Thursday, October 4, 2007

Homebrew Notes: Rick's New Toy

This week I bought a used B3 1000 Brewing Sculpture, and I can't wait to use it. This sculpture is less than one year old, has many upgrades and looks to be brand spanking new - it was a great deal. The system consists of:
  • Three 14 Gallon pots, with spigots and thermometers - Hot Liquor Tank, Mash Tun & Kettle - perfect for making 10 gallon batches
  • 55k BTU propane burners
  • Wort Chiller
  • Mash Tun complete with false bottom & fly sparge setup
  • Kettle equipped with Diverter Plate
Now, this will be a fun new development for me because it is a 10 gallon brew system. I have been brewing 5 gallon batches and hope the learning curve isn't too hard to overcome for my holiday brewing (I give a lot of beer away for the holidays... a lot of beer).

I am in a bit of a confused state now, I have to admit, I don't know how to break this thing in. I'm considering brewing a second batch of Northern Brewer's Bourbon Porter (it's pretty darned good), a Milk Stout (I really like this style, not sure how the family will like it though), my own "Pale Warrior" (an American Single Hopped IPA, using only Warrior hops) or something entirely different. Ah, the tough choices in life... right?

I am pretty stoked about this, to a point that is nearing embarrassing. I have walked out and looked at this thing-of-beauty more than a couple times, just to stare and wonder. I never thought I'd get one of these, couldn't imagine being able to afford one. However, when someone is selling the complete system for less money than I could get the kettles, well, you have to rethink a few things.

There is some level of sadness too, don't be fooled. I love my Gott coolers. I love the challenge they've offered me, the messes, the insanity of it all. I imagine I'll make messes with this too, but I can't imagine a bigger mess than that double IPA I made with Mike last year... when the false bottom became dislodged and we had to scoop out the mash with a measuring cup and everything within three feet stuck to us. As messy as that was, though, that beer came out wonderful.

In fact, I can safely say that most of the beer I have made at home has come out great - the extracts (which I still do on occasion), the partial mash and the all grain. There was that one year I made a pumpkin beer with real pumpkin that proved to be a really bad idea, but that was all for fun anyway.

If you're interested in homebrewing, there's one resource I think you should check out - James Spencer's Basic Brewing. James is a great guy with all the right contacts to make sure you get the best information out there. Even if you're already a homebrewer, I think James' interviews are diverse and thorough enough that you'll learn something. Homebrewing is fun, easy and often results in beers you'll be proud to share with friends and family.

While I'm at it, if you're new to brewing might I suggest you check out Northern Brewer's website. Out of Minnesota, I think Northern Brewer has the best ingredients out there in the webosphere. If you're looking for equipment, I think More Beer would be my first stop.

I do think I've figured out my first 10 gallon batch to brew, a Porter (man, I love a good porter):
  • 17 LBS Rahr 2-Row Pale
  • 2 LBS Simpsons Crystal 60
  • 1 LBS Crisp Pale Chocolate
  • 2 oz Chinook
  • 2 oz Cascade