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My name is Bean and this is my blog. Hence the name. If you have comments or questions, just leave them in the comments area.
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Archive for May 2007
Bean's BrewBench
Posted May 24, 2007 at 04:04:15 PM by Bean in the Beer category
About 18 months ago, I built a bench to use for brewing. A BrewBench! I built it with 3 things in mind
  • Durability
  • Convenience while brewing
  • Easy storage
  • ...oh yeah, and mobility
Yeah, that's four. The wheels on the left side were an afterthought, an aftermarket modification as suggested (and performed) by my dad. It's great, and it makes the whole shebang a snap to move.

Anyway, The HLT up on top is a 35 gallon cooler fitted with 3 things. The spigot and 1500W heating element on the bottom, and a homemade copper dip tube for my temp sensor. I fill this thing with 30 gallons of water the night before I brew and dial it in to 175F. No more heating up sparge water!

The small grey vessel under the HLT spigot is a mini heat exchanger. It's a 1-gallon enamle pot fitted with, you guessed it, a 1500W heating element. I pump liquids through a copper coil immersed in the pot when I need to heat them. This is usually during recirculation, but sometimes during sparge or even mash in if the water from the HLT needs a boost. I usually turn the HLT off once I start brewing and leave more volts for my mini heat exchanger and pump which are used throughout the brewing process.

The blue cooler is of the "Ice Cube" variety, and is used as my mash/lauter tun. It hold enough grain for heavy 10 gallon batches, and can pull off 15 gallons of a lighter beer. The bottom is fitted with my homemade slotted copper manifold to hold the grain back from the drain. I keep my adjustable return manifold and temp controller in the mlt as well. The manifold had interchangable arms, one for recirculation (large, slow pour) and one for sparge (small, fast pour, more evenly distributed).

Then there's the pump. It's a magnetically coupled, high-temp, food grade summbitch that I got from morebeer.com. It's great. You'll notice that it, along with all other vessels in my system, is fitted with quick-connects (or quick-disconnects, whatever they are called). These fittings, along with the hoses you see hanging along the side of bench, allow me to move liquids around very easily. The quick-connects are great for gradual equipment upgrades. There's room for other stuff too. And the bottom shelf holds all of the big things (propane, burner, kettle, pots). I store my grain and grain processing equipment in these Rubbermaid totes, which fit conveniently under the right hand overhang of the bench.

The bench provides a very convenient brewing environment. Every vessel has it's place, and there brewing process flows very nicely. I'll document that process in a little more detail in a later blog. When brewing is done and the equipment is clean, it goes right back into position for storage, and the whole things can either be wheeled off behind a curtian (litterlay), or left on display. It's easy to describe the brewing process to visitors when they ask questions like "So, how exactly do you MAKE the beer?".

I plan to document different parts in more detail, and as I do, I put them in the Beer category. Also, a note to you rss fans, you can now subscribe to category feeds like this: Beer (rss).
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Beards 4
Posted May 17, 2007 at 12:32:12 PM by Bean
I decided to practice for Strassenfest and grow out my Bird Dog beard. I shaved it yesterday morning, so it's gone for now. It will be back in 76 days.
TrachBang is Back!
Posted May 17, 2007 at 08:53:13 AM by Bean in the Blog Updates category
TrachBang is back up. If you had a user account before, the new site should honor your old user name and password. The format has changed, and the functionality is a bit different. The main functional changes are
  • Under the "my account" link, you can update your rss/atom feed (they both work now). Everone who has an account can add their feed, and all feeds are updated every 3-4 hours (unless forced) on the main page.
  • Blog entries can now be rated, although no comments can be left (comments should go on the blog itself).
  • I condensed the TBS down to 5 ratings (Trach, OTE, eh, yyNice, and BANG!).
As of now, the major improvements on deck are
  • Add a "recent comments" area.
  • Keep track of what you've clicked on (i.e. add a "new" icon next to things you haven't seen yet).
  • Create some HTML code that can be embedded in blog templates to allow for mo betta remote rating.
  • Add some kind of overall user/blog popularity stats.
  • Search entries, Random entries, etc.
. It's not 100% complete, but it should be usable. Try it out and let me know if you find any errors/bugs or have any ideas for improvements.
Revitalized
Posted May 11, 2007 at 06:25:34 AM by Bean in the Blog Updates category
Beanblog has been down for just about 1 month. The PC I was using as a server overheated and the hard drive failed. Thanks to Hiren's Boot CD, I was able to recover the data, but decided to ditch the overheated frankenstein computer and go with a real host (hostmonster.com).

Over the next few days I hope to get all of the domains and subdomains back up. Please leave me a comment in this blog entry if you see errors (robot alert doesn't count).

More updates to follow.
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