Brewed up a Mead III

Took another gravity reading today, starter really, REALLY worked. It is now at 1.005. So:
1.080 – 1.005 = 0.075 then 0.075 x 131 = 9.825% as of today. I am going to take another reading this weekend. I think is is close, I hope it is done. I can only read from 1.000 to 1.070. I guesses at the 1.080…

 

Home Brew Stir Plate DIY

 

I had an extra 120 volt 5 inch fan laying around so I decided to make a stir plate with it. I got some Magcraft NSN0586 1/2-Inch by 1/7-Inch by 1/8-Inch Rare Earth Ring Magnets, grabbed the JB Weld and got to it:
First was sticking the magnets to the fan:
I got a standard plastic storage container from WalMart, measured my mounting holes on the fan, and bolted in 4 screws:
I cut a notch in the back for the power cable. I made a notch so I could pull the cable in when I wanted to store or transport the stir Plate.
I then wired it up using a dimmer switch I had laying around:
And Tested: The idea is to keep the yeast suspended no more or less….
Then I pulled the cable in, and packed it for storage:
 Hope you find it useful!

Counterflow Homebrew Chiller

 

I then un-coiled my 50 feet of 3/8 inch OD copper tubing, measured and cut a 25 foot piece. I am thinking about using the other 25 feet for a pre-chiller / Emerson Chiller. The ground water is pretty warm here in the summer. I also cut 24 feet of garden hose.
Then I coiled it around a 10 gal corny keg

 

 

Then I put the ends on and loosely zip stripped it together.

 

 

Next thing is to test it and make sure everything is water tight. Looks like it passes!

 

Home Brew Pre-Chiller

Sometimes the tap water is just not cold enough to do the job required to cool the product. Here is what I did to create a pre-chiller. The idea is to have the water run through the copper coil that is packed in ice.

I spooled up 25 feet of 3/8 inch Inside diameter copper tubing around a corny keg. I left one piece long so I could pull it up from the bottom.
I then created all the angles I needed, I made the top bends to hang on the top of the Gotts cooler. I also pulled the coils apart a bit to try and get better efficiency.
 I added hose lines making sure that the in line was connected to the line that goes to the bottom.

 

 

  I put it in the cooler to make sure everything would fit.
  Here is a close shot:
Now to check and see if it is water tight….Looks like it is.
 Enjoy!

Partial / Mini Mash Tun

I wanted to create a partial / mini mash tun and stop using the grain bags I had. I also wanted to learn a little more about the all grain process, while using recipes I already knew. Here is what I did:
1 – 2 Gal cooler
1-  stopper
1 – Stainless steel braided water line
½ “ – OD copper line
2 – Hose Clamps

 

Remove the spigot:
Cut 3.5 inches of the copper line and cut the ends off the stainless steel line, and then cut yourself about 6 inch section. Slide the steel braiding off the plastic tubing and assemble everything as show below:
  When you get ready to mash, put the stopper over the copper line and seal the drain hole with it, placing the big end of the stopper inside the cooler:
You then need about 12 inches of tubing and a tube pincher (your brew store will have them) attached to the outside of your coolers copper tubing:
I have been using the old 1 ¼ quart of water per pound of grain measurements.
I would like to give a very special thanks to James Spenser @ www.basicbrewing.comthis is his idea, and they have some really good pod and video casts!
Partial / Mini-Mash Tun mash instructions:
Put your mini-mash tun together and carefully fill it with hot water to make sure there are no leaks. Using hot water also preheats the mash tun. At the same time bring 1 1/4 qts of water per pound of grain to 155 degrees*. Empty the still hot water out of your mash tun and pour in the measured water you just brought up to 155 degrees. Add in your milled grains and stir. Close the lid and set your timer for 45 min. After 45 min. timer goes off, move your brew pot to a location lower than the valve on your mash tun and open the valve allowing the liquid to flow from the mash tun into the brew pot. Pour 170 degree* water evenly over the grain using approx. 1 quart of water per 2 lb of grain. and wait until nearly all the water has dripped out; tipping if necessary. Put your brew pot back on the burner add enough water to get it to 2 1/2 gallons and turn on the heat. Stir in your malt extract and continue heating until boiling.
Continue to brew like you normally do….

* Varies by recipe

Kegerator Build

Here is what I started with. Just a basic freezer that you can pick up just about anywhere, Craigs List, Used appliance store, I got mine at HD for $168.00

 

I made the 2×8 frame using the guide of the inside lip, which is about 2 inches wide. I then added the pine facing using the outside lip as a guide, which is about 1 inch wide but is slightly higher that the 2×8 frame. This offset the pine facing (basically I was using the original freezer as a jig) This allowed for a nice seating of the freezer door.

 

 

 

 

I screwed it all together recessing the screws so I could putty them up later for a clean finish.
To get the lid to seal right I had to cut back some of the 1×8 to get the hinges to fit against the 2×8 and the lid to seal properly.
I then drilled the holes for the taps. I placed them all to the right so all the lines will be out of the way of the kegs and let me store the liquid lines out of the way.
 I then sanded the heck out of the frame and applied the first coat of the “shiny mix”
Here we are after about 5 coats, sanding after each coat had dried.
When the frame dried, I set it back in the freezer applying some kitchen adhesive between the frame and the freezer. When it dried a couple of hours later, I set the lid back on and set the hinges to the closed position and screwed them in the collar with some 2 inch screws.
 I then got the plumbing done. The CO2 lines can be cut to short convenient lengths. I made the initial mistake of cutting the tap lines to nice, short, lines for that clean appearance. Wrong! The tap lines need to be 5-6 feet long, It makes a huge difference!
I placed the probe in the center of the 4 kegs.
Here is the completed kegerater. I still wanna dress it up a little, maybe add a bottle opener, Drip Tray, who knows. The possibilities are endless.
The beauty of using the wood collar is it can be removed to restore the keezer to a freezer. Just in case you need to sell it and buy a bigger keezer.

Homebrew Yeast starter

Yeast Starter How-To
A yeast starter is used as a preliminary method to begin yeast fermentation. For high gravity beers, the yeast starter is necessary for an active fermentation. This procedure will take approx. 12 – 18 hours. Be prepared to either brew, or refrigerate the yeast mixture until ready to brew.
SANITIZE EVERYTHING FIRST!
Remove the yeast at least 6 hours prior to pitching into flask. (White Labs)
Yeast Slap the pack 24 hours before you want to start.
  1. Make sure everything is clean to the eye. Then clean and sanitize using your normal sanitizer the way you normally would.
  2. Bring 3 cups (720ml) of water to a boil and turn off heat.
  3. Add 1/8 tsp of yeast nutrient, either Fermax or Wyeast
  4. Add light Dry Malt Extract (DME), 3oz (approximately ½ cup) Or 3 table spoons of the malt extract you are going to use for batch. Stir until everything is dissolved. Return the solution to a boil approx 15 minutes.
  5. Careful not to burn yourself, remove the solution from the heat and pour into the 1000ml Erlenmeyer flask. Imerse the flask into an ice bath and cool to approximately 70 degrees, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Prepare you yeast
    1. White Labs: Shake the yeast container to breakup the solid yeast bed. Open the container.
    2. Wyeast: Open the shake and then open the packet.
    3. Dry Yeast: Prepare using the instructions on the packet.
  7. Pitch the yeast into the room temperature water/malt mix in your flask.
  8. Swirl the mixture aerating it well.
  9. Fill your sanitized air lock with water or vodka.
  10. Put the sanitized air lock and stopper in the mouth.
  11. Allow the mixture to set in a dark place at room temperature.
  12. Your airlock should start bubbling in about 12 hours. Fermentation has started.
  13. When fermentation is evident, the yeast starter is ready.
  14. Pitch the yeast starter as you normally would when you brew. Remember to swirl the yeast mixture in the flask very well to re suspend all the yeast from the bottom of the flask.
!!!Be prepared for highly vigorous fermentation – Blow-off setup recommended!!!
For Mead:

Honey Starter (For all meads):

  1. Make sure everything is clean to the eye. Then clean and sanitize using your normal sanitizer the way you normally would.
  2. Warm 3 cups (720ml) of water and turn off heat.
  3. Add 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient, either Fermax or Wyeast
  4. Add 1 cup of honey from the batch you are going to brew. Stir until everything is dissolved.
  5. Careful not to burn yourself, remove the solution from the heat and pour into the 1000ml Erlenmeyer flask. Imerse the flask into an ice bath and cool to approximately 70 degrees, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Prepare you yeast
    1. White Labs: Shake the yeast container to breakup the solid yeast bed. Open the container.
    2. Wyeast: Open the shake and then open the packet.
    3. Dry Yeast: Prepare using the instructions on the packet.
  7. Pitch the yeast into the room temperature water/honey mix in your flask.
  8. Swirl the mixture aerating it well.
  9. Fill your sanitized air lock with water or vodka.
  10. Put the sanitized air lock and stopper in the mouth.
  11. Allow the mixture to set in a dark place at room temperature.
  12. Your airlock should start bubbling in about 24 – 48 hours. Fermentation has started.
  13. When fermentation is evident, the yeast starter is ready.
  14. Pitch the yeast starter as you normally would when you brew. Remember to swirl the yeast mixture in the flask very well to re suspend all the yeast from the bottom of the flask.

Brewed up a Mead II

Took another gravity reading today, starter really worked. It is now at 1.025. So:
1.080 – 1.025 = 0.055 then 0.055 x 131 = 7.205% as of today. I think it is still going I will take another reading in a few days.

I guess you cant see the “20” but it is there…

Starter for the mead

OK, when did my local home brew store start closing at 6pm? WTF? So, I get back with no yeast and I look in my lager chamber.

They are out of date and not the correct yeast. Well I am not to concerned with anything other than producing alcohol.   So I make a starter.

I used the wash to create the starter, it started fermenting! Success! I poured it in to the rest of the wash. I will post how it turns out.

Brewed up a mead..

Brewed up a mead little over a week ago, 10 pounds of Honey, 3 jars of Molasses, and 1 bag of alcohol boost from Austin home brew.

Made 6 gal, I am guessing 1.08? was my OG, my hydrometer does not go that high. Now it is about 1.070

At least I can read it now. But no or very little activity. I am going to get another vial of champagne yeast and create a starter using some of what I have in there now and re-pitch. Hope it lights it off again