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DIY Budget False Bottom

We’re back with a new addition to the Brewing-tips.com 10 gallon eHERMS brewery; a budget false bottom for the mash tun. Here’s how you can make one.

DIY Budger

Oxo ‘Good Grips’ Splatter screen with handle:

3x 16mm long M6 stainless steel bolts and nuts.

1 brass tank connector

Total cost = around £20 or $30 at most.

I cut the handle off the splatter screen and then cut and flattened the handle mounting point securely. I then cut the hole for the tank connector, and the 4 holes for the bolts (which are used as stilts to keep it from collapsing.) I fitted the tank connector and bolts fixed with nuts on the underside. I then grabbed the angle grinder and cut two slots in each side of the mash tun’s opening so that I didnt have to make the false bottom a folding one. I plan to fix it with 15mm copper pipe using a small length of hose to join it to the outlet. The weight of the grain bed will hold it down.

And that’s how you make a budget false bottom for a mash tun.

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Beer Kit Instructions – How to brew beer from a kit

This tutorial on how to brew beer using a kit was originally written by ‘tubby_shaw’ fromthehomebrewforum.co.uk. It’s a superb guide on brewing beer at home using a kit, and is best suited for premium high quality beer kits.

Beer Kit Instructions – How to brew beer from a kit

Two can or all malt beer kits are the pinnacle of beer kit brewing, these kits are available in a wide range of beer styles and are the best that can be experienced in home brewing before taking up extract or grain brewing.

This kit is Bardon bitter from Matchless Homebrew.

The kit contains two cans of hopped malt extract, comprehensive instructions and a sachet of yeast.

Recommended equipment is two 30l fermentation buckets with lids and taps, your choice of sanitising solution, a kettle, thermometer, hydrometer and trial jar and campden tablets or campden powder.
The first stage of the process is to clean and sanitise the fermentation buckets.
My recommendation before doing anything further is to dechlorinate your brewing water. Using 1/2 a crushed campden tablet or the equivalent of campden powder stirred into 25L of tap water will immediately remove all chlorine and chloramines which can give your finished beer a chemical or medicine taste.
Adding the campden powder to the tap water

Adding Campden to brewing water

Standing the two cans in hot water for 5 minutes prior to opening will soften the contents and make them easier to work with. Make sure to use a clean can opener.

Empty the can contents into the fermenting vessel.

Use some of the boiled treated water to rinse out all of the can contents.

Empty the dissolved contents of the cans into the fermenting vessel.
Warning the can will be very hot, use oven gloves or similar to protect your hands!
Stir to dissolve the bulk of the malt extract in the hot water added from the can.

Using the tap on the bucket containing your treated water, drop your treated water into the dissolved kit contents. This will ensure thorough mixing and also aerate your wort to give the yeast the best possible start.

Check that the temperature of your wort is between 20 and 28 Celsius.

If the temperature is correct add the yeast.

Take a gravity reading. In this case 1.040. If you plan to return the sample to the fermenter make sure that the hydrometer and trial jar were sanitised.

Taking a hydrometer reading

18 hours later at 20C and the yeast crop is beginning to form nicely

28 hours in and the yeast head looks like this.

7 days later and fermentation is finished
This is how it looks after a week, after another 3 days, it’ll clear down considerably and be ready for kegging.

OK so it’s been 8 days, gravity is 1.012, but now it’s time to keg.
I will be using a plastic home brew keg for this how to.
The keg was cleaned with Oxyclean, then sanitised with a solution of cheap, thin, unscented bleach. Then rinsed well with cold tap water and finally swilled out with a kettle of boiling water. (Be careful)
50g of sugar (I used demerera, but use what you prefer) was weighed out.

The sugar was added to the keg.
Using a length of hose from the tap on the fermenter, the beer was run into the keg which mixed in the sugar.

Once all the beer was in the keg a burst of gas from an S30 cylinder was added.

After 5 minutes to allow the CO2 to settle, the lid was cracked to vent the air in the keg and leave a protective blanket of CO2.
This keg has a mechanical pressure relief valve, a further squirt of gas and the indicator can be seen to be OK (Green showing)

40 Pints of Bardon bitter conditioning.

Give it a couple of weeks before checking for clarity.

 

 

 

 

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Airlocks & Blow-off Tubes

What is the difference between an Airlock and a blow-off tube?

An airlock is a water-barrier that allows co2 to escape during fermentation, without allowing airborne particles, bacteria or insects to enter the fermentation vessel.

A blow-off tube replaces the airlock in a fermentation vessel. One end attaches to the top of the fermentation vessel and the other end is submersed in a container full of water.

Which one should I use?

For most brews, an airlock is fine. The advantage of an airlock is that it is relatively small compared to the blow-off tube, and is much easier to maintain. The problem with airlocks is that a very aggressive fermentation can clog the airlock with Krausen, causing a build up of pressure in the fermentation vessel. When that pressure gets too much, either the airlock or the lid of the fermentation vessel will pop off with great force, causing a big mess. A blow-off tube is much less likely to clog up than an airlock.

If you are brewing a beer using a top-fermenting yeast (most wheat-beers are brewed using this type of yeast), then you should always use a blow-off tube. This is because top-fermenting yeast produce a much higher, thicker krausen than regular ale yeasts and are much more likely to cause problems when using an airlock.

How to make a blow-off tube.

1. Attach a piece of sanitised tubing to the opening of your demijohn (or lid of your fermentation bucket) using a sanitised stopper with a hole in it.
2. Half-fill a small container such as a measuring jug or pint glass with water, and place the other end of the tube inside, below the level of the water. You do NOT need to use bleach or sanitising solution for this!…