Sunday, October 30, 2011


Since deciding to upgrade to 5 gallon batches I was faced with the age old question of whether to bottle or keg. Well not so much as forced to pick but now free to choose. After experiencing the pains and joys of bottling previously I decided to make the trip into kegging.

I decided that if I am going to keg I am going to go all the way and make a nice kegerator. All I needed was to find a refrigerator to turn into one. Sounded easy enough, just to get onto Craigslist and find one right? Not so much. One of the down sides of living in suburbia is the fact that everyone close to me was selling Stainless Steel or French door fridges. Neither of these was what I needed, they were also out of my $150 price range. After two weeks of looking on Friday there it was! A decent $150 fridge that wasn’t too far away. I was able to call the guy and on Saturday I went and picked it up.

Now, it isn’t just enough to have the plain old garage beer fridge. No, I need a garage kegerator. With this in mind I purchased a conversion kit from Midwest Brewing Supplies.

With all the supplies the Sunday Afternoon project was set. I would have done this Saturday but as usual Texas A&M Football ruined any chance of being productive after that game. So with that I set out prepped to spend hours converting the fridge. Luckily I was wrong, way wrong. In total the project took about 45 minutes. Most of which was spent admiring how well of a job I did.

First I had to drill the hole for the tap. I choose to place the hole on the left side of the door in preparation of another keg (eventually).

And in reality that was the only tough part. After tightening some bolts the system was set up and ready to go.

After placing on the drip tray all that is missing is beer.

Hopefully later this week some progress should be made on the beer thing. Till then, Prost!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brown Ale Brew Day

Wow! Going into this I was pretty weary of what would/could happen but the entire process went so much better than expected. There was really only one “Oh No!” moments and even that wasn’t all that bad. I think a lot of had to do with having another set of hands there courtesy of my wonderful wife Rachel.

The Brown Ale kit from Midwest Bewing Supplies came complete with almost everything I would have wanted *cough* hop sack *cough*and had fairly good instructions.

The first thing that signaled this might go well was how easy it was to keep the steeping in the desired range. Although, getting it to that range was a real pain. One thing I did not take into account was how hard it would be heat and then boil 4 gallons of water. Turns out is much more difficult and time consuming than a can of Green Beans (who would have guessed?).

Once the grains were steeped we had the “Oh No!” moment. With Rachel stirring I went to add in the malt extract which came in a mini-milk jug. I was a pouring the extract in there went the collar from the jug. We were able to retrieve it fast and this shouldn’t affect the final taste.

Boiling is the most boring part of brewing all you can do sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize in prep of what comes next.
Cooling the wort was our biggest pain point. We did not have enough sink space to cool it effectively. In total it ended up taking about 40 minutes to finally get the wort cool. A positive from this is Rachel now knows what she is getting me for my birthday/Christmas, a Wort Chiller (ooo, ahhhh).

The Original Gravity on the instructions said to be in the range of 1.444 – 1.448 we hit 1.446 (YES!).  It is now in the fermenter and hopefully soon we will start seeing good progress made by the yeast.

So with that, the Brown Ale is done for awhile and now all we can do is sit and wait and wait and wait…


Monday, October 24, 2011

The Beginning

So I have decided to take the next step in the home brewing adventure. I started out last year with the Easy Bake Oven of home brewing, Mr. Beer. After several batches I decided that this worthwhile (read money worthy) hobby. Now it is time to take the next step and start making full 5 gallon batches. I aim to use this blog as a way to document my progress, brews and general thoughts. So where do we go from here?

1.      I have my kit ready to go and so tomorrow is official Brew Day 1. I picked up a 2 Stage Fermentation Kit and a Brown Ale recipe from Midwest Supplies. Hopefully in the next few days I have a write up of how Brew Day went.  
2.      I’ve done the bottling thing and have while it was fun, time consuming, space eating, and boring it is time to move on. I have ordered my Corny Keg system and am ready to convert a fridge into a Kegerator. If only I had a fridge. Oh well, that isn’t needed for another three weeks and another blog post.
3.      Enjoy my brew and post.

So I hope you enjoy my write-ups and ramblings as I take the journey. Prost!