About me

I have been brewing since 1989 with a few breaks scattered here and there. Generally old school traditionalist when it comes to techniques but that is definitely changing. I’m tinkerer at heart and that I can blame on genetics, my father fabricated and made most of he needed and couldn’t find already made or more likely because he just liked to make things with his own two hands. That being said a lot of what I am working on I build myself and, to me, that is half the fun of home brewing. I often find myself looking at things and wondering how I can use that for something else other than its intended purpose…yep it’s an illness but it’s fun because it drives friends and family crazy!

I have done some commercial fabrication of 3 vessel 1/2-1 bbl pilot systems and “keggle” systems for home brewers during the last big boom in home brewing in early 90’s, I did a short stint as a brewmaster’s assistant in a local micro-brewery and learned plenty including open fermenting but now focusing more on my own brewing and refining my system and processes. Right now I’m more about small batch brewing and brewing in small spaces but what you see here most certainly will apply, in some manner, to your home brewing experience.

My favorite beer styles would definitely be maltier beers. Scottish Ales, Brown Ales and many varieties of session beers and Belgians.

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12 thoughts on “About me

  1. How is the Heet-O-Matic project working out? I think you are on to something there. That Auber ECT-100 “Economic PID” ($69.50!) can probably run it most of the time. Or use 2 of them. Drop me a line. Thanks.

  2. Can you offer any insight on sourcing parts and constructing a similar eBIAB setup to yours?

    I do small 1 gallon batches and am looking to adapt a 12 qt. stainless steamer set to a small eBIAB setup. I like the idea of the strainer basket from Arbor and love the small 12 v pumps.

    Do you have any plans or insight on the construction of the controller box? What are your brew days with this system like? Are you using a CFC chiller with this system?

    • My recommendation for parts would be auberins.com for controller parts, they have pretty much everything you’d need and offer great support. For fittings I like bargainfittings.com and brewhardware.com both have a good selection and are small businesses run by fellow home brewers. Brewhardware.com has elements and element covers. I got the 12V pump from eBay, if you search “12V solar pump” you’ll see them. They ship from China so be patient. I assembled my controller as I went from mental notes but here is a god diagram for a similar 120V controller by PJ from homebrewtalk.com. Great guy that has donated countless hours doing hundreds of wiring diagrams for fellow brewers.

      The diagram shows an emergency stop switch and contactor for element shutoff, both I consider optional for a 120V build but as with any electrical item near liquids please use a GFCI outlet or breaker. A GFCI will react quicker than you can reaching for an emergency stop button if something goes wrong. With a GFCI outlet and common sense you are safer doing electric brewing than boiling water or brewing on the stove…electric kitchen stove is 240V with exposed electrical connections for the burners (right below the pot of water you’re boiling) and no ground fault protection at all.

      My typical brew day is about 3-1/2 hours. I measure out needed water (I use bottled RO water from local grocery store as tap water here is awful for all grain brewing), set controller for strike water temp and go mill grains or get a coffee while it heats. That’s the great thing with a PID, set it and it will hold temp until you’re ready. I dough in and begin recirculating at a slow flow. Mash for 90 minutes, mash out at 168° for 10 minutes then let grains drain while I begin ramping temp to boil. Boil as normal. I use an immersion chiller, more than adequate for small batches and we have fairly cold tap water year round. About 10-12 minutes to chill 2-1/2 to 3 gallons to pitching temp. Plus there is no question it’s clean since you can see and thoroughly clean all surfaces that contact the wort versus a plate or counter flow chiller.

      Mesh basket is great, drains super fast and I love it but a bag works fine too.

      • Unfortunately you can’t. The SSR output is limited to milliamps and the 12V pumps can draw up to 1.5-2 amps and the SSR output on the PID is pulsed in the PID logic mode so the pump would pulse on and off. If you have enough room in your enclosure you could incorporate a 12V power supply internally for the pump or pumps. I’m thinking about trying this myself with a controller I’m building.

  3. I have some spare parts from my days as a tube amp hobbyist.

    I’m planning the setup now: Single 1500W element. PID controller with PT100 temp probe. Voltage regulator for element and switch to toggle between PID mash control and voltage regulator control for boil. 12V power supply and DC jack on enclosure for pump with a toggle for on/off. On/off toggle for element.

    I think i’m going to use either a 12 or 16 qt. steamer/stockpot combo and have the basket priced out for stainless mesh from Arbor Fabrication.

    Great stuff on your blog. I have been looking for a way to get a single vessel system going to minimize my footprint and keep my wife happy with my hobby!

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