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I purchased my MoreBeer.comUltimate Stainless Steel Sparge Arm about 4 years ago. I still consider it to be one of my very best home brewing purchases. It has been durable, functional, reliable and most importantly clog free for me over the years.
One home brewing modification that I recently did, made something great even better! In my home brewery, I use a electric heating bar that allows me to lock in the temperature of my mash with no fuss. I just recirculate my mash, set the desired temperature and I am done. The mash recirculates back into the mash tun via my stainless steel sparge arm. Previously, I would then disconnect the sparge arm from the mash tun and connect it to my hot liquor tank when it was time to mash out. Now with the new stainless steel manifold that I made for the sparge arm, it is much safer and as easy as turning a nob.
More Beer Stainless Steel Sparge Arm
The above photo illustrates how it works. I swapped out the existing ball valve and added in 3 mini stainless steel ball valves as well as a stainless steel 1/2″ tee fitting and 2 90 degree stainless steel elbows. The whole process only took about 30 minutes to complete. I then covered the high temp silicone tubing with stainless steel braiding to make them easier to handle, reduce kinking and make it look a little sharper. Here is a list of all of the parts that I purchase for the project:
Everything worked out great on the project. I tested for leaks and cleaned all of the parts well with a hot mixture of PBW home brewing cleaner and water. Just a couple of tips. I ran three loops of teflon tape for all of the connections. I tightened all of the fittings as tightly as I could. For the stainless steel 1/2″ braiding for the home brewing hoses, I ran a small .5″ pipe through it first to stretch it out, then inserted the silicone tubing and that made getting on the tube much easier. I can’t wait to put it all to good use on my next batch of homebrew, which will either be a Coconut Porter or a Hazy IPA. If you have any questions on anything, just hit me up with a comment or on Facebook.
It has been a little while since I got any cool new home brewing gear, so I was pretty excited when the Amazon guy dropped this package off! One of my good friends is going to be getting married later this month. I figured that I would bring some home brewed beer to help celebrate. I have a Milkshake Hazy IPA in the fermentation chamber that should finish up just in time. The wedding is about 8 hours away and I am unfortunately limited on how much I can bring. Unfortunately a full sized keg is out of the question. So I began my search and finally ended up selecting this 128 oz stainless steel mini keg draft beer dispenser.
After cleaning all of the items well and assembling the parts (took about 5 minutes), I put some beer in the mini keg to try it out and it worked perfectly. It has a mini regulator that features a gauge so that you can carefully control the PSI of your CO2. I set the PSI to 5 and it poured beer perfectly with out excess foam or spitting beer halfway across the room. They say that the CO2 cartridge should last for at least one mini kegs worth of beer but I have yet to deplete one. The mini keg beer dispenser holds right about 8 pints of beer and you can purchase additional 128 oz mini kegs separately for about $35 each. I have a 64 oz stainless steel mini keg that I am also planning on bringing with my latest Viking Double IPA so that I have a little variety. They also offer a insulator sleeve, but I am going to try an keep it in a bucket filled with ice, so hopefully that will do the trick.
Keeps beer vacuum pressured and fresh for up to 2 months
Perfect for any homebrew or craft beer
Each CO2 cartridge will pump around 128 oz of beer before depleting CO2 cartridge
Monitor the mini keg growler’s current PSI from the regulator gauge and fine tune pressure by rotating the adjustment knob
Add the optional insulator sleeve to help keep beer cold
The accessories and mini keg are all constructed with 304 food grade stainless steel
Includes a pressure release valve
Laser marked at the fill level
Includes metal screw on lid for easy portable transportation and storage
The perfect size to fits in your home fridge
Perhaps the best feature of this stainless steel mini keg was the price! Amazon has it on sale with free next day shipping for just $114! If you are in the market for a great little draft beer system to help you transport your homebrew for the holidays, you can use the following link.
Perhaps the biggest brewing trend of 2019 has been the explosion in popularity of Kveik (pronounced Ki-Vike) yeast. Kveik is a group of Norwegian yeast strains that were previously best known for their use in Norwegian farmhouse brewing. Kviek yeast has been used in brewing for over 400 years now, but recently has seen a resurgence in popularity because of some of its unique properties.
So what is so special about Kviek? Primarily it boils down to temperature! Unlike typical ale yeast, which ferments best around 68F, Kviek yeast strains ferment well up to temperatures of 100°F (a temperature that would kill most lager or ale yeast strains). In fact, the sweet spot for Kviek yeast strains is between 70°F and 95°F and at high temperatures it imparts little noticeable difference in ester production. The ideal fermentation temperature for a lager is typically between 45F and 60F ; for an ale it is 68F and 72F. Unlike Kviek, most lager and ale yeast strains produce undesirable off flavors / esters once they exceed their optimal fermentation temperature ranges. If a home brewer does not have the ability to control their fermentation temperature this often times translates to sub par beer.
The high fermentation temperature range of Kviek yeasts has another big benefit, SPEED! You know how cold blooded animals like snakes and lizards move slower when it is cold outside and faster when it is hot? Well yeast works the same way. When the temperature is high, yeast gets super charged. It is the reason why lagers ferment so much slower than ales. Using Kviek yeast is kinda like trading in your old 2007 Dodge Caravan for a 2020 Porsche GT2 with a carbon fiber spoiler, reduced weight seats and upgraded suspension package.
Not wanting to drive a Minivan any longer, I figured I would give Kviek a shot and see what all the hype was about.
Home Brewing with Kviek Yeast
To take full advantage of the Kviek fermentation benefits, I purchased a dual stage temperature controller and an “always on” heating pad for my fermentation chamber (converted chest freezer). Keep in mind that as yeast ferments it is releasing a bunch of energy as it replicates, digests sugar, pees out alcohol and burps out CO2. In the image at the top of this article, you can see that I set my fermentation temp to 86F and the yeast brought the temperature all the way up to 90.1F during primary fermentation. It is advised that you make sure you keep that in mind as you set your desired fermentation temperature into your temp controller if you happen to use one.
For my first Kviek batch, I fermented a Double IPA and used the Imperial Loki Kviek yeast strain. Here is some of Imperials information on it:
Imperial Loki Kviek Yeast
TEMP: 65–100F (18–38C) FLOCCULATION: MEDIUM-HIGH ATTENUATION: 75–85% ALCOHOL TOLERANCE: 10%
Norwegian Voss Kveik Strain that can be used in a wide variety of beer styles. A traditional Norwegian Kveik strain that has an extremely wide fermentation temperature range. This strain has been traditionally used in Norwegian farmhouse style beers however, due to it’s fermentation temp range can be used in a variety of beers from pseudo lagers, Belgian inspired, and hop forward beers. The possibilities seem endless when fermenting with Loki. On the cool end of the range Loki is super clean; producing little to no esters. On the high end of the fermentation range, 85-95F, it tends to produce a huge fruit ester profile.
I created a yeast starter with the Kviek yeast the night before. The brew day went well with no mishaps. I pitched the wort, placed the fermenter in the fermentation chamber and checked in on it periodically. The fermenter was already bubbling after just a few hours. I had never seen fermentation begin so rapidly. Primary fermentation concluded in just 3 days which was incredibly fast for a beer with an approximate ABV of 8.5%. I dry hopped the beer for 3 additional days and then cold crashed for 2 days at 45F. My highest fermentation temperature reached was 91F.
Battle Hammer – Viking IPA with Kviek Yeast
I named my first Kviek beer Battle Hammer – Viking Double IPA. It is extremely hoppy, but with a name like Battle Hammer, I figured it needed to be. I had only let the beer condition in the keg for about a week and at this point it is still a little cloudy; I am hoping it will clear a bit over the next couple of weeks. The beer tastes fantastic; very clean and with no off flavors that might have come from the yeast. I was unable to taste any noticeable difference between brewing with this Kviek Loki yeast to when I had brewed this same beer in the past with a Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast strain. The beer came out great, my only change would be to perhaps swap out some of my old school hops for some Citra to brighten the hop profile a bit.
To celebrate the beer, I had created a tap handle inspired by it’s Norwegian heritage.
Norwegian IPA – Battle Hammer – Kviek Yeast – Tap Handle Being Welded
The runes on the tap handle read “IPA” or at least that is what the Google tells me.
I already have another Kviek fermented beer in the works. For this batch I am using the Omega Kviek Hornidal strain. It is going to be a Coconut Milkshake Hazy IPA. I am hoping that some of the tropical not from them Hornindal Kviek strain take hold in the beer. The hop profile of this beer is far more subtle than my Battle Hammer Viking IPA, so the yeast should have a greater impact on the flavor of this beer. Here is some information on the Kviek yeast stains put out by Omega.
HotHead is Norwegian in origin from the Stranda Kveik. The famous Lars of Larsblog collected it in Norway and then sent it away for isolation. This isolate has a uniquely pleasant fruitiness and an absurdly wide fermentation range, and ferments clean across the entire range. This is great for brewers who want to be energy efficient with temperature control, or who lack temp control in warm climates. It maintains a stable ester profile, and we advocate it’s be used for hoppy American ales.
Voss Kveik is also a Norwegian farmhouse strain from the Gjernes farmhouse which is new to US brewers. It maintains character over a broad temperature range with subtle orange citrus notes that match fruity hops well.
Attributes: Medium Flocculation, 75-82% Attenuation, 62-98° F Temp Range, 12% ABV Alcohol Tolerance
A wonderfully unique Norwegian farmstead Kveik. Hornindal presents a tropical flavor and aroma of fresh pineapple, mango and tangerine, which complement fruit-forward hops. Add even more dimension to C hops with a high fermentation temperature, intensifying aroma and fermentation speed. Ferments well at 90+° F.
Attributes: High Flocculation, 75-82% Attenuation, 72-98° F Temp Range, 16% ABV Alcohol Tolerance
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Recently I took about 8 months off from brewing beer. I have had a lot going on in my life and homebrew had to take a back burner for a little while. But there is something about October. It just feels like beer brewing season for me. The air started getting a little cooler and I began to remember all of those little things that I enjoy so much about home beer brewing. So I crafted a recipe, got some friends together and we brewed up a batch of Hazy IPA that we are calling David Hazelhop. If it turns out to be good, I will post the recipe. I have a few ideas for some tweaks that I would like to make on it for the next time, so we will see. This was my first time using malted oats and I think I will add more of them to the next batch if this one turns out well. Here are some photos from this brewing session.
Home Brewing Beer – Photo of me and the gang after the brew session, enjoying a can of Monkish Hazy
Homebrew, Homebrewing, Home Beer Brewing, German Mandarina Hops
Transferring the Hazy IPA wort to the conical fermenter
My buddy not to excited about having to scrub up the mash tun
Homebrew, Homebrewing, Home Beer Brewing, Prost
Once this batch finished up I will either try to brew a slightly different version or try an idea that I have for a Viking IPA that uses the Kveik yeast!
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The Best Electric Home Brewing Systems Under $1,000
There are two main methods of home brewing beer. One is called extract and the other is known as all grain home brewing. With extract, you use either powdered malt sugar or malt syrup that has been extracted for you. With all grain home brewing, you extract the starches from the grain yourself and then convert them to sugar during the mashing process. All grain home brewing is considered to be more advance than extract brewing since it is more complex and you have greater control over the beer you make.
If you have tried extract home brewing and are ready to move to all grain, I have created a list of my top 3 all in one turnkey all grain home beer brewing systems. For my list I have chosen 3 affordable home brewing systems that will allow you to brew 5 gallon batches of beer.
The RoboBrew v3 is an electric home brewing system costs $479 and comes with everything that you need to start brewing all grain beer recipes. The RoboBrew features a built-in magnetic drive pump to recirculate the wort during the mash for high efficient brewing. The RoboBrew also features dual electric heating elements run off of a single 110 volt plug and has individual switches allowing for more control over the heating process.
The RoboBrew’s digital control panel makes it easy to see the temperature as you brew. The Robo Brew’s digital temperature controller is also water resistant so you don’t need to worry about spills or some water dripping down the side. The Robo Brew home brewery includes a stainless steel malt pipe with false bottom allowing you to quickly shift from mash tun to boil kettle. The Robobrew v3 even includes a stainless steel wort chiller is shipped with bare ends so you can set it up for your situation.
The GrainFather home beer brewing system is an electric home brewing system costs $998. The Grain Father home beer brewing is an all in one Brewing System with a hefty feature set! The Grain Father has a small footprint and uses standard 120 v power. Mashing in the Grain Father takes place in the inner Stainless Steel brewing basket. The wort recirculates through the perforated plate. This Grain Father electric home brewing system includes a counter flow homebrewing chiller for cooling wort post boil. Best of all, the Grain Father uses the Connect Control Box in conjunction with the Connect App for the ultimate home beer brewing experience. The control box has Bluetooth connection to your mobile device so it can be controlled remotely making your brew day a snap.
If you are looking for the most cost effective all grain home brewing system available, look no further. The Brewer’s Edge plugs into any 110 volt GFI household outlet. The Mash and Boil features double wall stainless steel construction. This design enhancement conserves heat and lets you reach a boil faster! You can achieve a rolling boil with only 110 volts and 1600 watts! The Brewers Edge’s precise thermostat and internal sparge basket lets you mash and boil in the same vessel.
West Coast Brewer Hazy Session IPA All Grain Recipe
I recently transferred my Hazy Session IPA to the keg and let it carbonate. I was really pleased with the results and figured I would post the recipe in case anyone was looking to brew one. I did my best to keep the ABV right at or slightly under 5%. Since session beers tend to be a little thin on body, I tried to round mine out by adjusting the mineral profile of the water. I also loaded my Hazy Session IPA up with Citra hops to give it that lush and juicy taste that you come to expect with a Hazy IPA.
Hazy Session IPA All Grain Recipe
Beer Name: Murky Depths Hazy Session IPA Beer Style: New England Style Hazy Session IPA Recipe Type: All Grain Batch Size: 5 Gallons Mash Type: Infusion
(60 Min) 152F
(10 Min) 169F Mash Out
1 tsp Calcium Chloride
.5 tsp Gypsum / Calcium Sulfate Grain Bill: 9 LBS Pale 2 Row US
1 LBS Flaked Oats
1 LBS Caramel / Crystal Malt 40L Hops: .5 oz Centennial – 60 minutes
1 oz Cascade – 20 minutes
1 oz Cascade – 10 minutes
2 oz Citra – 0 Minutes & Whirlpool Yeast:
London Ale III Wyeast #1318 Fermentation: 2 Week Primary @ 70F
– I ferment this at a slightly higher that usual temperature to increased ester production
and to create a more active fermentation)
On day 3 of active fermentation make the following hop additions
2 oz Citra
On day 7 of fermentation make the following hop additions
1 oz Cascade
2 oz Citra
Once fermentation has completed cold crash and transfer to keg or bottle.
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