foxbat's brewdays

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foxbat

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Wyeast 1469 on the stir plate last night after 24 hours. A healthy yeast is a joy to behold :)



The krausen's died back now so it's probably done. I'll give it another day on the stir plate then about 2 days cold crash before pitching and 500ml will get saved back for next time.
 

foxbat

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The roast barley and chocolate wheat malt for tomorrow's porter are now cold-steeping in 1.5 litres of treated Ashbeck. Of course I couldn't resist dropping a stir bar in and seeing if the stir plate could get things moving. No chance. The stirrer gripped and spun the bar but the liquid is so viscous it had no visible effect at all. Plus I could hear the fan motor was really straining so I decided that was a bad idea and I'll stick to giving it a swirl whenever I walk past.
 

foxbat

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Today's brewday was a bit of an education. The idea was to brew a lower gravity, hopped up version of the Bateman's Salem Porter recipe from the GW book.

70% Pale malt
10% Crystal 150
5% Roasted Barley
3% Chocolate wheat malt
12% Dextrose (brewing sugar)

40g Fuggle @40 mins
40g East Kent Goldings @10mins
10g Styrian Goldings @1mins

Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire
Mash 60 mins, Boil 60 mins, 31 IBU, OG 1.044, FG 1.009, ABV 4.5%

Mashed in at 67C more-or-less on the nose:

No problems there, the iodine test confirmed no starches remaining:

Hop pellets added during the boil as usual.

Skimmed off the hotbreak. Normally I don't bother but it had all coagulated in an eddy current around the hop bag and I couldn't resist it.

It all started getting a bit busy around 15 minutes. The dark grains that had been cold-steeping for a day were strained through a bag, sparged with a litre of water and hung to drip.

The dark wort was heated up in the pan to reduce the cooling effect of adding 2.5 litres to the main kettle and then poured in at around 10 minutes along with the dextrose.

Collected about 23 litres of wort after chilling quite rapidly with the immersion chiller. Thankfully the rain had stopped here so I didn't have to stand outside in the rain during the cleanup.


Unfortunately I missed my target gravity by 7 points. The actual OG was 1.038 from a target of 1.044 and I'm certain it's down to the cold steeping and related water additions.

The few posts I can find on the net about the subject do mention that you need to up your grain quantity to counter the less effective extraction that you get when cold steeping. I only hit an efficiency of 74% compared to my usual 80%. Lesson learned if I choose to cold-steep again. Looks like I'll get a 3.9% session 'porter' and the wort did taste very nice out of the sample jar. It's in the brewfridge at 20C and I'll up it to 21C and 22C over the next few days to ensure it attenuates well.
 

foxbat

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The porter/accidental mild is fermenting away nicely. It took off at full speed within 6 hours and now at 2 days it's over the hill and starting to slow down so I've upped the temperature to 21C.

I had time at the weekend to do some work on the chest freezer to kegerator conversion. I got 3m of 170mm x 18mm square-edge skirting MDF from skirtingworld.co.uk because MDF tends to be very straight. I took one look at the bowed and warped timber in our local B&Q and walked straight out. The drawback of MDF is that it's tough to screw into - bolts are better and it needs to be properly sealed against moisture or it'll tend to soak it up and bulge. Drilling's easy though and cuts come up clean which is nice for the finish.

I made bevel cuts for the front so it'll look nice with no cut lines down the front or side.

Glued the pieces together with some of that incredibly strong glue. There's no chance this will come apart under normal use. Once the joint had set I worked more glue into the inner corners for extra strength. The skirting came pre-painted with primer. Once all the holes are cut I'll caulk and smooth the small gaps and prime and finish with a high gloss white to match the freezer.

To get the lid off the freezer the plastic hinge covers pop off with the help of a flat blade screwdriver then the hinges themselves can be unscrewed.

Offering up the collar to the freezer with a keg inside shows it all fits well. The angle doesn't show it but that SS gas disconnect is shaped so that the gas tube comes out horizontally and just passes over the keg rubber handles. I'll run it straight to the collar where I intend to have cable glands inside and outside to grip the pipe as it passes outside to where the gas cylinder will be. It'll make more sense when I show it...

That's all for now. Most of the electrical bits have arrived: an Inkbird ITC308, power socket and RCD spur for the heater input.

The first of the long-shank adjustable flow taps has arrived and now I know it's long enough I've ordered a second. That'll take a week to arrive. I also have some boards of 50mm insulation from B&Q to line the collar. I'll do that after the painting.

A few more bits and pieces are in my Screwfix shopping cart and I should be set to start fitting the electrical bits to the collar next week.
 

foxbat

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I got some more work done on the kegerator collar today since all the bits for the electrics have arrived:

This is the left side panel. Power comes in to the mini-RCD at the bottom and feeds the double socket. The inkbird gets plugged into one socket, and a 9V DC 'wall wart' power supply goes in the other.

The freezer power plug plugs into the 'cold' inkbird output. I'll have a mains cable and plug running from the fused spur to the 'heat' output of the Inkbird. I drill a hole through the MDF behind the spur and feed the 'heat' cable to the reptile tank bulb that'll be mounted down the bottom of the freezer with a computer fan mounted opposite to distribute the heat evenly.
 
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Ghillie

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Looks really good @foxbat! Cracking job with the collar mitres too.

Your electrical side of things looks great too, very smart. I was planning something similar, but I'm half thinking of having everything hidden behind the keezer (not quite hanging loose but more or less). Torn between that and mounting it properly like you are.

If you don't mind me asking, why are you using a fused spur for the heat source when it will be fused at the plug at the ITC-308?
 

foxbat

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Looks really good @foxbat! Cracking job with the collar mitres too.

Your electrical side of things looks great too, very smart. I was planning something similar, but I'm half thinking of having everything hidden behind the keezer (not quite hanging loose but more or less). Torn between that and mounting it properly like you are.

If you don't mind me asking, why are you using a fused spur for the heat source when it will be fused at the plug at the ITC-308?
The spur doesn't need to be fused. I just had one in my box of random stuff bought for previous projects but not needed and I thought the neon light made a good indicator that the Inkbird relay has actually closed.

Are you going to insulate the inside of the collar? I'm going to line mine with this 50mm expanded polystrene board which tends to splinter quite easily so dangling cables aren't such a good idea as they will rub against it. My cable (and CO2) entry holes are lined with a rigid tube long enough to pass through the MDF and the insulation inside:

That shows a 2-core mains cable and the inkbird probe. There's enough room remaining for the fan power cable as well.
 

Ghillie

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Yeah fair point, if you've got it lying around and want to use it then why not!

I've decided against insulating the collar. If I do see that there is excessive cycling of the compressor through poor insulation - then foam board would be something I'd add. Insulation would be more important to me if the keezer was inside (something I'm working towards)... I'm hoping in a cool garage that the insulation properties of a hardwood collar will be enough.

If my freezer was brand new, I'd be using insulation like you are. But I think I would opt for a hollow collar and expanding foam. I know I'd never manage to make the aluminium silver tape stuff neat enough inside and it would look like a pile of shite.
 

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This weekend's brew is going to be a Czech Pilsner so I got my starter of Wyeast 2278 (Czech Pils) on tonight. I used the online calculators and made up a 2300ml starter.



You can hardly see the stirplate underneath that 5 litre flask! I'll leave it spinning away for 3 days then cold crash it until I pitch. Hopefully it'll flocculate enough for me to decant off the spent wort before pitching.
 

Clint

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I would say 100% I could tip a few down my neck...but couldn't tell you the last time if any that I tried it!
The thing is I'm not really into lagers but I do brew stuff I like the sound of ..if that makes any sense. I should make a bit more effort with lagers but I'm severely put off by the usual crowd...any suggestions??
 

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@Clint I've said it before and I'll say it again, proper Czech pilsner served up in Prague is a far cry from the fizzy wee wee served up in the UK.

@foxbat i used 2278 for my GH Czech pilsner too. It's currently in the cryogenic lagering chamber* with a few more weeks to go until bottling. Let me know how yours turns out.

*Shed
 

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Having czeched my busy calender...I'm not going to anywhere in the near future...
I do have the GH book and a cryogenic lagering temple* though...
*Garage
 

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I was amazed at the flavour the first time I had a Pilsner Urquel, extrememly yummy, need to pick up more, or attempt to brew a Czech pilsner myself with my nice soft North Eastern water. Good luck Foxbat.
 

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Having czeched my busy calender... I'm not going to anywhere in the near future...
I do have the GH book and a cryogenic lagering temple* though...
*Garage
Ooh that's clever, I see what you did there :laugh8:clapa
 

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Today's brewday was a bit of an education. The idea was to brew a lower gravity, hopped up version of the Bateman's Salem Porter recipe from the GW book.

70% Pale malt
10% Crystal 150
5% Roasted Barley
3% Chocolate wheat malt
12% Dextrose (brewing sugar)

40g Fuggle @40 mins
40g East Kent Goldings @10mins
10g Styrian Goldings @1mins

Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire
Mash 60 mins, Boil 60 mins, 31 IBU, OG 1.044, FG 1.009, ABV 4.5%

Mashed in at 67C more-or-less on the nose:

No problems there, the iodine test confirmed no starches remaining:

Hop pellets added during the boil as usual.

Skimmed off the hotbreak. Normally I don't bother but it had all coagulated in an eddy current around the hop bag and I couldn't resist it.

It all started getting a bit busy around 15 minutes. The dark grains that had been cold-steeping for a day were strained through a bag, sparged with a litre of water and hung to drip.

The dark wort was heated up in the pan to reduce the cooling effect of adding 2.5 litres to the main kettle and then poured in at around 10 minutes along with the dextrose.

Collected about 23 litres of wort after chilling quite rapidly with the immersion chiller. Thankfully the rain had stopped here so I didn't have to stand outside in the rain during the cleanup.


Unfortunately I missed my target gravity by 7 points. The actual OG was 1.038 from a target of 1.044 and I'm certain it's down to the cold steeping and related water additions.

The few posts I can find on the net about the subject do mention that you need to up your grain quantity to counter the less effective extraction that you get when cold steeping. I only hit an efficiency of 74% compared to my usual 80%. Lesson learned if I choose to cold-steep again. Looks like I'll get a 3.9% session 'porter' and the wort did taste very nice out of the sample jar. It's in the brewfridge at 20C and I'll up it to 21C and 22C over the next few days to ensure it attenuates well.
I have been cold steeping for ages but i always reduced the liquid and added it around the start of the boil. Last time i added it with the chiller and noticed i got a lot more flavour. The beer actually tastes of chocolate which really amazed me. Seems i was doing it wrong before. You are right about the efficiency, last brew i had to top up with spraymalt which i never do. Also large amounts of adjuncts always mess with my numbers.
What sort of bag are you using? The one i am using now is ok but needs to be bigger.
 

foxbat

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I was amazed at the flavour the first time I had a Pilsner Urquel, extrememly yummy, need to pick up more, or attempt to brew a Czech pilsner myself with my nice soft North Eastern water. Good luck Foxbat.
Urquel was the inspiration for this upcoming brew but it's not going to be a clone. I'm doing 100% pils malt, magnum for bittering then generous amounts of Saaz late on.

Soft, low mineral water (Ashbeck with a little CaCl) and the right yeast should let the Saaz shine through.
 
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