Saturday, May 15, 2010

More electric thoughts...

Still pondering electric brewing.. I think I have the element in the kettle part sorted out now, but I keep coming back to the pump I have and hw I'm going to incorporate that. I came across a new idea today in that you mount the pump inside a small toolbox with just the pump head and valves exiting the box.. keeps the electric part shielded from any stray water and gives the pump itself a safe footing from which to do it's thing. Which is how I broke it in the first place.. not having a stable mount to put it on. There's also a switch mounted on the box, for on and off action, and I think I'll use a male-sided reverse plug on the box, so I can keep the extension cord I have in one piece and not have a big long cord attached to the box running into the thing for power. Less pieces to buy as well, right?

I figure, if I go with the toolbox idea, I can easily use it low (on the floor) or high (on a bench) in the brewery, plus still keep it portable if I wanna take it somewhere to use at someone else's house. The downside is, it's one more thing to move around that's not permanently fixed to the stand. I guess cleaning would be easier, though, since I could bring the pump inside to clean and not have to drag chemicals out there to the stand to get it done.

Now, if only I weren't so skittish around electrical work, this would all be so much better...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Some thoughts on electric brewing...

You guys are totally ripped off today. Only picture you're gonna get is this lousy one of a barely out of the ground chile plant:

Clearly, of the Jalapeno variety. The peat pot says so. This little guy, and one other friend of the six total I planted, came out of the ground like three days ago. Two out of six. Not as good as I'd hoped.. but I guess there's still time. I've also got my bakup plan in place, which is also till moving along just fine.. stand by for more on that.

In other news, I was talking with a friend last night, Jeremiah B. from way down south, about breweries. He's building a new one up from scratch and he had called to pick my brain about measurements and gadgets and whatnot that I had attached to mine. Wanted to know how I'd done it, what I liked, and what I'd change if I could. Told him a bunch of stuff.. but most interesting is we talked about HLT's and their fabrication. Knowing what I know now, I'm interested in going to at least part electric heating. The HLT, in particular, is perfectly suited to being electrically heated.. this stuff has been known for a while now, as there's several people online documenting their builds. But the bug to upgrade to that has started to bite me again.. since Jer is building his as we speak, I gave him some ideas to bounce around in his head on stuff to do.. and we'll see how he makes out. Depending on what he comes up with and his particular equipment build, we'll base my next upgrade off of that. I also shot him an idea for my newest sight glass idea.. so, stand by for some more on that later as well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Calibratin' and graduatin'.. and a darned big egg!

Not a groundbreaker here, but figured I'd update on the mod's I'm making to the brew rig. Figured I'd do something today that I've been putting off for a really long time, just cause it's so boring.. and that's measurements. Boring. But it's important stuff, really. What I mean is, I'm marking graduations on the sides of  my boil kettle so can finally get an accurate measurement of how much wort I have in the kettle pre-boil. This measurement, plus a reading of wort gravity prior to boil, will allow me to do the math to figure out what I'm going to end up with, or *how* to end up with a kettle full of wort of the strength I actually desire, or planned for, with my software. It's just boring as hell to do. Plus, I'm measuring boil off rate now as well.. you know, it's only been like, 8 years now and I haven't done it yet. Figured I'd do it since I had a kettle full of hot water anyway, right? So, the clock started about 15 minutes ago and we'll see where we end up in an hour. Check the pics:

Here's a shot of the new graduations on the kettle:

As you can see there, I'm simply using the transfer hose run up the side of the kettle as a sight-glass, instead of building a new sight glass (which I could fairly easily do...). Not having a built in sight glass leaves one less thing to get crap all boiled and hardened into. That's the primary reason I don't have a permanent one on there.. but this idea works the same way and is just as accurate. Sweet.

Here's a pic of my por hops. Darned things got blown over couple days ago in the wind.. drats.

Here's a new bread I just took out f the oven, a couple hours ago. Standard sourdough boule, with a touch of spelt powder dusted over the top just before slashing to leave a bit of a design on the top:

And finally, a huge egg! This thing measures 98 grams... 3.45 ounces. A monster! the equivalent of two full size large eggs. It's so huge, the lid on the egg box won't close. Sheesh!

That's all for now, kids.. carry on.