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Burners and Heating Elements for Beer Brewing – BeerSmith Podcast #183

Burners and Heating Elements for Beer Brewing – BeerSmith Podcast #183

This week John Blichmann from Blichmann Engineering joins me to discuss gas burners and electric heating elements for beer brewing.

neurontin 800 mg street value Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (58:12)

  • Today my guest is John Blichmann.  John is CEO of Blichmann Engineering a premier developer and supplier of both home and professional brewing equipment.
  • John explains some of the characteristics of an ideal heat source for brewing.
  • We start with a discussion on gas burners including the basic gas options: propane vs natural gas.
  • He explains how gas burners are rated and also why some of the BTU numbers published by manufacturers are somewhat misleading.
  • John walks through the basic pieces of a typical gas burner.
  • He tells us how to adjust your gas burner for best overall performance.
  • We switch to electric heating elements, and he explains the three basic types: surface, immersion and induction.
  • We talk about power ratings and the basic power requirements for typical home brewed batches.
  • John explains the basics of electrical safety including why you must have a GFCI circuit breaker to brew safely, and how to get one installed by a professional.
  • We discuss control options for maintaining temperature both with electrical and gas systems.
  • John briefly explains some of the typical controllers you will find in a homebrew system.
  • He gives us his closing thoughts and also mentions an upcoming controller that Blichmann is releasing soon.


Thanks to John Blichmann for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
follow url iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Giving BeerSmith 3 as a Gift

Giving BeerSmith 3 as a Gift

I’ve had quite a few people write recently asking how they can give BeerSmith 3 software as a gift to a friend, relative or loved one for the holidays.

Fortunately there is a simple way to do it – you can purchase a BeerSmith 3 gift code here which is redeemable online for a BeerSmith 3 license.

The BeerSmith Gift Code Process

That’s it – thanks again for supporting BeerSmith and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Fermented Acorn – Sour Brown

Fermented Acorn – Sour Brown

The first week of October, DC posted a notice on our front door informing us that an arborist deemed the oak tree in our front yard hazardous. Up until that moment, it would have been illegal to cut down as a “heritage” tree (over 100″ in circumference). They gave us 10 days to apply for a permit and have it removed. The tree had obviously been on the down-slope for the last 10 years, but this summer a large swath had gone brown mid-August and the rest in late-September.

I was sad to see the tree go, but glad I got to brew a beer with acorns foraged from it before it went!

Oak tree removal

Last fall, inspired as usual by The Homebrewer’s Almanac, I collected acorns over a few afternoons. While fresh acorns are loaded with tannins, fermented they are said to take on a wonderful aromatics reminiscent of bourbon, Madeira, and plums. The various parts of any plant usually contain shared compounds (and flavors). It has become fashionable to cook with the “garbage” parts of plants (and animals) usually thrown away. While it takes more effort to prepare collard green stems or pork feet, it can be well worth it. While oak wood is used to age thousands of beers, its acorns, leaves, and bark are not nearly as popular.

I inspected each acorn to remove any that were cracked, or otherwise marred. I briefly rinsed them, and then arranged in a single layer on a shallow baking dish in the basement to allow them to dry.

Acorns before sorting and drying

Apparently my inspection wasn’t thorough enough as I missed several small blemishes (example below) that indicated an acorn weevil had laid an egg inside.

Acorn Weevil hole

A week later, after discarding those where a larva bored out, I moved the acorns to five lightly sealed pint mason jars. I didn’t add water, microbes, or anything else.

Fermenting acorns in mason jars

Over the next nine months in my 65F basement the acorns slowly fermented on their own. First producing carbon dioxide and the pleasant aroma of ethanol. Then slowly a more complex aromatics of apricot, chocolate, and bourbon. Exactly which microbes are responsible is a mystery to me.

When I visited Scratch Brewing last November (on my drive from St. Louis to Indianapolis for the BYO Boot Camp… next one is March in Asheville) I had the chance to assist Marika on a batch at Scratch, and see their jars of fermenting acorns. Luckily for them, Aaron told me weevils haven’t been an issue!

Acorns fermenting at Scratch Brewing

By the following summer, my acorns were smelling like a combination of whiskey distillery, apricot orchard, and old library. While their exteriors were unchanged, the interior transformed from beige to leathery brown. Non-enzymatic browning, that is to say the Maillard reaction may be at work as with black garlic? While these processes are accelerated at high temperature, they still happen when cooler.

I thought an oud bruin-ish base would provide a solid foundation for those darker flavors. I added flaked rye for body and fermented with East Coast Yeast Oud Brune (which contains no Brett, only Sacch and Lacto). ECY Flemish Ale is still hard at work on the other half of the batch. Once the Oud Bruin was finished, I added a tube screen with one cup of the cracked (with a hammer) acorns. After a few weeks I added another cup to increase the flavor contribution.

Cracked acorns

I’m hoping to use the remaining fermented acorns in a small batch at Sapwood Cellars, but the TTB isn’t going along with my plans… yet. They’ve directed me to contact the FDA. It’s amazing how many weird chemicals are approved, when a food that people have eaten for thousands of years is not.

Requiem for an Oak

Smell – Even at the higher rate the acorn character doesn’t leap out of the glass. It does have a richer, more woody-fruity aroma than any other quick sour I’ve brewed. I get some of that old book smell mingling with the Munich maltiness. There is also a brighter stonefruit aroma that prevents it from being too heavy.

Appearance – Pretty amber-brown color. Mild haze. Retention of the tan head is OK especially for a sour beer, although nothing remarkable.

Taste – Firm lactic acid, snappy without being overwhelming. The fermented acorns add leathery and fruity depth to the flavor without stepping all over the malt. I’m pretty happy with this as a lower alcohol oud bruin.

Mouthfeel – The flaked rye really helped considering this is a low alcohol sour beer. Doesn’t taste thin or watery.

Drinkability & Notes – For such a unique beer, it is pleasant to drink. The flavors meld nicely and the acorns help to simulate in a way the effect of barrel aging and Brettanomyces.

Changes for Next Time – I’d probably go even more aggressive with the acorn-rate, really to show them off. The beer could be bigger, but more malt might obscure the acorns even more.

Finished acorn oud bruin


Batch Size: 11.00 gal
SRM: 18.0
IBU: 2.0
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.010
ABV: 4.7%
Final pH: 3.43
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%
Boil Time: 90 mins

60.4% – 16.00 lb Briess Pilsen Malt
22.6% – 6.00 lb Weyermann Munich I
11.3% – 3.00 lb Flaked Rye
3.8% – 1.00 lb Castle Special B
1.9% – 0.50 lb Weyermann Carafa Special II

Mash In – 45 min @ 157F

1.25 oz – 8 Year Old Willamette (Whole Cone, 1.00 % AA) @ 85 minutes

11 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash


Whirlfloc Tablet @ 5 mins
2 Cup Fermented Acorns @ Fermenter

East Coast Yeast Flemish Ale
East Coast Yeast Oud Brune

9/29/17 Harvested five pints of acorns from the White Oak in my front yard. Allowed to dry open in the basement.

10/6/17 4 larvae of an acorn weevil hatched. Tossed any acorns with exit holes, and tried to identify all of those with small entry holes to toss. Moved remaining acorns to one-pint mason jars, attached lids, and returned to the barrel room for fermentation.

Brewed 7/9/18

7/29/18 Added 1 cup of acorns (split and in a mesh tube with marbles) to the Oud Bruin half.

8/18/18 Added another cup of acorns, loose, as the flavor wasn’t there yet.

8/28/18 Racked Flemish half to secondary in glass.

9/9/18 Kegged acorn half.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing/Great Fermentations/Love2Brew!

Vegetal Flavors in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

Vegetal Flavors in Beer – Off Flavors in Home Brewing

This week I take a look at vegetal off flavors in beer as well as their cause and how to prevent them. These include a variety of vegetable flavors and aroma found in some beers.

Vegetal Off-Flavors in Beer

Vegetal off-flavors cover a wide range of potential problems in beer. These include corn, vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, garlic or scallion flavors and even the odor and taste of rotten vegetables. Each may have a slightly different origin.

First we’ll cover the cooked or creamed corn off flavor which is also called DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide). This off-flavor is actually covered in a separate article on DMS here and is often caused by an insufficient boil.

Scallion and garlic-like flavors are often caused by certain hop varieties in the boil such as Summit. Often a different hop variety can resolve this type of flavor. Excessive dry hop contact times can also result in some off flavors particularly those of a more grassy kind.

Finally using old, stale or ingredients that have been exposed to moisture can also impart rotten vegetable or moldy off flavors to your beer. In many cases this will taste of stale or old vegetables. It can happen from spoiled hops, old or spoiled malt or other stale ingredients.

Those are the main causes of vegetal off flavors in beer. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing.

Perception and Reality in Beer Flavor with Randy Mosher – BeerSmith Podcast #182

Perception and Reality in Beer Flavor with Randy Mosher – BeerSmith Podcast #182

This week Randy Mosher joins me to discuss cutting edge research into beer sensory perception and how our brain uniquely perceives and distorts the flavor, aroma and taste of beer.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (55:34)

  • Today my guest is Randy Mosher. Randy is author of many of my favorite home brewing books including Mastering Homebrew, Radical Brewing and Tasting Beer (Amazon affiliate links). He is also a certified beer judge and faculty member at the Siebel institute as well as partner in two Chicago area breweries: Five Rabbit and Forbidden Root.
  • Randy explains why each person’s perception of beer really is an individual experience
  • We discuss some of the factors affecting taste and smell as well as the fact that an average person can distinguish a huge number of flavors.
  • Randy explains some of the complexities of taste even though it is probably one of our simplest senses.
  • We discuss the basic taste senses as well as why bitterness is special
  • He explains the nose and how it is a much more sophisticated device.
  • We talk about how our brain actually processes taste and aroma as well as memory to get something we perceive as flavors.
  • Randy also discusses how our mental state, food history and “flavor warning” patterns all play a role in the processing of flavor patterns.
  • We discuss how the sights, sounds, mood, foods we’re eating and other external factors also play a role in beer flavor.
  • Randy shares his thoughts on judging beer including ways to make the process easier.
  • We talk about “The Dopamine Rush of Whales”.
  • Randy shares some final tips on tasting beer.


Thanks to Randy Mosher for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Wine Yeast Sour Red (Again)

Wine Yeast Sour Red (Again)

So odd to get one of my favorite and least favorite sours out of the same wort (recipe). The half with cherries was magical, the half without is bland and listless. In addition to no cherries, this half had BM45 red wine yeast and Wyeast Roeselare in place of 58W3 and dregs from a De Garde bottle. I had reasonable results with BM45 in this Red Wine Yeast Flemish Ale, so I don’t think it is to blame.

It seemed like a good time to revisit this batch because the scaled-up version went into barrels on Saturday. For the 10 bbl batch we used 58W3 for primary fermentation in stainless steel. We procured three Pinot Noir barrels plus two bourbon barrels for aging. My hope is that the spirit barrels provide a nice vanilla character to mingle with the cherries. Each will get a dose of microbes, East Coast Yeast Flemish Ale, Wyeast Roeseleare, and maybe additional microbes from our collection. Two of the barrels got 25 lbs of dried sour cherries. Next summer, when fresh sour cherries are available, we’ll select barrels and blend into a tote for additional fruiting.

Wine Yeast Sour Red

Smell – Spice, caramel, apple sauce. A weird mix that doesn’t really remind me of a Flemish red. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if the flavors were enticing or synergistic.

Appearance – Pretty thick head. Nice reddish-brown color with abundant chill haze (judging from the clarity of warmer pour previously). Pretty beer at least!

Taste – Interesting spice notes as in the nose. Cinnamon especially. The fruitiness reminds me of quince paste, sort of apple, but not quite. Tart, but not really sour. The malt is one-dimensional, toasty. Not impressed by Roeselare as the sole source of microbes.

Mouthfeel – Thin, a bit watery despite finishing at 1.016. Solid medium-carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – A real meh beer. Not off in any specific way, there just isn’t anything to carry the beer.

Changes for Next Time – For the scaled-up version, we swapped the Briess base malts for equivalent Castle malts. Other than the variety of microbes and barrels, we’ll be sticking pretty close to the script for the cherry version.

BeerSmith Black Friday Sale and Asheville Boot Camp in March!

BeerSmith Black Friday Sale and Asheville Boot Camp in March!

BeerSmith Black Friday Sale Up to 33% Off!

The BeerSmith Black Friday sale is open now and runs through Cyber Monday. Get up to 33% off on BeerSmith 3 upgrades and new licenses here. Get the worlds top selling software for beer, mead, wine and cider used by hundreds of craft breweries worldwide at a great price.

This is a great opportunity to upgrade to BeerSmith 3 if you have not done so already – and its the last time this year I’ll be offering sale pricing.The sale ends on Tuesday 27 Nov, 2018.

Join me for the BYO Boot Camp 20% Off – 22-23 Mar 2019

I’ll be teaching two full day sessions on Advanced Recipe Design at the BYO Boot Camp in Asheville, NC from 22-23 March 2019. The class is limited to 35 people per day, and you can also attend a class taught by other top brewers like John Palmer, Chris White, Gordon Strong and Michael Tonsmeire on the opposite day.

This is a great opportunity to learn about beer brewing, ingredients and recipe design in a small class environment as well as meet some outstanding brewers. You can sign up for the BYO Boot Camp here and get 20% off the Boot Camp or anything in the BYO store if you use the discount code ‘CyberBYO20’ through Cyber Monday on their website.

Thank you again for your continued support and have a great Thanksgiving and Holiday season!

Brad Smith,

Oregon Beer News, 11/09/2018

Oregon Beer, McKenzie craft festivalHappy Friday! We’re rushing headlong into the second weekend of November with a number of new beer releases, pairing events, a beer festival, and more, so you won’t be lacking for things to do. Here’s the weekend roundup for this November 9th through 11th; I’ll be updating this post throughout the day on Friday so keep an eye on it.

Friday, Nov. 9

The McKenzie Cider & Craft Beer Festival in Springfield kicks off Friday, and runs through Saturday. “This craft brewing festival is the premier fest in Lane County for craft beer & cider. Join us for live music, great food, brewing classes, family events, and more than 150 craft brewer tastings. The festival, now it it’s 7th year, is sponsored by the Springfield Rotary Club. All proceeds go to local charity programs supporting youth in our community. Come show your support for a great cause and have a terrific time tasting the best the Northwest has to offer in craft beer & ciders!” Tickets are available online for $15 for one day, or $20 for two days. There are nearly 60 breweries and cideries listed, with a nice representation of ciders, with at least a dozen pouring.

Crux Fermentation Project (Bend) celebrates the annual release of Tough Lough Imperial Stout on Friday, all day at the brewery in Bend and at The BeerMongers in Portland from 5 to 8pm (with brewer/owner Larry Sidor on hand). In Bend: “Join us in our Tasting Room for a celebratory toast and annual release of our most highly anticipated beers. This marks the official release of our 2018 [BANISHED] Tough Love Imperial Stout on draft along with 375ml & 750ml bottles. To make the evening even more special, we will also have a nitro version of Tough Love on tap along with 2016 & 2017 vintages. And you won’t want to miss the toast at 6pm from our head brewer, Cam O’Connor.”

Worthy Brewing (Bend): The brewery is hosting another of its Craft Beer, Cheese & Charcuterie Pairing events starting at 5pm: “The holidays are approaching and you have no idea what to serve your guests. Or, you are an avid beer enthusiast and would love to experience different varities and what to pair them with. Either way, you’re invited to Worthy Brewing’s craft beer & artisan cheese pairing November 9, 5:00-6:30pm. Guests can expect to have their senses dazzled by a Certified Cicerone beer presentation that compliments various types of local, artisan cheeses and select meats. Come and try many different beer & cheese pairings & charcuterie plates as well. Dessert will be provided as well! You will leave with tools to impress your holiday guests as well as a Worthy 6-Pack.”

McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse (Hillsboro) is hosting its Fall Brewers Dinner starting at 7pm Friday: “It’s a beer party in the Octagonal Barn–the quintessential fall gathering! Brewers will introduce their beers, which are paired with each course in this seasonal menu.” The menu is four courses plus an appetizer, though the beers to be paired aren’t listed. Price is $90 per person, and can be purchased here.

Caves Bier & Kitchen (Corvallis) is hosting a Deconstructed Prairie BOMB! Night starting at 4pm: “BOMB! is an imperial stout from Prairie Artisan Ales from Tulsa, Oklahoma that is aged on chilies, coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. We have kegs of the imperial stout which are solely aged on a single ingredient—only chili, only coffee, only chocolate, or only vanilla so you can taste the beer “deconstructed”. This unique tasting event is hosted in coordination with Shelton Brothers Oregon.”

Eugene’s Manifest Beer Company is releasing a new beer Friday at 5pm: “Join us Friday November 9th at 5:00pm as we release our next beer in our Single Day Series Havlova!!! Havlova is a fruited IIPAWe Drew inspiration for this beer from a favorite Dessert Pavlova!!! Brewed with coconut milk, vanilla, passion fruit, kaffir lime leaf, and raspberry. Hops used are are Mandarina Bavaria, Amarillo, Citra, Cluster, Polaris and Nelson.”

The Upper Lip at Bailey’s Taproom in Portland is hosting a beer release party for a collaboration brew between Logsdon Farmhouse Ales and Allegory Brewing: “Join us at The Upper Lip this Friday for the debut of Swordplay, a collaboration double IPA brewed by Allegory Brewing and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. We will also be featuring several beers from each brewery showcasing their diverse portfolios. We look forward to seeing you!” The event runs from 4 to 8pm.

10 Barrel Brewing (Bend): The latest version of Rose Bois Belgian-style sour ale drops: “Join us [Friday] at our Bend, Portland, Boise, and Denver pubs as we release the 2018 edition of Rose Bois. Inspired by old school Belgian Sours, this brew took Jimmy 3 years to age to perfection. Using two types of wild yeast this concoction will take your senses on a wild trip through earth and time. Each pub will be featuring Rose Bois in a special 2-course dinner special tomorrow only. Join us for this special release for this special beer!”

Portland’s Lombard House is hosting Allegory Brewing and Von Ebert Brewing for a “Harvest Project” beer release and tap takeover starting at 6pm: “We are proud to present the Harvest Project:Viognier, a collaboration between my old coworkers Sean and Sam, who now run the show over at Von Ebert, and Charlie from Allegory Brewing. Harvest Project: Viognier is a farmhouse ale that was generously hopped with NZ Nelson Sauvin and fermented on nearly a ton of 2017 Anne Amie Viogner grapes from Twelve Oaks Estate. It was then aged in neutral oak barrels with a blend of Brettanomyces for 10 months. Before kegging, it was dry-hopped with even more white wine heavy Nelson Sauvin.”

Cascade Brewing (Portland) releases Cuvée du Jongleur, or ‘Blend of the Juggler,” on Friday in 500ml bottles and on draft at the Cascade locations. “Cuvée du Jongleur consists of select red, triple and quad sour ales aged in oak barrels for up to three years. The 2017 project pays homage to the original blend, juggling a variety of base beers that offer clean and complex flavors through the lactic fermentation process that has come to define Cascade’s Northwest sour ales. The original label, which featured a whimsical juggler, has been updated but still maintains the red and black checker pattern that defined the original release. Cuvée du Jongleur is a Tier One release and is limited in quantities. Fans are encouraged to purchase early, because once this beer is gone, it may not return for another 10 years.” Get some!

Ochoco Brewing (Prineville) has a new beer release party Friday starting at 6pm: “This Friday we’ll be releasing Collaboration Coffee Stout! We’ve teamed up with Riff Cold Brewed Coffee to bring you all tasty infusion of their Off the Cuff cold brewed coffee and our Bandit Springs stout. Live music will start around 6pm with Kinzel and Hyde. Come on out!”

Claim 52 Brewing (Eugene) has its newest beer out Friday: “Celebrate Friday with the second iteration our Brut IPA, “Krispy”. This time we held out the Motueka and hopped it with Mosaic and Comet. It was just tapped at the Kitchen this morning, so come grab a pint, wind down and ease into the weekend.”

Saturday, Nov. 10

It’s The Abyss release at Deschutes Brewery! The 2018 edition of this barrel-aged imperial stout returns in time for winter, and all day Saturday the Bend and Portland pubs will be celebrating. Look for vintage vertical flights at the Bend Pub (and I’m sure Portland too) of years 2013 through 2018, as well as food specials; the Portland Pub will also be offering brunch. This is one of the best imperial stouts coming out of Oregon (or anywhere for that matter) so don’t miss out!

10 Barrel Brewing‘s Bend Pray For Snow release party takes place from 5 to 10pm Saturday at the east side pub: “This year we’re taking Pray For Snow to a whole new level. Join us for the Bend premiere of our very own ski and snowboard movie, Pray For Snow; featuring: Ben Ferguson, Curtis Ciszek, Eric Jackson, and Lucas Wachs. We’ll also have live music, prize giveaways, special beer tappings, and more! Proceeds from the event benefit Protect Our Winters!”

McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop (Portland) celebrates its 3rd birthday this weekend, taking place all day long on Saturday: “Wish us happy birthday, and we’ll share our cake! To celebrate we’ve also got a Bottle Shop Birthday Taster Tray, 20% off Bottle Shop logo merchandise and bottled Birthday Reserve No. 3, a sour ale with plums and ginger that was aged in McMenamins Quince Cider barrels. Passporters, take a selfie with Homer, show us, and claim a sweet prize.” There will be tasting throughout the day and a chance to chat with the brewers of the Reserve No. 3 beer. Congrats!

Eugene’s 16 Tons is hosting its annual Imperial Stout Fest on Saturday: “Dark & delicious beers from Great Notion, Fort George, Modern Times, Grimm, Perennial, Deschutes, Fremont & more! Free entry, pay for tasters, bring in your own food from neighboring restaurants.”

Ecliptic Brewing (Portland): Starting at 3pm, Ecliptic is holding a release celebration for its latest beer, Star Party Brut IPA: “We’re throwing a star party in the pub as we toast our newest Special Release beer with an evening of music, drinks, and food specials! About Star Party Brut IPA: Behold the Cosmos! Star Party explodes with primordial hop character set against a background as dry and clean as the void of space. Raise a glass this season and join the party. 8% ABV. Star Party Brut IPA will be available on draft, along with champagne cocktail specials and bites from the kitchen. Our regular pub menu will also be available.”

The Bend Ale Fest returns to Bend’s Northwest Crossing neighborhood on Saturday from 11am to 8pm, featuring 20 breweries pouring 40 beers, almost all from Central Oregon (oddly, Double Mountain Brewery is included as well). The Fest does double duty as the finish line for the Bend Ale Run which takes place earlier in the morning. Entry is free and the pint glass costs $10, or you can get the package (pint glass and 10 tokens for $20).

Cascade Brewing (Portland) is hosting a Meet the Brewer event at its Lodge from 6 to 8pm: “Meet the Brewer! Drop in and join us on Nov. 10 for a Q&A with Cascade’s head brewer, Mike Mathis. The event will take place in the Brewer’s Den on the lower level of the Lodge at Cascade Brewing. Enjoy vintage draft and bottle tastings, special sour and non-sour projects, and fun food pairings from the kitchen! No RSVP and no cover charge. 21 and over.”

Heater Allen Brewing (McMinnville) is releasing its annual winter seasonal Sandy Paws, a Baltic-style porter, on Saturday: “Come try this year’s batch of Sandy Paws! Come by and get a taste or a stein and buy a few bottles.”

Sunday, Nov. 11 – Happy Veterans Day!

AleSong Brewing (Eugene) is holding its Fall Release on Sunday from noon to 6pm: “Fall is on it’s way, and its going to start getting chilly out there! Luckily, we think that’s perfect beer drinking weather and we’ve got a great line up of barrel aged beers to keep you warm as the seasons change! On November 11th we will be releasing four new beers and hosting our fall release party for our membership! As always, these beers will be released in conjunction with a celebration for our members at our tasting room. From 12-6pm on 11/11 we will have tastings of each of the new beers paired with delicious small bites, and live music!” The beers being released are Rhino Suit 2018, Raspberry Parliament, Four Merchants, and Farm Fresh (a Member beer).

General News

Climate City Brewing (Grants Pass) has a new beer on tap in time for the weekend: “Introducing Brown-Chika-Bow-Wow! Turn on the Barry White, light a fire and get cozy with this sexy American Strong Ale. It’s deliciously smooth and round, with just a hint of intriguing bitterness.”

Migration Brewing (Portland) will be opening a (pop-up?) location in Lloyd Center Mall in Portland: the Migration Brewing Burger Shack, opening on November 15.

The post Oregon Beer News, 11/09/2018 appeared first on The Brew Site.

Craft Cleaning: Cylindroconical Fermentor CIP

Craft Cleaning: Cylindroconical Fermentor CIP

Brewers often joke that they spend more time cleaning than on any other aspect of the job. That isn’t quite true at Sapwood Cellars, but the cleaning aspect has been the biggest change from homebrewing. By comparison, wort production hasn’t been that difficult or different. Sure it took a few batches to acclimate to the efficiency and losses on our 10 bbl Forgeworks brewhouse (as with any new brewing system), made more challenging by an unreliable flow meter. Even 15 batches in despite hitting our target mash temps, wort fermentability seems to be lower than expected. We’re also still dialing in hop utilization given the thermodynamics involved with large wort volumes. Still, the concepts, ingredients, and techniques are all pretty similar to homebrewing.

When it comes to cleaning and sanitizing though, we’ve had to relearn the entire process. You really can’t fill a fermentor with 360 gallon of Oxiclean Free and soak overnight or swirl and scrub… I miss those days. First, let’s talk about chemicals and what they do. Our main supplier is AFCO, but Berko, Five-Star, and Loeffler all have fans. Prices seemed similar, we just didn’t think about ordering until a couple weeks before we started brewing and picked the one with the quickest turnaround time. We buy most of the chemicals in 5 gallon jugs, and pump them into beakers to measure and dose.

The chemicals we use to clean and sanitize our brewery.

Caustic (5229 Caustic) – Caustic is the primary cleaner used by most breweries. Usually sodium hydroxide based and heavily alkaline. It is ideal for breaking down and removing organic deposits (e.g., krausen rings). You can do a bit of trading-off between time, temperature, pressure, and concentration. That said, 2-3% caustic at ~150F (66C) for 20-30 minutes through the sprayball has been a pretty good place to start for us. Caustic is dangerous because it is capable of breaking down your skin (the lye used in soap making is similar). We started with a powdered caustic (Wash-It), but given the price and efficacy we transitioned to liquid.

Phosphoric-Nitric Acid Blend (5397 Microlex Special 30) – Acid helps to remove inorganic deposits, i.e., beerstone (calcium oxalate). It also helps to neutralize any residual caustic (not that there should be any with adequate rinsing) and to passivate stainless steel. Acid blend is used at similar temperatures and cycle lengths as caustic, although slightly cooler, ~130F (54C).

Five Star Peroxyacetic Acid (PAA) – While there are many sanitizers available, PAA is the most popular for breweries. At the right concentrations it is a robust sanitizer with high effectiveness. It breaks down to acetic acid, so it can be used no-rinse. It is a powerful oxidizer, which makes it important to drain any residual before fermented beer enters a tank or keg. Our bucket was leftover from the old brewery in our space, so we bought a pack of test strips and it still reads the expected concentration after dilution.

Five Star PBW – We have a bucket of this alkaline powered cleaner for soaking hot-side equipment and other gear where we don’t want to have to be as careful as we would with caustic. We both used it at home, so were more comfortable with it than the Chlorinated Manual Cleaner we started with.

Iodophor (4330 Spark I2) – Similar to the PBW, it is nice to have a less hazardous sanitizer for spraying ports or soaking fittings. It is only effective on clean surfaces, so it is important to remove of detritus before expecting it to work.

Grain Alcohol – Given its quick kill times and evaporation ethanol is the ideal sanitizer for spray bottles and any surfaces that are highly sensitive (e.g., yeast culturing). Isopropyl alcohol is another option.

General Concepts

Pre-Heating – At this scale a tank has so much thermal mass that you can’t simply put 15 gallons (57 L) of hot water to a tank and expect it to still be hot after circulating. As a result if you want the caustic or acid to stay hot, you need to pray hot water into the tank. A tank with an electric element (like our keg washer has) helps too.

Sprayball – Most tanks have a port that leads to a sprayball, a small metal orb that spins and sprays when liquid is forced through. These aren’t always perfect, and can have blind spots, especially in ports and above it. In addition, it isn’t effective at cleaning its own exterior.

A sprayball from our kettle.
Passivation – This is what makes stainless steel stainless, a thin layer of chromium atoms at the surface that prevents iron from rusting or leeching into the beer (which weakens the equipment and shortens its lifespan). With a pristinely clean surface, the oxygen in the atmosphere is enough to accomplish this, but acids (especially nitric) are more effective.


These chemicals aren’t anything to joke about. Many brewers have scars gained from caustic or acid dripping onto their skin . Safety glasses, long gloves, chemical resistant boots and pants are a must when handling them. Read the safety data sheet for each chemical you are using and know what to do if some gets on your skin or in your eyes. I don’t get to drink as much beer as I used to because the end of the day is usually the most dangerous time.

Scott and I prefer to have all of the tank’s arms connected from the start, allowing us to use valves to direct the flow of the cleaning and sanitizing solutions. We started off using a manifold coming off the pump, but have changed to daisy-chained T’s between the arms. Many brewers prefer to simply move a single output line from the pump between the arms. This requires less setup time, but more active effort once cleaning begins (moving the hose from arm to arm ~10 times through the process). It also carries additional risks if you move the hose without closing a valve.

Our Fermentor CIP Process

1. Once the beer is out of a tank, we turn off the glycol jackets and open the dump valve. We then shoot high-pressure cold water through the sprayball to remove most of the hops/yeast struck to the sides and bottom.

2. We use our on-demand hot water heater to generate 130F (54C) water to spray through the sprayball and manually through a hose to dislodge the bulk of the crud stuck to the sides/top of the fermentor. We’ll run it through the pump to get good coverage.

Tankless on-demand hot water heater.
3. We briefly remove the lower fittings on the tanks (including manway, racking arm, thermometer, sample port) to spray out the trub caught in them.

4. We blow compressed air through the sprayball at ~30 PSI with the bottom valve open for 30 minutes. CO2 neutralizes caustic, so best to remove as much as possible before proceeding. This long is likely overkill for a 10 bbl tank, but can’t hurt.

5. We assemble our cleaning rig, usually a pump running to the sprayball, with a T to connect it to the racking arm and another to the blow-off.

The pump we use for cleaning.

The fermentor during the cleaning process.
5. We preheat the tank for a couple minutes by spraying 160F (71C) water in and letting it drain. We hook the water line in right before the pump so we can immediately go to cleaning once it is preheated. Our goal is to get the tank to read ~130F (54C).

6. We then use the hot water heater’s built-in meter to send 10-15 gallons of 160F (71C) water into the tank. We dose in 3 oz of caustic per gallon (2.3%) using a stainless steel elbow on one of the ports (chasing the caustic with water to ensure it get in). We then turn the elbow down to allow that port to equalize the pressure inside the tank, while preventing caustic from spitting out.

7. I like to send a little flow through the blow-off and racking arm first to soak them during the 20-25 minutes sprayball at full pressure (60 hz on our pump – or a bit slower if it cavitates). Then five minutes through the other arms, before a final five through the sprayball.

6. Dump the caustic. Rinse each arm with hot water, then burst rinse 10 times for 10 seconds at 130F (54C) through the sprayball, allowing it to drain before each successive rinse. I’ll often put 10-15 gallons (38-57 L) into the tank once or twice and recirculate at the end to make sure there is enough pressure to spray all the surfaces. You can check the pH of the drained rinse water to ensure it has returned close normal before proceeding.

2. We then take off all of the fittings (including the sprayball itself), soak them in PBW or caustic. We inspect the fittings and gaskets, rinse and put into a bucket of iodophor. For the ports we spray, scrub and spritz with iodophor before reassembling. We also take the chance to inspect the interior with a flashlight to ensure there are no deposits.

7. We run acid blend at 2 oz per gallon (1.5% by volume) using roughly the same process and times as the caustic. Significantly higher concentrations should be used on new equipment and once a year to ensure adequate passivation.

8. Usually we’ll air-dry at this point unless we need the tank the following day. In that case we’ll rinse and then sanitize with peroxyacetic acid in cool water at 200 PPM using the same rig, and pressurize the tank to 4 PSI of CO2 to ensure it holds. The next morning we’ll dump any residual sanitizer from each port before running wort or beer in.

The whole process including sanitation takes three hours, but most of that time isn’t active (just waiting for a purge, or cycle). Going longer on any of the times isn’t a big deal, so it is easy to run while working on other things if you keep track of your progress and don’t miss a step.

We haven’t gotten a CIP cart with dedicated vessels and pump, so our biggest issue currently is that it is difficult for one of us to clean a tank while the other person brews because they require some of the same equipment. Luckily our current schedule of two batches a week doesn’t make that too much of an issue.

I am by no means holding this up as a perfect or ideal process. It’ll likely be viewed as overkill by some, and inadequate by others. But if you have constructive suggestions, I’d love to hear them! I’d rather err towards overkill because we’re dealing with several yeast strains (including killer wine yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus, not to mention Brettanomyces and Pediococcus in a dedicated tank), although we do have the advantage of only dealing with kegs stored cold.

Other Pieces

We addition we’ll pump the same chemicals through our heat exchanger and carbonation stone. For the heat exchanger we also heat pasteurize by running 180F (82C) water for 20 minutes inline once we assemble our knock-out rig (we discard the water until we see wort before sending to the fermentor). Our keg cleaner automatically does the same process on our sanke kegs, including air and CO2 purges to recapture the caustic and sanitizer.

Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl – BeerSmith Podcast #181

Drink Beer, Think Beer with John Holl – BeerSmith Podcast #181

This week John Holl joins me to discuss the Craft Beer revolution and also his new book “Drink Beer, Think Beer”.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (49:36)

  • Today my guest is John Holl, author of the new book Drink Beer, Think Beer (Amazon affiliate link). John is also senior editor at Craft Beer and Brewing magazine and author of The American Craft Beer Cookbook (Amazon affiliate links) as well as a beer judge.
  • We discuss his work as editor at Craft Beer and Magazine as well as introduce his new book “Think Beer, Drink Beer”.
  • John explains a bit of the history of the modern beer renaissance (craft beer revolution) and also how critical home brewing was to it.
  • We talk about the role of big breweries and how the line between craft beer and big beer is increasingly blurred by the complex ownership relationships now.
  • We discuss beer flavors and how flavor has a significant role in craft beer.
  • I bring up the dominance of IPAs and we discuss whether it will continue to force other styles off the shelf.
  • We discuss judging and tasting beer.
  • John talks about some of the down sides of the craft beer revolution (shadows in beer).
  • He explains how the way we enjoy beer in tasting rooms has evolved and contrasts that with beer at home.
  • We talk about the “death of subtlety” in beer.
  • John discusses the leveling off of growth in craft beer and how it may be part of the normal business cycle.
  • He shares his closing thoughts.


Thanks to John Holl for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
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