Keezer Collar Build

Kyle and recently did a build out on my keg freezer. After seeing an article posted by The Mad Fermentationist, Michael Tonsmeire. You can read his build out for the collar here.  It was a reasonably easy build that spanned about three days with approximately 12-14 hours of actual work. That includes taking the time to plan it out, acquire materials and put them all together.

Finished Collar - Works great, very limited amount of run time. Once at temp its functioned solidly and pouring beer from this guy is a dream. I feel like the 20lb CO2 tank is the only way to go. Some people like to put a fan inside to help with condensation problems, I don't have any issues with condensation and I'm about two months into running this guy.

Finished Collar - Works great, very limited amount of run time. Once at temp its functioned solidly and pouring beer from this guy is a dream. I feel like the 20lb CO2 tank is the only way to go. Some people like to put a fan inside to help with condensation problems, I don't have any issues with condensation and I'm about two months into running this guy.

Table or miter saw is a must, you've got to get those boards cut straight. We mitered our edges using the table saw (neither Kyle nor myself own a miter saw)  but I'd definitely suggest the use of a miter saw over the table, just easier to cut. 

Table or miter saw is a must, you've got to get those boards cut straight. We mitered our edges using the table saw (neither Kyle nor myself own a miter saw)  but I'd definitely suggest the use of a miter saw over the table, just easier to cut. 

Once you've got it all cut check your level and fit on the top of your keezer. Keep in mind you'll need to use some silicon caulk to fill in the gaps, and consider using some form of insulation to aid in filling the gaps.

Once you've got it all cut check your level and fit on the top of your keezer. Keep in mind you'll need to use some silicon caulk to fill in the gaps, and consider using some form of insulation to aid in filling the gaps.

Several coats of paint were required. We used spray paint, chalkboard and ended up taking a day or two to let it dry and repaint to get everything even. Kyle and I didn't care for how the wood looked on the white so we went the same route as the Mad Fermentationist. 

Several coats of paint were required. We used spray paint, chalkboard and ended up taking a day or two to let it dry and repaint to get everything even. Kyle and I didn't care for how the wood looked on the white so we went the same route as the Mad Fermentationist. 

Picking a mounting point for your CO2 manifold is key. Make sure you place everything inside and feel out what works best for you before drilling.

Picking a mounting point for your CO2 manifold is key. Make sure you place everything inside and feel out what works best for you before drilling.

You can mount your temp controller anywhere. I opted for the right side on mine where I could still access it easily. Didn't want to have to move the keezer any more often than I had to. Once loaded this guy is heavy!

You can mount your temp controller anywhere. I opted for the right side on mine where I could still access it easily. Didn't want to have to move the keezer any more often than I had to. Once loaded this guy is heavy!

If you've got the time, materials and ability I definitely suggest you build yourself one of these. Great to not have to open my lid and it really does look nice. The faucets and tubing, manifold etc. those are the most expensive components... Wood only ended up costing around $40. You can always scrounge for scraps too!

-Brett

Cold Crash - 08/01/2015

Lager brew session below:

Our first lager is currently being cold crashed.  The Czech Pilsner Brett & I brewed back in June has spent several weeks at 45-50F.  I have been using a temp. controlled chest freezer to keep it dialed in.  I wish I could give you an accurate gravity, but the refractometer is reading 1.027 and the hydrometer is reading 1.011.  We started with an OG 1.045...  Anyways, I need to look into which tool is off and why.  I sampled some for the reading, and I must say it seems to be on track.  It will be exciting to see how it finishes.  Maybe a little cleaner, but for our first lager I think we are on the right track. 

Racking to secondary above:

Session IPA - 07/28/2015

My brewing efforts while thwarted over the weekend could be delayed no longer. This Tuesday the 28th of July I took to my Mash Tun and could not be parted until the wort had been made, and it was good...

Brewed a session IPA with a hopeful FG of around 1.010 I'd really like this one to come in around 4.5-4.7% ABV. We shall see...

Grain

  • Vienna Malt - 7.5 lbs
  • Pale Malt 2-Row - 3 lbs
  • Crystal 120L - 0.75 lbs

Mash - 75 min @ 150° F

Hops

  • Cascade 1 oz @ 60 min
  • Simcoe 0.5 oz @ 50 min
  • Mosaic 1.5 oz @ Flameout
  • Galaxy 1 oz @ Flameout
  • Mosaic 2 oz Dry Hop
  • Galaxy 3 oz Dry Hop

Boil Time - 90 Min

OG - 1.049

pH 5.5

Seems like a solid brew from the pre-ferm taste test, bittering is right where I wanted it at around 40 IBU which is low for the still but I think the yeast and grain bill will make up for the kick lost from the hops. I'm not as big a hop head as all the other West Coast Brewers, although I do like a good bit of bitter from time to time.

 

Saazon - 07/19/2015

In an effort to help force myself to keep better records I'll be posting recent recipes and then doing tastings once the beer is finished. This beer is a result of MoreBeer in Concord, CA not having a contract for Nelson Sauvin hops and after disappointing me greatly I had to come up with a different beer on the spot... So I present my billionth saison.

But first a gratuitous photo of myself with the Blichmann himself...

Grain

  • Pilsner 2-Row - 5lbs
  • Flaked Wheat - 1 lbs
  • Pale Malt 2-Row - 1.5 lbs
  • Flaked Corn - 1.5lbs
  • DME - 1 lbs
  • Acid Malt - 2.8 oz.

Mash - 90 min @ 149/151 F

Hops

  • Saaz 20 grams - Bittering @ 60 min
  • Saaz 50 grams - Aroma @ 5 min

Boil Time - 90 Min

Est Eff. 75%

We're also using O2 now for ~60 secs per 5 gal and yeast nutrient along with whirlfloc. 

The French Saison yeast while not as tasty in my opinion as the Belgian strain is a beast... I'll let you know how it is in a few weeks once I have this beast on gas. Oh also did a starter a few days out!

May a beer be forever in your hand friends. Until next brew...

-Brett



Brew Day 02/12/2015 - SF Sour Dough Big Berliner Brew Day

A solo brew day (except for Hitch) on the Monday before was a targeted Sour Mash w/ ~20% of the total anticipated grain bill for the following full mash. After souring with a GigaYeast blend of Sour Dough pitch I added the sour mash to the main mash until I achieved a pH of 5.2 - this was then sparged and then treated exactly like a normal brew day with a resulting pH of ~5.5 post boil.

The smell isn't like anything I've ever done before so I will be very much looking forward to tasting this beer. I basically ramped a Berliner Weisse recipe up to about double the normal grain bill.

Also, sadly I realized that my Blichmann G2 boil kettle has the sight glass liter markings upside down... No way to fix it it appears to have been engraved backwards.

IN|CA SF SD Big Berliner

General Recipe - 5 Gallon All Grain, Estimated Efficiency 72%, Mash @ 150°F for 75 Minutes, Boil Time of 90 Min

Grain Bill 

2015-02-12 15.56.08.jpg
  • German Pilsner (Pale Malt 2-Row) 7lbs
  • German Wheat 4lbs

Hop Schedule

  • Saaz 1oz. @ 15 min 

Other

  • Whirlfloc Tab @ 5 Minutes
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Sour Mash w/ 20% of Grain Bill - Soured for 2 days prior and added to mash.

Braggots, Mead, & Beer for Miles - SF Homebrewers Guild Pi Bar Brew Share

Awesome showing for the Annual San Francisco Homebrewer's Guild Brew Share @ Pi Bar. I showed up the the IN|CA Cream Ale and Blonde Stout and served until empty with 70+ other Bay Area Homebrewers.... Could not have asked for a better way to spend a Sunday. Amazing that with over 20+ homebrews sampled I didn't come across anything I wouldn't have been happy to pay for.

Can't wait for the next one... and our next club meeting in March! Take care and may a beer be forever in your hand! Brew on friends!

-Brett

SF Beer Week - AHA Rally @ Magnolia

I just returned home from my first American Homebrewers Association Rally and I am pretty happy with the way I chose to spend my day and I highly suggest anyone attend the AHA Rally's near you, and volunteer. Great Experience.

I always think I'm going to get to these events and not find anyone to talk to or hang out with but thats never the case. Great chance to make new friends and get to know others you've seen around the area and meet the brewers at the location. 

The AHA gave out magnetic brew logs, stickers, t-shirts and some great homebrewing book!

On top of that Magnolia handed out yeast straight out of the fermentor. I'm told its English Ale so now that I have a liter of it I am going to have to figure out a beer to brew with it.

  Attend an AHA event if you get the chance! Great way to spend an afternoon, plus who can beat free beer? -Brett

 

Attend an AHA event if you get the chance! Great way to spend an afternoon, plus who can beat free beer?

-Brett

Brew Day 01/31/2015 - Farmhouse Saison - Brunch & Brew

It was a beautiful day and brew to end the month of January with. The weather in San Francisco could not have been better... Tina and I (Brett) hosted our first of what we hope will become many "Brunch & Brew" where we had brunch and brewed. 

It was really great to get to meet a lot of new people and a lot of fun to explain the brewing process to some newbies. Hopefully we get a few new homebrewers out of this event.

I recently returned from a trip to San Diego so I thought I'd clone my favorite new beer I discovered on my trip. So I shot for Modern Times Lomaland recipe. Which I based off of what the Mad Fermentationist posted to his blog, which you can find here.

As for what I brewed that day it doesn't stray far from what he has posted... However I did pitch GigaYeast's GB121 Farmhouse Sour blend instead of the WL French Saison because I like everything a little bit funky.

16C - Farmhouse Saison - Mad Fermentationist Adaptation

General Recipe - AG BIAB - Batch Size - 3.2 gallons; Boil - 5.05 Gallons; Boil Time 95 min; Est ABV 5.2%; PreBoil OG - 1.035; OG - 1.047

Grain Bill  

  • German Pilsner (2-Row) 3lbs 5.8oz/56.6%
  • Pale Malt US (2-Row) 1lbs 1.9oz/18.9%
  • Flaked Wheat  15.4oz/16.2%
  • Flaked Corn 8.0oz/8.4%

Hop Schedule

  • Hallertauer Hersbrucker 1.12oz @ 60min
  • Saaz 0.64oz @ 15min
  • Saaz 0.64oz @ 2min
  • Saaz0.64oz @ Flameout

Yeast

  • GigaYeast GB121 Farmhouse Sour Blend

Other

  • Whirlfloc Tab
  • Yeast Nutrient

Check back in a few weeks I will do a review of the GigaYeast blend once I've seen how the beer tastes and let you guys know what we think. So far its taken off like a rocket! Quite the krausen... and I did a two step starter for my next brewday this coming week off dreg washing the bag.

Thats the krausen after 6 hours post pitch in my Speidel fermentor----------------------------------------------------->

May beer be forever in your hand, brew on friends!

-Brett

 

Brew Day 01/03/2015 - Sour SMASH

First brew day of the year for Kyle and I.  Unfortunately it's in separate states, fortunately though Kyle's brewing with his Dad in Indiana. We'll have a summary of his brew day up once he makes it back to California.

Today I'm solo brewing a Sour SMASH one gallon BIAB.

SMASH stands for Single Malt, Single Hop. Its a great way to explore the specific taste a given malt or hop imparts in your beer and a method I highly suggest if you've never tried it before.

This recipe is based off of a previously successful pilsner. Hope everyone is having a great brewing weekend!

If you happen to stumble upon this site and live in San Francisco, and you home brew feel free to reach out! 

While its not what I'm brewing today, I thought I'd post my previous SMASH recipe as I know there are few one gallon recipes out there in the interwebs.

Pilsner Simcoe SMASH

Pilsner Malt - 2lbs 12oz - Mash in at ~154 F for 75 mins. w/ 3.44 quarts or 13.4 cups of water, sparge with 1.17 gal or 18.7 cups of water @ 168 F

Pre Boil Gravity - 1.051

Est OG - 1.058

Simcoe - 0.2 oz @ 60 & flame out

My system gives me about 70% efficiency so adjust accordingly. 

Brew Day 01/01/2015 - Coffee Porter

Brewers­: Garry & Kyle

­Brewing Style: 5 gallon, Partial Mash @ 154F for 60 min., Boil @ 60 min., ­OG ­ 1.061, FG ­ 1.0xx -ABV­ x%

Grain Bill: (2 lb) 2­Row - (1 lb) Flaked Wheat - (1 lb) Chocolate Wheat - (8 oz) Caramel Wheat - (6 lb) LME ­ Wheat Malt

Hop Schedule: (1 oz) Summit ­60 min - (.5 oz) Cascade ­10 min - (.5 oz) Centennial ­10 min - (.5 oz) Cascade ­0 min - (.5 oz) Centennial ­0 min

Other Additions: (1lb) Light Roast Coffee 0 min Yeast: Wyeast 1056 (2 Vials) Water: Filtered Greenwood


01.01.2015­ Brew day ­ Cold, brisk & sunny was the environment we working in for the first brew session of the year. In previous cold weather brewing we had trouble with keeping a boil on the burner. Today using the Blichmann we had no problem keeping a rolling boil in 10 degrees ( 0 degree wind chill) weather. A beautiful thing. We had help in the kitchen, tying off hop bags and coffee bags. We unloaded 1 lb. whole bean light roast coffee at the end of boil, so we wanted to make sure we had those under control. Worked out perfect and smelled amazing on a cold winter day. The wort cooled super fast and we had it cellared within 4 hours of our start. We had a couple brews from the tap­ our oatmeal brown. A good brew session to start the year.

A Decade of Friendship

Following a canceled camping trip Kyle & decided to sit down and take a day to revisit the website. We'd been planning to launch it much earlier than we've actually managed to execute.

Kyle & Brett Celebrating Ten Years of Friendship

Kyle & Brett Celebrating Ten Years of Friendship

Planning our recipe for the next brew session... Nov. 1st.  Variation on our popular cream... Updates to follow...

Tina & Brett Near Sausalito

Tina & Brett Near Sausalito


It also just so happens that we realized our friendship has now aged to that of a decent Tawny. We hit ten years in 2014. Amazingly fast how the time goes. We're really looking forward to suffering through the next 50-80 years of this...

-Brett

Monica, JoJo & Kyle @ Russian River for Kyle's 30th Bday Celebration

Monica, JoJo & Kyle @ Russian River for Kyle's 30th Bday Celebration

Can't wait to make the site more interesting for out friends and family... Keep checking back and feel free to write us with suggestions.

Phenols, the Taste of Successful Failure...

Kyle & I have been blessed as far as our brewing disasters are concerned. Only once have we encountered the distinct flavor of phenol and  we weren't sure what it was at first.

Kyle and I had just sat down to enjoy what we had waited patiently for, a new home-brew to devour and hand out to our family and friends, another bragging point, notch in the belt… however as we both toasted to one another and tilted the pint glasses toward our maws, we both withdrew quickly, sharing a knowing glance.

Now we didn't know what was wrong at first, just that whatever it was it wasn’t right. Very distinct band aid flavor was present - which after doing some trolling of the brewing forums we discovered was phenol our band-aid medicinally scented foe.

Phenols are very commonly described as medicinal, band-aid when described in negative terms and smokey, clove-like when described positively.

 

What can cause this aroma? 

 

    Wild yeast

    Some belgian yeast strains

    Over chlorinated water

 

Cholorophenols are generally thought of as the medicinal unwanted flavor/aroma, while Bromopheonls are generally those described as smokey or clove-like within the certain belgian styles. 

Acceptable Styles for Phenolic Tastes: Wheat, Some Belgian Styles

So in short - swirl your glass, smell your beer if it doesn’t smell right - have a sip or three anyway. Savor the mistakes along with your successes - because the bandaid flavor is something every brewer gets to know. Your shelves may be a bit lighter once you throw out the brew but your brewing palate and skill set will thank you for it.