Brewing Burnout

This past summer I experienced something that I never thought I would experience – I did not feel like brewing anymore.

Let’s back up a bit – once the weather warmed up in the spring, I started off brewing 40L batches of brew fairly regularly, stockpiling beer for various upcoming events and some for personal consumption. Fruit beers, wheat beers, cream ales – I think what really happened was that I got away from brewing what I wanted, and started trying to please everyone else, brewing good beer, but lacking some character that I was looking for. By the end of an 8 hour double 80L brew day on July 2, I felt spent and for the first time, brewing felt more like a chore than the fun hobby it was supposed to be. A brewing hiatus was in order.

After a summer away from brewing, I started to get that itch to brew again. Big Spruce had announced their brewing competition, listing three separate styles to choose from, or brew all three – Red IPA, Altbier and a Czech Dark Lager. All three styles were new to me, but each intrigued me enough to decide to get the three of them ready. I brewed 20L of each over a 6 week period, enjoying the process each time. I was happy with two of the three beer, but decided to enter all three anyway – good thing since the beer I wasn’t particularly happy with pleased the judges the most!

I have figured out that the key to my brewing is making small batches of something that I want for myself – sounds selfish, but I do share what I have. Friends and family know where I am and are always welcome to drop by for a pint or a bottle to take away. English bitters, pale ales, IPA’s, Kolsch and Altbier are planned, with an experimental IPA in the works for the upcoming Garrison homebrew competition.

Happy Brewing!


Jockey Box – Complete

After a couple of weeks sitting on the shelf, I finally got the push I needed to finish off the plumbing on the jockey box and give it a bit of a test run.

The cold plate I have is a seven pass plate. I opted for a single pass per tap to try and keep the serving pressure down so that kegs wouldn’t be overcarbonated. I had some flare nuts in my goodie box so I used those for the connections to the cold plate. Two feet of beer line between the pass through shanks and the cold plate and two more feet of beer line between the cold plate and the taps completed the internal plumbing. I used four foot lines to connect the kegs to the jockey box. That should be long enough to keep the kegs out of the way.

With everything in place, I tested the system with Star San, pushed with compressed air at 30 PSI. As it turns out, my older chrome plated faucet wouldn’t seal properly to the shank, even with a new gasket, so I ended up installing a Perlick 525SS in its place.

Time for the final test – time to pour some beer. With two bags of ice around and over the cold plate, and CO2 regulator set at 12 PSI, the beer poured wonderfully. The pint glass was full within 10 to 12 seconds with no excess foaming, bringing a room temperature keg (66 Fahrenheit) down to a respectable 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

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