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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-03-2018, 04:57 PM   #1
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Default Oddball Brewery

I figured out since quite a good portion of my posts here not regarding motorbikes has been about homebrewing lately might as well do a dedicated blog like thread for them so those, if any, that are interested can watch me more closely, and those who are not, don`t have to.

As you might know this hobby started almost to the day... fuck me now that I think of it EXACTLY to the day a year ago when my truck blew up yet again, and just weeks prior mcantar had managed to plant the seed in my mind that this could actually be a good idea, so I blame you for all of this Mac!

Haven`t really documented my doings too meticulously, and one of the biggest cornerstones of the entire thing is to be able to replicate a good recipe if I actually manage to make a successful batch, so figured this would kill two birds with one stone, to give me a diary to go back to, and the opportunity for others to laugh at my feeble attempts as well as to comment for ideas/suggestions

Can`t really be arsed to dig through old threads for miscellaneous pictures here and there so let`s start from how the situation is today.





A while back I bought this little corona mill so I can grind my own malts. This way I can buy the base malts in bulk sacks to both save money and to always have at least base malts in stock in case an a propos brew day comes along. Of course a tiny little thing that`s meant for making corn flour isn`t gonna suit for my needs as is, so first thing I did was an extended hopper, lucky that thing is exactly 125mm wide so a basic chimney telescope fit exactly inside, didn`t even have to rivet it on. When grinding malts this thing is also know to be super messy throwing stuff everywhere as the grinding faces are further apart than when making flour, especially when being spun with a drill, so I jerry rigged a grit catcher from an old storage box. The final one will have a funnel going through the table dumping the ready product into a bucket under the table but that is not in the priority list right now as I got a brew day coming this friday night so gotta grind the malts tomorrow as well as break in the mill, hoping that`s all that will break. A roller type malt crusher would have been better but 40eur vs 200+eur... Don`t need one that bad.

Got enough bottles lined up for at least five brews and I`m hoping to fill em up in fairly rapid succession (totaling up closer to a 150 liters of beer ). On the top right you can see the final remaining bottles of what was supposed to be a british strong ale but for reasons unknown it tastes horrible. On the left behind the hopper, top two cases of the stack are filled with "Smashed Otter EKG" which is a SMaSH (single malt and single hop) of Maris Otter malt, and a hop called East Kent Goldings which are pretty much the base of most brit ales. Lower two cases will be filled with Smashed Otter First Gold, which is in one of the fermenters under the table. The other one has Finlandia Dark Ale that`s made from LME (liquid malt extract), or more familiarly, from a tin kit.

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-03-2018, 05:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Oddball Brewery

Looking forward to hearing your trials and tribulations !

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-03-2018, 09:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Oddball Brewery

I was actually just looking at the starter kit in my basement we were initially trying to ship over to you thinking maybe I could have a go at it.
Looking forward to following this!

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-04-2018, 01:13 AM   #4
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Do it man it's great fun! But fare warned highly addictive! You already have almost all the kit you need but your ingredients are more than likely way past their expiration date so you'd gotta pay a visit to your LHBS anyway (local home brew shop) Lucky there seems to be something like six of them in the downtown denver area. When you pop in I highly recommend getting a bottle of StarSan equipment sanitizer. It is more expensive than the cheapest ones but saves you a helluva lot of hassle with the bottles and such cause you don't need to rinse it out. For a first batch I'd recommend a LME "can and a kilo" tin kit as they don't require boiling the wort at all, just dump the ingredients into the carboy basically. Though there also are LME kits out there like the Northern Brewer's famous Caribou Slobber that IIRC comes with your starter pack, that is a so called partial mash kit where you use both an LME tin for your base malt and some specialty grains for steeping.

All of this will sound and feel like super complicated but a vast majority of all the info is more on a "good to know" basis and not really needed all the time. What caused a lot of confusion for me at the start is there is a lot of lingo that I have not heard used anywhere else like steeping, sparging,, lautering, krausen, trub etc but once you get your head around it and got a few brews under your belt to get your method honed out (everyone has their own) it'll become a lot easier and more straight forward. Tell you what I'm gonna be doing a step-by-step how to from the brew session I'll be doing this friday to give you the idea of what's involved. Bear in mind my equipment is pretty ad hoc and most of my tools/vessels are either repurposed or modified to suit my personal needs but on the other hand that's also the beauty of it, there's no right and a wrong way, just more and less practical/efficient ones

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-04-2018, 03:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Oddball Brewery

i found I was damn good at making bottle bombs. lol, fucking weeks and weeks down the pisser. much better at buying it myself.
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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-04-2018, 04:50 PM   #6
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i found I was damn good at making bottle bombs.
Pretty much has to be one of the two most common rookie mistakes: either you`ve used WAY too much priming sugar, or (and I`m betting all my chips on this one) you`ve bottled way too early. Now if you`re even thinking about considering doing this, hammer this into your head from day zero so deep that if your wife wakes up at night she finds you chanting in your sleep:
The fact that your airlock isn`t bubbling is NOT a viable proof of a complete fermentation. Pop the lid and get a stinging tingling feeling in your nose, it`s definitely still going, see krausen (foam) on top, it`s pretty much guaranteed to not be finished yet. It just slows down enough to not trigger the bubbler. Or you got a leak between your lid. Basically the only way to be absolutely sure that your beer is indeed done fermenting is to draw samples for at least two consecutive days and measure the specific gravity of your brew. it has to be the same number two days in a row or the beer is still fermenting. Basic rule of thumb is to let your beer sit in the primary for at least three weeks because even if the yeast is indeed done with the primary fermentation it doesn`t mean it`s done as it will continue to clean up after itself eating out all kinds of nasty things you don`t want into your finished product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eatabullet
fucking weeks and weeks down the pisser.
Basically the two main weapons -along with your equipment- are cleanliness and patience. Fail in either one and the beer will fail too. Full year down and not a single bottle bomb. Think ahead, prep ahead, this way you`re relaxed when you do the actual deed so you don`t make stupid mistakes cause you`re in a hurry.



Right, time to start prepping for tomorrow`s brew. First off as said remember cleanliness so the first thing is to sanitize the brewmaster On the scale, 3kg of Pale ale malts, in the bag on the left is flaked corn as I will be brewing a very light bodied cerveza for the spring I have dubbed "Gold Hat Gringo". Still debating a bit on what hops I will use, gotta go through my inventory and see what I got. This is the first brew ever with grains I have milled myself, pretty much every homebrew shop will sell pre-crushed grains or will crush them for you for a small fee but the crushed grains have a recommended shelf life of 3 months whereas whole grains will last pretty much indefinitely so to be able to buy grains in bulk it pays to have your own mill.


Well whaddaya know, the extended hopper draws exactly 3kg of grain!


Took me a while to dial in the mill cause it either pulverized the grain which is not a good thing as it will doughball when mashing, or I got a lot of uncrushed seeds coming through until I realized the RPM plays a factor too because the screw is feeding the grain through the plates. Turns out (pun intended) I gotta crank the mill at 2 rps for optimal results which is a pretty decent speed to hold for an extended period with muscle power.


Lookin purdy good. You don`t have to crush the corn so I just pre-measured it so it`ll be ready. Now this is not your regular Kellogs morning cereal, this is made for brewing only because the cereal has all kinds of nasty stuff you don`t want in your beer like loads of salt, these are pretty much just crushed and dried corn kernels. Tasted a few, apart from the slight corn flavor tasted pretty much like eating uncooked macaroni. Pretty hard too.


...and of course there`s this sucky bit to do before tomorrow as you do NOT want to start your brew day doing the dishes. Fucking hate this part...

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-06-2018, 03:20 PM   #7
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Default BIAB Homebrewing 101 with pictures (metric)

Right, as promised here`s an illustrated report of a typical brew day. Notice this is not THE way to do it, this is just ONE way to do it among many others. There are some 7300 instructions in the net about this already but all of them use the imperial scale so this one will be done in metric.


First thing you need is a sizable cooking pot and a way to heat it up. Normal method people use is a gas burner. Standard electric countertop range will not be powerful enough to heat up the amount of water needed. You`ll also need a thermometer and a way to hang it in the liquid so that it doesn`t touch the hot bottom. Right, time to start heating up what is for some reason called strike water. Oh, one more pretty important thing: If your tap water has any kind of taste, you know it has high chlorine level etc, don`t use it or it`ll ruin your beer. Go to your local grocery store and buy some distilled water jugs instead. Preferrably avoid spring water as some springs have high mineral contents that might throw off your beer flavor. Luckily in Finland we have THE purest tap water in the world so I can happily use it straight out the tap. When planning how much water to heat take into account that your grains have to fit into the cooking pot as well.


Now the strike water temperature is the first really important thing. You don`t want the water to be too hot or too cold or your mash won`t be able to convert the starches in your grains into fermentable sugars. The window you`re aiming for is 63-72c, being closer to the cold end gives you more fermentable sugar thus yielding higher ABV (alcohol by volume) and aiming high will give you more non-fermentable sugar which gives you more body and depending on your beer, sometimes somewhat sweet taste. Aim about one celsius over your target temperature as the grains added in a short moment will bring it down 1-2c depending on the size of your grain bill. I usually mash at around 63-65c.


The method I`ll be using is called BIAB, or Brew-In-A-Bag. This is hands down the easiest way to homebrew as you don`t need several different vessels and pumps and hoses and whatnot to move your wort around. But you will need the brew bag (muslin bag). Every homebrew shop sells these for a very affordable price and once emptied of spent grain and rinsed you can wash it with your clothes in the washing machine (just don`t use conditioner)


Once the target temperature is reached cut your heat (before fitting the bag)
You will also need a long spoon or a dedicated mash paddle. Some people has made their own paddles and some of them are quite artsy, but a simple spoon will do as long as it can withstand high heat. Pour your grains into the water slowly and mixing all the time to avoid doughballs, all of the grains that are not soaking water ain`t giving sugar either. Great now you`re mashing, slam on the lid, start your timer for 60mins and go do something else. Note that if you`re mashing in say, in an unheated garage, or your cooking pot is rather small like 15L or so you will lose some heat so consider wrapping your pot in something like mylar, old rug, a blanket etc. I`ve found that during a 1h mash a 25L pot doesn`t lose enough heat in normal room temperature that I`d bother with the covering. As said there are a lot of ways to do this but this one is the simplest as the entire thing is happening in the one single pot. The scientific term for this particular way is a single step infusion mash.


If you haven`t already, one good thing to do during the mash is to measure your hops. They are sold in a few different forms but the vastly most used one for homebrewers is this pellet form. Store them in your freezer when you`re not using them, and package them well in ziplock bags or similar so they don`t soak up moisture. When visiting your local homebrew shop (later LHBS)either buy a bag of these hop socks, or buy/build yourself a hop spider (google it)

When you`ve measured your hops it`s a good practice to pack and label them so you don`t have to guess which is which when you`ve got a full pot of boiling wort going on. The normal way to label them (and what you`ll see in all the recipes too) is by remaining boil time. Usual hop additions go 60min (that`s for bittering) 15min (for flavor) and 5min (for aroma) but there are variations for this which is a whole another chapter I will not be going over here.


Once the 1h mash is done you need to lift up the grain bag and let it drain back into the boiling pot as much as possible. I happen to have a hook hanging over the pot made specificly for this purpose, your results may vary.


Now comes a phase called sparging, which is mainly just rinsing the grain bag. Now there are a plethora of ways to do this, some guys just pour some hot water in their fermentor bucket and teabag the bag there for some time, I`ve found this particular method I`ve more or less invented on my own very effective. What you need is a bucket, preferably of stainless steel with the bottom drilled full of holes, and a way to hang it over the boiling pot. My first sparging bucket was a regular plastic bucket but the lastic handle isn`t taking the heat and weight too well so I decided to upgrade to an SS one.


Dump the grain bag into the bucket and hang it over the boiling pot. Then heat up some water in an electric kettle to a boil, add cold water until you reach 70c and dump the water over your grain bag. When you drop your grain bag into the bucket make sure it sits in there snugly so the sparge water is forced THROUGH the grains without the chance to channel PAST them, this way you`ll maximize the amount of fermentables drawn from the grains. Keep doing this until your boiling bucket is full-ish. You can put the flame back on when you start sparging so it won`t take you all night to reach a boiling point.


When you are nearing the boiling point you`ll notice a buildup of foam on your wort. Keep either a spritz bottle or a garden hose with a pistol with a mist option at hand as the foam might jump you when the boiling point is reached so you`ll want to be ready to rapidly drop the surface temperature or you`ll be having a field day cleaning up the sugar infused sticky foam from everywhere once it`s cooled and covered everything with a rock hard glazing.
Unless you`re boiling a wheat-heavy hefeweizen the foam should more or less disappear once the boiling point is reached. When you`ve achieved a "rolling boil", doesn`t need to be overly vigorous but still boiling full time, dump in your 60min hops (watch out for a possible foam burst) and start your clock. At 45mins dump in your 15min hops, at 55min dump in your 5min hops, and at 60min kill your heat.


Now there is a lot of ways to cool your wort. If you happen to live in a part of the world where winter happens you can just carry your boiling pot outside and dunk it in a bank of snow, provided you`re brewing in the winter, or you can conduct an ice water bath in some sort of a large container like a cement trough, or you can buy/make a cooling coil like this. If you`re using a coil make sure to drop in into the boil with your 15min hopsock so it has enough time to sanitize.

I usually let the hopsocks stay in until the boil has come to an end after flameout so the 5min aroma hops have enough time to infuse too. At this point you will be seeing a lot of these strange bits floating around almost like someone had dumped a raw egg into the mix, this is what`s for some reason called hot break and it`s perfectly normal however to produce crystal clear beer you`ll be wanting yo leave as much of it into the boiling pot as possible. One of the biggest factors here is how fast you can cool your wort. With a coil it can be done in 20-ish minutes but if you`re going no-chill or ice bath it`ll take longer and your beer will more likely be cloudy (not that it really matters)

NOW THIS IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. ONCE THE WORT IS COOLED DOWN FROM BOILING, EVERYTHING THAT TOUCHES THE WORT FROM NOW ON HAS TO BE SANITIZED BEFOREHAND. EVERYTHING.


Sanitize your siphon, primary fermentor bucket etc you`ll be needing when transferring the wort while waiting for it to settle down. If you`re cooling it with a coil let it sit for at least 30mins after you`ve reached 25c and removed the coil so the hot break will be settled down to the bottom.


Don`t get greedy, once you`ll see the siphon is starting to draw up excess amounts of the hot break, lift off. You won`t be getting every single drop out of your boiling vessel anyway.


Another tool you`ll be needing is the spesific gravity meter as without it you will be unable to tell how much alcohol is in your beer. When you`re siphoning out of your boiling pot into your fermentor, take a sample big enough to fill up the test tube enough to float the gauge. The gauge will tell you a number which you have to write down or remember for three weeks. In this particular case the float is floating one line above 40 which this particular gauge reads as 42, so my specific gravity going into the fermentor bucket is therefore 1.042. This reading is henceforth known as your Original Gravity, or OG.


Before pitching in your yeast you need to aerate the wort so the yeast will have enough oxygen to work with. Now bear in mind this is the LAST time you`ll want to get oxygen into your wort as after this it`ll cause all kinds of trouble. Remember to sanitize the aerating tool beforehand carefully.


Once you`ve pitched in your yeast cover up the fermentor bucket making sure you`ve got a good seal and don`t touch it for at least three weeks. As said remember: the airlock not bubbling does NOT mean your beer isn`t fermenting! The bubbling usually takes sth around 12-72h to begin, then it will bubble for some number of days either lazily or very vigorously depending on your fermentables and your yeast before it stops (bubbling) and starts to clean up after itself. It`s a good practice to label your fermentor bucket like so:

BEER NAME/ DATE OF PITCHING/ OG

So following that rule the fermentor filled last night got a label saying:

GOLD HAT GRINGO 6.1.18 OG 1.042

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-08-2018, 11:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Oddball Brewery

So now we have to wait 3 weeks to find out if it is good or not?

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Old Streetfighter Motorcycle Forum Post 01-08-2018, 12:10 PM   #9
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Well, actually about six weeks... Three in the primary fermentor, two-three weeks in bottles minimum. I've had succesful carbonation after only ten days or so, but the beer was not done with bottle conditioning and continued to get better as time went by. For something strong and complex like a russian imperial stout it is not uncommon to bottle condition it for eight to ten months! After the three weeks we'll know if the primary fermentation was succesful as in does it have off tastes or infections etc but honestly I don't even bother tasting the beer before bottling anymore apart from a quick sip to test it's not sour because the bottle conditioning is when it gets it's final taste.

Talking about tasting, going to test the first bottle of Smashed Otter EKG tonight. Report coming up in a few hours.

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Well, actually about six weeks.
This is some bullshit. I suck at waiting.

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