I’ve slacked off on homebrewing recently. I was finding the equipment I had increasingly frustrating for the bottling stage and the results have been variable. The first couple of batches I did after my previous restart mainly came out as gushers while the last batch, where I carefully avoided getting much sediment in the bottles and underdid the carbonation sugar are not unpleasant but, well, under-carbonated.
After a lot of weighing up of different options, I decided to got with a Speidel 12l fermenting vessel. This has a large opening at the top, for easy cleaning and a tap attachment at the bottom for, hopefully, easy bottling. It arrived yesterday and I got it set up today to check for leaks – all good on that front.
One of the factors in brewing is how much you can control the fermentation temperature. I’ve found that I can get decent beer without obsessing about this too much. However, I do like to have a brew belt set up attached to a temperature probe so that I can avoid the temperature getting too low. Until we hit summer, when I normally take a break from brewing, the ambient temperature tends to sit around 17°C, which is my general target. However, while my previous set up had a way to stick the probe in the fermenting vessel, this new one is nicely sealed.
It is a bit nerve wracking making holes in new kit but, having found an old plastic bottle stopper in a box of odds and ends, I decided to go for it. There now a 5mm hole in the stopper for the probe and a 19mm hole in the Speidel lid for the stopper. I wonder about also adding some PFTE tape when it comes to fermenting to create a more snug seal. Anyway, no brewing today as I’ve got other things on but I’m set up to get running again soon.