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Upcoming madness

I believe I have secured both brewers from Stewart’s as guest speakers for our May 19th meeting. Even if they do not prepare a formal topic on brewing / homebrewing, they will be attending and available to answer questions. In addition the May 19th meeting will feature the debut of my first-ever lager (a Maibock) and a clone of Stewart’s McBride’s Strong Ale (how convenient Ric will be there). More than likely my Oak-Aged Vanilla Porter will be on tap as well (I don’t think we’ve really even dented the keg at this point).

We’re planning on having plenty of food (not just munchies). I believe we’re getting a couple of pork shoulders and we’ll have pulled-pork BBQ sandwiches, lots of sides, and plenty of snacks as well. I hope to have a demonstration as well – perhaps on yeast propogation, or perhaps some other topic – not sure yet.

I’ve been doing alot of research into what it would take to build a computerized home brewery. It really isn’t too bad, amazingly enough, provided you’ve got some aptitude with electronics and programming (of which I can claim credit for at least one of those disciplines, and I’m trying like mad to recall my skill in the other). Wicked Stone Brewery (aka Joe Stone) put together a pretty extensive website detailing the tools and components he used back in 1998 to computerize his brewery (Pre-Windows 95… *SHUDDER*) and while some things are outdated, there is lots of really good info there. I’ve also traded a small handfull of e-mails with him to fill holes in my understanding, and he’s been very helpful.

Donna (Mrs. GDSever) is on the wait list for welding classes… She’s planning on taking the entire gamut of courses offered (Arc, TIG, MIG, pipe welding, etc) and should be quite a force to reckon with by the end of the year. I can’t wait for her to start getting into it and have to rearrange my garage to accomodate all the new gear πŸ˜‰ My wife is pretty bad@$$, ya’ll.

My brewing agenda, as it stands now, is as follows:

* Wheatopia (10 gallons of fruit-flavored wheat beer)
* Saison du Sevier (10 gal)
* Horizon Bitter (10 gal)
* Hell’s Bells Belgian Pale Ale (5 gal)
* For Whom the Bell Tolls Tripel (5 gal)

As you can see, plenty of pale beers being brewed in the next 2-3 months – perfect for a summer brewing season. I also need to squeeze in another batch of starter wort pronto (I’ve only got 2 qt left) and 5 gallons of Oak-Aged Vanilla for my sister (maybe I’ll make it 10 for expediency).

I’ve ordered a stainless false bottom for both my HLT cooler and my 14 gallon kettle. Thought was I could use the HLT as a secondary mash-tun for either 20 gallon batches or high-gravity 10 gal batches once I’ve got some other projects handled. The screen for my kettle was so I could start using whole-hops in my 10 gallon boils… Should be good. My “other” projects include building a low-cost float-switch circuit into my pump skid for automated sparging… more details to come later.

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