Posts Tagged eBIAB

Update time!

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Time to get the sweet corn in. This is the 3rd bed in.

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Done!

First bed has garlic and broccoli

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Salad bed!

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Bean bed (4th and final)

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And a nice Belgium Blonde on the brew!

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Kegerator and Lasers!

So last night we went to the London hackspace with an EPS file and a lot of hope.

The plan…

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Lasers!

Can you tell what it is yet?

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Next of course was to start on the kegerator.

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For most kegerators, you need to lots of complicated things. We decided to keep it very simple and try to keep the fridge as insulated as possible.  The gas (CO2) is kept outside and fed in through the top of the fridge.

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This conduit we got for another project was perfect for 3/8 beer line.  It can take two lines in each section.  The plan is to run a gas line in from outside and the beer out.  We have one beer line for the handpump, two for a font (yet to buy).

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Siliconed in!

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Just needs a clean!

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And a spray… remember that laser cutter at the start?

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Won’t lose these easily!

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Sprayed all the things!

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And soon to come, a pump clip! 🙂

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Homebrew festival

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This weekend we attended the home brew festival in Market Bosworth. 

I entered three beers, two all grain and a kit.  I placed with one of the all grain beers (2nd) and the kit (3rd)

Very pleased and thanks for all the help and encouragement from my friends and family

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Brewday

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Another brewday.  This was Hoperific Landlord from the malt miller. I’d actually forgotten I’d bought it and its been sitting in my garage awaiting a brewing.

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I got some big help and some little help. The little help insisted in banging everything with trains.

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Instead of just all grain, my brother in law gave me two liquid kit beers which were in an odd squeezy plastic packing.

Inside there was yeast and dried hops.  The two kits came with silly instructions which were very basic.  I followed my usual kit process by bunging in a couple of kettles of boiling water in each and mixing with cold tap water.  In the IPA I added brewing sugar, for the bitter I went with two pouches of light spray malt.  The IPA had an OG of 1.048 and the bitter had 1.044.

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The landlord seemed to be a bit watery, so I continued to reduce to 20ltrs and had an OG of 1.048.

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Garden Potting Bench

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This weekend we did some clearing out (almost qualifies as a spring clean).  I also got round to splitting up some pallets and utilising an old sink to make a potting bench. Among its regular tasks is somewhere to clean the chickens water bowl which is usually full of poo and straw 30 seconds after being put into their run.

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Another brew is on for the national home brew competition.

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Gary made a stand for the fermenting fridge so that I don’t need to use an old log to keep stable. It’s build to bomb proof standards.

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And Ben was so cold he took the got seat. Actually he also ran electrical cable round the workshop to enable us to use the fridge without having to run extension cords everywhere.

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Leatherworking

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After a couple of weeks away at this year’s bushmoot I undertook a leatherworking course. One of my projects was a tankard, so I thought I’d have a go at home. Turned out much better than expected

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Afterwards on the Sunday I had a go wet forming a card wallet

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And a woggle or two for the scouts

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Garage

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So the old kitchen has gone into the garage and the brewery has its own space. Next is to make it food safe! Bodge job on the extractor fan to get steam out efficiently.

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Fermenting Chamber and more beer

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On Saturday night I filled up the boiler for an early morning beer brew to see if I could be over and done with by about 11:30am.  I was.  I was infact over and done with by about 10:30am, but started on another project, sorting out the fermentation chamber.

What is a fermentation chamber and why would you want one?  There’s two answers to that question.  The first and arguably the most important is that it gets the fermentation vessel out of our guest bedroom where it won’t disturb anyone.

The second answer is that it gives much more control to the brew.  The temperature that the yeast is at defines some of the flavours of the beer.  In the case of a wheatbeer, many of the esters that produce the banana  and clove flavours happen at different temperatures.  Want more banana? Raise the temperature to 20’C, want more clove, 17’C.  Some beers such as Lagers really need cold temperatures (well outside the scope of this post, click here for much more detailed information)

To make a simple fermentation chamber you need a working fridge and a heater of some sort.  I settled on a fridge from eBay and an old heating belt I had lying around.

You’ll also need a controller.  Many opt for an STC-1000 which is a great bit of kit.  It’s easy to hook up – you just set your temperature and off it goes.  Trouble is, it needs you to be around to monitor it.  If I want a brewing profile to start at 23’C for two days, then drop to 16’C for 6 days then crash cool to 2’C, I have to press the buttons physically.  It’s not possible because my commute (currently 3hrs each way) mean I’m spending more time in hotels than at home.  So it needs to be remotely controlled.  Something like this would normally cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds.  It’s not a commercial bit of kit and therefore not mass produced because professional brewers don’t tend to log into their brewery at home to control their systems.  I think.

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Brewpi is a fantastic bit of software that integrates an arduino uno and a raspberry pi to control temperatures.  The raspberry pi (this is a circuit board and nothing to do with edible pie) provides a web interface whilst the uno does much of the work.  It’s a bit of a cheek to call it a brewpi when the uno is doing most of the control, but the pi interface really does a nice job of formatting the data.  It’s all very much DIY.

Link the brewpi up to some sensors and some SSRs to drive the fridge and the brewing belt and hey presto, fermentation chamber.

The build took about 6hrs to complete including two trips to Maplins about 20 minutes down the road and I’m very pleased with it.  I can control temperatures from my laptop no matter where I am in the world.

For those that are interested the fridge runs at 110w and the heater at 25w.  They’re on for short periods of time (10-15 minutes max).  At 240v the fridge uses about 0.6a and the heating belt about 0.1a.  To maintain a hot temperature the heater will run for about 5 out of every 10 minutes.  It would take about 40 hours to use a unit of electricity (about £0.12?).  Similarly the fridge runs for 5 minutes out of every 30 and uses a very similar amount of electricity to maintain a temperature and would take about 45 hours to use a single unit of electricity.  Unless my maths is off.  This is with an ambient external temperature of 14’C and a 20’C or 4’C temperature respectively.

 

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Brewpi #2

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The 2nd controllable part of the brewing process is the fermentation temperature. To do this there is the brewpi. Whilst the name suggests the raspberry pi is the main feature you’d actually be wrong. It’s our friend the arduino again.

The arduino is used to control a couple of SSRs which turn on a fridge or heating element and do the maths for indirect heating or cooling to maintain a temperature profile for your beer. For some beers like wheatbeer and lagers you need different profiles to generate the different flavours from the yeast.

Where the raspberry pi comes in is the network graphs and more complex programming.

This weekend I got a cheap fridge from eBay ready for fermenting in! I also used the London Hackspace laser cutter to make a project box for the electronics.

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Brewpi

So the next step to really good beer is water quality and temperature control!

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To do this a good way is to use a fridge or freezer and a temperature controller.  Fridges make excellent fermenters because you can use the light bulb to heat and the fridge element to cool. The brewpi uses a raspberrypi and an arduino.  The software is developed and all you need is the hardware and a good project box to hold it all in.  So on a visit to the London Hackspace to watch some beer being brewed I was happy to be shown how to make the box on the last cutter. Now just need a fridge, some ssrs and a temperature probe or two!

Water quality wise I have hard water… and the analysis goes on!

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