboxing knife pic)

Lots of bubble wrap.

Lots of bubble wrap.

4 pieces. The bubble wrap between the two white boxes was just filling.

4 pieces. The bubble wrap between the two white boxes was just filling.

Two taps with springs. There were no instructions so I haven't got the faintest idea what to do with the springs. For now I put them into the taps...that was the only place they fit.

Two taps with springs. There were no instructions so I haven’t got the faintest idea what to do with the springs. For now I put them into the taps…that was the only place they fit.

Gasket, bolts and tool for tightening. The tool is "ikea-tool"-quality so for more then installation a new tap wrench is probably necessary.

Gasket, bolts and tool for tightening. The tool is ”ikea-tool”-quality so for more then installation a new tap wrench is probably necessary.

PVC tubing pre-installed.

PVC tubing pre-installed.

DSC07542-8 DSC07543-9

Lot's of tubing. Smells very plasticy...

Lot’s of tubing. Smells very plasticy…

Insulation inside the tower.

Insulation inside the tower.

Pic 1 inside the tower from the top.

Pic 1 inside the tower from the top.

Pic 2 of the inside of the tower from the top.

Pic 2 of the inside of the tower from the top.

Top lid and insulation.

Top lid and insulation.

Taps installed.

The Styrofoam piece inside the top lid.

The Styrofoam piece inside the top lid.

Taps installed.

Short about the first impression. The first thing I notices was how the tap handles didn’t fit very snug. The threads on one of the handles was way to big, i fixed it with some regular office tape. The second thing was that the taps didn’t open and close very smooth, this was not a big surprise. I did not expect Perlick-quality from a cheap chinese product. The rest seemed ok, I guess the threads on shanks will wear down if one would work on them too much.

The cost of this was about half of what I would have to pay for it in the home brew store. I don’t know about the quality difference with the ones you buy from Swedish retailers. What I know is that when I got the money I will invest in a Perlick tower, for now this is good!

I’ll link to the aliexpress-seller on request.

Ps. if it breaks down I’ll rant about it so you wont need to!

 

UPDATE! Today I connected the ball lock disconnects to the PVC-tubing that came with the tap tower. For a while I was thinking of using the harder tubing made of LDPE more commonly used by Swedish home brewers. But I decided to try the PVC tubing and see if it works.

Here’s some pictures and comments on how I went by doing this.

DSC07588-2

First of I cleaned the disconnects in a chlorine batch to make sure they weren’t infested with spoiling bugs. Be sure to rinse well afterwards.

I bought these hose clamps (ss w4 10-12mm) at Clas Ohlson for 19 sek. I also bought a pack of smaller ones just in case, they didn’t fit. For a more permanent and more solid installation there is a clamp called Oetiker. They make a better seal and are more compact. They are also more expensive and you need a special tool to tighten them.

DSC07595-3

To get the PVC over the barb on the disconnects I used a hair drier and heated the tubing for about 20 seconds. It didn’t take much but made it a bit easier.

DSC07598-4

After I heated the tubing it was a easy install, just tighten the hose clamps using a flat screwdriver.

Tomorrow I’m going to buy a fridge. EXCITED!!!!

Split batch brewday

Short summary of the brew day.

Fusion hops smells like early gray, grassy, smokey and British.

Changed the recipe a bit, upped the hops to 40 gram (50l batch) and moved it to flameout. Added a some extra bete sugar to hit my target OG, and extended the boil since effiiciancy was crap. Landed at 1.067/1.068 due to big starters and non flocculant yeast.

All in all it was a fun brewday even though I didn’t hit everything spot on. And I believe the beer will turn out fine if fermentation goes as planned.

Pitch at 17.5°c and set the fridge to 18°c.

Full recipe at bottom of this post.

wpid-dsc075102.jpg.jpg

Recipe: Duvel / Saison
Brewer: Sebastian Berg
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0) 

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Boil Size: 56.38 l
Post Boil Volume: 48.88 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 45.00 l 
Bottling Volume: 44.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.070 SG
Estimated Color: 6.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 32.6 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.4 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt Name Type # %/IBU 
10.00 ml Lactic Acid (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1 - 
10.00 kg Pilsner (Weyermann) (3.3 EBC) Grain 2 79.4 % 
2.60 kg Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 EBC) Sugar 3 20.6 % 
40.00 g Herkules [16.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 32.0 IBUs 
0.64 g Portafloc (Boil 20.0 mins) Other 5 - 
4.50 mg Nutrient Wyeast (Boil 15.0 mins) Other 6 - 
40.00 g Fusion [7.00 %] - Boil 1.0 min Hop 7 0.6 IBUs 
1.0 pkg Belgian Strong Ale (Wyeast Labs #1388) [ Yeast 8 - 
1.0 pkg French Saison Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP Yeast 9 - 


Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 12.60 kg
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time 
Saccharification Add 62.99 l of water at 72.8 C 66.7 C 75 min 
Mash Out Heat to 75.6 C over 7 min 75.6 C 10 min

—————————-

Update: The duvel clone is at 1.011. A bit of farty notes but Im confident they will gas of during carbonationing. Spicy.

The saison batch was a bit quicker tp ferment and it’s more fruity than the duvel.