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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lil' Slice of Heaven

Last Friday, I brewed an Avery Hog Heaven clone. This one was for my wife, Sally! She LOVES this beer...and so do I. Named it "Sally's Lil' Slice of Heaven". Man, the brew day was a long one! This was due to the fact that I didn't get a chance to clean the brewery after brewing Pliny the Brother last time. I was late for dinner at the in-laws' house and had to just rinse and run. Therefore, I had to spend a couple of hours cleaning the brewery before I could even start the new brew! Everything went fairly smooth. I used Whirlfloc in the boil kettle and that seemed to help flocculate the proteins and break and keep it on top of the false bottom when draining. Therefore, no clogging of the plate chiller! I still need to compensate for the holdup volume of my system when transferring out of the brewery into a fermentor. I always seem to boil down to 5 gallons and only get 4.5 in the fermentor. This may also be because the hot wort has expanded and the 5 gallons is really 4.5 in the Boil Kettle anyway. Maybe I'll just up my markings on my sight glass by 0.5 gallons. The gravity was a little lower than expected on the wort (probably b/c I had to chase the wort with water to reach 5 gallons and then I overfilled a little bit...whoops). Besides that, the beer has been fermenting quickly. I just threw the cooled wort on top of the Cal Ale yeast cake from Kitchen Sink Ale. I know some will poo-poo this move, but I had never done it and I want to see how it turns out. Once fermentation is close to complete I will add 4.5 oz. of Columbus hop pellets to dry hop...mmmmmmmm!

The Kitchen Sink Ale is on tap now, but I have not sampled it yet. It has to carb a little bit more. I put the keezer (kegerator made from chest freezer) on casters too, so I can easily roll it out to load kegs. I also hooked up a cooling system for the keezer. I have a glycol plate at the front of my tap tower with inlets and outlets. I used a liquid cooled computer processor cooler from CoolerMaster (Aquagate 80/120). I got it cheap off ebay and just ran new hoses and filled it with more coolant. There is also a small radiator and fan hooked up to the pump as well. This allows the fan to circulate the cool air around the keezer while at the same time cooling the taps. I hooked up a switch to the cooling unit, so I have the option of not running the thing all the time. Hopefully this means no more foaming beer when you pour! Check out the pictures below of the cooling system.


Cooling plate at front of the tap tower, glycol goes in one way and out the other
 Cooling radiator and fan in front pulling air through and out into the keezer. Cooling pump on right with hoses leading to the tap tower. CO2 manifold below with the Eva-Dry unit below to control moisture.

Top view of pump, radiator, and fan
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