Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Chiller mod...

Quick update here to a modification I've been meaning to do forever now to my beer wort chiller. Did a solder job on the coils and took off that crappy copper wire strand that's been barely holding the thing together since I originally screwed it all together. I know this first pic is pretty dark, but just wanted to show the 'handle' portion on the top..

..and here's a pic of the rather sloppy but perfectly functional solder job on the coils themselves. What a bear to get one coil soldered together to the one next to it and only have the next one break loose the solder you just did when the heat goes through the whole thing! Grr. But, it's done now and works well. It feels solid enough to stand on. Really an improvement, I'll say.

Now, to brew with it! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Updates and a few fallen soldiers..

As mentioned, there's a couple fallen this past couple weeks. The first, as the pic indicates, is the passing of the famed "1903 Wheat", brewed on the big brew day we had back in the Spring. Brewed up by me and Dan, it was a good beer and served it's term well. Another unit that went just recently wasn't even a beer. It was that damned orange Craftsman 3/8th's drill. I was using it to crush the grain for the Avalon Pale Ale and it was giving me all sorts of issues, but finally I had to take it apart to put the motor brushes back in (!) to get it running again. After that, I was going to us it to drill the axle holes for the coop, but she's since refused to fire back up. As such, I'm now int he market for a new drill. I'm not sure if I'm going to go cordless or corded... but I'll definitely need something before the next brew session, or it's gonna be a long, hand cranked crushing process.

The chicken coop is still working well with the new wheels on. Still haven't fond the camera, so I can't post any new pics just yet of that mod.. but it's much nicer to move now, and nobody gets hurt as a result of the effort. Sheesh.

Speaking of chickens, they're all getting on the big side now. The wander around the yard every morning now, for the past 4 days when I open up the door to change the water-er and feeder. It was my weekend, so I let 'em all out for pretty much the whole day for all three days and we had no issues at all. No hawks in sight, and no dog attacks. We had "Boo Boo" the cat next door come over for a look, but she didn't do anything with the hens.. plus, she didn't stick around long after I dragged out the Rustler with the big battery and started zinging that around the yard. The girls finally found out where the momma's veggy garden is, so they made the trip around the back and gorged themselves on ants and slugs back there. I think Sarah said they might have had a snack of parsley as well, but I'm sure that was just to wash down the taste of the slugs with and freshen up their breath.

And lastly in chicken news, that RIR chick that bashed herself into the cage last week or so and scratched up her ear? She's fully healed up now and back in working order. No harm no fowl! ;)

I also attended neighbor Franks' annual Uncle Mike's Lake house party this past weekend too. Third year for that, and third year we've had a great time. Me and Frank brewed up a 5 gallon log of a Pale Ale to bring with us, and that appeared to be a pretty good hit. It was tapped around 1300 hours and killed at about 1830 hours or so.

Also in beer news, the Avalon Pale Ale I've brewed up for vacation next month seems to have ground to a halt in it's fermenter downstairs. I've been monitoring the ferment temps with a thermometer and filling the ol' Styrofoam box the fermenter is in with ice packs to keep the temps down.. and seems to work pretty well. I'm pondering if I'm going to thrown a couple of oak chips into that fermenter for a couple days just prior to racing to give it something to talk about. I also might dry hop it a bit, but I'm a little low on volume as it is at 5.25 gallons, and I don't wanna push it too far with losses to hops. But then again, how much beer can one family possibly consume in just one week?


In radio control news, that new LiPo battery is still going strong like an animal. Love that new fangled cell stuff. My old Triton (at only 2.5 amps charge ability for LiPo cells) is really showing it's age and totally not keeping up with the times. A newer device is definitely going to have to be in my future if I end up playing with more LiPo stuff. Fortunately, there's some really nice, dirt-cheap chargers out there for Lithium cells only and some really sweet products from Accucell company. I think that's the name, anyway.

Well, I'm off to shape, boil and bake some bagels Ive got going right now.. now go click the Google link!