Monday, July 29, 2013

New House, Planning Inaugural Brew

As previously mentioned, Mrs. Shegogue Brew and I bought our first house recently.  The previous owners were smokers so we had to do a lot of painting, wall washing and needed to replace carpet.  While at it we decided to take down a wall between two extremely tiny bedrooms (they barely had space for anything other than a twin bed) and extend the master closet into one of the stated bedrooms - resulting in a good sized 2nd bedroom and a generous walk-in closet off the master.  It was a lot of work and we crammed it all into a 3 week time period. I then went to NHC and then Las Vegas for a friends wedding.  This past weekend we had a housewarming party, which officially marked the completion of all of our hard work!  There is still a bunch of other stuff on the long-term house to-do list, but I finally have a chance to get to the all important beer to-do list!

Currently, I'm tapped out!  The last beer I made was the German Pilsner which was brewed back in February.  I wasn't able to keep stuff cold during the move or after, and the beers I had just did not hold up with the temperature fluctuations and general age (over 6 months).  Additionally, the new house is lacking power receptacles in the dedicated brewery area.  I currently am running an extension cord from the other side of the unfinished basement to power my kegerator as a stop-gap until I can get electrical installed.

I hope to brew this upcoming, but I need to do a bit of planning.  Brewing in a new space always presents some challenges so I will use the rest of this post as a checklist to help identify and remediate any potential problems in advance to make the brewday go smoother.

New Brew-Space Checklist!

  • Weather - Until I can get the all electric setup going inside of the basement (monetary donations welcome!), I will be back catching some sun in the great outdoors for my brewing (no garage at the new house).  While this isn't a huge issue, weather was something I had conveniently forgotten at my rental due to the garage.  If its raining I may have to postpone things.
  • Utilities (Water and Fuel) 
    • Where will I get my brewing water from? - I don't have a potable hose, so it looks like I will need to fill up carboys in the kitchen and lug it downstairs and outside for my mash and sparge water.  There is a spigot for chilling and cleaning water outside already, so that will make clean up easier.
    • Do I have enough propane? - I have one tank that is low and a mostly full one connected to my grill.  I should have enough for a brew, although there may be need of some regulator switching
    • Electricity - Sometimes I use a pond pump to recirculate icewater through my immersion chiller to get temps down into the 60s.  I hope my extension cord reaches!
  •  Salts, Cleanser and Sanitizer
    • Do I have all necessary mash salts? Need to check on this one, think I have gypsum, CaCl, and campden.  Should be all I need as long as I have acid malt, which i think I do.
    • Do I have enough cleaner? - I know I am low on PBW, and I will most likely need to pick some up.  I know i always have some C-Brite from my first kit I never used in a pinch.
    • Do I have Sanitzer - Luckily, I know i have an ounce or so of Star San left, as well as an unopened 8oz.  Good to go here!
    • Random items - I think i need more fermcap-S as it has been out of the fridge for 3 months
  • Brewhouse Tools - Are all thermometers and refractometers calibrated? Are my scales accessible?  Are houses/racking canes clean - maybe I should just "snap myself off a fresh piece!"
  • Recipe/Ingredient
    • What style and what recipe? - This is always a big question mark if I havent brewed in a while.  Inevitability it will be something of medium to low ABV and leaning towards the hoppy side - maybe that session IPA I have been dragging my foot on!
    • Do I need ingredients I don't have in stock? - Once you have your recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients for it.  I have had my yeast sitting at room temp for 3 months.  The dry yeast is probably ok, the liquid yeast most likely is very low of viability.  May need to pick up yeast based on recipe.
  • Fermentation Control - This is usually not a problem, but because of the move and my lack of power, I will need to figure out how I am getting power to my ferm chamber.  I may need a new extension cord if I can't determine how much power is available off of the circuit the current one is on.
Anything I missed? Be sure to let me know in the comments below.


  1. If taking requests...Plan now for more of the "Plastered Pumpkin" for November.

    1. Funny you say that as it is about time to start brewing that beer soon in preparation for fall. Not sure if I want it for my first brew at the new place, the pumpkin causes some issues with slow draining from the mash. Maybe brew #2 though!

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