New Years Beer Resolutions

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Being a home brewer is a great hobby but there is always a temptation and desire to step it up a notch and do something bigger, better, faster or more! To that end there are several things I want to try this new year with this hobby. I’m not that interested in brewing bigger volumes, five gallons at a time are great for us but I’m interested trying new things to increase my skill and knowledge at this fine craft! To that end this year I will:

  • Move from batch sparging to continuous sparging.
  • Start storing and reusing yeast from one batch to the next.
  • Build out a starting brewhouse to automate some functions of the process.

Already on New Years day I did for the first time reuse yeast. So far it appears to be a great success as the beer is fermenting away right on schedule but the true test will be in tasting the final product.

Pouring a Pint at Home in Style

What red blooded American hasn’t wanted to be able to tap a keg at home and pour yourself beer? Well if you home brew after a while you do get sick and tired of cleaning, sanitizing, filling, and capping bottles. The solution is to build yourself a kegerator to condition and serve beer draft style.

After performing research on all the best home brew web sites I was really inspired by the keezers I saw a decided to go that route. A keezer is a chest freezer that has been modified for use with beer.

While the process to build a keezer seems simple it does involve some DIY skill including electrical wiring so this is not a project for everyone. Also, it is a more expensive project and the sky is the limit when customizing. Most people don’t cover the cost of a project like this is the various forums so I’ve included a breakdown of the costs in the gallery. The total cost for this project was $836 which doesn’t include the kegs, beer, or carbon dioxide.

To begin the most important step is to turn this freezer in to a refrigerator. A typical chest freezer can’t run warm enough to serve beer. I started out by trying to adjust the existing controller’s coarse adjustment screw but that didn’t work on this model as I couldn’t get it to run about 34F.  So the only other option was to swap out the temperature controller for one that has a much wider control range. I chose to go with a simple controller from Love Electronics. Once done this will allow the freezer to run at 43F which is perfect for most beer.

Next we need to have some place to put our faucets that we will pour the beer from. With chest freezers the walls of the freezer are the coils for the cooling system, so we can’t drill in there as we could hit a coil and this project would be over. The simplest solution to this is to put a insulated collar on top of the chest and move the lid to the collar. To complete this I used some 1×8 southern yellow pine that I stained and then insulated and sealed with 1″ foam and silicone. Sealing the unit air tight is very important as it keeps the inside cool and keeps moisture out.

Finally we have all the plumbing, both the liquid and gas sides. This time I purchased complete kegerator a kit from kegconnection.com and some high end stainless steel faucets and shanks from kegoutlet.com. While stainless steel is more expensive, it’s best to use it instead of chrome plated brass which does wear out faster and is harder to keep clean. Keeping everything clean is important to both taste and health.

With a few finishing touches like a drip tray, cap catcher, and a bottle opener and this draft beer system is complete. Add some kegs full of beer and some CO2 and you’ll be ready to serve!

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Quick, Free Apple Time Capsule Mount

Our house is wired for gigabit ethernet in almost every room of the house. This works out great for streaming media from our home theater PC. When our faith router finally died we decided to get an Apple Time Capsule as we have as few Apple devices in the house and the automatic backup would be a nice bonus. Additionally it’s a nice small all-in-one that will fit in with the new life in Bermuda.

However upon receiving the Apple Time Capsule I discover it doesn’t have any mounting capability! A quick search found many mounts like this mount, but they were all $50 or more!

So I came up with this simple mount made from a coated wire hanger and a few washers and screws. I has all these items already hanging around so this was a free hack!

Using two pairs of pliers I carefully bent the coat hanger in to the right shape to hold the Apple Time Capsule leaving loops at each end to secure to the board with washers and screws! A quick and simple mount!

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