Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gettin' Back into the Swing of Things

Hi All, Well it appears I have taken a little vacation from the blogging world (as well as brewing) because I had to move the family and I so I have been busy with that. My wife and I are about to have another baby here like 5 days ago but the little bugger just doesn't want to come out. We are on high alert as the baby could come any second now. Let me pat myself on the back a bit here because I am high on my first "Best of Show" award that I just got last Saturday at the Michigan Brew Fest down in Columbus Twp (Richmond Area). I entered a Spiced Brown Ale under the Christmas Beer category and it did very well. Now I am totally stoked to bet back at it and get brewing again. I have a few brews up my sleave now that I am getting settled in here at my new place. I am planning on switching up my whole brewing repretoire by trying to set myself up with a HERMS system or "Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash" system. I will need to buy a pump in order to do this and probably drill a few wholes in my hot liquor tank (pot that I heat up my sparge/strike H20) but I think it will be worth it. For those of you that aren't sure how a HERMS system works, let me try to paint you a picture for I don't have any pics on hand (although there a a billion of them just google it)
Basically the main thing that makes up a HERMS system is a hot liquor tank with what would appear to be an immersion wort chiller in it. Now a wort chiller is basically a "Heat Exchanger". Typically you run cold H2O through an immersion wort chiller and place in in your hot wort to cool it down. Well you can also use one to heat up your mash. When you place the coil into your hot liquor tank and raise the temp of that water you can recirculate your wort through the "Heat Exchanger" to heat up the wort and return it right back into your mash tun thus allowing you to bring up your temp without placing your mash on a burner or adding a bunch of boiling H20) do the tun diluting it. Brilliant! I am also going to build myself a manifold to place in the bottom of a cooler so I can do my mashes in a large picnic style cooler instead of my 14 gallon pot with a false bottom. My efficiencey has sucked ever since I started using my pot to mash/lauter in. I went from about 75-80% efficiency using plastic buckets to about 55-60% in my big 'ol pot. I have trouble shot and trouble shot and I can't figure it out so it is time to make a change. I will post some pics of the new setup once I get put together. I'll try to keep updating more frequently now the the chaos is coming to an end.