Friday, 6 December 2013

First set of labels for Simcoe.

In addition to the labels it's the first brew for a while that I've generated a QR code ( on the bottle. This goes either to the dedicated android app or shows a revamped web page with the recipe details. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Mild Bottle

That's the last brew for the year bottled.... even if I had enough empty bottles it's too cold in the garage.

Saturday, 23 November 2013


Carrying out half the brewday in the garage and half in the kitchen is sub optimal - really should have been more organised and gathered things that were needed in the right place at the right time.

When I had a combi-boller I was happy to fill the HLT from the hot water tap but I'm less convinced about filling it from the hot water tank. I should have filled the HLT the night before so the water had less heating.

A few temperature related cockups with the ATC800/piTempMonitor disagreeing because the temperature probes were measuring different parts of the HLT.

The recipe formulation had a mistake, in that it was taking a typical hop alpha of 4.8 % rather than 6 % of the last harvest. As it happens I collected a little more wort so this will bring the bitterness down (unfortunately so too the alcohol). I had 1.033 instead of 1.037 so will be happy if I hit 3%.

If this turns out to be the best brew ever I'm going to struggle to recreate it.

I ended up creating an excel version of the calculator I use with the android app I've been writing in order to debug what was happening (through the process I noticed the mash tun was probably not filled enough). 

The best bit of the day is the tank connector on the mash tun worked perfectly.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Tank Connector and Ball Lever Valve Tap

 Drill with 2mm drill bit
 Pipe Cutter

15mm full bore lever ball valve £4.99

15mm Tank Coupler £2.49

40cm of 15mm Copper pipe  £ 1.50

1/2" washer (pack of 4) £0.59

15mm stop end (pack of 2) £0.98

£10.55 (reusing left overs) - £ 17.88 (wasting left overs)

I'd never really thought about what a compression fitting was or the importance of the olive...  this video was useful

Imagine having the ballvalve at the bottom when starting to construct


1) The tank coupler has a small band inside which stops the 15mm pipe from fitting through. This needs to be filed until smooth. It took about five minutes, I carried on until it felt smooth inside.

2) Put the lever ball valve at the bottom of the pipe, push an olive down from the top of the pipe, then the compression bolt. With the ballvalve gripped tighten the compression bolt. It's best to do with the tap open to make sure the tap is fitted the correct way.
3) Put the Tank connector onto the pipe and push up to the ballvalve, next add the washer.
4) Drill a number of holes in the
5) Now push the tank connector into the mash tun.
6) Now add the backnut and tighten.
7) Now add an olive and compression fitting, tighten by hand then fix firm by tightening with a spanner. (Be careful to make sure the compression joints are watertight before using)

The downside of the way this is constructed is the compression fitting at the back needs to be removed before the pipework will fit through the tap whole. I'm going to try this as it is for the next brewday but want to refine by soldering the olive in place.

Brewing Equipment - Mash Tun

I came to the realisation that I've built a lot of things based on the knowledge of folk over on Jims Beer Kit but don't really contribute back. I've decided to document the DIY approach to the brewing equipment I have made based on the experience in a single place. I started out with zero equipment so hopefully this gives a guide with the minimal investment in tools. I've also tried not to spend more money than really needed.


 Qmax 21mm cutter £9.90
 8mm hex key £1.20
 Drill and 1mm drill bit


2x 30L foodsafe buckets (ebay - although this isn't the the seller I used) ~ £20
  - looking for foodsafe and safe for high temperature and the ability to stack in one another, not too narrow but not too wide

Aluminium Foil Insulation - £ 7.98
Gaffer Tape - £5.98

My previous mash tun was a youngs fermentations bin stacked inside another. The downside is they aren't strong with high temperature liquid, 25L was a little small, they were a little narrow for the rotating sparge arm.
I used loft insulation in the first version wrapped in a strong foil, however over time water got behind and the the loft insulation became rotten.

(to be continued)


I've planned a brewday it will be the first attempt at a mild.
I'm also looking to carry out the mash/sparge in the garage and just use the kitchen for the boil... the garage is likely to be about 8deg so it will be a bit chilly but will be interested in how well the mash tun performs.

It's also will be the first use of the tank connector/ball lever tap for the mashtun (the last brew with the old tap had a stuck mash so hopefully this is a upgrade will be a painless sparge... especially if it's cold).

It will also be reusing harvested yeast from Simcoe

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday, 3 November 2013

New Brewery Plans

Next year I will start building a proper brewing area in the garage including converting the boiler over to electric. But a makeshift fermentation, bottling, and conditioning area.

But this brew will be made in the kitchen and only shifted after the yeast is pitched.

A simple single hop pale ale with Simcoe coming up.