20 November 2008

Expectations...

So last night we did NOT brew up a batch of beer. (boooo-urns!!!)

So my solid state relay needs a bit more current that my little .3 ampere transformer can feed it in order to actuate. Now I could spend more time re-fitting the brewery with a more substantial power supply, but upon doing some testing with water I realized that the proximity of the water to my electrical components was a bit tricky. Brewing, you see, can be a messy business and spillage is expected.. when you have delicate electric instruments nearby it can create... anxiety. So I am furthering my previous lesson a bit more an simplifying yet again. I console myself with the thought that once a stable functioning framework is established that there would be plenty of opportunities for fine tuning and adding fancy features. But for now I need to be brewing... need to be acting out my theory... need to be testing the fundamental underpinnings of my design. There is no sense wasting so much energy on fine tuning a design that may be fundamentally flawed (of course that is impossible with my design, but the principle of it is still important).

My new, old idea. Use the "cooler" method like I did with my pioneering pal, Tyler. The sparge tank has really added a level of complexity that I am now unprepared to engage. The wiring for it more than doubled the amount of circuits and wiring in my control panel. After ripping it all out I actually sighed with relief at the sight of a much smaller bundle of wires that I could actually make sense of.

So here is my new plan:

I theorize that it may be possible to drain the grain bad all the way to the floor of the mash tun should we move the wort at just the right speed and pressure and as long as we have extremely good flow though the bottom screen. In this case a sparge tank is totally unnecessary, but because it may not work we have got to have sparge water available so that we can finish our mash if it gets "stuck".

I propose that we begin with the simplest method: The Cooler Method. A maneuver taught to young brew cadets in the home brew academies everywhere...

The idea is that you use your kettle to heat water to the appropriate temperature and then use a cooler to keep it hot until you need it. If it cools down a little too much you simply add boiling water.

I have already ripped out all the wiring and controls for the sparge tank, so it should only take me a matter of minutes to get ready for brewing a test batch. Let's hope that Sunday brings good fortune to us.