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Miscellaneous/Nifty Equipment

October 3, 2010

There are a few pieces of equipment that I use in my brewing that I don’t think are so common.  Some undoubtedly are related to the small batches I do, but others I think would be useful regardless.  I want to use this blog to preserve these setups for future reference

Slow-Cooker Mash Tun

When I was first thinking through ways to accomplish brewing 1 gallon batches, I was at a loss for what to mash in.  Some suggestions were the oven, but ours only went down to 170F and the first batch that I did with it was all over the place.  We also had a ~10 gallon cooler (see Fermentation Temperature Control), but I figured that would be too big.  Inspiration hit when I saw our slow cooker on a top shelf.

The 6 quart model works great at ~2 lbs. of grain and ~3 quarts of water.  The thick ceramic pot along with a couple towels on top works well at keeping in heat.  In the inevitable times that temperature droops a little low, I can kick the pot on at low and get temp to creep back up.

Pie Pan in Cake Pan Sample Cooler

At some point – after switching to all-grain from extract – I heard about the importance of hitting target gravities.  The first few batches where I tried to monitor it during the boil resulted in really long delays in getting a reading (as I’d heard and experienced that the corrections aren’t so great at high temperatures).  In my haste to get the sample cooler, I tried to poor it directly into the thin-walled hydrometer tube and not surprisingly melted it (a primary contributer to my Dusseldorf Alt bottle bombs).

After this episode I finally found a post (I forget where) where a person mentioned putting a pie pan in some other container filled with ice water.  The large surface area of the pie pan with a small sample amount (typically ~4 oz.) means I can cool the sample from boiling to 70 – 80F really quickly (<1 minute).

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