BrewPi fermentation controller build

After homebrewing for so many years, I knew fermentation temperature control was something that ought to be added to my capabilities.  I’ve made controllers from the STC-1000 box but the BrewPi was attractive for the detailed control offered and logging abilities, and it seemed like a neat challenge. I ordered the parts from BrewPi in Europe but decided to omit the pretty enclosures offered by the creator, Elco, as I wanted to get … Continue reading

WiFi Beerbug Initial Review

Not long ago I received my third hardware example of the BeerBug, namely the current WiFi model.   Previously I had tested two previous incarnations that connected to the world using Bluetooth (see my blog posts tagged beerbug).  After seeing some good looking data from the new models, I took advantage of a reasonably priced upgrade process offered to Kickstarter backers to get the latest version. Initial impressions were pretty good. … Continue reading

Interesting Bike Light Failure Mode

I saw the bicycle light of Mrs. Nerdly Endeavours flashing brightly while the bike was parked outside.  Thinking the light must have been left on, I went to turn it off but could not, though strangely enough by pushing the button enough the light would switch between flashing and constant beam modes. After opening it up I saw that some corrosion around the button and figured the button was trashed.   … Continue reading

Reverse Osmosis Water for Brewing

Sorry for the long absence.  Here’s two quick observations about using reverse osmosis water for brewing. First, I have found that it makes it easier to hit pH targets in the mash with just calcium salt addition (calcium chloride and/or calcium sulfate depending on hopping level) compared to my filtered municipal water, which has some alkalinity.   I used to salt that out the alkalinity with phosphoric acid, but in … Continue reading

Keg Line Cleaner

  Based on some ideas on, I made this simple keg line cleaner using a hand-pumped garden sprayer and a couple of fittings from CHI company, which was the only place I found selling both a pin lock liquid out post and a barb adapter for it. It’s a lot more convenient to use this than to deal with pumping cleaner through using a a spare keg.

Calcium phosphate precipitation in brewing water

I’ve been pre-treating my water with crushed campden tablet, phosphoric acid, and calcium salt (chloride, sulfate, or a mixture).  I’ve seen very small amounts of while solid in the hot liquor tank (HLT) and didn’t really think much of it, sort of assuming it was undissolved material from the tablets.  But after seeing this comment by AJ deLange I wonder if it might be precipitated hydroxyapatite or another calcium phosphate. … Continue reading

DMS condensation myth

Some people think dimethyl sulfide (DMS) will condense on a kettle lid and undesirably fall back into the boiling wort, so they do full open boils.  After doing over a hundred batches with the lid covering 80% or more of top of the kettle, I just looked up the boiling point of DMS to find it to be 99°F.  I think my kettle lid is at least 180°F during boil … Continue reading

Brettanomyces IPA

Inspired by the Mad Fermentationist Brett IPA and after a discussion with the brewer from Chocolate City, who suggested the Apollo hops, I made my second India Pale Ale using the Brettanomyces Trois yeast from Wyeast (Wyeast 5526). After pouring the first pint, I am happy enough with it to share it here.  It’s tart and complex with pungent citrus and tropical fruit from the hops blending with the Brett character.

Quasi-high-output USB iPad charger from 12V with extension cable

I was disappointed in the performance of the “high output” dual USB car chargers I found that claimed a total of 4.2 Amps to charge two iPads but in fact could not provide that much current to even one device (failing to keep the iPad charge level from dropping while in use, despite getting an indication showing iPad charging).  Also, I wanted the works on longer cable to get things … Continue reading