Friday, March 13, 2009

Fire in the Roaster!

So this is Rob's new Grindmaster 1.5lb bagger/grinder. Stick a bag under the chute, set the knob to whatever you want it ground to, and hit the start button. Slick system, nice looking machine. All the grind settings are adjustable and the burrs can be fine tuned with that screw in the center of the dial there. Nice machine!

This thing here is his new "5 lb roaster", who's name I forget now.. but it's a fancy, hot rodded rotisserie thingy, with an added set of heater coils on the bottom, and a fan assisted exhaust vent that you can see there on the left side of the thing. We did some screwing around with it back on Monday and found it to be pretty much in it's element at a 2.5 lb batch size. We're thinking anything over that is gonna take too long and 'bake' the beans rather than roast 'em. This thing makes an impressive cloud of smoke in the room if you don't have your fan thingy going!

Here's a pic of his "old" roaster, a 1lb Behmor, siting atop the new machine. Cute little bugger!

This here (below) is really the "before" pic, however. This is what happens when you turn your back on an automated roaster for a "couple of minutes" and the beans catch fire. This blackened mess is the remains of the now defunct 1 lb roaster you see above. So sad!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another one down! Send backup beer!

Dead! Just splattered myself all over with the foam of it's dying, co2 infused breath. You can see the stats yourself in the pic, and this beer was brewed by Don S. and myself way back in November. She lived a long life, for sure. She's survived by the tiny stove-top pale ale I brewed in the kitchen a few weeks ago.. the 18th of February, in fact. So, brewed and tapped in well under a month. Sheesh! Now to see if it tastes like anything worth drinking..

In other news, the place is just about ready for the big brew on Saturday. All ingredients lined up for me and Dan to put together an American Wheat. Yes, you read that right, *Dan*, not *Don S.*, as Don had a last minute colonoscopy scheduled that he just DIDN'T wanna miss, not for beer or anything. So, it's me and Dan picking up the slack. Good luck with that project, Don!

Some more updates to follow tomorrow or so.. interesting news about a roaster fire I recently heard of...

Click that Google link, you cheapskates!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Forgot to mention: kettle pickup change..

So, last time I forgot to mention about the change I made to the kettle. Look back to here for that original post... but I'm referring to the change I made to my boil kettle pickup where I took out the slotted manifold and used a very long 3/8ths tube that ran around the outside of the kettle and picked up wort from the side. It was designed to be used primarily with pellet hops and maybe a few whole hop cones. As it turns out, I did a beer with Jody a week ago and had really good luck with it. No issues with the wort recirculation during cooling, which was one of our problem areas in the past, and no issues with runoff when the chill was done. I'm not sure how it'll fare with a mixture of pellets and whole hops, or whole hops alone.. but if I'm gonna run whole hops only in there, I'll probably just swap out to my slotted manifold, which I know works great in there. The right tool for the job, eh?

In other beer related news, the big brew off with our newspaper correspondent fell through for the 14th, but the big brew is still gonna be on! Turns out I'll be brewing an American Wheat with Don this time around. Should be good times there. I haven't had an Am. Wheat on tap in way too long. I should be doing a regular split batch of 12 gallons with the newspaper guy, Will Siss, on the 28th and later on we're gonna try to get the band back together with everyone and have a re-do of the big brew so we can give Will a proper introduction to home brewing. Hey, he asked, right? :-)

On the chicken front, it should be mentioned that I actually put in my order for them last Thursday, I think it was. Put in for two Plymouth Barred Rocks, two Rhode Island Reds, and one Golden Comet. All supposed to be good egg layers and people friendly birds. We'll see. Gotta really put my mind to the task and figure out what kind of coop I wanna build now. I keep fluctuating on it lately.. can't make up my mind. Anyway, they won't be in until beginning of May, so no hurry there. Pete, you listening? Get your hammer and saw ready!

Went down to Rob's house yesterday to see his new coffee bean roaster. Totally didn't think to take pics. Rob, help a brother out and send some pics to post? Curious device! A big ol' turbo charged rotisserie for chickens, originally, now turned to roasting coffee beans . Vented to the outside too, keeping *most* of the smoke out of the room, especially for the amount of beans we were roasting in that small room. He went from about roasting 1 pound batch sizes at a time, to 2.5-ish lbs at once. Way more than a typical home roaster for just himself needs, certainly. He sent me home with a "South American Blend" that he got from the company who sold him the machine, which I'll review in just a minute. Still heating water for that now...

Rob also has got himself a brandy-new Grindmaster 1.5 lb grinder, which is really nice as an everything-but-espresso coffee grinder. I could totally put that on my coffee cart and use the hell out of that thing for my Aeropress, vac pot and filter coffees. Snap! No pics of that, either.

OK, went with 28 grams for a 10 ounce mug for this South American blend, of which we know nothing other than that. Aeropress was the method. The beans themselves, strangely, smell *exactly* like a bag full of pretzels! Unfortunately, I don't like pretzels... but we'll see how the coffee tastes. It's only day one after the roast, so it's still too young to really be judging, so we'll have to revisit this tomorrow and the next day for sure, but.. It's still too hot to drink, but I'm getting an aroma of /mint/ in this thing. Like, the sort of thing you smell in Andes Candies? Yeah, that. Dunno 'bout how that got in there, but that's what I smell. It's got a 'green' taste to it now, still sorta hay-like.. hard to get around that at the moment. Overpowering right now. I get a bit of a earthy-ness in there, Sumatra like, and that pretzel thing too.. not typical of South American coffees, so I'll have to chalk that up to the new roast still settling in. Let's check back on this one in a day or two, eh?

That's all I got today, kids. Keep clicking that Google Ad there, you cheapskates!