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Just wondering if anyone has any good brewing "hacks". What that basically means (I think) is using something for a reason other than its intended purpose in some creative way. In fact, most of us probably do it so often we don't even realise!

 

So, I for one use a vegetable steamer to keep my grain bag off of the hot element, bread clips to keep my hop sack suspended over my urn ... you could even say that the water storage containers some of use as wort cubes are a "hack". Oh and then there's my "bottle drowning machine" made from a plastic tub, wire storage baskets and luggage straps ... that's a whole thing in itself!

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Other than cubes for storing wort and 60L fermenter style water containers for storing base malts, not really, none that I can think of right now anyway.

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im using some of my "big Jenga" blocks to support my FV in the fridge because the shelf is dodgy...

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My RIMS mash tun/boiler is a Cool Country Crab Cooker from Rays outdoors, which is actually made for the Turkey Fryer market in the USA.

 

The ball valves we use are not supposed to be food grade and they are designed for industrial high pressure applications to 1000psi!

 

My insulation wrapped around my kettle is a closed cell 10mm Nitrile rubber foam kmart yoga mat.

 

Our Fermentation chambers/cooling systems are actually just fridges.

 

My stir plate is made of a computer fan and some rare earth magnets from a hard disk drive with home made speed controller.

 

I use my aldi pressure cooker for a poor mans autoclave to sterilise storage jars and glycol for cryogenically preserving liquid yeast.

 

 

 

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I usually de-oxygenate my strike water with 13 grams each of bakers' yeast and DME, 45 minutes before the mash. With the additional buffer of 1/4tsp of Sodium Metabisulphate, it seems to do a great job of protecting volatile malt and hop flavours throughout the mash and boil.

 

I was using a T2 iced tea strainer as a hop sock but I started to get the feeling it wasn't getting enough circulation. A hop sock seems better. [/failedhack]

 

I'm also a big fan of quick-lagering and yeast harvesting directly from the FV, both of which I learnt about from here!

 

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I was using a T2 iced tea strainer as a hop sock but I started to get the feeling it wasn't getting enough circulation. A hop sock seems better. [/failedhack]

 

 

Reminded me that I use the 'naked' colour women's stockings for dry hopping hop socks. Boiled for a good hour before use though to remove any dyes. Plus big marbles to sink these. I use fishing line to suspend and I can jiggle like a giant tea bag. Often split the hops into two or three stockings. When finished I squeeze out hops, using sanitised disposable vinyl food grade gloves.

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My RIMS mash tun/boiler is a Cool Country Crab Cooker from Rays outdoors' date=' which is actually made for the Turkey Fryer market in the USA. [/quote']

Is this a good option for all grain headmaster?

 

They're only $65 at the moment, but I wasn't sure if the base would be thick enough for longevity.

 

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My RIMS mash tun/boiler is a Cool Country Crab Cooker from Rays outdoors' date=' which is actually made for the Turkey Fryer market in the USA. [/quote']

Is this a good option for all grain headmaster?

 

They're only $65 at the moment, but I wasn't sure if the base would be thick enough for longevity.

 

They are great, I’m up to batch 50 in mine so it’s produced well over 1000 litres of AG beer :-)

 

The crab cooker cage is very handy for keeping the grain bag off the bottom of the pot, plus for lifting the grains out.

 

If you plan on modifying it, you need to use a step drill to drill holes in them (as you should with stainless too I think) ,using a bit of washing up detergent for lubrication. I bought one cheaply on ebay for about $11 delivered like this. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/like/351563049588

 

Mine has 5 holes, a large hole for an electric element, one for a tap and another two for my recirc RIMS pump and yet another for a thermowell. My Crab Cooker was on special for $50, but even the stainless thermowell was $32, element $40, silicone hoses and other stainless barbs to 1/2in BSP fittings probably another $50, food grade pump $69, tap $14, so the kettle price was very cheap in comparison to everything attached to it now.

 

I have thought about buying a stainless kettle and switching all the parts over, but I really don’t see the need, unless I want to run bigger batches, or higher efficiency for large grain bills. This would be a nice to have and 50L would be a better size, however this may prove a bit too large to heat with a single 2400W element like I have now, complicating matters.

 

I guess the initial $50 price on the kettle was easier to get past the financial controller! But I’m so glad I bought this, as it got me heading down the AG path.

 

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I looked on the Rays website and couldn't see the volume listed anywhere. How much will it hold?

 

Also, I wonder if you could create some kind of screw-down "press" to squeeze the grain bag.

 

In fact ... i wonder if I could build such a thing for my own set up. Do they have a proper name?

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I guess the initial $50 price on the kettle was easier to get past the financial controller! But I’m so glad I bought this' date=' as it got me heading down the AG path.

[/quote']

 

Thanks mate… yes I think this could be a good entry point for me, without fitting the whole thing out with all the mods at this stage. I probably just need a 3 ring burner to heat it up enough too.

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Ruddy , I use a few 25 l food grade buckets stacked up as a sparge / draining rig .

Top one has a load of 6 mm holes through base and bottom one has a tap installed , easy to use and clean as well .

 

In bottom of urn I have a round trivet / cake rack that keeps bag well off the concealed element so I can apply heat to step mash or mashout ( always stir while heating ) .

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Probably quite common... But I dont have a 'Yeast Forge' or other temp controlled stir plate so I put the stirrer and flask in my fermenting fridge with the temp controller to maintain temps for starters.

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Probably quite common... But I dont have a 'Yeast Forge' or other temp controlled stir plate so I put the stirrer and flask in my fermenting fridge with the temp controller to maintain temps for starters.
A good idea in cold temps without it built into the stirrer, but in the warmer weather just leave them at ambient. It's better for the yeast anyway.

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Don't know if it qualifies as a hack, but I use a 60cm x 40cm dolly trolley from Bunnings to move my FVs round.

Make the brews on the kitchen bench and have 2 x milk crates stacked on the trolley, which is now just a little bit lower than the bench.

This makes the lift of the FVs easier for me.

Then when moving from the milk crate / trolley into the brew fridge I have made a small step table thingy (made from marine plywood).

This enables me to move the FV from the trolley onto the small table ( which is the same height as as the shelf in the brew fridge.

Then I can just slide the FV into the brew fridge.

Used to get a bit of a twingey back lifting the FV off the bench and into the fridge.

Couldn't complain too much about it cos the missus would blame the homebrew for my sore back and suggest I give up my new found hobby / obsession!

Used the marine ply for the brew fridge shelves as well.

 

Cheers

 

James

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James, I also use ply for my brew fridge shelves. How do you do with circulation? I'm finding the solid plywood shelf.blocks a lot of the cold air. Cooling element is in the top half.

 

The top definitely traps the cold air.

 

Contemplating drilling some holes in shelf to allow the air to circulate better. Someone here suggested computer fans for the ultimate circulation

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I looked on the Rays website and couldn't see the volume listed anywhere. How much will it hold?

 

 

About 38 litres

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Someone here suggested computer fans for the ultimate circulation

 

Computer fans are the go, I have one in each fridge, running on old 5 V plug pack phone chargers

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In regards to temp / air flow, I usually have 2 Coopers fermenters in the fridge, and both have the stick on temperature indicators.

The STC temp probe is attached to the top FV to control the temp.

But when I look on the stick on temp indicators they are usually within one degree of each other...

So I think it is not too much of an issue.

The temp should stabilise as the fridge is sealed, and the door is not opened too much, unless I am bored and keep looking to see how the krausens are doing etc.

 

Cheers

 

James

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Don't know if it qualifies as a hack' date=' but I use a 60cm x 40cm dolly trolley from Bunnings to move my FVs round.[/quote']

 

Building your own is more fun -

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Hacks eh?

Hmm lesseenow. I pinched a big plastic storage box for my malting experiments. I used knitted shade cloth for the liner. I pinched another small plastic storage box for steeping malt (to make crystal malt). A big seive with extendable handles for suspending malt in the aforementioned box. Oh and a silicon spatula for stirring malt extract and other fermentables into my FV (Doesn't scratch the inside of the FV which is a no-no because it can create hidey holes for bugs).

 

That's all I can think of for the moment.

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custom bottle caps to try and use PET bottles to brew a ginger beer. Once fermentation is done, swap them for normal caps to start carbonation. Haven't tried them yet tho...<a href=IMG_1005_zpsfxgh7wfj.jpg' alt='IMG_1005_

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My first hack...wanted to try a hop randall but the ones I've seen for sale seem overly expensive for a glorified water filter. Saw a YouTube clip on using a glass jar and Tubing but it occurred to me I had something already in the form of a little 2L mini keg.

 

I had a two post cap for it so reversed around the gas and liquid posts and dropped a bag of 25g Amarillo in to it in a hop sock. Tight fit but should be able to get it out after (I hope). Connected it up to a keg inline with the tap and tried filling it but was just getting gas. So I laid it on its side and it seemed to work. After leaving it for a couple of hours I pulled a pint and got punched in the face with hops lol

 

If this works I might see if I can silver solder on a pick up for the gas lines or find an alternative cap to use. Or just buy a water filter and adapt that annoyed

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