Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wedding Beer Pictures

Here are some beer-focused pictures from my sister's 'garden' wedding.

Me setting up the Beer Bin bar:

The happy couple:

Beer on tap:

The groom is from Manchester so here is the beer-engine with a nice tight sparkler attached:

The Beer Bin in use:

The beer-engine was an interesting novelty for most Australian guests, so the mild was the most consumed beer at the wedding:

... but the father-of-the-bride was less impressed with the warmer malty bubbly beer:

The groom, best man and teddy:

Speech time:

Each of the guests took some wedding cake:

and beer home with them:

But the cat:

... was less sure about his formal dress:

The bride and groom arriving home in the wedding car:

.. with the beer already waiting for them:

Since she was in a good mood, the bride allowed for the beer engine to be setup in the kitchen:

Friday, 19 October 2012

Beer Bin

I needed a way to serve kegged beer at my sister's 'garden' wedding, so I made a Beer Bin.

Large 'recycle' wheelie bin:

Pine from the hardware shop:

My very basic woodworking skills:

... lots of screws:

4 corny kegs fit inside the bin perfectly, with a bag or two of ice to keep them at temperature:

Taps, a drip-tray, labels to make a bar-on-wheels Beer Bin:

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Aeration Tube

Aerating wort with the aquarium air-pump obviously worked well - given how quick and vigorous the Old 'n Brewed fermentation was.  However bubbling air into the wort in a container with little head-space did prove  to be a little messy.

The air-pump provides very vigorous aeration with lots of bubbles and surface-oxygen exchange which should provide a good level of wort-aeration:

I recently  made some Blow-off Caps for the jerry-can fermentors, so -- I slid the aeration tube down inside the blow-off tube and then screwed the cap on tight:

The tightly closed lid helped position the tube toward the bottom of the fermentor and the Aeration Tube significantly reduced the amount of mess the aquarium-pump aeration made (especially when I wrapped a towel around the end after making the video):

Friday, 5 October 2012

Brew Day: Matrimony Mild

The third (and last) beer brewed especially for my sisters wedding, which is in in 3 weeks. The beer is a clone of Banks Hanson's Mild from Brew Your Own British Real Ale.  The only adjustments to the recipe were using home grown Golding hops and adding appropriate water-treatment.
Matrimony Mild
Style: Mild
TYPE: All Grain
Batch Size: 24.00 L
Boil Size: 33.10 L
Estimated OG: 1.035 SG
Estimated Color: 13.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.2 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: Estimated 75.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

3.20 kg  Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett)
0.36 kg  Crystal Malt - (Simpsons) (57.0 SRM)
0.07 kg  Roasted Malt (Joe White) (609.0 SRM)

22.00 gm  Fuggles [5.60%] (90 min) 14.1 IBU
22.00 gm  Goldings (HG 12) [4.50%] (90 min) 11.1 IBU

1.00 gm  Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash)
1.00 gm  Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) (Mash)
1.50 gm  Calcium Carbonate (Chalk) (Mash)
4.00 gm  Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum) (Mash)
8.00 gm  Calcium Chloride (Mash)
1.00 gm  Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 min)
3.60 gm  Brewbrite (Polyclar) (Boil 10.0 min)

BrewLab East Midlands 1 (1.6L starter)

Mash Schedule: .Medium Body, HERMS Step Mash
Mash In Add 15.00 L Rest at 55.0 C 10 min
Maltase Rest 63.0 C 35 min
Dextrinization Rest 71.0 C 35 min
Mash Out 78.0 C 10 min
Being a low-gravity beer, the grain bill was smaller than usual.

Before crushing the grain, I opened the roller-gap on the mill a little, to 0.88mm (since that is what the feeler-gauge would easily measure) as a compromise between 0.8mm that needed the addition of some rice hulls, and 1.0mm which I was using previously.

The mill jammed several times while crushing the grain, at first I could not work out why, then the second time I found a large stone wedged in the rollers of the mill.  The only place the stone could have come from is the base malt, I think Maris Otter is floor-malted so maybe a few stones are a usual thing, but I hope I don't find many more now that I'm getting toward the end of the bag of grain.

Since some grain was spilled each time I had to remove the hopper to check the problem, I added a few (well 8) handfuls of extra grain, most likely this was why the efficiency ended up being about 85-90%.  Since the pre-boil gravity indicated the higher efficiency and since the home-grown hops are packed in 30g packs, I simply added a full pack of Golding so the IBU/SG ratio would stay the same.

At the start of the mash, I was careful to only open the valve on the pump no more than half way, combined with the adjusted grain-crush, this allowed the grain-bed to settle.

Once the Maltase Rest was reached, the valve was opened fully, since the grain-bed had already formed, there was no compaction and so recirculation at the full capacity of the pump (without the addition of rice hulls) was possible.

The higher capacity pump (Kaixin pump compared to the little brown solar pump) operating at full capacity allowed for a more responsive grain-bed adjustment time.

The mash-tun dial-thermometer read almost virtually the same temperature as the HERMS even as the temperature was stepped up.

Before I build the new brew-stand, I have been experimenting with the equipment lay-out.  With two pumps it means I can fly-sparge but have a single level system (both of which I like):

In previous batches of beer, the DIY-false bottom was deforming a little where it rests on the center-drain stand-off, so I added a washer under the false bottom and above the stand-off to better distribute the weight of the mash (seen here after draining the mash-tun before cleaning):

This was the first beer I had made with the new Control Box:

... so when the kettle was filled and both heating elements turned on, I thought the melting-electrical-plastic smell was because something inside the box was wired incorrectly or some of the tape was melting due to over-heating.  However, as it turned out, it was not an issue with the Control Box, but with the plug on the primary (bottom) heating element over-heating and starting to smoke:

Since these elements have a tendency to over-heat, it was not unexpected, just disappointing   At least there was no exposed wires shorting out, but I presume everything inside the plug is well melted since the stuff on the outside is.  Luckily brewing indoors in the insulated kettle, means that one element works well enough, so the brew day was finished without additional drama - the elements come with a 3 year warranty so (if they have them in stock) I'll swap the element for a new model (which should help fix the problem) next week.

With pump throttled while draining the kettle, the plate chiller was able to operate at maximum efficiency  into the fermentor the cooled wort was about 15.5degC, and the kettle drained in about 10mins, the only issue was the large amount of 'waste water' - more than the 50L that I usually collect when draining the kettle more slowly.

The wort was aerated with the aquarium pump and Aeration Tube (see link for pictures/videos) before being tucked up in the fermenting fridge (with the dry hopped Old 'n Brewed) at 20degC:

Brewery Build #25: Control Box #2

The (free) plastic fuse-box that I was using for the Brewery Control Box was a little cramped - inside and out - to use effectively.  Having to position the PID and HLT controller on the sides of the box made it more difficult to use and and I couldn't work out any brew-stand-design that included that 'feature' in the design.

So, I moved everything into a new steel-box:, using solder-less fittings, clips and plugs.  The bigger box allowed for a neater and easier to use lay-out both inside and out.

The first step was to make the cut-outs needed for the PID, HLT controller, LED-lights and switches:

From the inside, with each component in place:

Wires are attached to the switches using insulated spade-connectors and the LED's are fitted via fork-connectors:

Since I need to run 2x 2400W elements at the same time, but are limited to standard domestic 10A circuits with no RCD (Safety Switches), the Control Box has two circuits (left and right side of the box) - each connected to a different house-circuit - and the input connections run directly into the RCDs:

From the RCD's the power is split and runs to the two double-pole switches, one single throw switch for a pump on each circuit:

And one double throw (center-off) switch that runs either a kettle-element directly or the PID/SSR on one circuit or the HLT-controller on the other.
The SSR and copious quantities of tape - that cover every exposed terminal/connection/screw - make it difficult to see what's going on, but it's all quite logical and well spaced-out.

In use, while recirculating a step-mash (during the Maltase Rest):
The top-red-LED's indicate that both circuits are provided with power, one pump is switched on to recirculate the mash (bottom left), the PID is stepping the temperature up to 63C, and the HLT-controller is heating the sparge water.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Old 'n Brewed: Dry Hop

The recipe says "Dry hop with a few cones of Styrian Golding", no mention of how much "a few cones' is or how long for.  But I had 15g of Goldings hops left in a packet, and figured 3-4 days should be good.  So I made a 'tea bag' from Swiss-voile and dry hopped the 'Old and Brewed':