Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Devil of a beer!

I've had a few of my Devil's Nightmare Duvel clone and it's rapidly getting better with age. At first tasting it was pretty hot and solventy from the higher alcohol level, but now after just a few more weeks in bottle it is drinking much differently. It's showing lots of clove and banana from the higher fermeting temps and it's getting that nice crisp and dry finish to it. Last week it seemed more like a Hennepin clone than a Duvel one, not like that's a bad thing though, lol. I have a feeling this one will improve with some age behind it. The brewmaster himself at Duvel Moortgat prefers his own product at the three year old mark, so who knows.

Checking on a berry

I will be sampling my blueberry blonde tonight when I get home to see if it's ready for RP's party this weekend. I'm hoping with the warmer temps we've been seeing this week have hastened the yeast's output of CO2 just a bit. I'm sure it would have been better to let it rest for a bit, but the beer was on a tight time crunch so whatever it is, it is.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cooling the swamp

I went out Saturday with a plan of building some sort of controlled temperature devise/area/box
to ferment my wort in, instead of just letting the tempurature of the condo (first floor cool, second floor warmer, third floor Hades-esqe) determine my fermeting temps. I had read about a couple of designs online and even saw a few pics of various sizes and builds.

My first stop was the local Target to get some bins to use as the chamber itself. How big would I need? I had done some rough measuring with a fermenting bucket complete with airlock and a carboy also with airlock both height and a working diameter as well. I get to the store and have more choices than you can shake a stick at( and I can do a lot of shaking). Large bins, small bins, pink bins but nothing that screamed "buy me". I pulled one of the medium sized ones down and immediately knew it would be both too small and too narrow to house my brewing gear. I tried the next biggest one and this size still wasn't what I was looking for. I skipped two sizes and went to a vastly larger one, a 30 gallon behemoth. Perfect. In fact it was appropriately sized to do two fermenters at once if I got the itch to do that again.

Next stop on my magical tour was Lowe's. I couldn't remeber which was closer to me on the highway on the drive North, them or Home Depot and I don't really have a preference between the 2. I had talked to one of the guys at the LBS and he mentioned something about finding insulation to wrap around my "box" to keep the temp down. But not just any insulation. Who has the space for their fermenting chamber to have a 15 inch ring of fiberglass wrapped snuggly around it? Not I good sir. He told me of a foil and air insulator that is less than a half inch thick but still works wonders. I inquired about it with three of four different Lowe's employees before I talked to someone in lumber who told me that all of their insulations were together in aisle 18.
So I wandered over to said aisle and lo and behold........ Reflectix. A beautiful shiny roll some 25 feet long of the stuff. Just to be on the safe side I bought two and then headed over to the hardware department to find hinges and screws for my project.

I stopped at my morning job to pick up some specialty adhesive to keep the insulator firmly planted to the sides of my "box" and then headed home. It got messy quickly, well anytime there is spray adhesive involved, that sort of thing tends to happen. Luckily for me I was prepared with gloves and a half roll of paper towels. After some more measuring and spraying and cutting and more spraying I managed to get the Reflectix attached and in decent working order. The hinges were a breeze, although I should have stuck to my gut and gotten the 3/4" self tappers I had picked out before I opted for the full 1" version. Oh well. Pics to follow.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Labels and a happy 4th

My buddy Alec was down this past weekend for a bit and we started on the laborious task of finding custom labels/selecting the artwork for said labels. I had wanted to go with a font that was readable from afar but had some life or spunk to it. After searching for a couple hours we settled on one that fit both bills nicely. Not only that but it was on sale to boot! Suzi ended up buying it for me for being such an awesome fiance (blush).

As far as the art style I wanted I hemmed and hawed in my head for a few days and decided on staying local. By consensus we decided that my old hometown just didn't offer enough compelling sights, but Monmouth County (where I've spent most of my life) offered up some varied and beautiful locales. Also in my head I saw the art direction itself being in the Monet inspired impressionist theme. So it would be local sights and scenes but through the impressionist eye.

The sample shots were taken by Alec while visting on his wonderful Canon G10 digital. Many thanks go out to him for his help with all things artitistic.

And a very Happy Independence Day to the U.S.A.