BrewPi — It’s A Thing

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Sep 302012

If you’ve never heard of RaspberryPi before, it’s a micro computer—about the size of credit card—that is intended to be used as an educational tool for teaching kids (and interested adults!) how to program. It’s also seeing use in a variety of applications in which a computer of some sort might be beneficial, but a beefy full-size machine isn’t necessarily warranted. One of these projects is BrewPi (we think it ought to be called BrewberryPi—but c’est la vie).

BrewPi is an open source fridge automation project for use in temperature controlling fermentation or  kegerators (keezers). Some of you more advanced electronics DIYers ought to check it out. It has all the good qualities of an open source project, and it helps you brew your beer.

We here at Emperial Brewing can’t wait to see what develops now that BrewPi is available.

Time Lord Test Batch Brew Day

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Jul 162012

It looks like I, the man behind the curtain (I may or may not also run the “official” emperialbrewing account) get to start off the “non-official” feature stories. What better way to start than with a brew-day run-down? This afternoon, my wife and I brewed up an all-grain batch of Time Lord with a couple differences when compared to the Pre-Release 0.8.0 recipe.

First off, in a bid for consistency, and ease of sourcing grain, I replaced the 11 lbs of pale malt in the current version of the recipe with 11 lbs of 2-row. It’s not a huge change, but given the fact that most Emperial Brewing beers use 2-row for their base malt, it makes sense to try to make Time Lord a bit more consistent with the other recipes. It also helps me prepare for ramping up my brew schedule in the next couple months by allowing me to buy bags of 2-row, so I don’t have to make as many trips to my lhbs (Stomp Them Grapes). According to Beer Alchemy, this change nets an extra tenth of a percentage in ABV (putting it at 7.1% ABV). However, all said and done, I am doubting the change to 2-row will have much of an effect. I suppose we’ll find out, but my guess is it will taste roughly the same as always.

The other change I made was to use whole-leaf hops. This isn’t a change I see being submitted for incorporation, because pellet hops tend to be easier to come by and easier to handle, but it makes for a nice change of pace. I don’t have any Time Lord on hand that was brewed with pellet hops, so I won’t be able to compare the results easily, but we’ll see what happens. I imagine I’ll get a bit more aroma during the dry hopping with the whole-leaf hops.

Aside from that, the recipe stayed the same. Previous batches of Time Lord were brewed with “rough” temperature control (fans and wet towels), so it will be nice to see how my fermentation fridge influences the final product. 66° F is a hard fermentation temp to maintain without a fridge, so I have to imagine the fridge will be a good thing.

Speaking of temperatures, it was in the 90s here in Denver, which made for an interesting—and sweaty—brew day. There’s nothing quite like sitting right next to a roaring propane burner when the temperature outside is already too damn high. Things went off without a hitch, and we hit our targets almost precisely (mash temp dropped a bit, and I had to bring it back up), so I’m counting this one as a success. It was a bit dry out, so we had a little higher than normal boil off, but oh well.


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Jul 072012

A redditor (brewinginseattle) recently posted a link to a new project named “gristhub“, which appears to be a great adaptation of the github concept for use by brewers. It doesn’t currently have the functions we need (namely recipe and packing management), but we’re keeping an eye on it. Depending on what happens with gristhub, we might transition to using it instead of github. As it is, github is a great solution for our needs, but if gristhub manages to extend its capabilities, it will be even better.

It’s safe to say you should all check it out.

Test Batch Bottling Day

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Jun 102012

To kick off the beginning of periodic “feature” stories (as opposed to the project oriented announcements we’ve had so far), we present you a picture of one of Emperial Brewing’s recent test batches on bottling day.

You know it’s bottling day when you spend a few hours sanitizing and meticulously bottling beer, tipping the bottling bucket to get every last drop into the bottles, only to find yourself opening one and drinking it on ice. Mmm… flat beer. Depending on how this beer turns out (it tastes great flat!), you may be hearing more about it soon. It continues the more recent trend of Emperial Brewing branching out into more lager styles, but we’ll wait to tell you more about it until we’re sure it’s ready for scrutiny. However, the url of the picture might give you a hint at what we’re doing.

We’d also like to take this time to call for feature stories from people contributing to the project. We’d love to hear about your experiences brewing, bottling, drinking, designing labels etc. Have some people over to brew? Finally get your fermentation space set up? Hit us up on the contact page so we can share with everyone. We like stories. Until then, you will be subjected to the haphazard ramblings of our founder. He’s excited, but you should not be.

Seriously, submit your stories.

Stay thirsty, my friends!