Posts Tagged ‘Home Brewing Gear’

All-Grain Brew Review

Jul 14, 2009

My first two all-grain batches have turned out well and the verdict is still out on a third.  There are some things I will change, but all in all, I have enjoyed all-grain brewing.

The main things I wish I could change about the process are location and chilling the wort.  I don’t have a covered patio so I am at the mercy of the unpredictable KY weather.  I am tempted to move to the garage but I’ve been spooked by stories of carbon monoxide poisoning even with the garage door open, so I may not try this.  Maybe I’ll get a carbon monoxide detector.  Chilling the wort is another thing that I need to reevaluate.  Right now I am using a big metal wash tub and lots of ice.  In the fall or early spring it works okay, but in the heat of summer it takes a very long time… and a lot of ice.  I plan to get an immersion chiller before the next batch but I need to get new hoses.  My garden hoses are in poor shape and the connections leak.  The last thing I need is garden hose water spraying into my kettle as it cools.



First All-Grain Batch

Mar 26, 2009

Yes, today was the day for the first all-grain batch of beer.  I was (and still am) very excited.  For Christmas I received an all-grain brewing equipment kit that you can read more about here.  And today, the weather behaved and I was able to use it.

For those that may not know, many homebrewers start brewing using malt extract.  That is, malted barley that has been mashed, boiled, dried to some extent, and then packaged.  In all-grain homebrewing, you the brewer mash the malted barley to convert the starches to sugar, lauter (drain off the sugary liquid), sparge to rinse the remaining sugars from the grain, and then proceed with the normal boil just as you would with an extract batch. (more…)

Brewing Software

Mar 9, 2009

Nearly the entire time I’ve been brewing I have used some sort of software to create, adjust, or just tinker with recipes. 

Sometimes the local shop I use for ingredients is out of a certain item or simply does not carry the brand I need or want, so using a piece of software to make adjustments has been invaluable. 

I started doing partial mashes and the software allowed me to enter information about my tiny mash tun and make up the rest of the fermentable sugars with extract.  Again, the software was invaluable. 

Then came the dreaded hop shortage.  Once more the software came to the rescue and allowed me to substitute hops and have it calculate the hop utilization for me. I’ve even been able to use the popular utilization formulas (Tinseth, Rager, Daniels, etc.) to see the different IBU levels they calculate.  Plus, no matter how much I studied the hop utilization formulas, laziness always took over and I let the program do the calculations for me.


The Adequate Winemaker?

Jan 31, 2009

I’ve threatened to make wine for over a year now.  My wife decided that it would be something she would like to make only recently.  Just before the winter holiday, I mentioned to her that James Spencer of Basic Brewing was putting out a winemaking DVD and that I’d like to see how winemaking was done.  I was sure that most of the equipment would already be in the house, but I felt that I needed to see the entire process before I invested $70-$110+ in a wine ingredient kit.


Using the New All-Grain Equipment

Jan 2, 2009

Okay, well sort of…

Today, I used some of the new all-grain brewing equipment that I received this past week.  All I have to say is wow!  Okay, I’ll say more, but I have to start with, wow!

I made an American Pale Ale recipe found in BYO magazine because I wanted to make something fairly easy and I am doing a sort of comparison of American Pale Ales to see what different recipes taste like.