Beer Bug Home Brewing Internet Based Monitoring System
Limited time and quantity promo code from MoreBeer.com – MoreBeer
Promo Codes for the Month of September 2016
Coupon Code Date: 9/5/2016
Promotion Details: Save $40 on a Digital Homebrew Monitor was $199
Promo Code: BEERDEAL
Coupon Code Description: MoreBeer currently has a coupon code that will save you $40 on a Digital Homebrew Monitor! The Beer Bug is a fantastic piece of homebrewing equipment that measures the actual specific gravity, ABV and even temperature of your fermenting homebrew beer every minute. It then compiles the homebrew data and sends that information to your own free online account. It makes it super easy for you to log on at the TheBeerBug.com or via an internet based app on your phone to see exactly how your fermentation is doing from anywhere! In fact, this homebrewing technology has three graphs that are created for each of your beers to log how specific gravity, alcohol %, and temperature changed over the course of the fermentation. The Beer Bug gives you the knowledge to make better beer and saves you time! Understanding what happens during fermentation, and how to control it, is often what separates good brewers from great brewers. The Beer Bug is the tool that gives you the information you need to know things like if your fermentation temperature inside the chamber is too high or too low, when fermentation is nearing completion so that you can prepare to dry hop, keg or bottle and even what the lag time is on your beer is.
Here are the specs on the Beer Bug, digital home brewing monitor with web interface:
- Fits just about any fermentation vessel
- Actual gravity sensor hangs from your BeerBug into your beer and can be lengthened or shortened to accommodate any vessel
- Sends information via your local WiFi network
- Rechargeable battery in the homebrew monitor has a 25 day charge life
- Free account on TheBeerBug.com
- Easy to setup and configure
- Android and iOS Apps available for your phone or tablet
- Software upgrades will automatically be sent to your Beer Bug via WiFi as released
Found this at: HomebrewingDeal.com
Stainless Steel Conical Fermenters
It has been about a year since I purchased my 7 Gallon SS BrewTech conical fermenter and 14 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter. I have been very please with their performance and am happy to report that I have not had a single issue with them. The quality of the manufacturing is top notch and they were the best priced stainless steel conicals that I could find. Best of all they even shipped them for free, saving me a bundle.
Their price was recently reduced and they also release an upgraded Brew Master version of their already quality built line of stainless steel conical fermenters. So if you are looking to upgrade your homebrewing fermenters, this may be a great time to do so.
These stainless steel conicals come loaded with features, here are some of the specs:
- Certified Food Grade 304 Stainless Steel Construction
- Patent Pending Stainless Steel Rotating Racking Arm
- 60° cone for clean yeast harvesting
- NEW weldless thermowell
- 1.5” Tri-Clamp Fittings (lid, side, bottom)
- Molded Silicone Gasket for airtight Lid seal.
- Pressure relief valve included
- Six Spring-Loaded Lid Clamps hold Lid in place
- Pressurizeable to 5 PSI for Transfers
- Electrically etched (not painted) gallon markings
- TIG Sanitary Welds – Easy to Clean, Long-lasting!
7 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter
Stainless Steel 7 Gallon Conical Fermenter
14 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter
Stainless Steel 14 Gallon Conical Fermenter
They have a full range of these stainless steel homebrewing fermenters, including 1/2 barrel and full 1 barrel sized fermenter. Their brew bucket line of stainless steel fermenters is also on sale right now starting at $195.
Click here for their full line of homebrewing fermenters.
Home Brewing Digital Temperature Controller
It seems like often times home brewers place a ton of attention of the brewing process and not enough on the fermentation process. The truth is that both are critical to making a good beer. Brewing yeast is highly temperamental and is heavily impacted by temperature. If the temperature is too cold it begins to shut down, slowing replication and fermentation. If this happen at the wrong time in the fermentation process you will wind up with a sweet and under fermented beer and potentially bottle bombs. If your temp gets too high high you may flash ferment your beer ending up with a bunch of off flavors created by your yeast. What you want in a nice consistent temperature, specific to your lager or all yeast strain. A temperature that is consistent 24 hours a day, not fluctuating wildly day and night. For most ale yeast strains you are looking for a target temp of about 68 F. Depending on where you live, what time of the year it is and what type of equipment you have available will determine how you want to handle controlling your fermentation temperate. In any case, you are probably going to want to purchase a temperature controller such as the Ranco Digital Temperature Controller pictured above. I have used both Ranco and Johnson controllers and would recommend either; the Ranco just tends to be a little less expensive. In an ideal situation you would hook the temperature controller to a chest freezer or refrigerator to help insulate the beer from the elements.
If you are looking for a digital temperature controller for your home brewing fermentation, MoreBeer currently has the Ranco on sale for $83.95 and is Available Here
Home Brewing Digital Controlled Beer Fermentation
How to Wire a Ranco Digital Temperature Controller
Ranco Digital Temperature Controllers and Accessories Available Here
Recently I decided that I would create a temperature controlled RIMS systems for my home brewery. I picked up a Ranco Digital Temperature Controller (model # ETC-111000-000) to manage the temperature regulation. I have not quite completed the entire Recirculating Infusion Mash System, but I just wrapped up the Ranco wiring and thought that I would share what I learned in case it will help out anyone else.
The RIMS heating element that I am using is a stainless steel 120v heating bar, so I have configured the Ranco for 120, but the Ranco thermostat is also capable of handling 240v; it just requires a slight wiring modification. I would like to point out that I am not a professional electrician. Electricity can be extremely dangerous to work with and may result in death. You should always consult with a professional electrician when attempting a project such as this. Manufacturer hardware designs sometimes change and you should refer to your instructions prior to beginning. Here is a wiring diagram that I used for my Ranco Temperature Controller.
Ranco Digital Temperature Controller Wiring Diagram
I cut apart a heavy gauge extension cord to use for my wall power connection and for the wiring I used to connect to my output plug. Inside the extension cord is a ground wire, common wire and hot wire. In the diagram above I use the green wire to represent ground, the white wire to represent common and the dark red wire to represent hot. Please be aware that different cables use different colored wire to represent different things, these colors are just meant to be an example. I ran the grounding cable from my extension cord directly to my output plug ground connection and also grounded it to the metal case that I am using to house my Ranco temperature controller, plug and switches. I spliced the white common cable from the extension cord and connected it to the “COM” port on my Ranco and ran an extension wire to the common connection point on my output plug. Since the RIMS heating element that I am using is 120v, I ran the hot wire from my extension cord to the Ranco “120” port. I then connected a small length of heavy gauge wire from the “120” port on the Ranco to the “C” port on the Ranco Temperature Controller. Lastly, I ran a segment of red wire from the Ranco “NO” port to the hot wire connection on my output plug. I reviewed my work to make sure that all of the wires were connected properly and there was no bare wire exposed. I then connected the device to a GFCI outlet and tested the device with a voltage meter to make sure that everything was working as intended. The Ranco is great because you can select whether you want the power to activate when the temperature drops below a certain point or rises above a certain point which means that it can be used for either a RIMS type device or to control the fermentation temperature in a freezer or refrigerator without having to rewire the device or modify the hardware.
Ranco 120v Thermostat
If you are not comfortable doing electrical work or if you would prefer to avoid the hassle, you can purchase a wired Ranco Digital Temperature controller. You can find several different options available here at a great price via the link below. They also have spare temperature probes and mounting brackets for the Ranco available if needed.
Ranco Digital Temperature Controllers
Good luck with your project and happy brewing!
Reusing and harvesting beer yeast
While cleaning out your fermenter have you ever wondered if you could reuse the yeast that has collected on the bottom? The answer is yes, you certainly can! You can actually often reuses your yeast 4 or 5 times with out the likelihood of having any ill effects from mutations or high quantities of alternate yeast strains impacting the flavor of your beer. Yeast isn’t cheap at around $7-$10 for a vial of the good stuff, so you might as well get your moneys worth!
Here are some basic things to consider when reusing your home brewing yeast.
It is best to reuse the yeast as soon as possible. You will probably want to consider discarding it after approximately 6 months. If you are pitching the yeast more than 30 days after harvesting it from your fermenter, I would recommend creating a starter with it to help insure viability.
Only reuse your yeast 4-5 times. Each time you reuse the yeast, mutations will occur and the probability of alternate yeast strains impacting the flavor of your beer will increase.
Do not reuse the yeast if the ABV of the beer that you harvested it from exceeds 6.5%. High alcohol levels weaken and destroy your yeast.
Do not reuse yeast from a heavily hopped beer. Like with alcohol, an over abundance of hops (from a dry hopped IPA for instance) will diminish the longevity and potency of your yeast.
Do your best to avoid harvesting the trub along with your yeast. This is most easy accomplished via a conical fermenter. It is also possible transfer the yeast slurry and then rinse and decant your yeast with sanitized water to separate it from the trub.
Harvesting Beer Yeast
Yeast should be stored at approximately 36 F in a sanitized vessel. Keep in mind that even at that temperature the yeast may still be active and can create CO2. So beware as your container may explode if too much fermentable sugar remained behind in your harvested yeast solution and the vessel is unable to vent the pressure.
If you are interested in purchasing a conical fermenter or yeast harvesting cylinder; many options can be found here:
Conical Fermenters and Yeast Harvesting
Brettanomyces – Brett Beer
Sometimes how brewers take for granted how big of an impact yeast makes on a beer. It seems like the grain bill and the hops garnish the lion share of attention, but the truth is that the yeast can play just as large of a role in certain beers. This is especially true with sours, lambics, gueuze and wild ales. One of the main yeast stains commonly used with wild ales and sours is brettanomyces or also commonly called brett.
Brettanomyces is very special because in addition to converting sugars to alcohol and CO2, it also creates a high amount of acetic acid and off flavors in certain environments. Brett or Brettanomyces is often described as adding a funky or horse blanket like flavor to beer and as you can imagine, in most cases is undesirable. It is important to note that if you are going to dabble in the use of brettanomyces or other souring bacteria such as lactobacillus and pediococcus you will want to consider setting aside specific equipment such as fermenters, kegs and racking canes for your wild ales and sours. Once these yeasts and bacteria come in contact with your fermenting equipment they can be more difficult to eradicate than typical brewing yeast strains due to their ability to survive in high temperatures, tolerate high alcohol levels and their ability to survive in low pH environments. If not, it is very important to make sure that you practice proper cleaning and sanitization methods to insure you will not contaminate future batches of beer.
Recently Brettanomyces has made become very popular in alternative beer styles. It is a powerful tool to have for a creative brewer who is working on designing interesting and flavorful beers. It is also an important reminder of just how important both yeast and fermentation conditions are in creation of a beers taste.
If you are looking to taste examples of well crafted brettanomyces beers, I highly recommend Russian River Sanctification which is a 100% brett beer and also any one of the Crooked Stave 100% brett release beers.
Here are a few Brettanomyces yeast varieties for home brewing
Wort is the name given to the sugar rich liquid that is extracted from the mash prior to fermentation. Prior to the boil, when the hops have not yet bittered the wort, it is known as sweet wort. After the boil but prior to fermentation, it is known as bitter wort since the beta acids from the hops have imparted a bitter flavor upon it.
A photo of sweet wort being transferred from the mash tun to the boil kettle after sparging had completed:
Wort (unfermented beer) being transferred after sparging.
Beer sediment is the collection of solids that fall out suspension of a fermenting or conditioning beer. Sediment is mostly comprised of yeast, grain solids, hop solids, and adjunct solids. As the beer ferments or conditions, the dense solids fall and settle to the floor of a fermenter, conditioning vessel, or bottle, in the case of a bottle conditioned beer. The sediment is typically discarded, but if the yeast is still healthy, it may be recycled from the sediment to be used to ferment future beers.
Secondary fermentation is the process of transferring your beer to a secondary fermentation vessel to allow the beer to complete its fermentation cycle and condition in a clean environment. The primary reason for a secondary fermentation is to improve the taste of a beer. Towards the end of the primary fermentation, much of the yeast, beer solids, and hop solids will fall out of the beer and form sediment on the bottom of the fermenter. If left in contact with the beer too long, the dead yeast and solids can impart off or undesirable flavors upon the beer. For this reason, many brewers choose to rack the beer off of the sediment into a secondary fermenter to allow the beer to finish out fermentation, clarify, and condition.
The need for secondary fermentation is somewhat dependent on the style and characteristics of the beer that you are creating. For instance, if I am brewing an American wheat hefeweizen, I probably will not go through the trouble of a secondary fermentation because it is a relatively low alcohol beer with a low flocculating strain of yeast. This means it will ferment quickly, so the beer is only in contact with the sediment for a short period of time, and much of the yeast will remain in suspension with this style of beer, so a yeasty taste and cloudy appearance is appropriate.
If I was brewing an IPA with a high starting gravity, and I wanted to highlight the hoppy flavor of the beer, I would certainly conduct a secondary fermentation to remove as much yeast and yeast flavor from the finished beer to help both with taste and clarity. Depending on the beer style, gravity, fermentation temperatures, yeast strain, and yeast health, a secondary fermentation can typically last anywhere from two weeks to several months. When conducting a secondary fermentation on certain beers, such as sours, the secondary fermentation can in some cases last over a year.
An imperial chocolate stout being racked into a secondary fermentation carboy,
Beer being racked into a secondary fermenter.
Pitching or yeast pitching is the term used for when a brewer adds yeast to the cooled wort to begin the fermentation process. Yeast should be pitched to the wort as quickly as possible to diminish the possibility of wild yeast strains or bacteria taking control of the sweet wort before your selected yeast has the opportunity to. Additionally, your pitched yeast should be as close to the same temperature as the wort that you are adding it to in order to avoid shocking the yeast and to help the yeast acclimate as quickly as possible and lower yeast lag time. It is critical that your wort is in an appropriate temperature range for the yeast to be able to survive and thrive; for most ales that temperature range is between 65° and 80° F for pitching, but you should always consult your yeast’s packing for the specific temperature range of the variety you are using.
Cooled wort being aerated, just prior to having the yeast pitched.
Yeast pitching and aeration just prior to fermentation.
The lag phase is the period of time in which yeast adapts to the new fermentation environment and undergoes significant reproduction. Depending on the state of the yeast (reactivated, chilled, or dried), health of the yeast cells, variety of yeast, amount of dissolved oxygen available in the wort, temperature of the wort, and amount of available fermentable sugars, the lag phase may last anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. The lag phase begins as soon as the yeast is introduced into the wort and very little CO2 or alcohol is produced while it is active.
The shorter the lag time, the better, so that the desired yeast has a chance to take control of the wort before unwanted bacteria or wild yeast strains do.There are several ways to decrease your lag time, including:
- Creating a yeast starter
- Rehydrating dried yeast
- Keeping your yeast and wort at the correct temperature when pitching the yeast and continuing to monitor temperature until the lag phase has ended.
- Well-aerating your wort so that the yeast will have enough oxygen available.
- Pitching enough yeast for the gravity of your wort.
Lagers are beers that are fermented using a bottom fermenting yeast. These yeasts are slow fermenting and they require a lower temperature when compared to ales. Depending on the yeast strain, a lager typically conducts a primary fermentation at a temperature range between 40° F and 55° F.
Lager is the German word for storage, and lagers generally have their secondary fermentation temperature reduced and may need to condition for several months before they are considered finished.