Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Wezzerator - Work Begins!

Work started tonight on the Wezzerator. The chest freezer that I am using is not deep enough to hold a cornie keg so this collar effectively means that i'll have a cut & shut cooler. It's just the framework at the moment - I will be picking up the insulation for it tomorrow and fitting that.

I tried it out on the freezer and it fits like a glove.

Monday, 23 March 2009

XL Bitter - Kegged

The XL Bitter that I brewed on 12 March has been sat at a steady 1.008 for 3 days now so at 4.2% abv it's found it's home in 3 cornies.

I had a cheeky taster - I think it could be a nice beer, I got the complex malt taste that I was after and it's not too over powering, the bitterness level seems about what I wanted too (27IBU), certainly less bitter than some of the beers I normally brew. My only concern is that after the initial complex malt taste there wasn't much left, no lingering flavour to speak of....?

It's nice to have a sensible strength malty low IBU beer brewed anyway - looking forward to tapping this one.

Time to think about the next brew - It was to be Wezerection I think.

Warm Weather - Cool Beer

Well...spot on 13c beer hopefully :)

When the Mrs suggested that we could do with a larger Chest Freezer as the current one isn't enough I eagerly agreed as this means that I can now conver the older chest freezer into a KEGGERATOR - so over the next few weeks I'll be converting a Chest Freezer which can hold upto 4 cornies using an ATC800 temperature controller, a 60w Tubular Heater into a device to serve beer at the perfect temperature all year round.

The only problem is that the chest freezer isn't tall enough to hold a cornie - i'll solve this problem by adding a 20cm insulated colar around the top of the freezer and fixing the lid back on to this.

I'll take some pics along the way.

Should be a fun and productive project.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

SUGAR Points..the way?

On the last few brews that I've done I have been experimenting with 'Sugar Points', Phil a member on www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk got me interested in doing this, it is in basic terms a method of ensuring that you collect the right amount of sugar from your mash to ensure that you hit the gravity that you want.

It calls for a bit of math, so as I sit here typing this with Hoegaarden in hand I'll try my best to explain how I understand it.

The start point that you need is to know three things

a) What your desired OG is
b) What your desired volume into fermenters is
c) How much you loose after the boil to your boiler, hops etc

To aid explanation we will assume that our three figures are:

a) 1.050
b) 25 litres
c) 8 litres

The amount of sugar points needed for 33L at 1.050 (33L is 25L + losses of 8L) is 33 x 50 = 1650

So what you do is calculate your grist as you normally would, based on your own known brewhouse efficiency but when you sparge measure what you have collected both in volume and specific gravity and stop sparging when you have collected your required sugar points (1650 for this example) (A refractometer is very useful for this).

You do this by multiplying what you have collected by the gravity of what you have collected. Your own efficiencies will dictate at what volume you reach your required Sugar Points, for the sake of this example lets say we collected 25L of 1.066 wort ... 25 x 66 = 1650.

This 25L is then diluted down to your pre-boil volume (you will have to work that out based on your equipment), boil happily away down to your post boil volume knowing that it will be at the OG you want.

It sounds complicated but it easy really.

I'll be lowering my efficiency to 65% from 85% next time to try to improve the quality of extract.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

XL Bitter

Not posted a blog for a while – I’ve been busy with work and the home brew forum that we have set up.

I’m planning a brew this week, hoping for a nice session beer with lots of malt character and a fairly low IBU.

XL Bitter

60L Batch
Target OG 1.040
Target IBU 27

Pale 90%
Dark Crystal 3%
Amber Malt 3%
Wheat Malt 3%
Chocolate Malt 1%

20 IBU from Challenger 90 Min Boil
7 IBU from EKG’s 15 Min Boil
30g EKG Steeped at 80c for 15 mins

Fermenting using S04