Sunday, August 25, 2013

Expanding Operations

My wife and daughter were out of town this weekend, which meant I had plenty of time to get myself into trouble with new projects, one of which was expanding my brewing capacity.

I had planned on buying some new carboys yesterday anyway, since the rate my wife and I have been drinking through my first few batches of mead means that I need to increase our on hand quantities. I was also interested in expanding my Kombucha operations, so there were a number of pieces of equipment I was on the hunt for. This hunt was unexpectedly aided by my supervisor at work, of all places. We were talking at our weekly meeting about a number of subjects, and my brewing happened to come up. When she heard that I was a homebrewer, she immediately responded "Well, you have to go check out my son's shop! He just opened a beer supply store!" This took me a bit aback, since I had done fairly extensive research on Google for places to buy supplies in Spokane, and had only come up with the one store I mentioned in my last post. Another few searches when I got home determined that his store is not showing up on local searches. Even when I searched for it by name, all I could find was their Facebook page. While I'll have to suggest he work on his Google Adwords, for the moment this is the best I can do to help him: anyone on the east side of Washington state, be sure to go check out Nu Home Brew Supply. They had a good deal of reasonably priced stuff, including a starter kit that was both nicer and cheaper than the one I got Stephen. Grr.

But I digress, I was talking about my operations wasn't I? I'm afraid I don't have any pictures for this post, since I still haven't figured out a decent way to transfer them between my phone and my computer (last time I pulled them from FaceBook, but I didn't upload any of these photos this time), so you'll just have to use your imagination.

I had originally planned to just pick up another 1 gallon carboy, but after I saw that the shop also had a nice looking 3 gallon, I figured that was still small enough to fit somewhere in my apartment. Also, I happened to have just bought another half gallon of honey at the farmer's market, so I could make just enough mead to fill it. It was like a sign from heaven, or something. I'm not an impulse shopper, what are you talking about?

So a little later I had another 1 gallon carboy, a 3 gallon carboy, some airlocks, and a fancy siphon, just because. I also picked up a few bottles of beer that the shop sold from a local brewery down in Pullman that came highly recommended. I waffled over buying a bucket so I wouldn't have to do my yeast gathering entirely in half-gallon mason jars, but given that all the shop sold were fancy buckets meant for making beer, I opted to try a different option.

My next stop was over at Fred Meyer, since I still needed a few supplies for my weekend fermenting projects. While I was there I came across a 5 gallon food grade bucket with a tight fitting lid for $6. This seemed like a reasonably price, so I took it home, cut a hole in the lid, taped some coffee filters over the hole and voila, instant breathable bucket, perfect for gathering yeast, but keeping out flies and infants. On a side note, I also picked up several 5 quart buckets for doing the same with my kombucha, since that has a little quicker turnaround time.

So now I've got 3 gallons brewing in the corner of my apartment, which I'll rack in a week and then see how long I can go before breaking in to drink it. Of course, as soon as that batch is transferred to the carboy I'll start another 3 gallons, two which will go in the my 1 gallon carboys, and the remainder I'll keep for immediate drinking, so it could be quite a while before I need the big batch.

Now, since I have a baby that is trying to use my keyboard, I'll cut this short. Hopefully I'll have some pictures next time!

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