Monday, April 13, 2009

What a Weekend!

I had Friday and Monday off so I decided to get some brewing chores done.
  • On Friday I cleaned and sanitized 2 kegs, kegged my Patersbier, harvested the yeast from the Patersbier for a tripel I'll brew sometime, and built a 50 foot immersion chiller for less than 50 bucks.  Copper has gotten really cheap!
  • I spent Saturday and Sunday putting up the new hop towers, transplanting my Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus, and planting my new Saaz and Horizon rhizomes.  I used PVC for the towers, one tower per plant.  I sank a 5 foot section of 2 inch PVC into the ground, then put a 10 foot 1.5 inch pipe inside the 2 incher.  That gave me 7 feet above ground, so I added another 5 feet to get a total of 12.  Not super high, but good enough.  It does sway a little, but hopefully they'll stay standing in the wind.  I went with the individual towers because I thought this would be the easiest way to keep the different varieties separate.
  • On Monday morning I brewed my first 10 gallon batch, an APA.  Getting 12 gallons of wort to boil didn't take as long as anticipated, and I chilled to 52 in 25 minutes with my new ugly chiller (a little too cold!), but siphoning was a pain.  My burner stand isn't high enough to get a good siphon going so the large amount of pellet and whole hops kept stopping the siphon.  I'm going to get some concrete blocks to elevate my rig a little for next time.  I'm also looking into installing a ball valve, pickup tube, and thermometer.  Ten gallons took me about 4 and a half hours from dragging out my gear to putting everything away, but the siphoning and racking to primary took a half hour!


Ryan said...

SWEET!!! That is awesome, and I do have to say that taking 10 gals to 52 is pretty amazing if you ask me. It takes me about as long just to get 5 gals to 78. I got to get more copper. Take a picture of your chiller with the fittings. I would love to see it.

I would also love to try your double IPA.

richt said...

Do you stir? If not, you should. I usually run it for about 5 minutes or so until it's under 100 and then stir gently the rest of the time. That will drop you much faster. I'll post a pic eventually. It's pretty ugly, but it works.

As for the double, we'll see, not sure if I'll be able to keep any, it's just too good!

Bri said...

Cool hop farm! I like the pvc idea a lot. My cascade has popped out of the ground. About ten are 1 to 2 inches tall already. So I'll be cutting back most of them soon, once I get some time. I hope to plant one more in my little yard, but by now availability may be low for what I want.

Once I got my sanke keg, i installed a ball valve right away. But beware, you definately need a false bottom. I tried a cheap alternative with a stainless sink screen, it worked for pellet hops, but whole hops failed miserably. So i broke down and bought a false bottom. So my sanke keg is really awesome to use right now. Next will be a thermometer in the side.

I brewed Bear republic's hop rod rye 2 weekends ago and just transferred to secondary on sunday. It was a really expesive beer to brew, but I'm addicted to that beer, so I had to brew it.

richt said...

I'll be putting in a ball valve pretty soon, but I'm thinking about trying a copper manifold to the side and then whirlpool instead of the false bottom. I'm still looking at my options though. Eventually I'll put in a weldless thermometer too.

Hopefully the PVC holds up this year. I wish I could've gone a little taller, but 12 feet will have to do.

Bri said...

I was thinking about a copper ring with a bunch of holes at the bottom of the keg, but because the bottom is concave, the cirlce would have to be kind of small to get all the wort out. This would work perfect with a flat bottom. I've seen other brewers do that. FYI, I actually posted a new blog the other day with pix of the false bottom.