January meeting TONIGHT (1/5/10) @ 7pm and info on the next CoC

This is a reminder that we’ll have our January meeting at the
Happy Gnome at 7pm, Tuesday the 5th.  As the Upper Mississippi Mashout
registration is now open, we’ll do a short tutorial on how to enter.
 We’ll also use this as a chance to give/get advice on any beers you
are unsure about or need to decide which category or subcategory to
If you’re not familiar with BJCP style guidelines yet, you might want to look through before the meeting:http://www.bjcp.org/stylecenter.phpInfo on the next CoC from TechTalk:
“The Club Only competition coming up for February is English Brown Ale
and is hosted by The Impaling Alers.  We’re calling it “The Session
Challenge”.  Entry information is located at the AHA site and in the
current issue of Zymurgy.  Entries are due at Larry’s Brewing Supply on
or before Tuesday February 16th, 2010.  (Larry’s is closed on Sundays
and Mondays)  Judging will be held on Saturday February 20th, 2010.
 Rattle those kettles!”

Randy Clay’s Brewing System

This is my 7.5G stainless brewpot in action. Good size for 5 gallon batches. It came as part of a turkey fry kit, along with the burner stand on the left. The small kettle is a 4G that I use for steeping.The 2-burner cart was built by a friend who does a lot of cooking/catering. It turned out to be perfect for brewing.He built it to fit 10G pots for frying. When I helped him cater once and told him how much I would like to brew with it he gave it to me! I keep him supplied with beer. I will certainly call on him if I ever get around to designing/building a big rig. The wheels are a convenient add-on.This is a close up view of the cart.I’ve used a homemade immersion chiller for years. I think it cost about $15 to build. I recently added the hose attachments. I had used 3′ sections of tubing clamped to the chiller with barbed hose attachments at the other end, but I got tired of clamps that would need to be retightened/ redone every few uses. These attachments were about $6 at Menards.I got a new washing machine recently. As soon as I saw the new hoses that came with it I knew I had the perfect upgrade from the old tubing/clamps I used to have! Using this sink I can get the wort to pitching temp in about 15 minutes. Another use for chiller water- thawing a turkey….

Kevin Cotter’s Brewing System

Here is my personal humble brewing setup. No fancy sculpture – just 2 Megapots and a Polarware mash-tun with a false bottom.

I do not have any pumps as of yet, so I have cobbled together anything I can find to achieve the correct heights to perform gravity fed witchcraft. Here I have a metal frame with a two-by-fours and header board stacked to get the proper height over the mash for sparging.
I have one working propane burner, so I have to move pots of hot liquid several times during the brew day to get the job done. “I’m just waiting for the day when I can scald myself silly.”

I do have some tools to make the jobs easier, like Phil’s Sparge Arm that works fine for smaller 5 gallon brewing jobs. KalenBorg left his chiller at my house, so I’ve been using it for about 3 years now. I live in the far south metro in Credit River Township, and as such, we hicks rely on well water. Mine is about 42 degrees out of the tap, which is great for rapid wort chilling. I have a temperature correcting light refractometer to take gravity readings. Last year I acquired a Thermolyne 7200 Stir Plate and I have a small PC fan taped to the side to keep the temperature down.
Kevin is in the process of building a Brutus 10 Clone – see progress here!

Jeremy Hodgson’s Brewing System

This is my set up. There aren’t any fancy pumps or stands just a couple kettles, immersion chiller, 10 gallon cooler mash tun, and a propane burner. I also have a 5 gallon megapot styled pot for decoctions. I use a 1 quart measuring cup and floating tupperware lid for sparging. After cleanup it all stacks nicely in the corner!

This was the first batch at the new apartment and I live on the second story. Not wanting to carry all this water down the stairs I hooked up an RV water hose to the sink and ran it out the window. To keep the hose from ripping off the faucet I used a copper pipe hanger and screwed it to the bottom of the counter.

Jeff Halvorson’s Brewing System

My system is housed in my “Brew House”, a detached workshop which while lacking running water does have natural gas heating, cable TV, and plenty of power (110V/220V). Water is either bucketed down or run through 50′ of food grade RV hose.It is a simple three vessel setup with ring burners (Superb) for the HLT and mash and a jet burner (King Kooker) for the boil. The SS pots are all 15 gallons; the mash and boil are Polarware pots with false bottoms while the HLT is a cheaper Italian model. Sparge water and recirculation is done using two March pumps which are connected using high-temp hosing and polysulfone quick-disconnects. Wort is chilled using a Blichmann plate chiller and pumped directly into a 12.2 gallon SS conical fermentor. The conical lives inside an upright freezer with Ranco thermostat which provides cooling in the summer and a heater for the winter.This system was designed as a single-tier setup however it currently is being used in a two-tier configuration for simplicity. Future improvements are to plumb the ring burners to natural gas, redesign the hood to better collect steam, and add additional temperature stable areas for beer storage (secondary, lagering, etc..).

James Henjum’s Brewing System

This is my set up. It’s a two tier rack to make use of gravity for the sparge and one pump for everything else. The top tier is a 10 gallon HLT that sparges into another 10 gallon MLT. The pump is used to recirculate the wort and to move it to the 15 gallon boil pot. The 2nd photo shows some of my accessories – pump, plate chiller and decoction pot.

December Meeting Recap

There were lots of new faces at tonight’s meeting. Thanks
to Todd the plumber for the information about ventilating a basement area for brewing indoors. Check the link under resources at left.

Kristen showed us the difference between a kegged and bottle conditioned Belgium style beer. If you are bottle conditioning use Danstar Nottingham yeast, “it drops like a rock” (quote from Eric).  So now we know that heather in a beer does not make it a Scottish ale!

There was no heather in Kris’s Scottish beers; it was an example of a
making three beers from one mash, a method called gyling or
parti-gyling.   60/-, 70/-, 80/- or 90/- are not styles of beer, the shilling ” /-” value was a reference to the wholesale price of a 54 gallon hogshead of beer. There more information about Shilling beers and recipes from Kristen at Ron Pattinson’s blog.