Home > Brew session, BrewzNET > Some progress

Some progress

I managed to steal some time this past weekend (early before everyone woke up and in between home improvement projects) to work on the VB side of my BrewzNET project. Its a long way from where I want it, but I can see things starting to take shape. I have a number of menu items that send commands to the pump skid control board, will override the pumps and turn them on / off, set the target volume, and other similar functions. I’ve also got the raw value to converted value routines drafted and spitting out to a textbox. Believe it or not, the leap to displaying them on my prior GUI screen control is a pretty small one, so this week I found a little time to mock one up for the grant values to tie into (see below). This is just a first draft – I’ll definitely be adding more to it over time.

granttest20090207

I have a few ghosts in the machine, and I haven’t tracked down whether they are circuit-side or VB-side yet, namely the sparge rate values seem erratic… On the left side of the screen you can periodically see the sparge rate jump up to 10+ qts/min which is not actually happening. I wonder if some stray bits here or there are throwing the buffer & conversion routines totally off. It could also be some weird hardware-side variable mismanagement. I need to track that down ASAP… I’ve also been unsuccessful setting the target volume to anything other than 13.5 gallons, but that should be relatively easy to remedy.

On another note, I finally got around to brewing my first batch of beer for the year – Yeah, I’m slacking pretty hardcore. Fortunately I had a big stockpile in the basement so we’re not in danger of running dry or anything, but after kicking 4 of those kegs and not having brewed, I started to think that it was time.

sm20090202-002Today was a French Ale, or as close as an ugly american such as myself is probably going to come without feeling like a complete surrender monkey. Before anyone gets their noses all bent out of shape, realize that I have a good portion of French in my heritage, so I am taking potshots at myself here too… I expect the beer to turn out somewhere between a saison and a bier de garde, with some relatively strong belgian-type notes thrown in there. 5 gallons will go in kegs and 5 into bottles (both capped and corked).

The brew day itself was textbook, with the most eventful / agonizing aspect involving me trying to thaw out our garden hose enough to get water through it for my immersion chiller. I nailed my mash-in and mash-out temperatures, sparged all the wort I needed in about 40 minutes, and hit just about every other target I had in the recipe – except for my constant nemesis, original gravity. Once again, I was looking for near 1.053 and got much higher – so this will be (as always) a stronger beer than I conceived it as. I have started looking at my OG as a lower spec limit instead of a target because I consistently get 80-85% efficiency instead of 75%. Yes, I could also up the efficiency in ProMash to compensate, but when was the last time you had a beer and thought “Oh man, this is too strong…”

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Categories: Brew session, BrewzNET
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