Friday, November 26, 2010

Swedish brewing radio needs your support!

The Swedish brewing radio is a project run by two homebrewers who have invested a lot of time and money in this great service towards swedish homebrewers. As the traffic on the site has exceeded their wildest dreams, they now need your support to keep the project running. Interested? Have a look at and click on the donation button! I did.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fermenteezer, sorachi saison and tripel

It's been a while since my last post. The family keeps me busy these days, so finding time to blog is not always easy. However, I am writing now, and will start off by telling about my fermenteezer, or fermentation freezer.

I had been thinking about controlling my fermentation temperature for a while, but until I really knew what I wanted I used a 50 l bucket filled with water. In the water was a aquarium heating element to control the temperature, and my 30 l fermentation bucket was floating in the big bucket. Pretty good system, but it only allows heating. Worthless for cold crashing and lager brewing, or when the ambient temperature is too high. Finally, after reading through a lot of post on American, Dutch, Belgian and Swedish forums (being a polyglot has its advantages...) I knew what I wanted. For the fermentation chamber a wanted a box freezer. Fridges don't go low enough (how else am I going to lager my Duvel clone, if I can't reach -3 °C?), and upright freezers don't fit a bucket. The box freezer I bought is rather small (the car also has to fit in the garage) and fits 1 30l bucket or 2 25 liter water containers.
For controlling the temperature I wanted to use a thermostat that can steer both cooling and heating. I also wanted to control the temperature accurately. The TC-10 from Forttex fulfilled all of these criteria. For heating I used a hair dryer. Luckily the cheapest I could find also had the lowest wattage. After all, I don’t want to grill my beer...
This is how it looks: a fermentation freezer steered by a TC-10.

The beer then... I have designed a few recipes, but unfortunately I haven't had time to brew them yet. As belgoträffen, a local competition for Belgian style beers, is approaching it was about time to get going. This is why I will brew not less then 2 beers this week. First I will brew a saison with sorachi ace hops, 20 liter on my own gear. Later this week I will brew the 2010 version of my tripel on the club's braumeister. 2 brews I'm really looking forward to. I am really curious about the sorachi hops. They are suppose to give a nice lemon zest/lemongrass aroma to the beer. I hope it will not be like biting in a lemon. To be on the safe side I'll use some styrian goldings too.
The tripel was the 2009 success story. I was quite proud of it myself, and it scored the highest of my beers on the Swedish championships. Taking the comments of the jury into consideration I will now slightly modify the recipe, control my fermentation temperature and brew enough for both belgoträffen and the Swedish championships. Also the yeast is slightly different, Instead of wyeast 3787 I will now use a starter from a single colony of Westmalle yeast, directly from the source.

Will I brew a price beast? Not sure... but as long as I like it, I'll find people willing to help me emptying the keg.