Things are going great! No bad smells, good growth. I spread them all out to finish up modifying last night.

They smell really good! I didn't expect that. Thank God for my basement, its holding the perfect temperature all the live long day. MALT SHOT
Im going to see if I can malt enough grains to keep me brewing all year long. I think Ill need something like 150 pounds. Easy.

More updates will come as I have them!


Good news... TODAY WAS DOUBLE BREW DAY. And I got to brew outside, which was awesome. Check me out, all spargin' and shiz.
I brewed my Pilsen Pale Ale with the new modified hop schedule (F U CORPORATE HOP PIGS) and a new wheat ale recipe I made up today. It was a full day of brewing, and it was awesome. 


I finally started malting grain! I figured I needed to start practicing, since when I start my brewery I plan to use only grains that I malt my damn self. My first step was to swing by the feed store and pick up a 50 pound bag of raw wheat.... I went to three stores and not one of them had a sack of barley.
I was JITTERY with excitement when I brought this home. And the best part? I paid 25 cents a pound. Compare that to the buck-thirty I drop per pound at the LHBS. Sure, its much MUCH MUUUCCCHHHH more convenient, but who needs convenience when doing stuff yourself is so much more satisfying?

Sadly, there isn't much information about malting at home on the internet, but I did find THIS awesomely terrible looking website that had some awesomely GREAT info on malting and building a malting floor. If you read through it, you'll find he basically just builds a small box with a Plaster of Paris floor. So, thats what I decided to base my design off of. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

After buying the grain, the first thing I did was dump about half the bag into a Homer bucket and filled it up with water.
BOOM. I had officially started to malt me some wheat! The malting process always starts with a series of steeps and rests. There is some controversy over how long to steep/how long to rest the grains, but from what I could scrape together on the internet, it seems its most common to steep for 6-8 hours, then drain and let them rest for 6-8 hours. Repeat this process until the grain starts to "chit," which is when the first little rootlets start to poke out. 

A word of warning... grains swell up like CRAZY. These babies totally ballooned up enough to fill the whole bucket.
So, I pulled a bunch out and stuck em in my little blue brew kettle you see there to the left. Problem solved. Back to chitting.

My research said that wheat takes all around less time to malt than barley, and this proved true since mine started to chit after only 2 soaking and rinsing cycles.
Now that my wheat was starting to grow, I need to figure out, you know, where the frick I was going to put it! I stole some ideas from the previously mentioned website, drove down to Lowe's and threw this bad mamma' jamma' together.
It was extremely easy to make... concrete board bottom, 2x4 frame, thick Plaster of Paris coat to finish it off. At this point, I went back to my grain and soaked them in a StarSan bath. I have never read about anyone doing this... or many people malting at all for that matter... but I figured it would be a good idea for a couple reasons. First, it cant hurt the grain. Second, it will hurt, nay, murder any microbes that could potentially cause the lump of wet organic material that is my malt to start rotting. So after letting that final soak take place, and letting my plaster dry, I rinsed the grain and dumped it onto my malting floor!
This phase is called couching. Basically you put the grain into a lump, and the heat from germination helps the grains to grow more. This is the stage I am still currently in. I have been going down there (my basement) to stir them up and dump a little water on them every few hours. In fact... I'm about to go do that again very soon!

Temperature is a big deal, by the way. If anyone plans on trying this, the grains have to be as close to 55-60 degrees as possible. That being said, my basement hovers more around the 65ish degree mark. As of yet though, I have no mold, and they seem to be doing great! A lot of them have a few rootlets poking out now. Tomorrow I will spread them out to let them finish modifying. And before they are done, I have to figure out how the frick I'm going to kiln it. 


When this is all done, I'm going to malt the rest of the bag and do a how-to. Cheers!


Tonight I sit here deleting all the Simcoe, Amarillo, Warrior and a few others out of all my recipes. Why? Because I'm tired of using proprietary hops in my brews. These hops, along with many others, can only be grown by the dudes that hold the patents or by people who pay royalties for the privilege of being able to do so. It may not sound like a huge deal, but I have a problem with it for 2 reasons:

1. HOPS ARE LIVING THINGS. These companies are mini-Monsantos in their own special way; running around "creating" freak versions of living organisms and claiming them as their own. And I don't think that businesses like that have much of a place in the brewing world.

2. They totally control the flow of these hops. I don't want to give someone that much control over whether or not I can brew a particular beer. Im not saying this has happened, but they *could* decide one year to scale back production to increase demand. Like, you know, the oil companies.

So worst case scenario, they are a hellish Frankestein made of rotten bits and pieces of the business practices of oil companies and Monsanto. But in reality, they are just annoying and apparently I think I'm too punk to use their product.

So there you have it. I'm adopting an attitude of "if I couldn't feasibly grow it, malt it or roast it without getting sued, I'm not going to use it." This is also going to put some grains out of bounds for me... Carapils and Honey malt basically. But frankly, I could do without them.

Grapfruit bombs are overrated anyways.


Today was awesome. I had the whole day off and Amanda was out working on her new business (which Im so excited about as well!), so I figured today would be a good day to figure out how to keep my beers cold. About damn time; Ive been kegging now since Christmas and until tonight I have never poured cold beer from a keg into my glass. Its been a long time coming.

ANYWAYS, I started on good ol' Craigslist. I knew I would rather have a chest freezer to convert into a cool looking keezer down the road, so I, you know... searched for one. I found a 8-point-something cubic foot Kenmore that was in great condition, but they were asking 100 bucks for it, which was a little out of my budget. So I decided to lowball em and offer 60 bucks, and they accepted! Hurrah! I went down and loaded it into the ol van.

I was FILLED with excitement. I was driving home with the very thing that was going to make my life exponentially more awesome, and the freezer in itself is almost a never ending project.

Baby's first keezer.

I got home, loaded it into the office. I decided to go ahead and keg my two beers I had waiting around; an amber ale and an imperial stout, both of which I brewed with this nerd.
It really felt good to be doing BEER STUFF again. The house was taking up so much of my time, it was really nice to be able to put my time and money towards the thing I love the most. Here's some SICK KEGGIN SHOTS AWWW YEA
My brewing space isn't so cramped anymore, is it? HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA... Im so funny.

So just a few short hours later I had some cold Amarillo Pilsen Ale and 2 new brews carbonating in my new beer freezer.
I cant really call it a "keezer" yet since it doesn't look cool. In due time though, I assure you. Im not sure which route I want to go down yet, but what I do know is that its going to look friggin' awesome. I think Ill pour one more in celebration!

There is one more thing I want to add before I sign off here. A lot of dudes that build these things also have to drop 30-90 bucks on temperature control modules and what-not so that their beer doesn't freeze. On MY freezer though, there are your regular coldness settings (OFF to 10), but there are also a few little notches between OFF and 1. When I keep it turned to the notch right above OFF, it stays pretty constant just below 40 degrees. Which totally rules, because everyone likes to save time and money! Cold, LIQUID beer without the extra work. Hurrah!

Beer rules. Building stuff for beer also rules. Life is great. Brew more beer.


Have not been posting since I have been too busy for beer and blogging, since we have been getting settled into our new house. Queue hipster pictures!!!

Thats the front and back of the house. And you see that killer 15x15 shed in the back? Well...


So pumped about it. To celebrate, I did actually brew an imperial stout, which is sitting in my cellar as we speak. I now have an amazing to-do list, which I love. So many great projects in the near future, like:
  • Start malting and roasting all my own grains
  • Get the shed into working condition... concrete, finish walls, etc.
  • Start a garden!!!
  • Build shelves and awnings and stuff!
It goes on and on forever. Owning a house is fantastic... Buster has more room to run around, Amanda has more room to work and get her business going, I have more brew/music/smoking room. And as an added bonus, we have great neighbors.

So, expect lots of build blogs in the next few weeks here. Kegerator is up next, along with a fermentation chamber. 

Cant. Friggin. Wait.

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