Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rapist's Wit Re-brew

The Rapist's Wit was the first beer featured on this website way back in 2010. I decided that I needed to give this another brew.


  • 8 lbs Wheat Extract
  • 2 oz Mt. Hood hops (4.6% alpha-acid, whole leaf)
  • White Labs Belgian Wit Ale Yeast (WLP400)
  • 1 lb. Flaked Wheat
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander
  • Zests of 2 large oranges
  • 1 tsp. gypsum
On June 19th, Fathers Day, I decided I needed to brew a some beer because my kegerator is getting empty. Since I have brewed this beer before I wanted to try something different a add an extra pound of extract and bump the alcohol level up a few points. Also since I had just completed my stir plate so I wanted to try it out.

Stir Plate / Starter Procedure:

The first step in creating a starter is to mix a cup of dried malt extract (DME) with 1000 ml of water in a 2000 ml Erlenmeyer flask. To sanitize the stir rod drop it in the flask and begin to boil the wort. After boiling for 10 minutes (I didn't know how long to boil so I figured 10 minutes should be enough) I removed the flask from the stove covered the top with foil and placed in a salted ice bath. Salt is added to lower the freezing point of water therefore the water can be colder than 0°C.

After the ice bath had cooled enough to be cold to the touch I put the flask on the stir plate. I had to cool it to colder than I probably needed because I broke my thermometer during the last brew. After I made sure that the stir plate was going to be OK, I left it there and did something else.

The following day I came down stairs to see YEAST-AGEDDON!! The yeast growth had reached epic proportions. Due the the stir plate making the yeast propagate much faster it overflowed the top and went all over the counter, stir plate and everything. This was not ideal but there was enough yeast in the flask to make a proper starter.

Brew Procedure:

I poured the flaked wheat into a grain bag and and steeped them at 170°F for 15 minutes. I haven't steeped grains like this before, I have kind of just soaked until the water reached 170°F then removed. I don't know why I haven't done this before this is closer to all grain brewing because the grains have time to extract the sugars in the malt (Flaked wheat is not malted but I thought I should get in the habit).

Hops/Ingredients Schedule:

QuantityIngredientBoiled for
1 oz.Mt. Hood Hops Entire 60 min. Boil
1 Tblsp.Crushed CorianderLast 20 min. of boil
1/2 oz.Mt. Hood HopsLast 15 min. of boil
2 (Large) Oranges ZestsLast 10 min. of boil
1/2 oz.Mt. Hood HopsLast 5 min. of boil

After the boil finished I cooled the wort took a gravity reading and pitched the yeast. I poured the entire 1000 ml flask into the fermenter. Since WLP400 is an not a flocculent yeast it would take several days for the yeast to settle enough to decant.

UPDATE 6/25/11:
The wit has been sitting for about a week and the fermentation has slowed down to a bubble ever few minutes. While packing for a trip to Alaska I remembered that I needed to transfer or the beer would be sitting on the dead yeast for another week. In a scramble (Not Ideal) I quickly sterilized all components for the beer took a gravity reading and transferred to secondary.
Gravity at Transfer: 1.012
Current Alcohol:
  • ABW=105*(1.044-1.012)=3.36
  • ABV=1.25*3.36=4.42%

UPDATE 7/4/11:
I returned from Alaska and kegged the gravity had not changed so final ABV was 4.42 ill wait 48 hours while the beer is on 30PSI and drink it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Alternitive brewing styles

There are many different theories on brewing the best beer and this comes through in the different brewery styles. This instructional video is no different I believe when I put my all grain brewing system together this is how I will do it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DIY Stir Plate for 4$

OK so the 4$ may be an under estimate since I had most of this stuff lying around my house but for most Do-it-yourselfers they should have most of these things. My goal with this project was to build a stir plate out of crap I had lying around the house and with the exception of the potentiometer I did. If I had more than a $4 budget I would have done a lot of things differently. This is possibly the most white trash stir plate you are likely to find on the internet. If you find one please post it in the comments.

Step 1: Disassemble hard drive and retrieve rare earth magnet.
I had an old 120 GB hard drive lying around from an old computer I wasnt using so it got sacrificed for the stir plate. Take out basically every screw you can find on this the only thing your are trying to save is the rare earth magnets. Everything else is expendable and useless after taking apart the drive.

Once you have removed the magnet backing seen above take two pairs of pliers and bend the backing so that the magnet can be removed. There will be a thing layer of glue holding the magnet in place which is easily broken once the metal backing is bent. There will be one magnet on the top of the hard drive arm and one on the bottom, remove both.

Step 2: Wiring and construction
Now that all of that is completed here comes the fun part. You can really build this out of anything you want as long as the material between the fan/magnet and the surface is not metal. I used an old CD case spindle becasue it is round and a 2000 ml Erlenmeyer flask sits nicely on top.
Some double stick foam tape work great for attaching the magnet to the top of the fan and the fan to the base of the CD spindle I only had a 12 V power supply lying around so I used some resistors on the power line to lower the voltage. If you can find a 6 V supply these probably wont be necessary but I wouldn't go any lower than 6 V since these fans are meant to run on 12V. But what do I know I just threw resistors on until it seemed slow enough.
Once the fan is assembled to the base I cut a hole for the potentiometer on the top clear part and attached it. One small cut in the base of the clear top for the power cord and its ready to be assembled. The final project was actually pretty nice and self contained. The only problem I had was the top was clear so I could see all of the crappy wiring and tape holding everything together. Although it was clear so the SUPER COOL BLUE LED (vommit) fan got to show off with the clear case. The fan lights are actually pretty useful in case I can't find a flash light and need to see something poorly lit up within the 3 feet that the cord allows. Overall the stir plate works great for what it is and how much it cost. No, it doesn't create a gigantic vortex to the bottom of the flask but it will create a small one about 1-inch deep. Which is enough to stir the yeast and keep them healthy which is all I care about.

So the final cost of this project was 4$ for the 25-ohm potentiometer at Radio Shack. The goal of creating a functional stir plate for the least amount of money possible was achieved. Later I will probably build a better one but this was a quick 2-3 hour project to get me started. There was an additional cost of the stir bar of of ebay but I needed to buy that because I am not comfortable making something that is supposed to remain sanitized. The flask I had bought earlier becasue I was going to do starters but never got around to it. Now that I have my stir plate I will start.