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Messages - estrauss

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Equipment and Software / Mash Tun Insulation Comparisons - Complete
« on: September 29, 2017, 12:00:28 AM »
With my purchase of the Brewer's Edge Mash and Boil in the Spring, I knew I'd want to create another insulation jacket, but I also decided to test various methods to see what was most effective. There are plenty of configurations I've seen here and elsewhere.

After my first post (Part I) there was some discussion online about my testing surrounding the lack of air gap between the outer layer of Reflectix and the kettle in my testing. Then to test those claims, I then ran variations of the Reflectix configuration only and posted them in (Part II).

The final post ( is a combination of (part I) and (part II) so that one can get all the information at once. If you wish to read them as well, go ahead, but ALL the information from both posts has been combined there. If future testing is taken on, the post will be updated and serve as the master record. There is also more discussion of all methods and then more discussion of differences in Reflectix methods.

These results are relevant to a mash as well, because the only thing that will change will be the specific heat of the mixture. So the best insulation with water will still be the best with grain in the mash. There could be some slight differences in results due to kettle geometry, but I feel pretty confident that the rankings will stay the same if constructed in a similar manner to my experiments.

Here are the numerical results:

Here is a graph of temps through a simulated mash range (water only):

I was surprised the sleeping bag was the best, but also equally surprised that there was no clear winner when using Reflectix.  It just worked.

If you want the full run down and more graphs and info, check out the post:

Pimp My System / Re: Compact Fermentation Chamber Heater
« on: March 07, 2015, 01:07:09 AM »
Denny, I'm working on the UL approval...

I think the baffle on the top is a good idea, so I might try something later.  I've only used it for a while, but with the low 25W bulb I've got in there doesn't get "hot".  I've still been able to touch the metal can.  It's really just a warmer.  The coldest my basement gets is 60 degF, so I'm only needing to raise it 10 degF.  If I needed more, I'd honestly spring for one of the heating pads.

Also, comments on a larger can.  My constraints were that I needed a small can due to using it in a dorm fridge.

In the full post, I mentioned finding on a UK site some "greenhouse heaters" that looked perfect, but I couldn't find them here in the US.

On the reptile heaters, what is everyone using?

Pimp My System / Compact Fermentation Chamber Heater
« on: March 06, 2015, 02:10:00 AM »
I keep my smaller fermentation chambers (aka converted dorm fridges) in the basement and with the winter we've been having, it's a cool 60 degF. Needing warmer temps for my ale fermentations, I had to whip up a heater.

I used a green bean can, a tomato paste can, a candelabra bulb base, a lamp cord and some extra's.

Dorm fridge = not much space available, so here is what I came up with:

Here is the full DIY:

Pimp My System / Re: 3D Printed Tap Handles
« on: December 08, 2014, 05:41:38 PM »
Nice. I imagine the hop cone and flask would work well, but how do the grain and water icons look?

Yea, sorry.  I didn't test the acetone vapor on any of these parts, but on some others.  I think it would be a neat experiment to try on the clear filament and see how clear it gets though.

Pimp My System / Re: 3D Printed Tap Handles
« on: December 07, 2014, 01:12:57 PM »
Have you thought about doing an acetone vapor bath to smooth out the finish?

Yes, absolutely.  I've done a few test pieces and I'm going to work on that a little more, but for these pieces I wanted the final product to have some of the "charm" that goes along with a 3d printer where you do see all of the lines and layers.

Pimp My System / Re: 3D Printed Tap Handles
« on: December 04, 2014, 11:13:19 PM »
Printing the tap handles took longer than anticipated, but the results have turned out great.  Along the way, I improved the geometry of the hop to reduce the voids in the print and I also experimented with clear filament and was able to modify the flask to really look like a flask with a starter in it.

And here are some pictures of a few I did for some members here and elsewhere.

Pimp My System / Re: 3D Printed Tap Handles
« on: November 14, 2014, 02:59:28 PM »
Very impressive.  Looks like that would have been a lot of work on the pc but came out amazing right.  Man I would love to have a 3d printer but I don't think i want to learn all the cad

I agree.  Very nice work!!!

I can also second the aversion to CAD.  Every time I try to learn a CAD system it kicks my butt.  I'm just not a visual 3D kind of thinker.

Again, good job!!


Yes, it was a decent amount of iterations to get me to that point, but I do love designing in CAD and I am fortunate enough to have started out my career designing cool stuff to get me where I am today.

Pimp My System / Re: 3D Printed Tap Handles
« on: November 14, 2014, 02:55:10 PM »
Cool. You could make money at that

I am offering the service of printing these and I'm looking at designing more based on the overwhelming feedback I've gotten.

Go to my post for more info:

Pimp My System / 3D Printed Tap Handles
« on: November 14, 2014, 11:17:52 AM »
I bought a 3D printer for a few reasons, but I think my tap handle more than justifies the purchase.

This was the first attempt for our party in September:

Then I tweaked it a little:

If you want to read more about the build, I've got it all here:

I've since refined the hops a little to remove the voids in the print.

Pimp My System / Re: Mein Bierwagen (Portable Keezer for party's)
« on: October 10, 2014, 01:55:00 AM »
I just realized the hyperlinks weren't working, so sorry for those that were trying to click through.  Anyway, I've got all of the posts up for the complete build.  Thanks for the compliments!

The Bierwagen was a hit again at our Strausstoberfest.  35 gallons of beer gone in 4 hours.

Pimp My System / Re: Mein Bierwagen (Portable Keezer for party's)
« on: October 10, 2014, 01:49:55 AM »
Hilarious. Will it work with out the lederhosen?

No, the lederhosen give me the proper lower back support to lift the arms.

Pimp My System / Mein Bierwagen (Portable Keezer for party's)
« on: October 03, 2014, 02:07:50 AM »
Mein Bierwagen (Portable Keezer for party's)

My wife and I throw our annual Strausstoberfest party every year on the last Saturday in September. This occurs during the traditional Oktoberfest celebration. Oktoberfest is synonymous with beer, awesome food and a certain amount of over the top pomp and circumstance. For the last part, I decided that the beer I’ve spent the last 2+ months caring for MUST have a grand entrance.

I'll update this thread with each step of the build, but you'll get the gist with these pictures.

Here I am rolling out the Bierwagen. Notice the tap handles I made in the post Super Easy Tap Handles.

Here I am “tapping the keg” with my son looking on. o’zapft is!

The “rolling chassis”

The Bierwagen works in concert with my Keezer Dolly.

Nothing too novel here, just another keezer collar and my Ranco temperature controller mounted on back.

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Building of the frame
*Detail print download and cut list are in this post

Part 3: Bicycle wheel attachment

Part 4: Getting the keezer onto the Bierwagen

Part 5: Keezer collar

Part 6: Storage of the Bierwagen

yea, Excel (or something that can open it) is accessible by 100% of those with a computer.  Project, not so much.  And Project is really overkill anyway.

Here is my method for Managing Your Brewing Schedule using a Gantt style chart in a spreadsheet

Full post on my blog:

I really love Gantt charts and how they can help you to be organized. Microsoft Project is either a really good or really bad tool to use (depending on who you ask). I actually like it for projects that I manage at work, but I don’t get into the fine details. I just use it for basic timelines, since it really helps me see the big picture. I started looking at using it for my fermentation schedules, but in brewing, your yeast are on a 24/7 schedule and I was finding all sorts of roadblocks in using 24 hour schedules in Project.

I ultimately decided to go back to my old trusted Excel spreadsheets for this task. This format has served me well for the last two years. I don’t claim that this is the ultimate way to do it, but it might at least serve as inspiration for someone else to create something grander.

Equipment and Software / Re: Homer Hopper
« on: May 30, 2014, 08:20:03 PM »
That is cool and nice templates!

However your links are broken. There are two http's in each one.

Sent from my XT1030 using Tapatalk

The links should be fixed now.  Thanks for letting me know.

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