Friday, August 31, 2012

STC1000 Controlled Fermenting Cabinet

Front view all sealed up
I have come to the conclusion that Larder Fridges (the tall ones with no built in freezer) are like the proverbial Rocking Horse shit here in France.

I've been trying to get hold of one or two, secondhand fridges to convert into Fermenting Cabinets.

You may be familiar with the concept of an FV Cabinet or you may not so in case you don't know here's a quick explanation.

Yeast performs better at certain temperatures and if the temperature of the environment in which the FV is located varies the yeast can do funny things. Fermentation times can vary, flavours can develop differently and well... generally it takes away another level of consistency when trying to reproduce recipes.

So, take a fridge for cooling, a small heater - for heating and wire the two into an external temerature controller such as the STC-1000

Place the heater in the bottom of the fridge and your FV on a shelf above - probably advisable to build your own shelving system to fit in the fridge.

The controller is set to eg 18C and if the sensor (supplied with a nice long wire) in the fridge detects it is warmer than that it'll switch the fridge on... If the temp drops too low the STC1000 will switch the heater on. Because the fridge walls are insulated neither the fridge or heater have to run for long to keep a perfectly stable temperature for your yeast.

My dilemma was I couldn't find a suitable fridge, so I used a smaller, old one and built a large extension for it from PU Foam insulation panels.


Under construction. The PU foam screws together easily using some flat headed decking type screws. A steel rule, sharp knife and a tape measure. The foam cuts easily and cleanly.

Rear view, the old fridge built into the back. Temp reading 21.6 and the cooling light is on as the fridge brings the temp down to 18.5C. Alesis DM10 electronic Drumkit is not part of the set up :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

6 more brews since my last brewday post...

Once again I've managed to get well behind on blogging my all grain brewdays. I don't know where the time goes. I've had a busy few weeks with a couple of short breaks away and then some visitors came to stay so brewing has been sporadic to say the least.

I've just finished Ag#25 today, the fourth brew of a superb beer based on GWs Double Dragon. I've modified it somewhat so it is only loosely based on the original.

Since my last brewday post (AG#19) I've brewed the following beers.

Own recipe Cascade Gold AG#20 - bittered with Magnum hops (12.7% AA) and late hopped with Cascade, post boil steep hopped with more Cascade and after primary fermentation, dry hopped with even more Cascade - the result, a golden belter of a beer 5.5%abv and nicely sessionable - it didn't last long and was a definite fave with friends and family.

Double Dragon AG#21 (3rd batch) - This vanishes rapidly, another fave with friends and family.

Own Recipe Mocha Toasted Oatmeal Stout AG#22 - Challenger and Target for bittering, no aroma hops at all. Pale Malt, Munich, Amber, Roasted barley, Chocolate malt and home toasted oatmeal. 6 shots of freshly brewed espresso at the end of the boil. - the result, 4.5%abv, heavenly coffee and chocolate stout. Smooth and creamy and a definite re-brew in order.

Own recipe, Lathiere Blonde (pronounced Latt-ee-err) AG#23 named after the hamlet we live in and a hybrid of traditional UK hops and Cascade - This is only just bottled with 20l racked off to a plastic tank to condition ready to be chilled (my theory to preserve the co2 from the light priming I gave it) and racked off into bag in a box (kept cold) for serving but it's smelling gooood.

Own recipe Nelson Sauvin single hopped IPA or NZPA perhaps. First time using Nelson Sauvin and I must say I'm impressed. Lovely citrus, grapefruit reminiscent of some US hops but with an underlying tropical aroma to it, not sure what. Difficult to describe. I only brewed this the day before yesterday but it's smelling super in the FV.

I'm not going to do any write ups as far as I can see at the moment for these last few brews. They've all been pretty uneventful and not really any different to previous brewdays.