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Winds of change

This weekend has marked a small re-routing of my homebrewing journey, I think. I’ve come to realize that while it would be very easy to drop several grand and buy one of MoreBeer’s brew sculptures, I find myself wanting more than what they can provide. Hands down I think they’ve got the best kettles, mash tuns, and HLTs a homebrewer could want (and certainly well made for the amount of hastle it would take to buy something and weld in couplers for valves and thermowells), however in my heart I really want more.

I want to build my brew sculpture. I want it in indoors, I want it stainless and gorgeous, but it needs to be more than what MoreBeer sells… and I want it to be very “ME”, if that makes any sense. Truth is I’ve got programming skills that I should capitalize on, and I’ve designed more software and written more code than I care to admit… and if you think I’m your typical “Hey… yeah, I can program” type then I’ve got some sites to direct you to (although a Google on me will probably take you there)…

I want control. I want to build it from the ground up. I want to wire the interface with the thermocouples, solenoid valves, float switches, and other input/output devices. I want to write a computer application that connects me to those electronic devices and have it seethe turbo-geek from every button and nerd-tastic temperature chart displayed. It must be bold, ridiculous, and a pure show of pomp. But that’s me… A psychopomp.

And at the day, I will most likely spend way more money than I would buying something off the shelf, but it’ll be mine, and it’ll be me.

The impetus for all this came from two things – my recent investigations into designing a float-switch relay circuit so I don’t have to really worry about sparge water levels anymore… and some conversations at the last FSB meeting this past Friday.

Enough of that. Tonight I kegged my Hopocalypse… Yowsa. Its a beast (9.3% ABV), and it doesn’t take prisoners. I am torn as to whether I want it to mellow with age, or stay as hoptacular as it currently is… Guess that’s what you get for 9oz of hops per 5 gallons. I also kegged my McBride’s Strong Ale clone… separated it into 2 3 gallon kegs. One keg has 2oz of bourbon-soaked medium-toast oak cubes, the other has nothing but beer. The cubes weigh more than dry cubes due to the bourbon, and the bourbon I soaked them in pulled some of the oakiness out, so I’m not to worried about it being overwhelming… but we shall see. I still have 6oz of cubes (~3oz if they were dry) if anyone is interested. I also have 4oz dry (probably 8oz) of medium-toast oak chips that are bourbon-soaked (all for 6+ months, so they’re totally saturated).

I am also in the process of overhauling my brew room in the basement – I finally have more of a game plan put together, and hopefully I’ll be mostly done by the time May rolls around so you all can see it.

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