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Skydiver

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Hey Guys,

I have been living and working in Thailand as a consulting engineer for the past 11 years.

As a young lad, I spent my formative years drinking Fullers ales and love the myriad variety and complexities of real ale in general. I've lost count of the amount of times I said I would dip my toe into home brewing, but always found a reason to put it off. The lockdowns we've all been through over the past couple of years, resulted in me working more than ever from home and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to finally bite the bullet, so I jumped in with both feet.

Although many beginners take the kit route, it didn't appeal to me. As I contemplated (but delayed) my foray into home brewing, I did take the time to read much about the methodology and felt confident enough to give all grain brewing a go, right off the bat.

In October 2021, I bought a Grainfather G30 Connect brewing system (I love the counter flow chiller which works extremely well) and had it shipped from the U.K. to Thailand. I didn't buy their conical fermenter and glycol chiller unit; as a newbie, it felt like a bit too much of an investment until such time as I was sure it would be a long term pursuit (which I'm pretty sure it now is). I thought it would be a problem to source the type and variety of grist, yeast and hops I needed to try and clone my beloved Fullers ESB, but I was delighted to discover that there is a thriving home brew community in Thailand, even though it is ostensibly illegal to home brew here (turns out this only applies if you want to sell what you brew commercially). I can buy a wide selection of Thomas Fawcett grist, a number of yeast varieties, and Challenger, Target, East Kent Golding and Northdown hops are all available here, much to my surprise and delight. As I type, my third batch of ESB clone is fermenting, and I am frankly amazed at just how well the first 3 batches have turned out, with minor tweaks between batches.

The year round ambient temperature of approx. 30c presents challenges, but as creative engineer wink..., I came up with a slick way of reliably controlling fermenting temperatures up to 20c (to develop those nice fruity esters) and cold crash all the way down to 2c.

I joined the forum because... well... let's be honest, who brews beer better than Brits? I have much to learn (and a pending question about bottle conditioning real ale, which I will post in a follow up thread) and am looking forward to benefitting from your collective years of home brewing experience.

Cheers Guys...
 
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Greetings to you :hat: and what a great intro
Funnily enough I've got my first attempt at an 'ESB' bubbling away in the garage right now; under the aegis of my own version of a temperature controlled fermentation cabinet
Great to have you on board, even if I will probably get confused between you and @UKSkydiver
 

DocAnna

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A warm welcome, and it's impressive to hear you can source the grains and yeasts out in Thailand! Have you convinced any other local residents of the merits of ESB over Singha?
 

Skydiver

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Greetings to you :hat: and what a great intro
Funnily enough I've got my first attempt at an 'ESB' bubbling away in the garage right now; under the aegis of my own version of a temperature controlled fermentation cabinet
Great to have you on board, even if I will probably get confused between you and @UKSkydiver
Thanks for the warm welcome, much appreciated.

I mulled over a few options for fermentation control, but decided to go with a 200 litre insulated cooler tank, which serves a couple of purposes. A submersible pump moves water from the cooler, through a fish tank chiller unit, which shows the water temperature as it enters the chiller, the chilled water is then pumped back into the cooler unit, both hoses are insulated to prevent condensation on the hoses (due to the 25c ambient temperature, in the air conditioned room).

I also mounted a pump unit on the open lid of the cooler, this is fed by a second submersible pump. When preparing to brew, I fill the cooler and drop the temperature to 10c, once I've mashed, boiled and whirlpooled the wort, I connect the counterflow chiller to the pump unit and use the 10c cooled water to reduce the wort temperature from approx. 80c (post whirlpool) to 17c as I pump it into a 30 litre fermzilla fermentation vessel. I dispose of the first 10 litres or so, of the cooling water which is extremely hot, then place the counterflow chiller return hose back into the cooler, which has the effect of raising the cooled water back up to about 17c. After pitching my yeast, I place the 30 litre fermzilla fermenter into the cooler on its stainless steel stand and bobs your fathers brother, as they say... athumb..

Photo of my little cooling setup attached.

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Skydiver

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A warm welcome, and it's impressive to hear you can source the grains and yeasts out in Thailand! Have you convinced any other local residents of the merits of ESB over Singha?
Yes, it was a delightful surprise to find everything I needed, not only that, but the guy operates out of a small shophouse less than 10 minutes drive from my home.

On the question of converting locals from Singha to ESB, I find that most locals are equally split between Singha and Leo. If I had to choose, Leo would also be my choice, its a more malty lager and not unpleasant to suck down after a hot day. Fullers ESB is actually available here in Bottles, I know the guy who imports Fullers Beers to Thailand (I should say knew, unfortunately Ken, a wonderful and friendly Irish guy, died of cancer just a few months ago, but his family continue the business), London Pride, ESB, Black Cab Porter are all available, but the price point is 3 times that of Singha and Leo. My local friends will drink ESB all night as long as I'm buying, otherwise they'll generally stick to the local brews. The other benefit of being able to buy ESB is that I can compare my own cloning attempts with the genuine article, so to speak.
 

Skydiver

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I wonder if Kveik yeast could be useful for you with its preference for high temps. Or branch out into some Belgians. 😁
Although the ambient temperature here in Thailand is a pretty consistent year round 30c (dropping to a frigid 28c around Christmas time :), I don't have a problem controlling fermentation or chilling between 20c and 2c. Having said that, I appreciate the heads up and will certainly be exploring Belgian ales at some point. At the moment I'm kind of obsessed with producing (and improving) an acceptable ESB clone, before diving headlong into the brewing rabbit hole (which I am very much looking forward to), and playing around with other beers.
 
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