Thursday, December 11, 2008

Putting together the home brewery - Part II

Homebrewing setupThe new home brewery is coming along faster than I imagined! Just a mere 5 days after ordering some of my new beer making equipment the delivery man shows up with 3 huge boxes. I wasn't expecting these so soon as Williams Brewing told me it takes between 2 to 3 weeks to receive a drop shipment from Blichmann Engineering in Indiana. But look!

I unboxed a brand new 15 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker brew kettle complete with a 3-piece stainless ball valve, an adjustable BrewMometer for measuring wort temperature and an optional Boil Screen to filter hops and proteins out of the drain valve.

Williams Brewing and my shipment of a new Bayou Classic SP10 high pressure propane burner all were on my doorstep on the same delivery. Wow, talk about a coordinated delivery.

Inside the Blichmann BoilermakerIt was like Christmas had arrived two weeks early! I must have spent the next 2 hours going over the documentation, putting together the brew kettle parts and setting it up for a couple of photos. I was as excited as a kid in a candy store!

I've got to plan a series of test runs on this equipment later this week. I've heard that the Bayou Classic SP10 burner needs air-intake adjustment as well as a 30 minute test burn to get rid of the paint that will burn off during the first run and give off a nasty toxic smell. I don't want that happening around my wort on my first brew day.

Once the burner has been tested and configured, I'll then give the Blichmann Boilermaker a test boil. I want to see how long it will take with this 185,000 BTU burner to bring a full 8 gallons up to a boil. It's supposed to be fairly fast, under 35 minutes, but I want to see how it performs here at 4800 feet in elevation. (Please note: as of 2012, newer models of the SP10 now only put out 55,000 BTUs.)

Blichmann Boilermaker frontThe BrewMometer also needs calibration. I'm going to need another thermometer to tweak it a bit. Supposedly at altitude, water will boil at less than 212 degrees. I want to see exactly where that point is here in northern Colorado.

Next steps after this, make a stop at my nearest homebrew supply store. I'm going to get the rest of my equipment purchased (or ordered) and also plan out a few alternatives for my first extract batch.

I've done two 5-gallon extract batches before back in the late 1990s and want to brew up at least another 5-7 extract batches before taking the dive into all-grain brewing.

I'll probably make some smaller 2-3 gallon test batches of experimental beers just for the fun of it also. I'm really looking forward to getting back into home brewing again. Now I just have to hope that the weather outside cooperates on those weekends where I plan to brew.

Continue reading: "Putting together the home brewery - Part III"

Related articles:
- Putting together the home brewery - Part I.
- Breaking in the Bayou Classic SP-10.
- Homebrew shopping list ready.
- My humble homebrew beginnings.
- Choosing a brew kettle.
- Choosing a fermenter for your homebrew.

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