Monday, February 17, 2014

First Post, an Introduction

A little about me before we get started.

I'm 25, newly single, and I've been a homebrewer for about four and a half years, starting with extract back in college and quickly moving to all-grain as soon as I could. I love beer, and would eventually like to make it my fully sustaining career moving eventually towards opening up my own brewery (I know, an original idea). I currently work for a World of Beer (which is a chain bar based in Florida, focusing on having fifty drafts and five-hundred bottles). It's nice to be immersed in such a huge selection of beers and general beer nerdiness. I am currently studying for the second level of the Certified Cicerone program, which has been a wonderful platform with which to learn the in's and out's of beer. 

I've brewed a lot of beer, all in five-gallon batches, and keg all of it. I am looking into doing 10-gallon batches, which will allow for a lot more experimentation with adjuncts. I have what is basically shaping up to a small brewery/bar in my one-bedroom apartment's living room (which I am very proud of). It is complete with a four-tap keezer, which I use to serve and force carbonate all of my beer, in addition to storing some bottles, a small fermentation chamber that can hold two six and a half gallon carboys, a blow-off tube going into a growler, a stirstarter and a 2000ml Erlenmeyer flask for making yeast starters. This is in addition to a giant garage shelf that I use to hold and organize my equipment. I've included some pictures below. 

As most of you know, but some may not, fermentation is the most important aspect of brewing beer. Yeast, in order to be happy and make sweet sweet booze, need to be away from light, in a temperature controlled environment and sanitary. Having  an old kegerator that I've converted into this works wonders for the quality and consistency of my beer. 

This is a four-tap keezer build, which is pretty straightforward once you understand the mechanics behind kegging and building a balanced draft system from scratch. Looks cool, but it's pretty simple. I'll do a post detailing how I built it soon. It has done absolute wonders for my brewing in as far as convenience, and reminding me that I currently have three taps open, so I need to get brewing! 

Looks disorganized, but it's not. I'm just sort of a messy person. Everything that I need is right there though. It's like having a pile of clothes on the floor. Looks terrible, but super functional. 
Lastly, I have to say that I live in a great beer town. Jacksonville, Florida has over seven breweries, including Green Room Brewing and Engine 15 which are within biking distance of my apartment. Bold City is by far the biggest, brewing on a 20bbl system and having the most brand recognition in north Florida. Intuition is probably the most celebrated, due to the quality of their core brand canning. Green Room is my personal favorite, simply because I think they brew wonderful beer and are amazing people. We have a very interesting and lively homebrew club, called the Cowford Ale Sharing Klub (C.A.S.K.) and two homebrew supply shops, called Just Brew It. Without these breweries and the readily available advice and guidance from brewers and helpful enthusiasts, I would not be brewing the beer that I am today. 

With that, I think I've done enough groundwork to start talking about my own beer next post. I think I'll do a post updating with my first double-batch on Tuesday, 2/18! 

Happy brewing!

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