Lagers, Kegs, and drinking.

Here at the trailer we are reviled for keeping things cold. Our friends and guests are often aghast at the “comfort” levels we maintain. We keep the thermostat set for a temperature range of 62-65 throughout the winter, mostly because we prefer the cooler temperatures. This has an interesting side affect of keeping some rooms cooler than others (well, this and the fact that many of the vents are blocked off). In fact, the bathroom closet maintains an average temperature of 45 degrees throughout the winter! Obviously this is an opportunity, one that we can’t ignore!
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Nothing new, but an update nonetheless

No real updates, as we haven’t done much brewing in the last few days, but I felt an update was necessary. We moved the cider to a secondary fermentation, and have superdoused it with campden tablets (15 all told). I believe the plan is to move the cider to the demi-john purchased this weekend and top off the demi with CO2 from our kegging outfit. Perhaps when we move it to the third we’ll get a better idea of the potency of the off-flavors/vinegar. Maybe the campden worked, though I’m doubtful.
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Boiling is always a good thing…

Last weekend we decided it would be kind of fun to make a “hard” cider. Given the overall simplicity of brewing a cider, we charged headlong into it. We already had some dry champagne yeast, and the ‘rick decided to to pick up some Apple Cider from the god-fearing grocery store and go to town. I cautioned that we should bring the entire mess to a boil before attempting to ferment, but like all good ideas I have the ‘rick choose to ignore me. (Sidenote, don’t the “intellectually superior” piss you off sometimes?) At any rate, five gallons of Apple Cider were dumped into the the carboy, along with the dry yeast and some spices we boiled into a pan of water, and we waited.
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Blow-Off Tubes, and why bigger is better

We had a busy weekend here at the trailer, brewing three 5 gallon batches of beer. We also experimented with propagating the yeast cultures prior to primary fermentation, with explosive results. But we’ll get to that shortly. For this weekends brew cycle we did an Altbier, a Double IPA, and a Hoppy Ale (not sure how much difference we’ll notice between the last two, but it’ll be fun trying to find one!). The yeast starters were used on the Double IPA and the Altbier. We determined that because of some slow fermentation starts previously with high-gravity beers, and older yeast cultures, that it would be a good idea to try and get a good jump start on the process.
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PolarWare Brew pot rulez (mostly)

We’ve been using the PolarWare 40 quart brewpot for the last few beers we’ve brewed here at the trailer, and for the most part are quite happy with it. The temperature probe and the ball-lock valve really make brewing with and draining the pot quite easy. We are able to easily monitor the temperature and overall find this to be a really nice investment. Solid, thick , heavy-duty stainless steel nicely welded fittings, overall I’m really happy. The only caveat I have is it’s pretty clear the false bottom is absolutely necessary if you want to use this kettle.
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