So I had to do some brewing. The bug to brew a new batch was there after a trip out to Boston MA where I tasted QUITE a few great beers at four different breweries! So I decided that I needed to fill my new 5 gallon keg with a batch of a style I had not tried before. I figured something that was not crazy, but a good session like beer would be the best choice. A California Common or Steam beer would be a great hang out and drink style. Thus, Steamin’ Kalifornia was born. I also had a few new toys, a 5 gallon keg and a carbonation cap.
An important step in homebrewing is learning how to make a yeast starter. The easiest way to get it going the right way, is to use a stir plate. Enter the StirStarter. Before I get into the review of the StirStarter, I think it is good to look at my history with starters.
This is a step that I really didn’t get into at the beginning of my brewing. More often than not, I just used dry yeast….sprinkle and go. Occassionaly, I used liquid yeast, but just did a smack pack…smack it and go.
Well, then tried my first yeast starter. I started with a 2 liter flask, and used an airlock. DON’T USE AN AIRLOCK! ( The airlock does just that….it stops oxygen from getting in there, which is needed to promote good yeast growth). I would walk by and give a little shake. I got some propagation, but not nearly enough. After finding out not to use an airlock, the next time, I used sanitized foil on the top of the flask. That is the better choice. Now I was moving forward and learning some stuff along the way….and that is what we should do, right?
For Christmas, I got the FastFerment Conical Fermenter as well as a few of the accessories. So I decided to do a quick setup and overview of it as my first video done for the website. I will do a full review of it after I use it on an upcoming brew.
A few things to note:
- I needed another quarter turn of the main valve assembly, and I found this out during my water test.
- I forgot the carrying strap that I got as well.
- I need to boost my audio next time (sorry)
- I should put away the kids’ games before videoing…..I got excited and blasted ahead without cleaning.
In the realm of brewing, there are just a few equipment upgrades that really make a big difference in your brewing process. The big thing? A conical fermenter. When you visit a brewery of any commercial scale, they are not using a bucket brewing system like most home brewers. They don’t have carboys lined up. They have large shiny conical fermenters. These pieces of equipment for homebrewers are like vision of sugar plums dancing in children’s heads.
So on my wishlist for the holidays this year was a conical fermenter. I knew that a bright shiny stainless steel one was not an option, so instead I asked for a more affordable and movable one. I went for the FastFerment Concical Fermenter. I chose this one for a few reasons. The price point was right on, there were a bunch of add-on accessories, and it was movable. I will post a full setup and review of it in the future. Continue reading