It wasn’t so long ago that I could futz around for a half hour during Finn’s nap or a rack a beer to a keg at any time I wanted. This helped focus my ‘brew day’ whereas now I’m stuck doing as much as humanly possible before I have to leave to either end up driving in traffic or having my son fall asleep (as in bedtime) in the car. Today my prep-work paid off (and a huge help from Gary) – I brewed and kept focus there but did humdrum tasks (like label, eat lunch, start soaking bottles, organize) between hop additions, sparging, and mash-in. To make things seemingly more astounding – I finished early, had time to hang out, used a candy thermometer (b/c I forgot the thermapen again), protein rest, and generally had a damn nice day. Historically, I’m running around being dumb. So finally, a really nice day.

So, what did I make? The first of the solera.

2014-06-03 09.05.08

Simple enough, save for a mildly irritating hiccups. Smelled wonderful and had iceberg lumps of  protein from the 50% non-barley ingredients. Father-in-law was nice enough to clear out [more] space in the basement solely for this project so it’s got its own home now and everything is great. I had planned to do the 100% white wheat grapefruit saison, but rice hulls were on hold for a spell. Next time – it’ll be a summer beer anyway.

A quick note before getting into more ‘fun’ – I crafted a quick and dirty sparge arm from an old tube and a hose clamp. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

2014-06-03 11.39.20

The good stuff: A stand and more ‘accommodating’ brewery in the garage space is coming. Last week, I asked about the NG line running to the central heat system as an option to replace the LP tanks. Turns out Gary is/was pretty interested in this idea (as he’s pledged to keep the tanks full), and is going to reach out to a neighbor to plumb the line. Fast forward to this afternoon where talking up potentials got interesting. A stainless steel wall covering (for fire protection), operable windows, vent hoods, fans, a brew stand, were all floated and none batted down – hell, he even said “the landlord is responsible [sometimes] for upgrades.” Sweet mary. Homework starts now – ideally: a firewall/backsplash of some sort with a three-tier gravity system, hood and at least one window with the ability to open. Needless to say, I’ve got a bit of homework and reading to do, but open to ideas if you have them.

Good news abound. Well traveled.

  1. merlin1974 says:

    Good luck with the solera! I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while. Now that I’ve got added capacity to the brewery, I might give something like this a shot. I’m a father of a 1.5 yr old, and can totally relate to “having a nice day for once” 🙂

    For your brewery: the biggest Issue I have in mine is the hood. I’ve got an electric system, so venting gasses isn’t a big deal. But for me steam is. Your hood is going to need big capacity for a vent fan being that you will be using gas. I opted to try and go smaller and have a bit of a problem with condensation etc. The hood will keep you busy tweaking, drips here, there etc etc 🙂 If you can swing it, a pump for pushing hot wort around will be a real plus for you. My system is a 2 vessel , 2 tier setup with a pump and I love it. I basically do a “no sparge” re circulation and it keeps things really simple.

    • Jacob says:

      Yeah, my FIL and I were talking about maybe adding a ‘whole house’ fan or a slated vent for a side wall. It’s a really small room (~5’x20′) so cycling the air shouldn’t be an issue, it’s finding the best middle ground as not to snuff out the flame.

      I’ve been looking at the cheap $10 DC pumps on ebay for a bit, and just need to pull the trigger.

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Post-Brew Day Rumination – 6.3.14

Posted on

June 3rd, 2014


been up to, Beer