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Topics - AmandaK

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1
Pimp My System / Redbird Brewhouse - There's Always a Project
« on: February 15, 2014, 03:53:06 PM »
I'm finally doing a Pimp My System thread, now that I've moved out of my long string of little apartments and into a house. Things really have come into their own here in the home brewery in the past few months, enough that I can post it even though there are constant projects and improvements.

So here goes!

The actual brewery is a 2009 Sabco Brew Magic VMS350 that we recently picked up from a friend. It has been quite a learning experience to go from a stovetop-batch-sparging-cooler-system!





Chiller is a MoreBeer 'Chillus Convolutus Counterflow Wort Chiller'. Shown here in cleaning mode.



In moving from brewing on the stovetop to brewing outdoors, water availability became a huge issue. Luckily, my mom knew this would eventually happen. She used to develop all of her own photographs as a professional photographer, so when she quit doing that, she saved her darkroom sink and temperature controlled water valve for me. :) So the sink below is a free sink. Approximately 5'-0" by 2'-0" by 5" deep. All stainless. Hot and cold water is plumbed to it and the valve can control water within 1*F. We've installed this in the garage so it makes clean up incredibly easy. It is amazing in cold weather.





The fermenter in the picture below is a 15 gallon plastic conical with stainless tri-clamp fittings. It is housed in a True Manufacturing commercial fridge that I picked up from craigslist. Dual stage temp controller controls the fridge and a little heater near the bottom. Don't mind the ridiculous amount of buckets laying around. It was cleaning day. ;)



Switching over to the basement, where we have storage and the rest of the fermenting happens. My main set of shelves are below. Picked them up from The Shelving Store a while back. I keep everything from finished beer (in bottles), to empty bottles, to Better Bottles, to a jockey box, to Beer Guns, to bottle trees, to a box of airlocks and more on these shelves. Empty bags of grain hang from the ceiling, you know, for decoration.



To the left of the shelving and below the stairs is a sour beer aging area. I am in the process of moving my sour beer aging from my parent's house to my own house, so there is nothing in here yet. Just a few trophies.  ;D



Obligatory medal/ribbon shot. The framed score sheet is from a Saison-Brett clone judged by Stan Hieronymus. To say that I'm proud of that beer would be an understatement.  8) And yes, that is the German flag on the ceiling. Ich bin 100% Deutsch.



Grain storage. Vittle Vault II. Sometimes found on amazon for $25 or so.



Lagering freezer, named Franz. He can hold four kegs. Empty Boulevard Smokestack bottles are for our wedding toast beer.





Newest freezer - 25CF, a replacement for my older keezer (Hanz - he lives with a friend now). No name yet for this one, but it's a work in progress. We are working on a collar for a through the wall tap system. I'll update with pics when we get around to doing it.



Should hold around 16-18 kegs when we finish building it out. Right now, it's all on Cobra taps.



The little wine coolers. These are tinted-glass front Vissani wine coolers that Home Depot used to sell a couple of years back. I have them hooked up to an assortment of temperature controllers. One is dual stage for the Belgians, the other two are single stage for normal beers. We use the top of the coolers as a sort of table.



A really poor shot of the inside of the wine cooler. These little guys can go down to 38*F if need be, and the one with a ferm wrap in it can go as high as I ask it to. The control is quite valuable.



And finally (for now), no home brewery is complete without a set of his and hers brewery boots.  ;D


2
Several clubs in Kansas are banding together to push for homebrew law changes in the State. Please, we need your help to contact your representative to gain their support for House Substitute for HB2223. We tried to push this bill through last year and will push harder this year.

This is the BA press release for the 2014 Bill: http://www.craftbeer.com/action-alerts/attention-kansas-homebrewers-2

Things we cannot do in Kansas:
  • We cannot bring homebrew outside of our homes. This means no club meetings, no tastings, etc.
  • We cannot serve our homebrew to people outside of our "immediate family".
  • We cannot host homebrew competitions.

We are aiming to get these things changed. Why? Because we love homebrew and want to share it!

A lot of you know that I am getting married at the end of this year. You know what's illegal for me? I cannot serve my fiance the beer that we brew together as we do not meet the legal definition of 'immediate family'. How ludicrous is that? We brew together, but I cannot serve it to him. Ridiculous.

We also cannot host competitions. This is not a huge issue for my club, as we reside on the State Line and can jump to Missouri, but it is a huge deal for all of the homebrewers in the middle of the state who just want a little feedback on their beers.

I urge those of you who are Kansas residents to contact your Representative and help change the laws!

Find your representatives here by your address: http://openkansas.org/

3
The Kansas City Bier Meisters are hosting our 31st Annual Competition. This year's theme is "Where the Wild Beers Are". There is a special category and a special prize for any "Wild Ale". Guidelines here: http://www.kcbiermeisters.org/competitions/kcbm-competition.html#Guidlines

This year, we are partnering with Cinder Block Brewing to ramp up one lucky brewer's recipe. We are also capping the competition at 600 entries this year.

What does this mean to you? Well, we are a stop on the Midwest Homebrewer of the Year circuit, the High Plains circuit and the newly formed KC Homebrewer of the Year circuit. Also, we are filling up quickly. How quickly? The entry window opened up 5 hours ago and we are 20% full.

So if you need to get in on these circuits, want a chance to have your beer brewed on a 15 BBL commercial scale or just want these really cool BOS prizes (hopefully below), then you should get in on this soon. Enter here: http://www.kcbiermeisters.org/comp



Want to volunteer? We love taking care of our volunteers. Sub sandwiches and donuts? Not here. Smoked brisket, breakfast casserole and Waldo pizza just for taking time out of your life to help us pull this off.

Cheers!

4
Ingredients / Can't really use for brewing, but can I save my faucets?
« on: December 19, 2013, 09:43:39 AM »
Moved into a new house across the state line and recently got my water report back. Ugh.

pH 9.5
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 354
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.59
Cations / Anions, me/L 5.8/6.7
               ppm
Sodium, Na 65
Potassium, K 6
Calcium, Ca 25
Magnesium, Mg 18
Total Hardness, CaCO3 138
Nitrate, NO3-N < 0.3 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 68 (*3 = 204ppm SO4)
Chloride, Cl 25
Carbonate, CO3 22
Bicarbonate, HCO3 60
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 86

Based on this, I have given up using it for brewing due to the ridiculous sulfate and hardness levels. I'm moving to RO water in the new place. (Or can it be salvaged?) But what can I do to save my faucets? I'm already having issues with build up on my shower heads and the kitchen sink sprayer quit working once so far due to caked on crap.  :(

From my initial research, it looks like some sort of ion exchange sulfate removal system coupled with a standard water softener is in order, but I can't seem to find one in the retail world. Help? Anyone else have this problem?

5
Other Fermentables / Calling Cider Apple Experts/Growers
« on: December 17, 2013, 01:36:46 PM »
So in buying a house, I've acquired a good size lot as well. There is a ton of room to plant a lot of things, so I'm investigating what I want to plant/grow over the winter.

Of interest now is cider apple trees.

Has anyone actually planted cider apple trees in their backyard and want to give me some advice? I'm looking at dwarf trees, probably around 8-10 of them. Maybe some Dabinett, Kingston Blacks and a Black Oxford or two?

I'm in USDA heartiness zone 6A.

6
All Grain Brewing / Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« on: November 11, 2013, 11:54:16 AM »
Hey guys,

I just picked up a Sabco Brew Magic V350MS from a friend in the homebrew club. I've brewed on it once (with the previous owner) but would like to see other people's systems. I know there was an old forum dedicated solely to the Brew Magic but since it is now defunct, I'm asking here.

What is your process? What modifications have you done? Got any pictures?

Cheers!  8)

7
Pimp My System / Re-purposed 'Gin Bucket', now 2-tap Jockey Box
« on: October 16, 2013, 06:13:34 PM »
Here's a look at my party tap set up that I built out of a few old parts and some new ones.

I have had this little 5 gallon round cooler since I was a sophomore in college. I used it mainly for float trips or yard drinking and usually filled it with some sort of gin-based lemon-lime concoction. But I digress. Here's some pictures in it's new life!  :D



I use the jockey box in conjunction with two velcro-laden Reflectix wraps I made. They wrap each keg thre times and velcro onto themselves. What is really nice about the wraps is that I can take a keg out of the keezer, wrap it and it stays under 40F for 20-24 hours. If it's going to be longer than that out of refrigeration, I usually scoot the wraps up and put the kegs in a cooler with ice as shown at my mom's surprise birthday party:



The inside is packed full with the cold plate, beer lines and shanks. Seen here right after drilling holes in the ol' gin bucket.



With ice and beer:



The beer line is all 1/4" ID, with 10' coiled up inside the cooler for each tap run. The lines from the cooler to the kegs are each 5' long. This is most likely overkill, but go big or go home yeah?

The system works really well in terms of keeping the beer cold and not having any foaming. It's been a hit at several parties over the summer in it's short lifespan as a jockey box. In the future, I plan to either vinyl wrap it in white with my brewery logo on it or something similar.

Cheers guys!
-Amanda

8
Kegging and Bottling / Custom Belgian Wire Hoods
« on: August 15, 2013, 05:42:58 AM »
I am hoping that this isn't a question with no answer, so I'm asking early.

Long story made short is that for our wedding in September '14, my fiance and I are brewing all of the beer. We are also brewing a version of my BGSA to serve as the 'champange' toast. We will be bottling these in 750mL Boulevard Smokestack bottles. I already know the exact size of the cork needed for these bottles, but my real question comes with the wired hoods.

Is there a vendor out there that will make custom wire hoods for a cork and cage finish? I can find plenty of custom bottle caps, but that isn't what I'm looking for.

9
The Pub / Good news! Beer bellies are a myth!
« on: June 13, 2013, 12:48:10 PM »
http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/06/13/beer-bellies-are-a-myth/

Haha, jk. Wouldn't that be great though?

10
Equipment and Software / Monitoring Keg Levels
« on: April 29, 2013, 11:36:52 AM »
I'm on a tangent today - I have my brewing calendar all planned out for the next few months, so I need a side project.

How does everyone keep track of or know the level of beer in ones kegs? Or does anyone even do that?

I'm tired of blowing a keg before I think I'm going to. I get all excited about a good beer on tap, and it's gone in 3 weeks without something new to put on at the ready. My fiance has been trying to kick a keg of APA for like two weeks now. He's been drinking about 3 glasses a night every other night and can't kick it. While it's kind of funny, I would really like to just know how much is left.

Does anyone have any solutions? I'll go for cheap 'n' easy or super nerdy and complicated.

11
Hey oh everybody!

I would like to invite you all to enter a competition I am organizing in Kansas City. This competition is being sponsored by the Kansas City Bier Meisters and the BJCP. It is being run in conjunction with a local charity, Joel's Ride.

Joel's Ride is an annual bike ride in honor of Joel Winston, a craft beer enthusiast who lost his battle with cancer in 2006. This ride attracted 120 bikers last year and was featured on the local news.

All proceeds from this competition will go to the charity and competition awards will be presented June 2, the day of the ride.

I encourage all of you to enter here: http://www.kcbiermeisters.org/joelsride/ More details on entry deadlines are at that site. The KC area has very good judges, so if you are looking for good feedback on your beers, this is a great place to get it and support a good cause!

More information about Joel's Ride can be found here: http://www.kansascyclist.com/events/JoelsRideForJustice.html

So get over there and enter your beers! Cheers! :)

12
Ingredients / To Hop Stand or not to Hop Stand?
« on: January 07, 2013, 11:39:39 AM »
Here's a recipe I'm developing for a 'lower' alcohol, huge flavor IPA.

5 lb Crisp MO
4 lb Rahr 2-row
6oz C20
---------
15 minute additions:
1/3 oz each Citra, Galaxy, Centennial & Mosaic
1/2 oz Simcoe

Possible Hop Stand (or I'll wuss out and do a 5 minute addition):
2/3 oz each Citra, Galaxy, Centennial & Mosaic

Dry Hop:
1 oz each Citra, Galaxy, Centennial, Mosaic & Simcoe
---------
US-05 or equivalent


My question is about the hop stand - if I did it for 30 minutes, wouldn't my 15 minute addition be more like a 45 minute addition? And the hop stand be like a 30 minute addition? Or is this just a bad idea in the first place?

I'd like to get this right since I'm using some pretty awesome hops and don't want to waste them on a mediocre batch.

Cheers!

13
Yeast and Fermentation / Stone Cali-Belgique OR Belgian IPA Yeast Selection
« on: November 25, 2012, 03:31:31 PM »
Hey guys, I'm aiming for a beer similar to Stone's Cali-Belgique, their Belgian IPA offering.

Yes, I'm reading Steele's IPA. That being said, he mentions in passing that Cali-Belgique is the Stone IPA wort fermented with Belgian yeast. Given that the recipe is somewhat given for Stone IPA in the back of the book, I've worked this out for my system:

11 lb Pale Malt (which should be around 4L based on the SRM he states - maybe Maris Otter or another base malt?)
14 oz Crystal 15
-----
0.75oz Chinook @ 90
0.75oz Columbus @ 90
1.5oz Centennial @ Flame Out
-----
WLP500??

My two questions are this:
1) What do you think he meant by "Pale Malt"?
2) Will WLP500 work well with American 'c' hops or is there a better alternative?

Cheers!

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