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Archive for the ‘Beer Gear’

DIY wooden beer mug for you crafty types

June 21, 2011 By: grant Category: Beer Gear, DIY, How to

This Instructable for building your own wooden looks pretty bad-ass. I think if you did it right you wouldn’t get any splinters, either!

All you really need is a bit of untreated, nontoxic scrap wood and some basic tools. The picture above is an unfinished version, but I think you’d be able to sand the edges and really make it look nice.

Build your own. [via Make magazine]

Do you have any cool beer-related DIY projects to share?

Growing the Ghost: More details on Ghost River’s expansion

May 02, 2011 By: mike Category: Beer Gear, Breweries, Craft beer, Memphis

Ghost River six-pack

The Commercial Appeal had a nice story over the weekend — “Growing the Ghost: Memphis craft brewery doubling production capacity” — that looks at the current expansion of Ghost River Brewing.

An excerpt:

Asked about the demand for Ghost River beer, Chuck Skypeck opened a walk-in cooler roughly the size of a U-Haul truck box. It was bright, cold and empty except for a handful of half-kegs lined in a corner. “This is what we have right now. I mean, this is it,” said Skypeck, owner of Ghost River Brewing. “Most of these are paid reservations for our dock sales this weekend. So, right now everything we can possibly make goes right out the door. We’re really working at capacity right now.” But not for long.

Read the full story here.

Also, be sure to check out FuzzyBrew’s story from February on the Ghost River expansion, as well as our 7-part series of video interviews with Skypeck.

Ghost River's Golden Ale

Good capper/Bad capper: An Ode to Red Head Emily

April 12, 2011 By: mike Category: Beer Gear, Beer learnin', Homebrew

When it comes time to bottle the sweet nectar that is your homebrewed beer, the last thing you want to do is ruin it by breaking your bottles.

Well, we at FuzzyBrew have run into this problem. It came in the form of the metal bottle capper below. (You may find it online at places like this or this. Do not buy it.)

Bad capper

Bad capper: This beer bottle capper does not work very well.

One bottling night I managed to break two bottles, while Grant broke at least one. The capper just didn’t have any “give.” Too much pressure when capping the beer snapped the top right off the bottles, forcing us to pour the beer down the sink. This made us sad.

So I was in the market for a new capper when my friend Ian happened to find one at his house that he wasn’t using anymore and kindly left it on my desk at work. (Thanks, Ian!)

She’s called Red Head Emily. She looks kinda like a crab. (See below.)

Good capper

Good capper: Red Head Emily works very well.

Emily’s a spring-loaded, high-quality capper made with rigid plastic. She has a magnet to hold the cap in place and has just the right amount of “give.”

Red Head Emily is easy to use, hasn’t broken any of our bottles and gets our recommendation.

A ‘chilling’ story (by guest blogger Jon)

March 08, 2011 By: grant Category: Beer Gear, Homebrew, How to

Jon Korneliussen tries a two-chiller system

Jon Korneliussen tries a two-chiller system

The following is a guest post from Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs member Jon Korneliussen about his recent experiment using two chillers to bring wort temperature down post-boil for lagering. We’ve never used two chillers before — does anyone have any advice?

I’ve been brewing for about two years and have made eight batches of beer now. I am extract brewing, and steeping specialty grains to make a wider variety of beers. I do a partial boil of two gallons on my stovetop. Lately, I have been looking to add new techniques to my process, but am still not ready to make the leap to all-grain brewing (for a variety of reasons I won’t bore you with).

Last fall, I decided to dabble in true lagers, and wound up making a fairly decent Rauchbier. Things went fairly well for this batch, but I had difficulty cooling the wort to a pitching temperature of 54 degrees. Two hours after the boil, I finally lost patience and pitched the yeast at 59 degrees.

This winter, I set about to make things right. After much research, I decided the method to try was a two-chiller system, where the first chiller is placed in ice, and the second in the wort. Several brewer bloggers had pitched this as a way to quickly drop the temperature below tap water temperatures. I bought one chiller to use for ales, and borrowed a second (thanks, FuzzyBrew crew!) to complete the setup. After an hour of chilling, I made it to 62 degrees. Although this was twice as efficient as before, it was not the 20 minutes I was hoping for!

Days later, I pored over my beer notebook, looking for patterns. Lo and behold, there it was. On a previous batch of ale, I had placed the wort in an ice bath, ran the wort chiller through it, and brought it down to 75 degrees in 20 minutes. Adding 60-degree tap water over-chilled the wort, making it too cool to pitch ale yeast, and I had to let it warm up for a few hours.

Next batch I will try a variation on this technique. Prior to brewing, I’ll place three gallons of boiled water in the refrigerator to chill to 40 degrees. After the boil, I’ll cool the wort to 75 degrees using the ice bath / immersion chiller combination, then add the chilled water to lower it to 55-60 degrees. If I overshoot my target, I can add room-temperature water to bring the temperature back up. I’ll post a comment here to let everyone know if this worked.