Sunday, August 31, 2008

More toys!

This is my new lautering manifold. It's not perfect, but it'll do, I hope--its inaugural run will be on the 6 September Brew Day. The whole thing is of a piece, except for the connection to the drain fitting (the uppermost bit of copper, in the picture). So, it'll just pull out for cleaning. I started with a hacksaw yesterday putting in the slots (on the underside, not visible in the picture), but got smart today & pulled out the jigsaw with a metal blade. The whole thing, when attached in my new mash tun (a 70-qt Ice Cube cooler), sits evenly along the bottom. I'm probably going to get a bit of fluid loss with the design (it has to angle up to get to the drain), but as long as my grasp of fluid dynamics is good, I figure it'll be the same as or less than my fluid losses in the cylindrical cooler using the Bazooka screen.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My birthday haul...

Yes, today is my birthday. Woohoo! 37 grand years. Anyway, I thought I'd show off a bit of the 'goodies' I've picked up today...

This would be from my mother-in-law... A bench-top bottle-capper, two (!) siphon starters, an assortment of in-line valves, some hose clamps, a hose cutter, and a 'sure-screen'. It's all got its use, but some of it will admittedly be staying in the plastic for now...

I also swung an Igloo Ice Cube cooler (70 qt) to replace my 10-gallon Gott-style cooler for the mash tun, and made some new liquid pick-ups based on this month's Brew Your Own! magazine. The latter were a necessity--the HLT didn't have any sort of pick-up at all, so I was losing about a half gallon of hot water per pot; the mash-tun was marginally better, but its pick-up was in the center of the pot (which sucks when a whirlpool is your primary 'filtration'). Moving the pick-up to the edge of the pot will help immensely, I think.

Then there was the sack of Golden Promise malt--but I was going to get that, anyway. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Time counts down

As I approach the next Brew Day (the 6th of September), the Lochmere Baronial Birthday (the 27th of September), and Fall University (the 4th of October). At these, I'll be brewing, serving a brew, and discussing all-grain brewing, respectively.

The most complex of the three, from my current perspective, is the class at University. I'm not sure what level my 'students' will be, or how many of them I'll have. I don't know how in-depth I'll be able to or will have to go. Right now, I'm aiming at something rather conversational, easing an extract brewer into brewing all-grain. I mean, really, the only difference is the mash--for an extract batch, the extract manufacturer has done the mash and sparge for you. The question, really, is will I have to go into the enzymatic activity (why the mash works), or just describe the process (broadly how the mash works)? Hopefully, I'll be able to get with Sorcha about this beforehand.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Completely Off-Topic...

In loving memory of Shiva, one of the best cats to ever grace us with his presence. Taken by chylothoraxis this morning. Catch yourself some tasty mice in your next life, big guy.

RIP. 2001-2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What's On Tap, 24 August

OK, here's what I have tapped, kegged, and in various stages of fermenting/aging:

On Tap:
Pils-style Lager
Northern English Brown Ale

Pils-style Lager
Irish Red Ale

To Be Kegged Today:
Sweet Stout
Belgian Dubbel
Pumpkin Pie Spice Ale

Foxglove Chardonnay Pyment
Radish Mead
Cherry Wine

Friday, August 22, 2008

What's coming up...

I've been asked to do a 1-2 hour class on all-grain brewing for the Atlantian Fall University in October. Shouldn't be a problem, beyond deciding how basic to make it. Do I go as elementary as explaining that 'beer is made (broadly) from malt, hops, water, and yeast,' or take that as a known? I've got ideas; and whatever level I decide to take it, I can always 'ad-lib' it at other levels of detail.

I'm also looking at a Brewing Day on the 6th of September. I haven't decided yet what to brew; I'm leaning towards a Scottish Ale, probably something in the 50/- range. I'm not certain if I'll try for a second brew. I'm open to suggestions... I'll have room in the lagering chest, so maybe a bock or a helles.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Welcome to the Blog...

Okay, this is the first post in a new blog. It's always difficult to get something like this started; hopefully, I'll be able to keep it rolling for a while.

I'm Misha, and I'm a brewer. Not a large-scale, macro-swill, multi-billion-dollar brewer; I'm a homebrewer. I make about 5 gallons at a time, and I brew what I feel like drinking. So far, I've been pretty successful... At least, most of my friends seem to think so. Most of this blog will deal with my brewing.

I also participate in something called the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, a group of history buffs who get together and "play medieval" from time to time. In particular, within the Society framework, I'm a Russian merchant from Novgorod, circa 1550. Parts of my blog will deal with the SCA.

Don't worry, you won't need a scorecard to keep up with this (I hope). As this progresses, it'll start to make more sense.

I hope you stick around for the ride!

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