DIY Home Brewery Sign

Soon after I started brewing, it began to pop into my head from time to time that I should have a proper name for my home brewery (though admittedly it seems a little heavy handed to call a picnic cooler and a big pot a “brewery”).  In The Perfect Keg (my review here), Coutts mentions the beard of the barley, or awn, the little spiky hairs on the head of the barley plant.  Thus the name “Barley Beard Brewing” was born. Read more of this post


DIY Belgian Candy Syrup 2: Experiments

[Miniseries part one, two]

In part one, I went in to some of the science behind making syrup from sugar.  Here, I’ll go into some of the experiments I tried before coming up with something I felt worthy of risking five gallons of brew over. Read more of this post

DIY Belgian Candy Syrup 1: Sugar Science

[Miniseries part one, two]

A while back I wanted to make a belgian trippel; traditionally this style is brewed with up to 20% simple sugars to lower the final gravity.  Naturally, I looked first at belgian candy (candi?) sugars,  but found that they were basically just crystallized table sugar, with the darker varieties having some mystery darkening agent, some leftover of the refining process which presumably somehow added to the flavor of the final product.  As far as I can tell, the only products that lend any real flavor are the golden-brown to molasses-colored candy syrups.  In fact, the flavors normally associated with the common varieties of candy sugars are actually from the yeast, as revealed on a Brew Strong episode (part one and two) when the guys visited White Labs and did some side by side tastings of identical worts fermented with different yeasts.  And yes, I realize that using such a syrup will not actually result in a trippel (its far too dark), but I was already on my way down the rabbit hole. Read more of this post

DIY Mash Tun

This will be a pretty short post compared to the immersion chiller, as there is already so much out there on making mash tuns from coolers.  However, I’ve never been particularly happy with the usual explanations of building a mash tun.  They are always too complicated, use bizarre parts, or use seals that are prone to leaking with the quick changes in temperature experienced when the strike water is dumped in.  I’ve designed this to work with a braid (like from a water heater hose), but I suspect it could easily be modified to work with notched tubes, etc. Read more of this post

DIY Immersion Chiller: The Hydra

In my first blog post , I’ll go into how I constructed my own immersion chiller, which I have nicknamed the Hydra.  It requires no soldering and only basic tools.

The Hydra is different from other chillers in that it uses much thinner copper tubing, only 1/4 inch/ 0.64 cm diameter.  A thinner tube allows a much greater surface area to volume ratio of the coolant fluid, meaning the coolant will pull heat out much more efficiently.  The downside is that the resistance to flow is much higher in a thinner tube, and you simply can’t run as much coolant through.  I got around this my splitting my 50 ft (actually, 48 ft) of copper tubing into 3 separate parallel 16 ft/ 4.88 m sections. Read more of this post

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