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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.
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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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.
West Coast Brewer – Homebrewing #homebrew #homebrewing
Most people don’t realize this, but it was not Federally legal to brew your own beer in the United States until 1978! Well that is not completely true. Homebrewing was actually legal prior prohibition. In fact, George Washington was even a home brewer. Home beer brewing was federally legalized in 1978 for the first time since Prohibition made homebrew illegal in 1919. It was Jimmy Carter who legalized home beer brewing in 1978.
What is even harder to believe, is that on the state level, home brewing was illegal in both Alabama and Mississippi until 2013! Thankfully we can all rest a little easier now. Homebrewing is currently legal in all 50 states!
It feels like it has been way too long but, I’m brewing up a new batch of homebrew tomorrow! For this batch I’m converting one of my old session IPAs into a hazy. I’m excited to see how it turns out.
One of the modifications is using Wyeast London Ale III for the yeast. I’m also adding a pound of flaked oats, and making modifications to the hop additions, especially during fermentation.
I will be sure to post the recipe if it comes out well!
For the yeast starter I also used Fast Pitch canned wort. It certainly speeds up the yeast starter process since I do not need to spend the time boiling and chilling the wort. I open the can, place the wort in a sanitized flask, add the same quantity of water, pitch the yeast, placed the sanitized stir rod, place it on the stir plate and that is all she wrote!
Right now, while supplied last at More Beer, you can get FREE Shipping and A FREE Wort Chiller when you purchase the all new Robo Brew 3 electric home brewing system. The RoboBrew home brewery is an all in one electric and digital home brewery. It features built in electric heating elements for heating and boiling water and wort. It also has a built in home brewing pump for recirculation! The onboard water resistant control panel allows for setting and monitoring brewing temperatures, making for a simplified homebrew day! The removable grain basket makes cleaning the RoboBrew a snap and a built in spigot makes transferring your wort easy. The RoboBrew v3 Electric Home Brewery is loaded with high end home brewing features. Here are some of the specs on the New RoboBrew 3 home brewery:
Robo Brew Home Brewery
ROBOBREW 3 HOME BREWERY
Stainless steel construction
Large 9 gallon total capacity with a finished beer output of 5-6 gallons
Digital temperature controller
Standard 110 v power
Dual heating elements for total control (1000 watts and 500 watts)
Stainless steel 1/2 inch ball valve
FREE Immersion wort chiller included
Stainless steel malt basket
Magnetic drive pump for recirculation
Temperature reads in °F or °C
The Robo Brew 3 All Electric Home Beer Brewing System is the ultimate portable all grain home brewery! The RoboBrew uses standard 110 v power so you can brew beer anywhere. The built in magnetic drive pump easily recirculates the wort during the mash. Dual heating elements run off of a single 110 volt plug and have individual switches allowing for more control over the heating process. One element is 1000 watts and the other is 500 for a combined 1500 watts! Use both when you need to ramp up the temperature quickly either at the start to get to your mash temp or to go from your mash temp to boiling.
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I initially purchased my March home brewing pumps about 7 years ago, well before stainless steel homebrew pumps were really a thing. Once stainless pumps became more popular, I considered upgrading, but my existing pumps worked fine and I could not justify the cost. Then Blichmann released their RipTide home brewing pumps which feature a tri-clamp attached head!!! In my opinion that is a big deal because it allows you to easily gain access to the pump cavity for easy cleaning. As it stood, I had to rely on hot water and PBW to do all of the cleaning unless I wanted to spend an extra 30 minutes breaking down, clean and then reassembling each of my March pumps; which is really not something I wanted to do after a long day of beer brewing. The one down side was that a new Blichmann Rip Tide home brewing pump will run you $199+. So I waited…..
Then, Blichmann release the RipTide Upgrade Kit! The Rip Tide Upgrade Kit allows you to upgrade some of the most common existing home brewing pumps to a Blichmann Rip Tide, for just $99. With this RipTide Kit, you can upgrade your March or Chugger pump with the Riptide’s Tri-Clamp housing. The RipTide’s head is made from stainless steel and can rotate 365 degrees to fit almost any home brewing setup. The kit also comes with Blichmann’s integral linear flow valve, which provides superior control and eliminates the need for an upper ball valve in must situations.
Blichmann Rip Tide Home Brewing Pump Upgrade Kit
Here is a list of home brewing pumps that the Blichmann Riptide upgrade kit is compatible with.
After verifying that the Blichmann RipTide Upgrade Kit would work with my current March homebrew pumps, I place my order for two of them. After placing my order, it took about 8 days for them to arrive. I purchased them from More Beer, but the pumps were shipped directly from Blichmann.
Next step was to read the instructions (which were relatively simple), make sure I had everything needed (which was just a screwdriver, a couple of wrenches and some PTFE thread seal tape. The instructions from Blichmann came in black and white and unfortunately the contrast made it so that it was difficult to see where the washer was supposed to go, so I included some color photos here to help you out if needed. I began by breaking down my existing march pump per the instructions and removing my existing fittings. It is important that you just remove the pump head and NOT the magnet collar! The pump head was held on by 4 stainless steel screws in my case. Here is an image to help:
Blacihmann Rip Tide Upgrade Instructions
Next I mounted my home brewing pump on to the included stainless steel pump riser. This was not required in my situation but I like the idea of it because it raised my pump up a couple of inches, bringing it close to my kettles, reducing the amount of tubing that I needed and giving me a little more space to empty the pumps when I had to clear wort from them. Everyone’s situation is a little different, but it works well on my home brewing rig. After that you will want to mount the Tri-Clamp adapter bracket on to your pump. Blichmann includes two sets of screws to use, so make sure that you select the appropriate screws for your pump. Be careful not to over tighten the screws; doing so could crack the bracket or damage the pump. Next, place the impeller housing and the impeller into the pump magnet as shown in the following images:
Blichmann Rip Tide Home Brewing Pump Upgrade Instructions
Next is where I nearly had a problem. Install the pump head o-ring and washer to the stainless steel RipTide pump head. My first kit was missing the washer and the photo quality on the instructions that came with the kit were so bad, I could not tell if I was suppose to use one of the mounting washers. Something did not seem right and I would have then been missing a mounting washer, so I checked my second pump kit and could see that there was a smaller washer that was intended for the pump head. It thankfully had two in that box, so all was good. Here is an image to help you see where to place the o-ring and washer into the Blichmann RipTide pump head:
RipTide Upgrade Kit Installation Photos
Lastly mount the Blichmann RipTide pump head on to your pump using the include stainless steel 3″ Tri-Clamp and attach any fittings that you may have. The entire process took me approximately 30 minutes per pump to upgrade an re-install onto my home brewing stand. Except for the issue with the washer, it was very painless. Here are a couple of photos of the Blichmann RipTide homebrewing pumps after they were installed on to my homebrewing rig.
Finished Images Of The Blichmann RipTide Pump Upgrade Kit
Blichmann RipTide Home brewing Pumps On My Homebrewing Rig
Close up Image of the Blichmann RipTide Home Brewing Pump
After that I tested the RipTide home brewing pumps for leaks and checked to make sure all of the ball valve connections were free from leaks as well. All was good and I also took a short video in case anyone was curious about the type of pressure or flow rate that you could expect from the RipTide upgrade kit.
I do not know about you, but I am not the biggest fan of having to store and maintain propane tanks. They take up space, run out of gas in the middle of a boil, the pressure changes when the tank gets too low and they are expensive to refill; and all the while I have natural gas available 10 feet away from my home brewery. So I decided that I would try converting my banjo burners from propane to natural gas. Let me start off by saying that I am not a professional plumber, a mechanical engineer, or a scientist that specialized in flammable gasses; so you should consult a professional. PLEASE CONSULT A LICENSED HEATING PROFESSIONAL FOR INFORMATION ON CONNECTING YOUR OUTDOOR BURNER TO YOUR HOUSE NATURAL GAS.
My home brewing setup uses 3 banjo burners and a 120v electric RIMS system to generate heat. So my first step was purchasing the natural gas valve to replace my existing propane valve. Since natural gas is pushed with a lower pressure than compressed liquid propane, you can not simply use the same valve. The good news is that the replacement valve is not that expensive.
Banjo Burner Natural Gas Valve
Williams brewing sells the valve for $9.99 and this Banjo Burner natural gas conversion valve is compatible with the Bayou Classic KAB4, KAB6, and BG14 Banjo burner. To use this valve, you will need a gas connection hose with a 3/8″ female flare end to attach to this valve to your natural gas source. This valve has an orifice diameter of approximately 1/8″, and features 1/4″ male npt threads to attach to your gas burner. These home brewing burner natural gas conversion valves also fit the Blichmann Top Tier Burners and Blichmann Floor standing burners. You can see the difference in the two burner valves in the following photo.
Converting Bayou Home Brewing Burners to Natural Gas
The natural gas replacement valve is on the left. You can see the gas outlet diameter is much larger than the propane on the right.
The process was pretty painless and I was able to replace all three burner valves and test for leaks in about 60 minutes. I used natural gas safe teflon sealant on all of the valves. One important factor to keep in mind is that natural gas is lower pressure than propane and you are going to put out less BTUs than you would with a propane tank. So if you were already struggling to achieve a boil with a propane tank, converting to natural gas is probably going to be a bad idea. I have yet to test how long it takes to reach a boil, but the flame tests all look great so far!
Converting A Home Brewery From Propane to Natural Gas
Once I have the test in, I will let you know how it work out!
Like with many hobbies, home brewing has a learning curve. Initially there is a lot of information to take in and many processes to keep track of. In time, you gather knowledge and experience and you master the fundamentals of brewing. Where home brewing differs from many hobbies is that once you have done so, there are a variety of tangents that you can pursue. For instance you can explore water chemistry and the impacts on different styles of beer, design your own beer recipes and figure out which hops best compliment a specific yeast strain, try different mashing techniques and focus on boosting your brew house efficiency or even build and customize your own brewing hardware. At some point along the way, if you home-brew long enough; what makes your beer unique is all of the small things that you learn, apply in your process and customize along the way.
On the topic of all of the small things, one of the things that I should have done long ago was place a notch in my mash tun lid to accommodate my sparge arm. Prior do doing so I had to leave my lid ajar, allowing heat to escape from my mash tun, requiring my RIMS system to use more energy to compensate. I am not going to lie, any upgrade or project that requires me to drill into or cut in to one of my stainless steel Blichmann kettles make me a little nervous. After all, the last thing that I want to do is ruin one of my vital pieces of home brewing hardware. The good news is that I almost never use a lid on my Boil Kettle, so if I jacked up the mash tun lid bad enough, I had a backup!
I used three tools for this project, an angle grinder (costs about $30 if you do not already have one), a file to clean up the rough edges and sharp spots and a dremel (or drill) with a fine grinding bit to shape the groves more precisely so that the lid would fit snugly against the sparge arm. Although initially intimidating, it really was not so challenging. My best advice is to measure conservatively for your initial grinder cut and use the dremel to remove any excess metal. The vertical cuts are easy with the grinder, but the horizontal cut can be challenging if you are not careful. As a final touch I may add a silicone stopper and trim it to fill some of the small gaps that still exist; but even with out that I am very happy with how it turned out! Also, if you are looking for an incredible stainless steel sparge arm, I can not recommend the More Beer Ultimate Sparge Arm highly enough. I have used it for around 3 years now and it had performed flawlessly.