Tag Archives: Homebrew

March pumps for homebrewing

Now I am no expert at homebrewing or March pumps, but I just wanted to write a little about the use of said pumps in homebrewing. First off, don’t drop them from 1 foot off the ground ūüė¶ the slightest off-balance may render them useless.
These wonderful tools will save years of wear and tear on your back. Now when I bought my first pump I was wondering what would be the best way to hook it up. Well unfortunately I was sold in to the cheapest and easiest way. It worked but it also meant the use of tools setting up and taking down, thus it added time and hassle to my brew day.
Since that time I started purchasing quick disconnects from Midwest Supplies. They may not be exactly cheap but it’s worth it. I didn’t, until recently, look at using QD’s on my pump. Now that I have been using QD’s, I wonder what was I thinking to have not done this sooner!
So here’s a quick and dirty list of parts that I purchased to use with my pump. They work great and make for an easy clean up and storage.

Take care.

Parts List:
March Pump
1/2″ Valve
Quick-Disconect’s X2
Female-to-female 1/2″ adapter
Teflon Tape
Connect the 1/2″ valve to the out connection on the pump head. Then connect the female-to-female adapter to the in connection on the pump head. Last but not least connect the QD’s to each end. Be sure to use plenty of tape to seal the threads.

Tubing:
High-Temp hose РPick your preferred length
1/2″ Quick-Disconnects or Auto Shutoff¬†– I prefer with out to hang and dry the hoses.
Tubing Clamps

Tools
1/2″ wrench
Standard Screw-driver
Philips Screw-driver – Optional, if you want to take the pump head off for ease of working on the pump.

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Conversion to All-Grain

For the past few months now I’ve been working on gathering the equipment to take the next step in advancing my brewing experiences. Well it’s been really interesting the past few weeks as I’m really getting the itch to brew my first all-grain beer. I’m still not sure what I’ll brew yet, I’m considering a few options from a pale ale to a wheat. I guess it all depends on what I see come across my radar in the next few weeks.
I would say I’m about 95% ready with the equipment. I know I could probably do a few more things here or there, maybe even add a pump or who knows what yet. I think I’ll just brew my first batch and see what I think I’ll need and go from there.
So what in you opinion can you not brew with out when it come to your all-grain brewing?

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Pale ale brew day

Saturday, May 15th, 2010. My first brew day of the year. I know shame on me for waiting till half way through May, five months into this year before I even brew a batch of beer. Well what can I say? It’s been a busy year.
Now that I got my first batch done this year I can start preparing for my next brew day. Note to self, need more corny kegs.
Well my wort came out ok, I would have liked to see it with a bit of a higher SG but it did reach 1.050. Another note to self: get refractometer, soon. I could have done 2 things differently, well ok maybe really one.
My brew sessions usually take some time, which makes me think going all grain might take less time? After reaching boiling and then adding the rest of the LME and DME my temp dropped to 180! It took way too long to get back to boil. Which leads to my change. This brew had quite a bit of hops I kept the temp under close scrutiny as I added hops as I’ve had some boil over issues since going to 10 gal with the converted keg. I guess I really should have cranked the heat up more after adding the hops. Next time.
My other option could have been to boil longer, say maybe 15 more minutes, but my day was already getting too late. By the time I was all done it was 10 pm and there was the putting everything away that still had to be done. My daughter was not going to bed easily that night, I don’t blame her as we usually get some time together before she goes to sleep.
Thus I have proved to myself; a refractometer is in my future and another pale ale brew day is coming soon.
Up next an Irish Red Ale kit from more beer. I like this kit and that is why I purchased it from the DOTD. This will be the first time kegging it though.

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More Brewing Adventures

WOW! has it really been more than a month since my last post? I know I’ve been busy, but I really need to take more time to publish more random thoughts here.

Surly

On October 10th Surly Brewing hosted an American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally to help promote AHA membership and this coming June the National Homebrewer Conference.

This was my first time going to Surly’s brewery. What a great event it was. I won’t cover it too much as you can find more details about this rally on www.beertown.org and at www.surlybrewing.com. What I do want to say though, is what a great turn out by local AHA members. This rally set an AHA attendance rally record, excuse me blew away the record by more than 100 persons in attendance.

One thing that I noticed while I was at Surly and this is something that I think will be kept in my mind for a while now, but that is a sign on Surly’s door. The sign is also posted on their site here: http://www.surlybrewing.com/growlers.php So according to MN Law craft brewers that sell more than 3500 barrels of beer can no longer sell their beer via growlers. What kind of a law is this? This type of law inhibits the craft brewers in the state of MN. The law makers in the state of MN really need to take another look at this law. Laws like this keep Minnesota in a state of prohibition.

Thankfully during some business travels this year I was able to visit some great craft breweries in both Albuquerque and Billings.  One of the best parts of these brewery visits was that we could sit back and enjoy a few pints straight from the brewer, then when we found something we liked we would buy a growler or two to take back to the hotel to share with other co-workers when they would finish their long day of working at the office.

Hopefully more to come on this topic.

Midwest Supplies

Over the weekend I added to my brewery. I purchased more equipment so that I can now brew 10 gallon batches and have places for two 5 gallon batches to ferment. I have also recently acquired more equipment to hopefully soon convert to All-Grain brewing in 10 gallon batches. I’ve also started making arrangements for the AHA’s annual Teach a friend to brew day on 11/07/09. Can’t wait for that day as that unfortunately may be the next day that I’ll be able to brew. I did get ingredients for a batch of Porter so hopefully I’ll be able to brew before then.

See ya next time.

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Brewing Woes

Being as how I’m writing this today should give you an idea as to how my brew session went yesterday, I fully intended to write this up last night. Murphy’s Law was one-step ahead of me most of the day/night. Yes I said night. I started brewing around 2 pm, and didn’t finish getting everything all cleaned up until after midnight.

You’re probably wondering what made yesterday’s brew session last so long? Well let me tell you, but first I need to go back to Friday as I stopped at Midwest Brewing supplies to pick up a few items that I needed; a March pump and a few ingredients for my Blonde Ale kit that Kodi chewed into. After I got home I found I bought the wrong DME so that should have tipped me right there.

So on Saturday I ran to the Orange Big Box home project store to pick up a GFI adapter. Well guess what they don’t sell there? Small sign #2. Then while there I needed to find an adapter to go from a 1/2″ hose¬†to 3/8″ barb. Small sign #2.5. Since I couldn’t find what I was looking for and no one was very helpful I decided to try the handyman (see Red Green) special and just crank it extra tight.

So I start my brewing get all 6 gallons of water in the kettle and turn the gas on to get it up to 155 degrees so I can start the specialty grain tea bag. At about 20 minutes into my 30 steep I hear a little poof from my burner, Oh no! I just ran out of propane. What am I supposed to do? Well I run back to the Orange Big Box store and pick up a tank. Get home and the temp hadn’t dropped much so I hook up the new tank (noticed I purchased a tank, not exchanged the tank) light the burner and crank the heat. But for some reason the temp never got above 200! Come on what gives? I read a little piece of paper that comes with the tank and find that they only put 15 lbs of propane in the tank, but on top of that it seems there is just not enough pressure pushing the gas out.¬† Oh and before I forget, during the time I was trying to boil the wort it started raining. Fortunately I have a covered patio where I brew my beer so there was no worry of rain getting into my beer. But the problem was that I was setting up my pump and wort cooling system and that was getting wet. Last time I heard it wasn’t best to get electronics wet, so I was trying to get that all situated to keep it dry. After about 30 minutes of waiting for those last 12 degrees I decided to try and find a propane refill location nearby to refill my original tank. I get back with my tank filled and hook it up. Light the flame again and within a couple of minutes the kettle is boiling! Time to add the LME and DME. So I kill the flame and start adding the extracts. Nothing exciting there for once. Then I bring the wort back to a boil and after my set time I add the first hop addition, .5 ounce of Columbus. Mmmmm what a aromatic scent and brings citrus note from those hops. So I boil again for the set time and add the next hops, Amarillo. It’s no wonder this is such a popular hop.¬†I also noticed that my water line was rather low, so I add another .5 gallons of water. So after the set time I add the last hop addition of more Amarillo and let the boil finish.

Now it’s time to cool the wort with my new investments. I have a 10 gallon cooler with 2 litres and 20 ounce bottles of ice and about 3 gallons of water chilled and ready to pump through my home made 50’+ 1/2′ ID¬†chiller. But remember I had a 1/2″ hose that I couldn’t find the adapter to a 3/8″ barb. Which I just cranked extra tight on to try and get it to work. Well it sort of worked. I have the pump all setup and plug it in, which remember it had just rained, so that was not as easy as it may sound. Turn on the pump and what happens? I sprung a leak! fortunately the leak sprayed out of the kettle and away from the electronics so no serious damage is done. So time to scrap the electronics and go back to using the faucet and watering the lawn, like it needed more water after the downpour of the day.

The carboy’s cleaned and ready So I start the siphon from the kettle to the carboy and notice that the carboy is not filling as much as I am used to. What else could go wrong??? So I test the gravity and yup, I was at about 1.060, actually I was higher than that, I just was so shocked I didn’t pay attention to the last number. So I had to add more water, shake it up a little to help aerate the wort and take another sample, still high! More water to come and at least now I was close enough that¬†my last SG reading was still on the high side, but yet within parameters for this brew. 1.054.

Lessons Learned

  • With all the great new tools I added to the brewery, I feel the pump has the most impact, but to really get that impact I need to get some quick disconnects, that also holds true for the kettle the cooler and the wort chiller
  • Also there is a big need to keep 2 filled propane tanks on hand at all time
  • Do not use propane exchange tanks for boiling. Until that tank runs out I will only be able to use it pre-boil

Now I can’t wait to brew this beer again so that I can have a better brew session to see what this beer tastes like when brewed more accurately.

Netflix, Inc.

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