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Keezer Part 2

My keezer project is coming along nicely. I purchased the collar in order to raise the height of the lid on my chest freezer. By doing this I will increase the height of the chest freezer and give myself the height I need for an extra keg as well as a place to mount the taps. There are tons of ways to go about doing this, but living in an apartment gives limited power tool options.

I really only have a drill, so making this thing simple is very important. I made a trip to my local Lowe’s and picked up the required hardware. My chest freezer is a 5.0 cubic foot GE model. It measures 29”x22” and those were the dimensions that  I decided to make my collar as well. After some searching online I found that a typical Cornelius keg is 26” tall but you want to leave yourself some room for the connections and hoses. This means that I needed to give my collar a height of ~10” in order to have the room necessary for an additional keg.

One quick sidenote. The GE chest freezer will fit two kegs with no modifications, but the right side of the freezer has a “bump” in it for the compressor. This bump makes it necessary to add a collar to fit a third keg. You can see the bump in the right side of this image.

While at Lowe’s I found a long construction grade piece of lumber that measured 144”x12”x3/4”. This is perfect for what I needed and I found an associate to cut it down for me (free at Lowe’s) to get two boards at were 29” and two that were 19.5” since I needed to account for the board thickness. The other nice thing is that these boards cost in the neighborhood of $10. I also purchased some angle brackets, woods stain, polyurethane, and some sand paper. After all was said and done, it came in around $25.

Once I got home I sanded down the boards and applied the stain with a brush I already had. After two coats it was the color that I wanted. I gave the stain the required amount of time to sent and then I added four coats of poly, making sure to sand each one (but the last) with 200 grit sand paper. Doing this allows the layers of poly to bond properly with each other. I’ve had poly peal off by not doing this before.  I then screwed in the angle brackets to the outside and inside walls of the wood to make a sturdy box. I also used liquid nails to help hold them together. More coming in my next Keezer update.

Keezer Part 1

Santa was nice enough to bring me a few things that will make me enjoy homebrewing a whole lot more. The big guy brought be a chest freezer, and a two keg setup! I’m pretty excited about it and I can’t wait to have my homebrew on draft. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I have with homebrewing is bottling. It takes forever, a lot can go wrong, and you have to wait till it carbonate to drink your beer. Bummer.

Soon enough I’ll have a fully functioning keezer with two taps and room for a third. The term keezer comes from the combination of kegorator and chest freezer. Some in the homebrew community dislike the name, I am indifferent. Anyway, I picked up a chest freezer off of Craig’s List for $80 and the thing looks beautiful. As a comparison a new model of the freezer runs for $150.  I will be keeping a journal of my progress with the keezer along with anything that I find helpful. The project should me pretty quickly since it isn’t very complicated.

I currently live in an apartment and power tools are not abundant, so I am going to make this thing with the use of two tools; a drill and caulk gun. Happy New Year and I hope everyone had a few good beers over the holidays.

Back into homebrewing

I recently discovered that there is a homebrew store about ten minutes away from my new apartment. Score. This place just keeps getting better and better. I brewed a Belgian Blonde Ale yesterday which should come in around 4.5-5% abv. It is under the style guidelines, but they are meant to be guidelines, not the end all be all of what a beer should be. It is the first beer that I have brewed in about six months.

I will get the recipe and everything along those lines up on the site soon, but I just wanted to share the joy of homebrewing again. Isn’t that a book? I did run into a few problems while brewing. The biggest one is that the mash tun that I recently built (the last one had to go into the trash becasue it would not fit into the car on the move from Texas) leaked a lot. I know how to fix it, the problem is finding the parts. This particular cooler that I got has a one inch hole in it. From my past two mash tuns, they are typically 3/4 of an inch or smaller. What really sucks is that one inch fittings are tough to find and even tougher to make fit into such a small space. I will get it figured out soon enough.

The beer is happily bubbling away right now and I hope it will be ready to drink my the second week of next month. Hooray for getting back to homebrewing. I missed it.

Simple way to add complexity to homebrew

Hello long lost beer website. It has been a busy time around here. We are going to be moving back to the east coast, Delaware to be exact, and I was recently back home (PA) to attend my sisters graduation from college. All in all a lot of good things are happening right now. During the hours I spend on the plane I spent a lot of time catching up on some books. Homebrew books to be exact.

One of the book (I really don’t remember which one) was talking about ways to make your beer more complex. It can be done in a number of ways; specialty malts, different base malts, etc. All of these are well and good, but I finally got around to trying something that I have wanted to do for awhile now. Mix homebrew.

For some reason it never really occurred to me to mix and match and come up with something that should taste good. I had a pale ale that I had made, which came out a bit too caramely and my Winter Warmer which is super dark and tasty. My Winter Warmer really ended up being more of a strong stout, mainly becasue I didn’t add any spices like I was originally thinking of doing. I was have a beer on the couch watching the Flyers and decided to make a half and half with my two homebrews.

I have to say, I liked what I tasted. The hops from the pale ale gave the stout some more kick and the caramel helped round out the body of the stout a bit more. The stout helped mask all of the caramel and gave a wonderful richness to the beer. In all the sum was better than the parts. I might start trying to do this more (once I brew again that is) with styles that should compliment each other or maybe even something that doesn’t. Who knows. Homebrew is all about making something that you enjoy drinking and can be proud to call your own.

Need to homebrew

I haven’t done any homebrewing in a few months. It may actaully be the the longest stretch I have ever going without brewing since I started. I miss it. I want to do it. I need to decide on a beer to brew. The last time I brewed was the weekend after Thanksgiving where I did a take on a Rouge’s Dead Guy Ale. My buddy Pete came down from Colorado to help in the brewing. That beer finally got bottled yesterday so now I have open fermenters, open space, and a bit of open time to brew.

I have narrowed down my choices to be either an amber, pale ale, or I was also thinking a pilsner. As strange as all of those may sound together, those are the styles of beer that I have been digging recently. I was thinking about an English ale, as I have been on an English ale kick for the past few weeks, but decided against it as I am getting burnt out.

For my next batch(s) I am also not going to be brewing the standard 5 gallon batch, rather I am going to half it and brew more often. I generally don’t like to brew until I am almost out of my previous brew. The simple reasons for that are time and the lack of bottles. While I do have a nice set of new cases from bottling yesterday, I suspect that is going to be gone by the time my next brew is ready to go. I am also going to be a lone wolf (the Hangover anyone?) at the end of next month as my wife and my friends will be going tornado chasing for six weeks. Yeah. Sadly I do not get to join in that experiment as I am not a PhD or Masters student in the Texas Tech Atmospheric Science or Wind Engineering departments. So I need to cut it back on the homebrew so I don’t have cases upon case just sitting around my dog and I. I’ll get an update on what I decide when I decide it and as always I’ll post my recipe and brewing plan. Any other ideas on what I should brew.