Category Archives: Home Brew

More Lockdown Brews

Lockdown RIS and a Nut brown Ale (sort of ..!)
In Early April I decided to make another slightly modified batch my Russian Imperial stout and timed it so that the Lockdown ESB went into the Cornie the same day so that I Could drop it onto the Yeast Cake.

The #Brewday went very smoothly hitting an O.G of 1.105 (the Tilt reported it as slightly higher but I tend to use the hydrometer for accurate readings..) anyhooo It went off like a rocket and I had a mess to clean up ….

Overly Vigorous Ferment

The S-04 yeast really did chew through the Wort but then dramatically slowed after 3 and then very slowly dropped ending up with a F.G of 1.030 making it 10.2%

Tilt fermentation in BrewBlox

Yesterday I had a very late Brewday, I got the HLT on and it was up at temperature by 11:00 but after our daily lockdown exercise/dog walk I had a severe case of loss of MoJo and nearly switched the HLT off ! After an internal ticking off the #brewday got going at 14:00

Nut Brown Ale kind of!
Brewpi Herms log

My next post I’ll update with fermentation graph for the Gervin Ale yeast from Wilco’s as it’s the first time using it..
and I almost forgot I put a Demijohn of wine on, made from fruit juice, grape juice and brewing sugar..

MAX3082CPA+ and an Uppdate to BrewBlox

With everyone in lockdown I started to look at brewing again and looked at the Brewblox software/ firmware update to the V2 spark board that I built. I have a spare board so decided to tinker . After reading a post mentioning RS485 funcionality I realised my spare didn’t have the IC installed in it’s socket. I had used a MAX3468CPA in my original boards but this is now obsolete but having a quick look you can still get the MAX3082CPA+ slightly slower rated but it should work ! One in on order so thats one for a future post.

Installing the upgrade to BrewBlox didn’t go as smoothly as it could but then I’ve learn’t over the years it generally doesn’t!

I followed the instructions but as I was planning on using just USB missed the brewblox-ctl wifi command, big mistake ! I ended up with the white display scenario ! Turns out after digging around the forum you still need to do this command even if just using USB, so after a couple of tries and a re install I was rewarded with a beep a quick flash of the BrewPi logo and then the grey non populated block screen.

The Wizard for setting up a fermentation Fridge worked well but at the point it came to setting up the one wire sensors I was thrown slightly, no values are shown before you assign them, I have 3 sensors on the bus and it wasn't until assigning one of them that the value appeared ! So at that point it was trial and error warming up each one in turn to figure out which was the Beer and which was the fridge and which was the room.

The interface looks Nice , not as simple to configure but a lot more flexible, I’ll still miss being able to turn the knob and set the beer constant mode before I come out of the shed but hey ho ! I will have to just wipe off my sticky fingerprints from the phone!

Well done Elco and Bob ūüôā

Lockdown Brew Update

A quick update on the brew’s progress, showing how active the Safale S-04 yeast has been.. note the odd trough that will be a build up of yeast on the Tilt Hydrometer’s top which will have slid off..

lockdown Brew

A short update from me whilst we’re in Lockdown. After not brewing since late November 2019 for a friends 30th Birthday just before the new year. I’ve taken the Shedquarters out of hibernation and Brewed a Pale Ale

Brewed yesterday Using my BrewPi in HERMs mode

It came in at an O.G. of 1.058 ish and Today it’s currently under fermentation using an old BrewpPi now using Fermentrack set to 21 C

A Short Update – a long time coming

Well it might appear to people that I’ve stopped brewing, I haven’t it’s just time and work and tiredness that’s got in the way 🙃.

Recent brews include a Raspberry N Vanilla pale, brewed New England style with 17% oats, a Rooibos and honey tea ale, nice but a bit of a high ABV for general quaffing. A double split batch af wheat beer, a Mango ¬†fruit beer for the NCB Competition at Wishbone brewery and a couple of split test brews with different fruits before the competition . I’ve had a couple of gushers from that initial bottled test batch due to large amounts of fruit pulp over fermenting in the bottle 😳.
Here’re a few of he recipes



All brewed with the brewpi and Tilt, although I have had one or two issues with the Tilt and yeast coating the top and affecting the readings as can be seen below.

Treacle Porter @brewpi update

 

Just a quick update

my control settings are now

{
  "kind": "Control",
  "pids": [
    {
      "kind": "Pid",
      "name": "heater1",
      "enabled": true,
      "setPoint": {
        "kind": "SetPointSimple",
        "name": "fridgeset",
        "value": 17.9453
      },
      "inputSensor": {
        "kind": "TempSensorFallback",
        "onBackupSensor": false,
        "sensor": {
          "kind": "TempSensor",
          "name": "fridge",
          "sensor": {
            "kind": "OneWireTempSensor",
            "value": 17.75,
            "connected": true,
            "address": "285C83B504000046",
            "calibrationOffset": 0
          }
        }
      },
      "inputError": -0.1953,
      "Kp": 10,
      "Ti": 600,
      "Td": 60,
      "p": 1.9531,
      "i": 0.0547,
      "d": -0.1172,
      "actuatorIsNegative": false,
      "outputActuator": {
        "kind": "ActuatorPwm",
        "value": 1.8906,
        "period": 4,
        "minVal": 0,
        "maxVal": 100,
        "target": {
          "kind": "ActuatorMutexDriver",
          "mutexGroup": {
            "kind": "ActuatorMutexGroup",
            "deadTime": 1800000,
            "waitTime": 1797431
          },
          "target": {
            "kind": "ActuatorPin",
            "state": false,
            "pin": 10,
            "invert": false
          }
        }
      }
    },
    {
      "kind": "Pid",
      "name": "heater2",
      "enabled": true,
      "setPoint": {
        "kind": "SetPointSimple",
        "name": "beer2set",
        "value": null
      },
      "inputSensor": {
        "kind": "TempSensor",
        "name": "beer2",
        "sensor": {
          "kind": "OneWireTempSensor",
          "value": 14.375,
          "connected": true,
          "address": "28AA4C830400008A",
          "calibrationOffset": 0
        }
      },
      "inputError": null,
      "Kp": 10,
      "Ti": 600,
      "Td": 60,
      "p": 0,
      "i": 0,
      "d": 0,
      "actuatorIsNegative": false,
      "outputActuator": {
        "kind": "ActuatorPwm",
        "value": 0,
        "period": 4,
        "minVal": 0,
        "maxVal": 100,
        "target": {
          "kind": "ActuatorMutexDriver",
          "mutexGroup": {
            "kind": "ActuatorMutexGroup",
            "deadTime": 1800000,
            "waitTime": 1797429
          },
          "target": {
            "kind": "ActuatorNop",
            "state": false
          }
        }
      }
    },
    {
      "kind": "Pid",
      "name": "cooler",
      "enabled": true,
      "setPoint": {
        "kind": "SetPointSimple",
        "name": "fridgeset",
        "value": 17.9453
      },
      "inputSensor": {
        "kind": "TempSensorFallback",
        "onBackupSensor": false,
        "sensor": {
          "kind": "TempSensor",
          "name": "fridge",
          "sensor": {
            "kind": "OneWireTempSensor",
            "value": 17.75,
            "connected": true,
            "address": "285C83B504000046",
            "calibrationOffset": 0
          }
        }
      },
      "inputError": -0.1953,
      "Kp": 10,
      "Ti": 1800,
      "Td": 200,
      "p": 1.9531,
      "i": -0.0078,
      "d": -0.4688,
      "actuatorIsNegative": true,
      "outputActuator": {
        "kind": "ActuatorPwm",
        "value": 0,
        "period": 1200,
        "minVal": 0,
        "maxVal": 100,
        "target": {
          "kind": "ActuatorMutexDriver",
          "mutexGroup": {
            "kind": "ActuatorMutexGroup",
            "deadTime": 1800000,
            "waitTime": 1797426
          },
          "target": {
            "kind": "ActuatorTimeLimited",
            "minOnTime": 120,
            "minOffTime": 180,
            "maxOnTime": 65535,
            "state": false,
            "target": {
              "kind": "ActuatorPin",
              "state": false,
              "pin": 11,
              "invert": false
            }
          }
        }
      }
    },
    {
      "kind": "Pid",
      "name": "beer2fridge",
      "enabled": true,
      "setPoint": {
        "kind": "SetPointSimple",
        "name": "beer1set",
        "value": 20
      },
      "inputSensor": {
        "kind": "TempSensor",
        "name": "beer1",
        "sensor": {
          "kind": "OneWireTempSensor",
          "value": 19.9375,
          "connected": true,
          "address": "28E95857040000CA",
          "calibrationOffset": 0
        }
      },
      "inputError": -0.0391,
      "Kp": 8,
      "Ti": 10200,
      "Td": 600,
      "p": 0.3125,
      "i": -2.5547,
      "d": 0.1875,
      "actuatorIsNegative": false,
      "outputActuator": {
        "kind": "ActuatorSetPoint",
        "targetSetPoint": {
          "kind": "SetPointSimple",
          "name": "fridgeset",
          "value": 17.9453
        },
        "targetSensor": {
          "kind": "TempSensor",
          "name": "fridge",
          "sensor": {
            "kind": "OneWireTempSensor",
            "value": 17.75,
            "connected": true,
            "address": "285C83B504000046",
            "calibrationOffset": 0
          }
        },
        "referenceSetPoint": {
          "kind": "SetPointSimple",
          "name": "beer1set",
          "value": 20
        },
        "output": -2.0547,
        "achieved": -2.25,
        "minimum": -5,
        "maximum": 5
      }
    }
  ]
}

Many thanks to Elco for replying to my post, I have already  implemented the changes you suggested and it seems to be behaving much better !
After my rant yesterday and thinking about ¬†PID settings I will do a bit of digging ¬†on the web ¬†to see if a calibration routine could be implemented. ..thats if I can find and understand the relevant maths involved.. ūüė≥
and Yes I will stick with the Brewpi Spark a little longer and I might up-rate the tube heater (currently 45-60W) to a 200W ceramic ES type  heater as used for reptile tanks  but if I do, a trial run to tune the settings before a ferment is underway will be in order.
Smiley

Treacle Porter @Brewpi woes

I had a late start Brewday to do a Treacle Porter might double up for the NCB January event but Maybe not as I don’t intend going..last time the tasting of 22 beers wasn’t that enjoyable..!
Any way back to the BrewDay.

I think the Gremlins have taken up residance !My automation in the BrewShed just didn’t play as nicely as it should, the Raspberry Pi on the Herms System froze / crashed ¬†and so I reset it. but towards the end of the mash noticed the temperature wasn’t rising but was falling ! ¬†a quick SSH into the Pi and the time was now -1 ¬†hour out even though the time zone was London…a quick manual intervention and set it to mash out temp of 75.5 to lock the sugar profile.. saved the brew…

Whilst I was in maintenance mode back up at the house I thought I might as well update the fermentation Brewpi with the integrated Tilt Hydrometer mods to the latest 0.4.4 version. Everything appeared to go smoothly but as I found out this morning something just isn’t right and I am considering either reverting to an earlier version or going back to my trusty Brewpi Arduino version.

With the technical problems I was having with the Herms ¬†my mind wasn’t focussed on the brewing, so I had over chilled the wort with my flatplate chiller, not a problem just leave it overnight on beer constant set to 21ňöC and then work out a profile for the Safale ¬†S-04 yeast in the morning. 21ňöC is towards the top end of the recommended temperature range but acceptable, when I looked I was shocked to see the beer was just over 22ňöC.. Nearly in Panic mode. I set the photon (the heart of the new Brewpi spark ) back to factory settings and ¬†re assigned all the devices but to no avail it’s still intent on boiling my brew!

I am just about ¬†ready to swap back to the Arduino version of the Brewpi. I am loosing faith in the Spark version of the controller, it just doesn’t do it for me. The old version had a readable display and ¬†you could easily control it using the knob and set its mode with wet hands, finish the clean up of the Brew Shed then go and set the beer profile up once back in the comfort of the lounge. The spark version just is’t as readable and you need a smart device to change the settings, smart devices don’t work very well with wet hands…..in my eyes the move to the spark/particle ¬†lost usability in favour of promised multi chamber support which so far has turned out to be vapourware as Elco has stuggled to maintain the demand from his store and put in Development time… you can’t currently even set the Brewpi to beer/fridge constant using the touch screen, the only saving feature so far has been the HERMS configuration but I’m finding that unwieldy as I use 2 different mash tuns so have to swap between two different beer sensors and have to set two different beer-fridge KP settings and so have to re configure instead of being able to select a different profiles for the mash tuns.

Personally I think Elco has made a mistake and royally f@*ked up ! (yep ¬†I know it’s easy to say with hind sight ..) considering the amount of posts on the forum concerning the arduino ¬†there was room for two products. The arduino version of the BrewPi had a large user base and had attained¬†a mature state and was very usable and stable as a single chamber fermentation controller for the home brewer, then a lot of code refactoring ¬†and object orientation went on to try and go multi-chamber and started the transition to an ARM based device with more resources- the SPARK controller (as it was called then) and it became less stable .. It would have been nice to freeze development of the arduino and still sell it and hire someone to look after the store and any support issues and Elco concentrate on the dev work for the new semi professionally orientated ¬†multi chamber system that the micro and nano brewers were shouting for…

Elco if you read this, sorry .. it has turned into a bit of a rant.. your original idea for the BREWPI was fantastic and I have used it with great success and given me pleasure in the process I do truly hope things get turned around and become successful for you..

as always to finish up ¬†here’s the Treacle Porter recipe

 

 

 

August and September brews

I have been a bit slack on updating the blog lately… There has been Too much on at work …. but I have managed to do a couple of brew days.
On the 29th of August I did a split batch or Parti Gyle. The malt bill was mainly Pilsen Malt.screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-21-07-02

The mash schedule was as follows;-

44L @ 64.5ňöC . recirculated for 60 minutes
add 15L @ 75ňöC and recirculate for 5 minutes
Draw off 32L to Copper for 1st Boil
add 15L @75ňöC and recirculate whilst Boil

this schedule gave me a post Boil OG = 1.060
and for the second Brew a post boil OG = 1.045

The 1st Boil Hop Additions

40g Brewers Gold 60 mins
25g Huel Melon 30 mins
15g Huel Melon 15 mins
10g Huel Melon 5 mins
50g Huel Melon Dry Hop 3 days

2nd boil Hop Additions

30g Brewers Gold 60 mins
12g Pioneer 60 mins
15g Citra 30 mins
10g Citra 10 mins
5g Citra 5 mins
15g Citra Flame out
35g Citra dry hop 3 days
35g Citra 2nd dry hop for 3 days

These two brews fermented out, one in the fridge and one in the Cellar to give me two very nice brews, PurpleOgre’s Humber Melons @ 5.5% ABV and Double C Pils at 4.6 %ABV

The Second Brewday

on the 20th September was a double brewday but not a Parti-Gyle !
Brew No 1 …my second itteration of the UKBIPA for the NCB vs MCB on the 29th October.
Not giving out the recipe just yet, But it contains just UK only commercial hops !
None of the UK grown US hops that some of the MCB are rumoured to have used….

Brew No2 … a mainly Home Grown hopped Brew

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-22-10-04

This contained 60g of home grown Brewers Gold and 42g of home Grown Chinook, I was pretty impressed with 42g dry weight from the Chinook as it was only planted this spring…!

My First competition Win @WishboneBrewery , @themaltmiller , NCB and @crispmalt

Just got back from my First ever competition.

WoW I got 1st place.

IMG_1747 IMG_1741

I’d just like to say thanks to the Northern Craft Brewers, Wishbone Brewery, The Maltmiller & CrispMaltings Group

IMG_1749
2nd Place – Graham Tacon, 1st Place – Me, 3rd Place – Paul Shore.

and as usual here’s the recipe

Edit:  just changed the recipe to update the Yeast I used ..NBS West Coast Style Ale Yeast  and a slight reduction in the amount of propino as I added some torrified Wheat for head retention.

if you use beersmith here is the recipe

Homebrew Competition Brew – Euro/British IPA @WishboneBrewery

I originally wasn’t going to Brew for this competition but a cheeky day off before we went on Holiday to Norfolk and it’s a go !
I went with  5 hop varieties,  Fusion,  First Gold, Hallertau Blanc, Olicana and Pioneer.

Brewday on the 8th of July went straight forward, with the Brewpi Herms in charge .

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 22.57.13
HERMS profile

IMG_1540
Awaiting more Wort

IMG_1542
Mid Hop addition

Whilst on Holiday  another BrewPi Controller monitored the fermentation and the new Baronbrew TlLT  measured the SG

wishbone

As soon as I was back from Holiday it was put into the secondary and dry hopped.

IMG_1647
Colour check ūüôā

Today it’s been bottled and Kegged after 3 days of being Dry Hopped. OG 1.064 FG 1.013 ¬†approx 6.7 % and I am looking forward to trying it in the next 2 or 3 weeks, best make sure there’s enough left for the competition……