After brewing beer for almost 10 years, it was time to do something different. 4 year ago I planted my first grape plant – I choose the variety of Steuben – which is a hybrid grape a mix of French and American grapevines, making for good flavor, adds spice, sweetness, hints of honey.
Since this was a small batch, I kept things simple, here are the steps employed:
remove the grapes from the vines
wash the grapes
puree them in a blender, mix with some warm water – so the blender works
take a specific gravity reading of the grapes after blending, for us it was 1.035
you can tell if the grape is ready to harvest by doing just that, but we didn’t want to take changes with weather (being this was the first year)
put all the grapes into your fermentation vessel – that you have sanitized and cleaned
of course you want to premix the sugar with warm water to dissolve it before adding it to the fermentation vessel
mix all that into the fermentation vessel, mix it good and take a gravity reading again – using a refractometer
leave some head room for the fermentation of course
dehydrate your yeast packet in a separate container with some luke warm water and add that into your fermentation vessel – mix it all up, add your blow off tube
you are done!
Ferment away from sunlight, and somewhere where you have consistent non-swinging temperatures, read the requirements for the yeast that you have used, but 70 ~ 80 F should work.
Make wine is fairly easy, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or fancy expensive equipment, at least for home wine.
If you are going to make larger batches of wine using more traditional methods which are less sanitary, then its a good idea to use Campden tablets – to kill off any wild yeasts, then 24 hours later you can add your yeast.
Update: After 20 days, we transferred the wine into secondary fermentation, leaving all the grape skins behind, the purpose of this stage is to finish off the fermentation and allow the wine to settle, leaving any debris to settle on the bottom of the fermentor. After about two weeks, we want to decant again, leaving any sediment behind.
At this stage you want to check the pH of the Wine and adjust it (you can check the pH before fermentation as well or after or during ) – wine pH should between 3.2 and 3.6 / this allows the wine to be stored and aged in bottles for a long time without going bad as bacteria doesn’t like acidic environments.
Another test you want to check for is the Percentage of the acidity of your wine, there is a lookup chart that you want your wine to fall into depending on the wine you are making ( white wine, red, fruit wine, etc… ), for a red wine, you want to acidity to be about 60% – and you can buy a testing kit at a brew store or online for that step.
Since we are very new to this – I encourage anyone to read more about it and search for useful Youtube videos on all stages of wine making, we posted one youtube link below, cheers!
Latest update: at 4 weeks this beer should clear up quite nicely and taste considerably better if you have chilled it at serving temperature compared to only 3 weeks, 1 extra week will make quite the difference. It comes with an immediate hint of clover, and just smooth good beer, super easy to swallow and you want more!
This is a great Oktoberfest beer!
The German-style hefeweizen is straw to amber in color and made with at least 50 percent malted wheat, however; since we are doing an experimental beer or SMaSH (single malt and single hop), we will be using a Single grain and barley at that, no wheat! 🙂
The aroma and flavor comes largely from the yeast and is decidedly fruity (banana) and phenolic (clove). “Weizen” means “wheat” and “hefe” means “yeast”, but we are not using any wheat, just to be clear. Also to capture as much hop aroma and flavor we are adding very little hops at start of boil (only about 5 IBU) and the remain goes at the end.
Video of the Brew:
19 lb Vienna – that’s it, nothing else
Mash – started at 135-F and slowly using an electric PID control raised it to 152-F and kept there for an hour.
Start of boil (60 minutes) – 0.4 OZ of Cascades, only 5 IBU at this stage
10 minues to end of boil (50 minutes) – 1.0 ounces of Cascades, we don’t want to go above 17~ 20 IBU on this one, since volumes will vary equipment wise on your end, fyi…
Yeasts and experiments:
So we ended up brewing about 13 gallons of beer:
In the main fermentor 11.5 gallons – we used the “Imperial Stefon” – for the goal of this brew Barleyweizen, as we are using the classic Wheat yeast, but in barley.
In a 1 gallon jug – we used a reclaimed “Imperial Barbarian”, this yeast was about 6 months old and it still worked out well, we did do a starter to help it wake up, it was a bit slow to start – but it did and is still fermenting nicely / anything older than 6 month is a risk. Since we used an IPA yeast, this will come out different – but we wanted to see how this SMaSH comes out using different yeasts.
In a 1/2 gallon grower is put that by the window (open-ferment) to see how that will work out, it was a nice calm summer day, so this will be a natural inoculation by wild yeasts, that took a few days to take off, but there was activity with “krausen” / then the next day a tin foil was put on top of the glower.
OG (Original Gravity) was 1.045 / more updates later
Results of the open fermentation experiment:
As mentioned we put half a gallon from this brew by window to open ferment. It did ferment well all the way down to 1.007 / but the type of yeast it picked up wasn’t what we wanted. It smelled very strongly of fusel alcohol/paint thinner or nail polish, so it went down the drain.
Kumbocha is not beer, it is a probiotic drink or basically a fermented tea.
There are many health benefits to Kumbocha and it is an ancient drink originating somewhere from the Asian region around Japan, hard to say exactly from where.
Kumbocha is also a detoxer, it will clean your system out of the many toxins that have stored in your body over time andy keep it clean.
If you have never drunk Kumbocha, go to a store and get some and see if you are going to like it, because there are small amounts of people who don’t do well with it or like it.
Again, it will detox your body, which means that you *might* get the runs, (bathroom visit), become bloated, not feel well, in the beginning – but this is all temporary for most people and not everyone reacts to it, you might not.
As far as the instructions, it is much easier to just record a few videos on YouTube, than write a bunch of rules, so that’s what I have done, please watch them below.
The recipe, we will not post ours, not because it is a secret, but because we want you to explore and do some research on your own and through that exercise, you will find your own recipe and learn much about Kumbocha.
Also, watch more videos on the benefits as well.
Part 1 – How to brew Kumbocha
Part 2 – How to transfer a new brew to your existing mother
How finished Kumbocha after secondary fermentation should look like when you pour, quick video:
On Saturday 2/18/2017 a Grapefruit IPA was brewed. We used peels from 2 grapefruit in a 10 gallon batch, we didn’t want it to be too overwhelming but also a little bit more than a hint. Full recipe will be posted later. It is best to peel the skins when they are fresh using a filleting like knife. Since we are now brewing using an electric setup, we also follow a very precise Mashing temperature control schedule. Say goodbye to temperature oscillations!
Mash-in temp at 170F, after grain mixed drops to 150F
A Re-circulation process is started between two vessels (a march pump is used) and we use the PID controller to maintain a perfect 152 F temp. for 1 hour, so there is no temperature swings like with gas. One vessel is the mash tun and the other the electric kettle.
After an hour, we move up to 162 F (again using precise PID control) and stay there for 30 minutes
We move up again to 174 F to mash out.
The Mash takes a solid 2 hours when you factor in the time it takes to move from 152 to 162 and again to 174. Since the entire mash is done while recirculating, the beer is crystal clear by the time it is mashed out.
A video on the setup is below, as you can see you don’t need to have fancy setups to make good beer, most home-brew operations are analogous with custom hacks. We spent very little money to make this stuff together and make it work compared to buying better looking solutions that costs many thousands of dollars.
For this brew we have decided to use a new yeast from a new company (Portland, Oregon) – yeast used was an Imperial Barbarian. This also seems to be an organic yeast. We did not do a starter like normally we would, to save on time. These cans have enough yeast to support 10 gallons for 5-7% beers.
On 11/20/2016, we brewed a Citra American IPA. More recently we started to preview/simulate brews using an App on my cell phone (android), called: Wort. This is in a way a simulation, we strongly recommend you do this and then brew. The developer hangs out in the Brew Nerds community on G+, you can talk to him directly and is very approachable.
This is a sample after all done brewing, but before fermentation. It looks darker than it is because its mixed with trub. But final color should be light to medium orange, again, it will depend on your exact grains.
pic below, after fermentation is over, which is quick, 5/6 days.
pic below is 1 week after bottling, so 2 weeks after brewing, already very drinkable, dominant grapefruit flavor, nice smell and retention head, carbonation came out great, 3 ounces of priming sugar to 5 gallons of beer was used.
The pic below is beer aged at 2 months, nice and clear.. the dominant grapefruit is pretty much gone, still good beer. These are designed to be enjoyed fresh, as opposed to say Belgians that need a lot more aging time.
Our OG was 1.054, we also used our electric setup here for the first time with this beer.
OG 1.054 // IBU 56 // SRM 6 // Final ABV tbd…
The color of the beer should be light orange, but might vary on the grains that you end up using or substitute for because of availability.
Total water used was 15 gallons for the 10 gallon batch.
Initially this was a 7.5% beer, but we have brewed so many higher gravity beers in the last 2 years and wanted something lighter and more refreshing this time, so about 5 lb of grain was scaled down proportionally for each malt.
20 lb Pale Malt – local to our State of Washington
1.5 lb Crystal 15 Love
1.5 lb Munich Malt
hops (60 minute boil):
1 ounce Nugget at start of boil – bittering
2 ounce Citra – 10 minutes into boil
2 ounce Mosaic – 10 minutes into boil
1 ounce Citra – 1 minute to end of boil
1 ounce Mosaic – 1 minute to end of boil
You can also do additional dry hop (we didn’t):
1 ounce Mosaic – dry hop
1 ounce Citra – dry hop
Wyeast American 1056 ( 1000ml starter 36 hours before )
Up to now – we have been brewing with natural gas or propane, while this works really well, and there are many advantages, like nice strong boils, etc…, there are also some draw backs – as with everything.
Here are some of the benefits of using electric over gas:
no carbon-monoxide gas is created, as you are not burning gas, so safer
it is much (again) safer to control electricity with un-attended automation over gas
no need to waste time buying and hauling propane no more
since you are saving time, you could fit 2 batches in the same day; just fill the water, set your temp goal on the PID and go to do something else…
Electric is much more efficient, 100% of the energy transfers into the wort, where as with gas only about 25% (the other 75% is byproduct of heat), which you have to ventilate for.
Voltage Choice ?
You will have with two choices, which you need to think about and consider for your needs and goals. You can build your system around 120 volts or 240 volts. Obviously it is easier to use 120 volts, since all electrical outlets by default have that everywhere in the US and only Driers and Oven ranges would have the cabling setup for 240 volts, unless you live in Europe :- ) then you have 220 volts.
A good way to wet your feet is to start with 120 volts and automate the heating for the mashing phase of the brewing. Since mash out temps. are about 170F Max and everything between at lower ranges, you won’t really have the need to heat beyond that, so you can use lower wattage heating elements.
Drills or Punches ?
You have a choice of either making the holes using drills or hole punches. There are many videos on youtube on that, so search away for your pot type and size. We drill a hole and then thread it for smaller holes and for bigger holes, we drill a hole (threading has little value) because the thickness of the material is not sufficient enough to have the proper threads – so you will have to use rubber seals and lock nuts. If you know how to weld, you don’t need instructions from us :- )
For this project we used a 1,650 watt stainless steel heating element, using 120 volts. 1650 watts / 120 volts = 13.75 Amps. So when you buy a Relay, make sure it is rated above that, always good to have a nice buffer when it comes to electricity. Most SSR Relays start in about the 25 Amp range, so you are good to go.
We *do really* recommend that you buy the more expensive American made Auber controller, their quality is much better and they are rated for 10Amps without the need for a Relay, if you are going to stay under 1200watts. Our experience with the cheaper Chinese made PIDs like the MYPIN, etc.. were poor, a lot of wasted time, it breaks easily, just cheap overall construction and I doubt their QA process // but you might have other luck – be warned, you do actually get what you pay for, that’s why people say this :- )
We don’t recommend the MyPIN or any other Brands out of China – seriously, their quality is not that good, on the other hand, there are good ones coming out of Japan, but do your research first.
The FOTEK solid state relays seem to perform well – time will tell if they still work after 5 years. Make sure the model of your PID will work with a solid state Relay and will support your temperature probe. Not all PIDs work with solid state, check the specs and ask before ordering.
We Recommend the Auber PID – see the manufacturers web site for different kinds:
Here is what we used (1,650 watts stainless steel), but again – there are many different wattages and even shapes, so do your research – we recommend stainless!!!
This is the heating probe that we used – RTD Pt100 Temperature Sensor Probe Cable 3 Wires 1/2″ NPT 750°F for Temp Control – don’t get a cheap one and think about its placement relative to your needs and batch volume size.
Hooking it up ?
Most people will install the PID inside some kind of a Control Panel casing // here you can be as creative as you want, since this is for #homebrew, just try everything safely and properly, take your time and research, if you are not sure.
Many great videos exist on youtube – we recommend, you do some research again // Video will be posted later of final control panel.
Beeruino – is an #arduino based data logger and controller project that I dreamt up after my second pint of #homebrew. Here is an older video before the buttons were added for more flexible control.
What is it made of ?
Black project box (Radio Shack), donated to me by a fellow brew head
Originally using Arduino UNO R3 // Recently upgraded to the Mega 2560 R3 (more memory!)
Ethernet Sheild (gives Ethernet and SD card capability)
RTC (real-time-clock) using I2C bus (give accurate date/time)
dual 10 amp relay module (120 volt x 10 amp = 1200 watts)
dual A/C sockets, independent of each other (so different things can be controlled out of each socket)
4×20 LCD screen using the I2C bus
Arduino sketch C++ code
Power Cable to power the A/C sockets
Analog buttons to change the set goal temperature UP or DOWN on the control relay, and to RESET the DATA storage on the SD card
Beeruino now has control buttons and Version 2 of the code has been released. They allow you to control the target goal temperature without the need to change the value manually and no need to recompile the program using the computer, making it more independent and flexible as a tool.
Importing, Verifying, Analyzing and Plotting the Data:
I like to analyze the data using R (open-source) statistical software, that can do a lot more than just statistics, so don’t let that scare if you are not familiar or good with math/numbers.
Basically data in imported into R from the textfile.txt off the SD card, then I do some quick summary verification, I take a sample every 25 row and plot it in two different way using ggplot2. Temperature of internal/external split by day and also the whole plot in one not segmented or split.
These two plot show a simple test run on plain water in a 12.5 gallon fermentor.
Started with cold 44F well water, turned on Beeruino and set temperature goal to 65F, then later raised it to 70F and again for the duration of the test to 75F.
Here is a simple R script, this assumes you have some limited know-how in using R, if not do our self a favor and learn it.
Update: since this blog was written, the Project was transferred to a more professional looking project box and is now called the Beeruino, please search to see that blog – also code has been posted to Git.
empty cigar box (smaller plastic project boxes also are ideal, but cigar box was free)
Arduino UNO R3
Arduino UNO R3 compatible ethernet shield + SD card that plugs into the SD slot
two Dallas 1-wire temperature sensors (1 meter long, internal cable length was extended)
4×20 blue LCD Screen – works over I2C
an RTC (real-time-clock), also works over I2C
miscellaneous: wires, shrink wraps, hot glue, plastic wire ties and some light soldering
If you are one of those people – who is reading this and inside your head you are saying “why the hell should I do any of this shit, I just buy!!” – guess what, you are not a Maker and you will learn nothing from buying things that others have created. Once you learn, you have full control over your creation and any future ideas/goals, you are not tied to a product that someone else has created.
In this quick blog I wanted to share a quick story about how I converted an empty cigar box into a data logger. It uses the Arduino Uno and two Dallas 1-wire sensor to capture and record both the internal temperature inside the fermentor and the external temperature (outside the fermentor), so that we have a base to compare against. You should see a higher temperature inside, because when yeast ferments, that is considered an exothermic process – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exothermic_process
The primary goal was to create a small, portable system (small size and weight wise) and also for it to be independent, meaning be able to do everything on its own without external dependencies like the internet, or some network, at this stage we don’t want to send live data to the internet or log to a database // but those things can certainly be done and in the future can be nice to have.
To have this system somewhat nice, I have added a 4×20 blue LCD screen – it uses the I2C interface to make the hook up easy. Also an RTC (real-time-clock) was installed to work on the same I2C bus, this adds date+time.
In addition I have used 4-pin aviation plugs to make the sensors connection modular, so that they can be easily unplugged (cleaning or swapping) without messing with the internal electronics or wires…
Hot glue was used to stick things in place inside the cigar box, along with some limited soldering, and shrink-wrap, and wire ties to keep things organized and properly connected for solid connections.
The programming code is not super complex, and it being shared below:
It assumes that the external temp. sensor is being pulled from index(0) and internal from index(1). Having the temp sensors assigned to a static index will allow you to switch the aviation plugs and still have them assigned correctly and display from the right sensor without having to worry about which plug which should be.
A quick video and Arduino C++ code below…
The data is recorded on an SD card (inside the ethernet shield) which is plugged-in on top of the Arduino UNO R3.
Arduino dallas-1 wire code
LiquidCrystal_I2C lcd(0x27,20,4);// set the LCD address to 0x27 for a 16 chars and 2 line display
unsignedshortintcounter=0;// value range between 0 to 65,536 // we have no need to store negative value ranges
// Data wire is plugged into pin 2 on the Arduino
#define ONE_WIRE_BUS 2
// Setup a oneWire instance to communicate with any OneWire devices
// (not just Maxim/Dallas temperature ICs)
// Pass our oneWire reference to Dallas Temperature.
lcd.init();// initialize the lcd
// start serial port
// Start up the library
;// wait for serial port to connect. Needed for native USB port only
Serial.print("Initializing SD card...");
// see if the card is present and can be initialized:
Serial.println("Card failed, or not present");
// don't do anything more:
// use this code if you want the file removed upon device reboot or reset ???
Serial.println("file1 doesn't exist.");
// lcd.print("kodiakbrewing.com ");
lcd.print("Log Counter: ");
lcd.print("log to: brewday2.txt");
lcd.print("Int. Temp: ");
lcd.print(sensors.getTempCByIndex(1)*1.8+32.0);// Convert to F
lcd.print("Ext. Temp: ");
lcd.print(sensors.getTempCByIndex(0)*1.8+32.0);// Convert to F
Serial.print("External Temperature is: ");
Serial.print(sensors.getTempCByIndex(0)*1.8+32.0);// Convert to F
adding flaked oats to mash: – add sweetness and body – read…
start of boil (using hop balls for whole hops so they don’t plug up the pipes):
transfer to fermentor:
next day fermenting:
Attempt #1 – OG 1.068 // FG 1.010 – final ABV 7.6% – yes a little higher then the 6.0% Diamond Knot..
Attempt #2 – OG 1.066 // FG 1.014 – final ABV 6.83%
Total water used 15.5 gallons for final 10 gallons of beer…
attempt #1 grains:
18 lb Pale Malt 2-row
4.5 lb Munich Malt 10 love
3.0 lb Crystal Malt 10 love – see below for attempt #2 changes
0.20 lb Chocolate Malt
0.20 lb Black Barley
1.0 lb flaked Barley
1/2 lb of brown sugar
attempt #2 grains:
18 lb Pale Malt 2-row
4.5 lb Munich Malt 10 love
1.5 lb Crystal Malt 15 love
1.5 lb Crystal Malt 60 love – we did this to give the beer more caramel flavor and beer body
0.40 lb Chocolate Malt – we double the dark grains to darken the color a bit
0.40 lb Black Barley
1.0 lb flaked Barley
1/2 lb of brown sugar – we didn’t use it this time, the sugar…
hops attempt #1:
2.0 oz Galena with some whole hops from last year’s harvest (Yakima & Cascade) at start of boil, added to the hop boil ball, see video.
2.0 oz Willamette last 15 minute of boil.
hops attempt #2:
2.0 oz of home grown Cascade Hops, 2015 harvest (beginning of boil)
1.0 oz of Cascade pallet + 1.0 oz Willamette pallet (last 15 minutes)
attempt #1 – Wyeast #1056 yeast was used, took 2 weeks to ferment out, this yeast consistently bubbled over the 2 week period…
attempt #2 – British Ale Wyeast #1098 // 2 liter starter // 1.040 gravity – majority of the active fermentation will be over in about 4 days, but let it go out full 2 weeks – because it’s still happening, just slower, also we like to allow extra time for all the floaters in the fermentor to settle. On that note, per one of our brew nerds – once fermentation is over, trapped dissolved co2 gas slowly escapes the beer, so it will give you a false sense of a fermenation – only way is to measure.
attempt #3 – 11/11/18 – all same as attempt #2, expect for yeast – we used WLP002 English Ale… OG 1.052 / started the mash schedule at 138F and slowly ramped to 152F in 1 hour, then held at 152F for an additional 30 minutes for 90 minute total mash / this mash schedule produced much a better efficiency compared to OG of 1.040 in attempt #2
Beer tastes awesome – Fermentation was 2 weeks, which included 1 week rest time – this helps the yeast to reabsorb any unwanted off-flavors, in keg for only a few days! Boom, a winner!