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A Simple Wort Chiller To Chill Your Beer Faster

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Ok, so maybe the method isn’t unconventional since it is basically the same process used in a Whirlpool Immersion Chiller. However, the use of random supplies is.  This is a simple wort chiller upgrade to chill your beer faster.  I have used it for years and it has never failed me.

One of the most important steps in homebrewing is chilling the wort to an optimal temperature for pitching yeast.  The primary objective is to chill as fast as possible.  There isn’t a magical additive available on the market, so this step should be taken serious. Why?

1. The longer wort is exposed,  the greater chance infection can occur. Infected beer = FAIL and wasted effort.

2. The possibility of oxidation increases the longer the wort is exposed to the elements.

3. Creating a quick “cold break” results in clearer beer. The cold break is essential to avoid the haze look to your finished product. 

I think you get the point!

We have all experienced the “stalling spot” during the cool down wishing we could find a way to speed things up. What is the “stall spot”? The wort cools quickly from a boil down to around 85°-90°. At this point, the outside temperature and wort temperature are starting to run a parallel side by side race. This is even worse in the summer heat.  To pitch yeast, wort temperature generally needs to fall below 80°. The last thing anyone wants to do is leave wort exposed to mother nature’s wrath.

My father-in-law came up with an unconventional work of art to chill the wort to pitching temperature quickly and efficiently. He found the supplies sitting around the house and pieced together his odd yet awesome contraption.

Supplies:
– Standard wort chiller
An under the bed storage bin
Submersible Pump
– Bag of ice

Cut out a hole in the lid of the storage bin so the pump can sit flush against the bottom.

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When the wort reaches around 100°, dump a bag of ice into the storage bin and add some water. You want an ice bath. You can also start this method from the end of boil as long as you have enough ice. The hot wort exchange melts the ice bath quickly. I personally found 100° to be an ideal target for two reasons.

1. The wort generally chills pretty quickly with a wort chiller for the first half of the the chill.

2. When I brew, I tend to drink. I can remember 100° pretty well when I have had a few.

Hook up the wort chiller to the pump so an ice bath can be recirculated through the coiled copper and back into the storage bin. It works like the cooling system on a car. The objective is passing the ice cold water through the chiller. Add a solid whirlpool with a drill and sanitized paint stirrer (paint stir what) and you are in business.

This will cool the wort within a few minutes. Be careful you do not over chill the wort. That would defeat the whole purpose.

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This concept can easily be applied using any chiller and submersible pump. Cheers to brewing beer and cheers to inventing odd ways to brew like a pro for half the dough.


beer gifts

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An Inexpensive Homebrew Water Filter

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The other day I was brewing a collaboration with The Brew Professor and he showed me a simple yet effective water filter that hooks up to any hose. It was an RV water filter! If it can filter water for an RV, why not beer?

This isn’t a fancy RO system but it is a great way to brew with better water for very little money. The 100 micron fiber filter helps reduce some of the bad tastes, chlorine, and odors that can come along with public or well water.  Treat your beer with love and pure water.

You can buy these for under $20 through Amazon and it is well worth the small investment. I really liked the simplicity of the Camco 40043.  If you want to get even more fancy pants, add a Drinking Water Hose for less than $10.

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A Simple Guide To Planting Your Own Hops

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So you have decided that it would be exciting to grow your own hops at home.  Growing hops can be a very fun and rewarding project as long as you have the time, space, and desire to lay out the effort required.  You cannot grow hops at home to replace those you are currently buying from your home brew store.  Why?  The alpha acid levels of those you grow at home will basically be unknown.  Hops grown as an amateur at home can be utilized for aroma and late hopping.  Fresh Hops!  It really does not get better in my opinion.  Here is a simple guide to planting hops at home.

Before you begin the hop mission you need to consider a few things…

1.  Do I have room to grow hops?  They are not like growing a tomato plant.  Hops require room to grow.
2.  What kind of beers do I like to brew the most?  This is the driving factor as to what you should attempt to grow.
3.  How many hop varieties can I handle?  No reason to go overboard.

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1.  Make sure you pick a nice looking brood of rhizomes.  Look for a mid to high level of buds sprouting.  You do not want something with no bud sprouts.

 

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2.  Dig a hole about 8 inches deep and fill with nice soil.  I mixed in some spent grain with each hole just for good hop luck.  Put enough soil in the hole to create a nice mound about 6 inches above ground level.

 

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3.  Use your hand and make a divot in the mound about 4 inches deep.

 

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4. Make sure you face the buds up or the side of the rhizome with the most buds.

 

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5.  Lightly stomp the mound to compact the soil.  There is no need to level the mound with your Hulk strength.

 

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6.  Drive a growing pole into the ground.  I used a 10 foot pole to make sure I allowed enough vertical growth.

 

Now wait until you see about 1-2 feet of vine coming out and help start it on the growing pole.  Eventually,  you will want to create horizontal growing lines.  These are just pictures of what I did.  You can find an awesome instructional PDF here,  which I really recommend reading.

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Family Beer Recipes from the early 1800s – America’s Pride

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We often forget about the importance beer played in the settlement of the country we love so much.  In the early 1800′s, beer was a huge component to the daily diet for the majority of most Americans including children.  Women even drank beer when they breast fed because it was believed to provide nutrients to the unborn child.  Kids also assisted in brewing beer and worked in breweries through the early 1900’s.  As a matter of fact, families kept sacred cookbooks that contained family beer recipes alongside food recipes that often dated back hundreds of years.  Until modern sanitation methods surfaced,  it was safer to drink beer than water.  If you were going boil water, why not make beer. People were a different kind poor back then.  When a family needed nutrition,  it was up to them to find a means to get by.  Beer played a crucial role in survival and social life.  If you didn’t have money to eat well…you drank well because it was cheap to brew items that could be fermented.

Beer consisted of locally acquired ingredients.   Hop pellets, specialty grains, lab controlled yeasts, and artificial flavorings did not exist.  An open fire with an iron pot is how you rolled.  If you wanted a cheap beer, items were collected and often mixed with molasses.  It was hard for families to acquire grains all the time.  Therefore,  other items were often used to grab sugars starches needed to make alcohol.

Anyways, I was recently given permission by the Cincinnati library and a few historical societies to view some of the rarest books in Cincinnati dating back to 1820.  Check out these awesome old time beer recipes.  Try one!  However, I promise they will not match our current selections.

Check these photos out:

Ohio Recipe Book of the 1820’s – 1820

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Family Receipts, or Practical Guide for the Husbandman and Housewife. Cincinnati – 1831

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White’s New Cook-Book – 1840

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Here are some bonus items found in this book from 1840.  Can chicken jelly can cure a hangover?  I am definitely not willing to give it a shot!

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Listermann is the OG of the Cincinnati Homebrew and Brewery Scene

Listermann beers

Listermann Brewing Company
Sitting in Evanston across from Xavier is the original homebrew hotspot in Cincinnati.  As a matter of fact,  Listermann is still the place for your homebrewing needs.  There is now a little twist in case you didn’t know…they are making bad ass beer and have a taproom for you to get your drink on!  This is the only place in Cincinnati where you will find homebrew supplies, two breweries, and a taproom under one roof.

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The Listermann taproom may be the best spot in Cincinnati to sit down over delicious craft beer and talk about anything and everything that comes to mind.  They have a selection of ten (yes I said ten) craft beers from both Listermann and Triple Digit.  You will have plenty of beers to sample and talk about and then likely sample again and talk about again…repeat.  If you are lucky,  an experimental batch could be on tap for your experimenting pleasure.

Triple Digit Brewing Company

Aftermath, Decimation, Chickow!, Gravitator, Smoked Bock,  Enter the Beagle, and other Listermann/Triple Digit beers are available for your carryout needs.  You can also fill up your own growlers with whatever they currently have on tap.  Have you ever tried a Peanut Butter Porter?  You can here!

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Where else in Cincinnati can you go and have the head brewer Kevin Moreland, the pimptastic Jason Brewer, or even the legendary Dan Listermann pour you a draft beer?  Kevin and Jason are always up for a great conversation over a beer.  If you catch Dan in the taproom, you will realize why he literally knows everyone in Cincinnnati.  He is a great guy and it is always a treat to hear one of his stories.

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Are you looking to learn how to homebrew?  Do you need to build that epic recipe to brew on Saturday morning?  They have the best self serve grain buffet in Cincinnati.  Build your beer recipe and mill it right in the store.  You can even drink while you do it.  I know I always have one or four when I am building my beers.

The staff is always willing to lend some advice or a hand if you are a newbie to the brewing scene.  You can also find anything else that you may need to brew delicious beer.  Want to make wine?  They have what you need for wine making too!

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Facebook: Listermann and Triple Digit

1621 Dana Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45207
Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm

Phone (513) 731-1130
Email jason@listermannbrewing.com
Website http://www.listermannbrewing.com/
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Homebrew Tip: Inexpensive 15 Gallon Fermentation Vessel

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So you are currently brewing 5 gallon batches and they keep turning out so damn good.  You start day dreaming about upgrading to a 15 gallon or larger system.  This is something that most homebrewers eventually go through.  The problem is, most of us lack the funds to upgrade to that larger system whenever we feel the initial urge.  Our extra cash is usually spent on craft beer mix packs that we refuse to give up.  There is no reason to max out your credit cards and drop 2-5k on some fancy stainless steel beer brewing system.  Upgrade layaway style!  Slowly buy the small things you need to upgrade to a larger system.  Doing this will also give you the opportunity to learn each component as you attain it.  Being creative is another great skill to unleash!

How about a CHEAP fermentation upgrade idea?

If you buy homebrew supplies from a local supply store,  you probably have a decent relationship with the employees.  These homebrew supply stores usually have Briess liquid extract barrels that eventually become empty.  Considering their priority is putting more extract out, these empty barrels get tossed in the garbage.  Ask them if you can have their next empty container.  They may have some sitting in the back waiting for you to ask.

The smaller extract barrels are what you are looking for.  They are food grade.  They have a liquid scale on them,  they have openings on the top, and they have a damn good handle! 15 gallons of beer is not easy to toss around. All you need to do is install a #13 rubber stopper with an elbow for your blow off and you are good to go.  These types of barrels are plastic so you will need to make sure you have optimal temperature control during the fermentation process.  If you can manage that,  your beer will ferment very good inside of one of these.

A handy scale on the side
Install a standard #13 rubber stopper and an elbow for your blow off hose.

 

 

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BeerMumbo – Ermahgerd Double Brown Ale

BeerMumbo - Double Brown Ale

Brewed by:  BeerMumbo
ABV:  7.5%

Ermahgerd Double Brown Ale is a delicious brown ale brewed with simplicity and double the balls.  This brown ale is so smooth and tasty your face will have no choice but to say ermahgerd!  Brewed with specialty malts and course crushed grain,  you will get that  sweet yet rich earthy  taste that makes a brown ale a derble bown.  Enjoy!