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Q&A:
[Q] Bean, my favorite BeanBlog entry no longer appears on this page. What gives?
[A] It has probably been archived.

[Q] I heard you did some drawings. Where can I see them?
[A] I post links to them in my blog entries. You can see a complete directory listing of them here. Also, you can suggest my next drawing subject matter by emailing me your idea.

[Q] How did you make this blog, Bean?
[A] I used the free service available from WebCrimson.

[Q] I love your page, Bean, and I'd like shower praise upon you. How can I do this?
[A] You can email me at benschy@gmail.com or leave a comment or two.

Beanblog.org will no longer be updated. All future blogs will go to beanblog.com. I am switching to blogger because Webcrimson is too unreliable. More deets here.



Next Up: Schy Rye
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 3:03 pm, [link to this entry]

Here is the next beer I'll be brewing.  It's an IPA (India Pale Ale) made with a few pounds of rye malt.  Lot's of people on the Brews and Views forum have posted rave reviews of it, so I thought I'd try it out for myself.  It will be agressively hopped and pretty heavy on the alcohol content.  I am brewing Wednesday or Thursday (anyone wanna help?) and it should be ready for samplin' in about 3 weeks.

In related news: Sunnybrook Kolsch was kegged 2 nights ago (FG was dead-on) and will be sampled tonight.

In more related news: My dad spun me a tap handle on his lathe.  Pictures to come soon.

Limits
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2004, 10:55 am, [link to this entry]

I have never had a sandwich that had "too much" lettuce on it.  Like wise, I have never made pasta sauce and used "too much" garlic in it for my taste.  In both cases, the more I use, them better, in my opinion, the food item becomes.  So, each time I make a sandwich or pasta sauce, I increase the amount of lettuce or garlic, respectively. 

I am current eating a sandwich with about 1/5th of a head of iceberg lettuce on it.  It is better than the one I had last week that had slightly less.

Last week, I made pasta sauce that had about 15 cloves of garlic in it.  I thought it was the best pot of sauce I've made yet to date.

Are there limits?  I dont know.  But if there are, surely I am approiaching them.

Sometimes
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004, 9:32 am, [link to this entry]

I just have too much other shit to do that blog a stinkin blog.  For instance, I have to tark stink a fark, I have to smell some trach, and I have to get served.  The kinds of things take up a lot of tim.

Also, I would blog the StraBenfestivus blog, but I forgot that all of my pictures are on my PC at home.  Maybe next week (yeah right).  I am in the mood for some photoshop fun, so why doesnt someone suggest something and I'll see what I can do today.

OUT

Brewing, Brewing, and Brewing
Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2004, 3:13 pm, [link to this entry]

All you may very well know - I brew beer.  I generally brew 5-gallon batches and use the all-grain method.  That is, I start with malted barley, hops, yeast, and water - as opposed to starting out with canned/prehopped malt extract.  I liken it to making a cake from scratch instead of making it from a box.  Now, I am definately no knocking extract brewing (or partial mashing, for that matter), as that's how I started.  Good beer can be made in many ways, but I like the level on control I get when brewing all-grain.  And building the system is half the fun!

Major System Components:

  • Brew Bench - My brewing bench is a monster.  It has lots of counter-top space, a nice shelf for storage, and a second teir to hold my HLT.  The whole thing is on wheels (thanks, Dad) so I can move it from the basement to the back deck.  I don't have a good picture of it in it's entirety, but it can be seen in some of teh follwoing pics.
  • Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) - This is a vessel used to hold up to 5 gallons of hot water.  It is a 5-gallon water cooler on which I replaced the factory spigot with a quarter-turn ball valve and some high-temp O-rings.  It holds temperature well and also doubles as place to store cleaning/sanitizing liquid during cleanup.
  • Mash/Lauter Tun (MLT) - This is also made of a 5-gallon water cooler with a replaced spigot.  On the inside of the MLT, a slotted copper manifold rests on the bottom and connects to the spigot.  This allows me to runn off the sweet wort while leaving the grain behind during recirculation and sparge.
  • Kettle - The biggest vessel in my system is my converted keg boil kettle.  It can handle up to about 12 gallons of wort at a rolling boil.  It has a spigot welded near the bottom with a pickup tube that reaches to within about 1/8" of the bottom of the keg.  It sit upon a propane burner that I bought as a turkey fryer.
  • Chiller - My counterflow wort chiller is a heat coilded up heat exchanger.  There is a convoluted copper tub on the inside of a larger, smooth copper tube.  When in use, cold water flows through the outside and hot wort flows through the inside.  It can cool 5-6 gallons of hot wort down to 75F in about 5 minutes.
  • Heat Exchanger - My pride and joy.  This is a 1-gallon enamle-on-steel pot with a 120V (13A) water heater element mounted in it.  A steel flange and plenty of silicon ensure a nice seal.  A copper tube is coiled around the inside and the pot is filled with water.  I can circulate liquid through the coil to heat it up to my desired temperature.
  • Pump - I have a March brand high temperature, magneticley-coupled pump.  It is used to move water and wort from one vessel to another.  Before I had this, the brew day involved a lot more lifting and a lot more danger. 

Minor System Components:

  • Sparge Arm - I have a rotating sparge arm that is used to spin and evenly distrubute hot water over the mash during the sparge.  It doesn't always spin that well, but I usually keep enough water on top of the mash that it's not a big deal.
  • Sparge Manifold - As mentioned above, this is a slotted copper manifold that is used to filter grain out of the mash runoff.  It's made of 1/2 copper is easy to take apart for cleaning.
  • Recirculation Manifold - This is a simple "H-shaped" copper manifold used to distribut the mash runoff evenly back on top of the mash during recirculation.  I cant use the sparge arm for this because the may be small particals in the runoff that would clog it, atleast at first.
  • Carboy Filler - I built a simple copper manifold that fits on the out-flow end of the chiller.  It contains an inlet to allow me to bubble filered O2 or air into the cool wort stream and monitor the temperature as it empties into the carboy.
  • Inline Temp Manifold - Another copper manifold that can be inserted inline using qucik-disconnects to measure the liquid temperature without disturbing the flow.
  • Hoses, etc. - I use hoses of different lengths to connect the pump to the other vessels via quick-disconnects.  I have QD's on everythign, so the system is very dynamic.  I can insert and remove equipment very easily.
  • Other stuff - I have a lot of other crap that is either old equipment that I don't use very ofton or things I am working on for future improvements.

Process Notes:

  • I took timing notes on my last brew - they are here.
  • I drew some brewing diagrams showing how I hook up the various components during the steps of brewing.
  • Recirculation - Ever since I got my new high-temperature pump, I have been brewing using a recirculating mash setup with an external heat exchanger (External Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System - EHERMS).  The main reason I wanted to use an external heat exchanger is that I only want to have one burner in my system - the kettle burner.  Most other recirculation setups use the HLT to heat the circulating mash, requiring the HLT to be heated.  My HLT is a plastic cooler, and I like it that way, so direct heating is out.
  • Fermentation - I ferment in 5 to 6.5-gallon glass carboys.  I place the carboys either in my basement (around 72F) or in my fermentation box, which I can adjust from about 55F to 72F.  When not in use, I keep them filled with bleach water.
  • Kegging - I quit bottling about 4 years ago and haven't looked back.  I use 5-gallon ball-lock sode kegs.  Kegging is so much easier and more convenient than dealing with all those bottles.  I have a Carbonator Cap for those rare ocasion that I need to transport a small quantity of beer.
  • Storage - I have a cold room under my basement steps (construction details here).  It holds somewhere between 40F and 44F.  It can store all my kegs (5), a commercial keg or two, and still have room for a lager in a carboy.
  • Drinking - I have 3 taps mounted through the side of the cold room into th basement.  I'll pretty it up once I put up some drywall.

QuestionsCommentsComplaints? Praise?

Beer Burger
Posted Monday, August 9, 2004, 12:20 pm, [link to this entry]

Watched some Food Network cooking show last week all about burgers, so I tried out some of their suggestion.  I was very happy with the results.

Start with a couple pounds of 80/20 chuck, and add in a good amount of black pepper, salt, and a shake or two of grill seasoning.  Shred an onion over the mixture, lettign the onion and onion juice fall on to the meat.  Pour in some heavy whipping cream (maybe 1/8 - 1/4 cup) and combine by hand, being sure not to over-mix.  Patty into 1/2 or so burgers.

Flop em on the grill and cook to slightly less than the doneness level you are looking for - and be sure to get some char on the outside.  In the meantime, slice another onion into solid cross-sections and put a saucepan on high heat.  Remove the pattys from the grill and put them in th ehot saucepan.  Place an onion slice on top of each, pour about 8 ounces of beer into the pan, and cover.  After about 3-4 minutes, most of the beer will be gone.  Uncover, add a slice of cheese ontop of the steamed onion, then add more beer and recover for 1-2 minutes.  Once the cheese is melted, put 'em on a bun and enjoy.  Save me one, too.

Sunnybrook Kolsch
Posted Sunday, August 8, 2004, 3:34 pm, [link to this entry]

As promised, here is my label.  The beer is fermenting away at a comfortable 62 degrees, thanks to my new fermentation box.  It's a cube made of 2" foamboard that I can sit over up to two carboys and connect via two vinyl tubes to my chest freezer.  An el-cheapo thermostat controls a PC fan and keeps the temp where I want it.

I should be set to keg the batch of Duck's Porter that I did 2 weeks ago pretty soon.  I'll probably let it go for another fews days at 62 degrees, then chill it down to 42 before kegging. 

Also, I finally got my third tap mounted.  The 12" shank I had receieved from morebeer.com was defective and wouldn't form a seal.  When I told them about it, they shipped me a new one without any hassle.  So it's now in place and on active duty trying to empty the keg of Miller Lite I have left over from SDP.  Anyone care to help me take care of that?

Broadripple Brewfest
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2004, 3:53 pm, [link to this entry]

Went to the BrewFest in Indianapolis last weekend.  Good times overall.  Lots of tasty, tasty beers.  As usual, there was a long line.  Once we were inside, Stef got her first sampleIt was crowded.  We hung out with the happy famiry for a while, and I looked up Koji's nose.  His friend checked out my shoulder and assured me it was indeed effed up.  Bilal showed up about 30 minutes before the shindig was over and posed for a few pictures.

Things to note about BrewFest 2004:

  • There were a lot more beers than last year.  3 full tents as opposed to 2 sparsely populated ones.
  • The pours were heavy.  No more of the stupid "1 ounce limit" pours from years prior.
  • It didn't rain.  A first in my book.
Brew'd
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2004, 10:17 am, [link to this entry]

Here is how my brew day (evening) went last night.

  • 5:00 - Begin heating 3.5 gallons of water in my kettle.
  • 5:05 - Set up brew table, assemble mash tun, manifold, heat exchanger.  Fill heat exchanger and turn it on.
  • 5:15 - dump 11 pounds of grain into my mash tun.
  • 5:20 - pump 3 gallons of 170 degree water into the mash tun and stir.
  • 5:30 - Connect hoses to pump, mash tun, and heat exchanger and begin recirculation.  Monitor the wort temperature and adjust the heat exchanger to keep mash at 150 degrees for 1 hour.
  • 5:40 - Begin heating 4 gallons of water in my kettle.  Clean and sdanitize various peices of equipment that will be used later on.
  • 6:30 - Adjust heat exchanger to increase the mash temperature to 170 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • 6:35 - Turn up/down/off kettle flame so that the 4 gallons is around 180 degrees.
  • 6:50 - Stop recirculation.  Disconnect hoses from mash tun and heat exchnager.  Reconnect pump to kettle and transfer 4 gallong of 180 degree water to HLT.
  • 7:00 - Assemble sparge arm, place in mash tun.  Connect HLT and begin a slow sparge.  Drain mash runoff into 1/2 gallon container and transfer to kettle.  Repeat.
  • 7:20 - After 2 gallons is collected, turn on the gas to the kettle.
  • 7:50 - A total of 5 gallons is collected from the mash/sparge.  Top off kettle to 6.5 gallons and crank up the gas.
  • 8:00 - Empty the spent grains from the mash tun and rinse it out.  Drain and dry heat exchanger.
  • 8:10 - Kettle hits boil.  Add first batch of hops.  Assemble post-boil equipment and connect everything in a big loop.   Fill the loop with sanitizer and let the pump run to clean/sanitize system innards.  Sanitize primary fermenter.
  • 8:55 - Add rehydrated irish moss to boil.
  • 9:00 - Add second batch of hops.  Drain the sanitizer out of the pump loop and fermenter.  Connect sanitized tubing to kettle, pump, and chiller.
  • 9:10 - Turn off flame.  Turn on pump and beging to pump wort from the boil kettle, through the chiller, into the fermenter.  Monitor outflow temperature and shoot for 75 degrees.
  • 9:20 - Kettle is empty.  Move filled carboy inside and place a sanitized airlock on it.
  • 9:25 - Begin cleaning up the kettle, chiller, pump, and hoses.  Cycle cleaner through the whole system for a few minutes, then rinse.  Stack equipment on brew table and move inside.
  • 9:50 - Get a sample from the fermenter for testing and pitch yeast.
  • 10:00 - Done.
Brewing Again
Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2004, 10:45 am, [link to this entry]

Heading out to New Albanian brewery at lunch to get some grain ground.  I am brewing beer tonight, and Stef is going to help.  It's a Kolsch, which is one of the styles that Stef liked when we went to the Broadripple Brewfest this past weekend (topic of the next blog).  Anyway, I am calling it "Sunnybrook Kolsch" and I hope it tastes good. 

I made a cool logo to put on my tap... I will post it tonight from home.

That is all.

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