April 28th, 2013
So they say when opportunity knocks you have to answer. I feel like one man answering his opportunity presented me with mine this weekend when Ron over at Main Grain decided to sell his shop system in order to raise money for his newest endeavor. On my part I’ve looked at different base configurations of the Blichmann gear just hoping I could get the base Top Tier and build it over the years. So when Ron put his for sale I scraped together every piece of cash I could and made a few promises to the wife in order to buy what I’d call my idea of a dream homebrewing system. So here’s what I picked up for an outstanding deal:
- Blichmann Top Tier Stand
- Blichmann Burners x3
- Blichmann Boiler Maker 10 Gal Kettles x3
- Blichmann Auto Sparge Arm
- Blichmann Thermonator
- Chugger Stainless Pump
- Blichamnn Tower of Power Control Unit
Just when I’ve finally learned how to use all my base equipment now I’m faced with learning to use this wonderful gear. Here’s a picture Ron took of the system in the shop:
November 14th, 2012
I’d written a Windows Phone 7 application called Pocket Brewer which has been a great little piece of software. I use it on my wife’s phone to generate all my recipes. I myself had a WP7 until work demanded I carry an iPhone. Due to not being able to use my app on my own phone anymore and everyone asking me why I didn’t build it for Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, etc I went ahead and platformed it on a tablet and touch screen specific tool I’d been recently introduced to at Tech Ed.(geek conference)
Click here to check out Brew Tablet Brewing Software
Brew Tablet as I’m calling it is meant to be used online and on any modern web browser. It’s cloud based software served out of Windows Azure. As of now it has all the brew tools and conversion tools you’d need for an average brew day and a pretty decent base recipe builder. I intend on expanding it out to have a more advanced recipe builder and import/export of BeerXML. What’s best is I can build recipes on my phone and reference them on my computer, tablet PC, iPad or whatever. I really love this little piece of software and am happy I took the time to build it.(late nights and beer)
November 12th, 2012
I’ve recently schemed and built a 2.5 gallon brewing setup which I find advantageous for a number of reasons.
- I have a bar refrigerator which can hold a pair of 3 gallon better bottles. The 3 gallon better bottles are fantastic in their square shape which allows optimal use of refrigerators and chest freezers for fermentation chambers. Better bottle should make every offering in square for this sake.
- This same refrigerator will sit with an ambient temperature 42 degrees on it’s lowest setting. If I wrap the better bottle with a towel the water will remain at about 45 degrees.
- I love bocks. I can brew some nice lagers at this temperature and not tie up my primary fermentation chamber for extra time when I want to brew lagers.
- Small batch brewing allows me to experiment without having too much extra beer if it’s a failure.
- Smaller batches are cheaper.
- I can brew small batches on the kitchen stove. The wife hates this but I can work with that.
- I intend on bottling most of these small batches rather than kegging. I’m targeting competition brewing and big beer brewing with this system.
The great thing is most of my original brewing system comes in to play including some of the smaller gear I purchased before I built my current keggle system. About $125 to construct the new parts although I’m sure it could be done for $75 by a more handy brewer than myself.
- 5 gallon kettle
- Wife’s 3.5 gallon stock pot which conveniently holds the small copper wort chiller I purchased with my first system but later upgraded to a larger one.
- before mentioned small copper wort chiller with about a 9″ diameter.
- Purchased a 5 gallon Igloo cooler and the parts to build another bulkhead & manifold. This was the most expensive part of this scheme costing me about $75.
- A pair of 3 gallon better bottles that fit perfectly side by side in my small freezer. The size of these better bottles are 7.5″ x 7.5″ x 19.3″. These things are perfect for this or for a 5 gallon brewer who wants to split the batch in to two bottles for space economy. $21 a piece.
At this point I have to pick up a couple of parts from the hardware store to finish this deal but it’s going to be great. Already have some bock and maibock planned out for the first run!