From all of us here at Kegerator.com, we’d like to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Forget about flowers and chocolate, here’s how we will be celebrating:
Last week, the story of Joe Morrette, a turkey farmer out of New Hampshire, made national news. For the last twenty years, Morrette has been feeding his flock beer, because he believes it helps fatten them up and make them tastier come Thanksgiving Day.
It all started two decades ago after a turkey knocked over a beer one of his workers was drinking at the end of the day. Without hesitation, his flock started to guzzle it down. As a result, he says he stopped giving his flock water, and has been feeding them beer ever since. He used to give them Coors, but has since switched to giving them an unnamed lager. He believes, as do his longtime customers, that feeding his flock beer not only makes them fatter, but also juicier and more flavorful.
Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you have beer, but no way to open it? Of course you have.. who hasn’t? A few weeks back, I found myself stuck in this exact situation. I checked into a hotel with a six pack, but didn’t realize until later that I didn’t have a bottle opener with me. Of course, I wasn’t about to let that stop me. Due to my chronic case of laziness, I wasn’t about to make another trip to the store. With some quick thinking and a little bit of engineering, I was able to get it open using the headboard and a towel.
The video below shows some very unique ways that one group of guys opened their beer (and also wasted a ton of beer in the process).
A lot has happened since the Rainbow Ale team has last checked in and the beer judging is rapidly approaching so we figured you were definitely due for a status check. Our last post left off with our Honey Brown Rainbow Ale in the primary fermenter. The beer stayed in the primary fermenter for about a week. During this time it was important that we kept it in a cool non-drafty location and let the yeast go to work. We opted to store it in a corner of my dining room. The first 2 to 3 days the air lock that was on the top of the primary fermenting bucket was going crazy.
It was noticeably bubbling as our brew was releasing CO2 which had one of my dogs very curious about this new object in our house.
After the first few days the bubbling started getting less and less and then at about a week of it being in the primary fermenter it was time to move our ale to the secondary fermenter which was a glass carboy. We found out from our friends at Austin Homebrew that using a two stage fermenting process allows for better clarity on our brew. To move the beer from the primary fermenting bucket to the carboy we used an auto siphon (which made it way easier than trying to siphon the old fashioned way because what I had in mind was more like siphoning gas from a car with plastic tubing and you adding suction without trying to get gas in your mouth). The first step it to sterilize everything. This is probably the longest part of the process, but is definitely key. After I was done sterilizing, I put the empty carboy on the floor and made sure to gently place the primary fermenting bucket on the counter above the empty carboy. When transporting the primary fermenting bucket, you want to make sure not to disturb the sediment that has accumulated on the bottom of the bucket. This sediment is called trube. The idea is to try to get as little of the trube as possible into the carboy while getting as much as the liquid (AKA beer) in the carboy. A good tip is to move the primary fermenting bucket to the counter or whatever place you are going to use to transfer the beer the day before. This will allow time for any sediment that you stirred up while moving it to settle before you begin the transfer.
I took the lid off the primary fermenting bucket, which can be tricky, but luckily there was a tool in our kit to help with this.
I then plunged the auto siphon about half-way in the bucket making sure not to hit the bottom so I don’t disturb the sediment. I then gave the auto siphon 2-3 pumps and voila the beer was flowing from the primary fermenting bucket to the carboy!
Here is the full carboy after the transfer:
Once it was finished, I placed the air lock tightly on the top of the carboy and moved it back into my dining room for safe keeping and there it sat for about another week. During this time the air lock bubbled less and less until finally it stopped bubbling all together. At this point we knew it was time to transfer our Rainbow Honey Brown Ale from the carboy to the bottles.
Once again we moved the carboy to the counter making sure not to disturb the sediment or trube that had accumulated at the bottom. This too can be done the day before the bottling process to ensure the least amount of sediment possible gets in the bottles. At this point you are supposed to take a hydrometer reading to ensure your brew is ready to be bottled and the bottles won’t explode on you, however, with the excitement of bottling our brew, we completely forgot about this very important step until it was too late so we had to just cross our fingers and hop for the best.
The very important step that we didn’t forget was to sterilize everything. We formed an assembly line as we sterilized the bottles. Anthony took them out of the box and handed them to Scott who proceeded to dunk them in the sterilizing liquid in the bucket and then handed them to me, Kara, who placed them on my dishwasher rack to dry.
It is very important to have nothing touch anywhere the beer will touch after it has been sterilized so this required strategically place the bottles on the rack where they were balanced but nothing actually going inside them including the rack prongs. This meant they were kind of just hanging on the rack.
While we were doing this, Michael heated up the priming sugar on the stove and transferred the beer from the carboy to the sterilized bottling bucket with the auto siphon making sure to get as little trube as possible during the transfer. He then added the priming sugar mixture to the beer and slowly stirred it in by using figure 8 motions for 2 minutes.
By this time the bottles were drying out and we set the bottling bucket on the counter, hooked up the bottling hose to the spigot and we were ready to start bottling…or so we thought. We turned on the spigot and noticed nothing was coming out in the hose and was instead leaking out of the sides of the spigot where it connects to the bucket. Uh oh, it was time for us to think fast!!! Thanks to the genious mind of Michael, we decided to syphon the beer from the bucket into the bottles instead of using the spigot. You see, if we didn’t have the spigot on, the leak wasn’t that bad, it was only when the spigot was open that the leak became a gusher and we thought we were going to quickly sacrifice all of our scrumptious Rainbow Ale to my floor.
Though not ideal, we once again formed an assembly line and siphoned our beer into the bottles. Anthony handed Michael the sterilized bottles. Michael filled the bottles up.
Anthony handed me the full bottles.
I gave the filled up bottles to Scott who capped them. To cap the bottles, we used a capping tool that came in our kit. You place the cap on the bottle and then clamp down with the capping tool, give the bottle a quarter turn, and clamp down again with the capping tool again.
You then make sure the bottle has a circle dimple on the top, and if so, it is ready to be placed in the box for safe storage for another two weeks.
We bottled 48 beers but of course made sure that there was enough left over to give our brew a little taste tester. At this point in the brewing process the beer will have the flavor of what it will taste like when it is complete, however, it will not yet be carbonated. The carbonation occurs when the yeast eats the priming sugar which happens while in the bottle. We ceremoniously gave a cheers and tasted the uncarbonated version of our brew and if we do say so ourselves…it’s delicious.
Hooray for Rainbow Ale the best honey brown ale around!!!!
As many of you already know, we at Schlitz & Giggles are on the verge of announcing our new beer. It is due to be introduced in late November, and production has already begun at our plant. To ensure a quality product, part of our brewing process is taping various quality assurance videos, which remain safe within our company.
However, our QA videos were unfortunately leaked to the news media outlets, showing bits and pieces of the process we used to make our mystery beer. While we wish that this source had chosen not to leak these videos, we figured it would just be better to roll with the punches. Luckily, not enough of our secret was divulged to discontinue our late November launch, and so we decided to post those videos on our blog.
Please keep in mind that, while many of the various steps were meant to be top secret, most of them can also be used to brew your own style of beer at home.
This process is known as steeping (just like with tea). We use a muslin bag to pour our secret blend of barley and malts, and steep it in the bag of boiling hot water for about 20-30 minutes.
Our master brewers then let the mixture of the water and spices boil over an open flame for about 30 minutes.
The top-secret syrup is then added to the hot water, and the brewers make sure it is slowly poured in while stirring slowly to ensure it dissolves. Then the mixture boils for another 60 minutes. By the way, I recognize that dog… I may have just figured out who leaked this video!
Then, 15 minutes before the hour of boiling is up, the master brewers add our bittering hops blend. After about 10 minutes, they then add flavoring hops to give it that extra Schlitz kick.
Following the boiling and adding of flavors, our brewers rapidly cool the mixture down to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in just 15 minutes to ensure all of the flavors are not boiled out.
Our mixture is then added to the fermenter along with water to make the complete brew. In this case, they added it to make 5 gallons of beer.
This is the final result of the first half of brewing. The mixture stays in this fermenter for up to 2 weeks. The thing at the top is called an airlock, and it tells is if the brew is starting to ferment correctly.
These are the videos that were leaked, but luckily nothing incriminating came out of it. Now we just have to hope that no other video gets leaked… I think it’s about time we find the owner of that dog!
Related Posts: Company Homebrew Competition
The Holiday Five Pack, if you’re not aware, is taken from the following Heineken commercial:
We are big fans of the advert and, since there are 5 of us, it made perfect sense for a team name. Holiday Five Pack consists of Melanie, Christine, Danielle, Linda and Titus.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted to brew a dark beer because 1) the competition is being judged in December, so a light beer doesn’t work as well, and 2) Austin has hard water that gives off a slight bitterness and lends itself well to a dark brew. In the end, we chose to make a vanilla porter. Mmm.
The next step was to come up with a name for our beer. There were a few suggestions tossed around, including the clever “Pppporterface,” but Linda was dead set on including something relating to a wolf in the title. Why? We didn’t know for sure, but after we found this t-shirt at Austin Homebrew Supply, we knew it must be fate:
So we went back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, it seemed like every name we came up with was already taken. Howling Wolf? Taken. Howling Wolf Mustache Beer? Taken. Obviously, we weren’t nearly as creative as we thought. We discussed the idea a bit more and decided the title should have some sophistication to it, then it came to us:
Image of the wolf was graciously provided by Jeremy of Sir Critter. It is only appropriate that he was inebriated when he came up with the idea. Thank you Jeremy. We hope to use the above image to print off labels for our bottles. Be sure to stay tuned for future posts on our brewing and bottling process. In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of our team photo shoot outtakes.
Related Posts: Company Homebrew Competition
Team Rainbow Ale checking in here. Our team includes Anthony, Michael, Kara and me, Scott. We are making honey brown ale. Michael chose this based on the description. “Honey Brown is a full bodied American brown ale…”. Mike thought it was perfect, since there are two full bodied American brown people on the team (Anthony and Scott, pictured center below).
Before we brewed, we went to Austin Home Brew to get the supplies, and learn the process. Check out the video Mike put together of that experience:
So, we brewed our beer last night, and that was an adventure, and I mean that in a good way. Austin Home Brew sent us home with all of the supplies we would need to make the perfect Honey Brown.
As the video explains, first we get the water up to 155 degrees. We just settled for boiling, and let it cool from there. Then, we added the malt, which smelled of honey and chocolate. Luckily, we had something to put it in, because I was thinking we were going to use an old stocking (yeah, pretty gross, but you do what you gotta do). We let that soak for 25 minutes, dipping it like a tea bag every so often. After that was done, we added what looked and tasted and smelled like molasses (not sure of the technical term, but I called it the tasty goodness). We got that to a rolling boil, and then the fun began! TIME TO ADD THE HOPS!! The hops had a sweet, slightly fruity smell to them, and look like rabbit pellets. So, we took half the hops, and added them in the beginning for bitterness.
This is when we ate dinner, thanks to Kara’s husband Justin. He grilled hamburgers (AMAZING) and hot dogs (even fat free, for us full bodied American browns).
After 45 minutes, we added half of what was left for flavoring. 10 minutes later, it was time to add the rest for aroma.
Now, the fun began. The instructions were very specific about getting this brew to 80 degrees within 20 minutes. So, we created an ice bath in the sink, and took the mixture (keep in mind, it was boiling) and put it in there. And, we waited. And waited. And waited. But, we forgot to set a timer, so it was unclear when 20 minutes were up. I used the baseball game (Game 6 of the World Series) as a timer. I figured 2 complete innings would be about 20 minutes. It took almost that entire time to get it down to 80.
Then, we transferred the brew into the fermenting bucket and added 3 gallons of water. After thoroughly mixing it, we tested the density, made sure it was correct, and put the lid on. Now, putting on the lid proved to be a little more difficult than we initially realized. I literally had to kneel completely on it to close the lid. We thought we were all done, but WAIT! Forgot to add the yeast (you know, that makes the alcohol, pretty important). So, it was getting the lid off, another adventure, and then pouring the yeast in. Now, in the brewing class, we learned that we are to sprinkle it evenly across the top. But, yeah, that didn’t happen. We just kind of put it in there. We’ll see how that turns out… The lid went back on (much easier this time), put the stopper and a little contraption that could be mistaken for a crack pipe into the stopper to allow the CO2 to escape. And, voila! Now, we are just letting it sit and ferment. In two weeks, we will begin the bottling process. SUPER GEEKED!! So, that was our brewing adventure. Remember, when you are in the mood for a full bodied American brown ale, think….
Once we learned the basics at Austin Homebrew, it was time to do it ourselves. As previously stated, we chose the Imperial stout recipe. The brewing process was fairly simple and foolproof, from start to finish. The recipe was straightforward and step-by-step, allowing for an easy night of brewing. All the equipment was labeled and documented in a little pamphlet provided by AHB. The first step was to sterilize the stock pot, thermometer, and gigantic spoon. We visually inspected the equipment before sterilizing, but found no dirt or grime to clean. Earlier in the day, I took the hops and yeast out of the refrigerator to let them warm up.
Next it was time to bring the water 155˚F and then steep the grains. We added the grains to the boiling bag and let it sit in the water, periodically moving the bag up and down to really let the grains move through the water. We did this for about 26 minutes, and halfway through the aroma really began to waft through the kitchen.
Following the steeping process, we let the boiling bag drain excess water into the pot and then tossed the grains. The formerly clear water was now a dark black, so we were headed in the right direction. We added in some more water and began to bring the pot to a boil. With such a large amount of water it took about 30 minutes to bring to a full boil. Once it was at a continuous boil we added in the malt, which brought with it an overpowering, concentrated smell. The smell permeated through the entire house and it was almost enough to make one feel a little nauseous. Opening the kitchen window brought only a little relief. We let that sit for about 45-60 minutes, occasionally stirring so the syrup didn’t burn to the pot.
Once the malt was sufficiently dissolved and cooked, it was time to add the hops editions. The recipe only called for one packet of Chinook hops, scheduled to cook for 60 minutes, however a packet of Kent Golding hops had found its way into the ingredients bag. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I called Austin Home Brew and they advised that it would be okay to just throw the unscheduled hops into the mix at about 5 minutes left in the scheduled hops cooking time. That was good enough for me and I did just that.
Next was the hardest part of the entire process – bringing the wort down to 80˚F in 20 minutes. We set up an ice bath in the sink and placed the pot inside. The ice would melt pretty quickly so we would constantly drain the water, add more ice, and repeat until the wort was cooled. Unfortunately, it took a little longer than 20 minutes so hopefully that doesn’t affect the end result too much. While the hops were cooking we had sanitized the fermenting bucket. It was time to dump the wort and add the yeast. After adding the wort and water to bring the brew to the necessary 5 ¼ gallon level, I stirred vigorously to allow it to breath and then added the yeast. I placed the lid on the bucket to close it up and, after adding sanitizer, placed the air lock in its designated hole.
It only took about an hour for the CO2 to start making bubbles in the air lock, which was a comforting sight. Hopefully the rest of the process is as easy as the brewing portion. We will update you once we begin the secondary stage.
Check out our video of the process:
After actually getting your kegerator set up and dispensing, keeping it clean would be the next important step. It is recommended that you clean your kegerator beer lines after every keg. If you don’t, you could end up with bad tasting beer and what a waste that would be. To help you keep your beer tasting great, we’ve put together the following video to show you exactly how to clean your beer lines.
Don’t have kegerator cleaning materials? Well, we’ve got you covered. Check out our awesome kegerator cleaning kit for everything you need.
Hi, this is Darin with Kegerator.com and today we’re going to show you how to clean your kegerator.
Why Cleaning Your Kegerator is Important
Now the reason you should clean after every use is to take the beer residue from the beer line and the beer faucet to make sure it doesn’t taint your other beers. So what we’re going to do today is clean the faucet area to the line that runs all the way down into your kegerator right here.
Your Kegerator Cleaning Kit
Okay, so, here are all of the accessories you will need to clean your kegerator. First of all, you’ll have the instruction booklet with you so you’ll know what to do. Then we’ll have the powdered beer line cleaning compound, which will help you clean the beer line more successfully and it’ll get rid of all of the residue. The bottle here is where we’re going to mix the solution and then pour it into the kegerator. The cleaning hose goes with the bottle and you’ll just screw it on like that and pump it into the kegerator.
The faucet brush will help you clean all those hard to reach spots on the faucet. The faucet wrench is going to help you take the faucet off of the beer line and the beer tower so you can easily clean your keg. The black rubber gasket will connect to the hose so it won’t leak out. The ball pin helps to relieve the pressure on the coupler so you can clean the line a lot easier.
Now I’m going to teach you how to take off the faucet so you can easily clean your kegerator.
Step 1: Remove Beer Faucet
So what you want to remember here is that the general rule for lefty-loosey, righty-tighty is the exact opposite on kegerators. So it’s going to be lefty-tighty, righty-loosey. What we’re going to do it take the faucet wrench, put it in the holes and take it off just like this. Once it gets loose enough, you can just take it off with your hands.
Step 2: Ready Keg Coupler
Next, you want to go down to the coupler inside the kegerator, and make sure you have the ball pin, and you’re going to put it into where the keg is tapped by the coupler. You want to make sure you pinch it so it goes in, apply the pressure and it should go in like that. Then, make sure you take out the gas line because you don’t want any water to get into it and just keep it up here.
Step 3: Prepare Beer Line Cleaner
You’ll need a tablespoon of beer line cleaner for every gallon of water to make sure you get the right amount of solution. Pour a little in here. You need to mix it with pretty hot water; I’d say almost scalding hot to make sure the solution does work. So make sure it’s super-hot, then fill up the bottle like so to the top line on the bottle. You’ll see the lines on the side. And then, you’ll want to put the hose on, and now, you’re ready to clean your kegerator.
Step 4: Flush Beer Line
One thing to remember when you clean out your kegerator is you’ll need to have a bucket handy so you can put your keg coupler into there to make sure it leaks out correctly. You don’t want it to go all over the floor and make a mess.
You’ll want to take the bottle with the solution in it, take the hose and put it on the faucet head where you took off the faucet that will connect to the beer tower. This will run directly to the line all the way to the keg coupler. When you’re ready, all you have to do is tilt it over and let it go. To make it go faster, you can also just squeeze it and make sure it comes out.
So what you’re going to see at the keg coupler is the water and probably some beer come out. It’s just going to empty into the bucket and this is going to ensure your line is becoming clean as it’s emptying.
For a deeper clean, you can flush the line twice this way or you can take the ball pin out from the coupler and just lit it sit in there for an hour or so and it should clean it.
Step 5: Rinse Beer Line
Now what you want to do after flushing the line the recommended two times is fill the bottle up with just hot water, no solution, and then flush it just like you did before. The hot water will take away all the residue of the solution and you’re line will be cleaner for that. We also recommend doing this at least two times as well.
Step 6: Clean Beer Faucet
So for cleaning the faucet, you want to make sure you have the faucet, a bowl to set all the parts in and your faucet brush. Make sure you also have the solution so you’re ready to clean with that.
What you’re going to do is you’re going to take the faucet apart. Take the faucet handle out, screw out this part here, then screw that out and make sure these two washers come out like so, because you want to clean them as thoroughly as possible. And then, for the faucet, you want to make sure you push this part out so it comes out like so.
You want to put about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of beer line cleaner in the bowl, add scalding hot water (make sure it’s a good temperature) and you want to fill the bowl with the water. Then you want to make sure the powder is all dissolved into the water, so I’m going to stir it a bit.
And then, you’re going to set the faucet in the bowl along with all the parts. Don’t forget the washers; they’re important too. You want to make sure they’re all sitting there and you probably want to keep it there for 30 minutes to an hour. Just to make sure it soaks and gets all of the beer residue out from the faucet.
About 30 minutes to an hour later, you’re going to take the faucet itself and take the brush and just clean it through like that. Get all of the residue out so do it thoroughly. Then do it down here as well to make sure you clean the whole faucet through. And just one more go around to make sure. And then, you want to empty the water from the parts. Make sure you do not flush any of the parts down the sink.
Step 7: Reassemble Your Kegerator
What you want to do is make sure this hole is lined up to go right here, so you’ll push it all the way through like so and you’ll see the hole right in there. And then, you’ll take the handle and stick that piece into the hole you put just in there. Make sure the white washer goes down like so, followed by the black washer. Then you’ll screw the handle on to the faucet itself. Make sure to not tighten it all the way because you want the handle to be a little loose when you pour the beer. Then screw the second part on and make sure also this is a little loose. Not too loose, but not too tight either. And then the tap handle, and you have your faucet.
So when you’re ready to put all of the accessories back on you want to make sure the bottle and hose are removed from the beer tower. And then also make sure that the ball pin is out of the coupler. And you’re ready to assemble it back together.
When you put the faucet back on make sure that lefty is tighty – remember that. Then take the faucet wrench and make sure you tighten it on correctly. You can do this one of two ways: you can either put the faucet at an angle so you can get an even pour or you can put it up the traditional way, just straight up. You want to make sure it’s tightened, so the beer doesn’t come out.
So after you clean your kegerator, you are now ready to enjoy a new keg of fresh draft beer.