This regulator adjustment guide will help you with those final steps in assuring that your kegerator provides you with the highest quality tasting beer by walking you step by step through the regulator adjustment process.
What is a Hydrometer?
A hydrometer is a basic tool that is used to measure the ratio of a sample liquid’s density to the density of water. In home brewing, it is a necessary tool that will show you the degree to which the yeast is converting sugar into ethanol, ultimately helping you gauge the health and success of your beer’s fermentation.
Why do I need a Hydrometer to make beer?
Homebrewing isn’t a cakewalk. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into it and there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. Perhaps the most important (and delicate) stage within beer making is fermentation. That is exactly why a hydrometer is so important, as it is the device that will tell you how the fermentation process is going. A hydrometer can be the single tool that alerts you of issues during fermentation, allowing you to make adjustments as needed.
|Brewery:||Founders Brewing Co.|
|Location:||Grand Rapids, MI|
|Appearance:||Deep Red with Pinkish Foam|
|Aroma:||Raspberries; Fruity Sweetness; Hints of Sourness|
|Flavor:||Sweet Raspberries With a Slight Souring Toward the Swallow|
|Pairs With:||BBQ & Smoked Meats, Gouda, Rich Chocolate Desserts|
The other day I suddenly realized being up in the Northeast brought with it the good luck of making Founders Beers available to me. I immediately headed for the nearest bottle shop to see which of their beers might grace local shelves. It happened there was more than I expected and it took me a while to select which would have the honor of being my introduction to the brewery. But, finally after much hemming and hawing it made sense to try the seasonal first, pay homage to the time of year, try something that wouldn’t be available in a couple months. So, it was the Rübæus found its place in my basket and became next in line for this review.
Founders Brewing Company is probably the best known brewery in Michigan. The brewery was started by Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers in 1997 as the Canal Street Brewing Company. The name was tribute to an area of Grand Rapids where, back in the 1800’s, several breweries made their home. The company’s original label was a black and white view of canal street with the word “Founders” above it. And so, it wasn’t a big leap to a name change for the burgeoning brewery.
Starting the brewery required a leap of faith on Mike and Dave’s part. They both only had homebrewing experience and “real” jobs. They made the leap. Quit their jobs, took out loans to cover start-up expenses, and went for it.
It took them some time to find their legs, but they finally did. They turned their backs on brewing well-balanced but unremarkable beer and refocused on what had made them want to brew beer in the first place… beer that they themselves got excited about. And low and behold it made other people excited too.
So you have your homebrew equipment kit and you’re ready to make some delicious beer. Or so you think. Though equipment kits come with everything necessary to get you through your first few brews, after becoming more familiar with the process, you may want to consider grabbing a few extra components that can help make the process even easier.
1. Improved Temperature Monitoring
Maintaining proper temperatures throughout the brewing process is critical. If your wort gets too hot or is not hot enough the entire batch can be ruined, and unfortunately, you wouldn’t know it until it was too late.
We recommend getting a trust-worthy brewing thermometer, such as a Bi-Metal Thermometer. This thermometer is able to give you faster readings than your average mercury or silver-based device, which is particularly helpful during the brewing and cooling stages.
Here at Kegerator.com, we know everything there is to know about kegerators and draft beer dispensers. Because of this we tend to receive a lot of questions from people that are interested in buying or troubleshooting their kegerator. Here are the eighteen most frequently asked questions that we receive.
- What is a kegerator?
- What are the different types of kegerators?
- What are the different types of kegs?
- What parts are included with a kegerator?
- What size keg will fit in my kegerator?
- What kind of coupler do I need?
- What do I need to tap my keg?
- At what temperature should I store my keg?
- How long does a keg stay fresh?
- How many kegs can I tap on one CO2 tank?
- Can I use my kegerator outside?
- How long should I wait before using my kegerator?
- Is a kegerator freestanding or built-in?
- Can a freestanding kegerator be built in?
- Can I build my own kegerator?
- How do I troubleshoot my kegerator?
- How do I defrost my kegerator?
- How do I clean my kegerator?
If you have any other questions about kegerators, please leave them in the comments down below or give our customer service department a call at 1-866-950-8710.
|Brewery:||Maine Beer Company|
|Hops:||US Magnum, Centennial|
|Malt:||American 2-Row, Midnight Wheat, Roasted Barley, Caramel 40L, Chocolate, Flaked Oats|
|Appearance:||Deep Mahogany, Smooth Tan Head|
|Aroma:||Sweet Malt, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Molasses & Spiced Sweetness|
|Flavor:||Subtle Coffee; Bitter Chocolate frolicking with Sweet Malts|
|Pairs With:||BBQ & Smoked Meats, Gouda, Rich Chocolate Desserts|
After a rather busy in-house week finishing up the American Brewers Guild brewing course I am back reviewing. I’ll be up here in Vermont for five weeks, which has made a whole new selection of beer suddenly available to review. Makes things fun and I get to try stuff I’d never get my hands on back home. So, with much excitement and some passing trepidation (where to start)… I dip my toes.
The Maine Beer Company started out small. I mean really small. David and Daniel Kleban started with just a one barrel system (a barrel is 31 gallons), and this was before the term “nanobrewery” was a common part of brewing language. They grew fast, pushed hard by an ever growing tailwind of outstanding small-batch recipes and word-of-mouth praise.
The Maine Beer Company label is what caught my eye first and probably part of the reason I picked it up. All their labels are classy, clean, and very understated when compared to the garish wash of color and artwork that confronts you when standing in front of your local beer selections. This one stands out because it is neither garish or colorful. It is simple.
Mean Old Tom has a cranky looking face drawn on a pristine white background and the name of the brewery and beer presented in simple font. The backside of the label gives a little note about how they came up with the name. That’s all there is to the label. Nothing else. And this simplicity makes their beers easy to recognize and find on the shelf.
Once you have your equipment and you’re ready to start brewing your own beer, you may be looking through the ingredient kits wondering, “What is this stuff?” With words like “extract”, “hop pellets” and “yeast” being thrown around, you may be feeling a little hesitant towards drinking a beer made from such things.
The truth is, all beer is made from 4 essential components, and these ingredients, or a variation of such, are what you can expect find in a typical beginner’s ingredient kit.
Main Ingredient 1: Malt Extract
Extract kits use either a dry or syrupy liquid malt extract as the base for the beer instead of grain. Both the dry and liquid malt extracts are developed from a process called malting. This process extracts sugars from the grains creating a concentrated extract. Liquid malt extract is often referred to as LME and likewise dry malt extract is often referred to as DME.
The major difference between the two is the amount of water left in the end product. Due to the difference in water content, dry and liquid malt extracts cannot be interchanged. If you’re using a recipe that calls for dry and you have malt, you can use this simple conversion to convert from one to the other: one pound of dry malt extract is equal to approximately 1.2 pounds of liquid malt extract.
Main Ingredient 2: Yeast
Yeast will be included in each of the extract recipe kits as well. Yeast is crucial to the brewing process as it converts the sugars into alcohol. The yeast may come in either a dry or liquid form. Since yeast is a living organism, it is arguably the most important ingredient in terms of care and attention. You must be sure to not allow the yeast to get too warm or too cold.
Main Ingredient 3: Hops
Each kit will also include the hops, which is one of the four main ingredients in beer. Hops contribute bitterness to the beer and balance the sweetness.
Bittering hops are used in the beginning of the boil process. Flavoring hops are also included and are added in the early stages of the boil. As the name suggests, these hops add flavors to your brew. Depending on the style, aroma hops may also be included. They are added later in the boil process and contribute an extra layer of aromas to the beer.
Main Ingredient 4: Water
This may seem obvious, but water is arguably the most important ingredient in your beer. It is best to use filtered water rather than just water from the tap. We go more in-depth about different types of water for brewing in this linked article.
Situational Needs: Priming Sugar, Grain Bag
Priming sugar is an ingredient that will always be included in extract kits, but isn’t always needed. Priming sugar is added to your batch prior to the bottling process. Adding the priming sugar ensures that the bottles will all be carbonated the same. The amount of carbonation can be controlled by the amount of sugar used.
Careful, though, too much priming sugar can lead to a bottle full of foam or even bottle bursts. If you plan to keg your beer instead of bottling, then no priming sugar is necessary.
A muslin bag may also be included in some specialty kits. This bag is used for holding the hops or special ingredients during the boil. The bag ensures the flavor is captured without the ingredients being completely submerged into the brew.
Special Extras: Specialty Grains and Powders
In addition to the malt extract, some kits may also include specialty grains, which can be actual crushed grains or milled grains. These grains allow you to add depth and complexity to the color and flavor of the beer that you won’t get from the extract alone.
A few examples include chocolate malt, biscuit malt, malted rye, etc. Some of the kits will also include additional special ingredients such as oak chips or oak powder, which add even more depth to your beer’s flavor profile.
We hope this provided a good overview as to what you can expect from your ingredient kit. Good luck and happy brewing!
More About Homebrewing:
Cleaning your draft components is crucial. Failure to do so can lead to buildups of yeast, mold, and beer deposits in your lines and ultimately result in funky tasting beer. Although your first cleaning may seem tedious, it gets easier. As long as you know what to clean and what tools to use to clean it, equipment cleaning will become a quick and easy routine you hardly think twice about.
What Components Do I Need to Clean?
- Keg Coupler(s)
- Beer Line(s)
Converting an old refrigerator into kegerator isn’t a new concept. But generally, when people undergo this DIY project, they choose an old and ugly fridge that has decommissioned for the dump. But, that’s not our style. And it may not be yours either. This is why we chose to convert a Smeg refrigerator into a kegerator… or as I like to call it, a “Smegerator”.
Before we get started, here’s a quick video reviewing the process. I also wrote out detailed, step-by-step instructions below.
This is how we did it.
Please note: These step-by-step instructions will loosely work with that old, ugly refrigerator you bought off of Craigslist or have sitting around in your garage.
But for this specific DIY project, however, we will be specifically referring to the Smeg refrigerator featured in this article.
The only difference that may pose a problem for you is the amount of insulation that your refrigerator has. And yes, that did cause a minor, and unexpected, headache for us.
Additionally, when you buy a refrigerator-to-kegerator conversion kit, similar instructions will be included.
Gathering Your Tools & Components
The first thing you need to do is buy a Smeg refrigerator, as well as collect all the components you need. You can go about this a couple of ways. Either order all of the pieces separately, or order our “Smegerator conversion kit.” I’d recommend the conversion kit, as everything you need is right there and you won’t have any surprises in store for you (like we did… but more on that later).