Category Archives: Mmm, Beer!

1-Wire Beer Fermenter

For some time now, I have been meaning to get my beer fermenters hooked into my 1-Wire weather system. Now we are in business! Thumbnail images on this page link to 640×480 versions.

Temperature Probe

photo of encapsulated temperature probe

Probe (DS1820) is inserted into a short length of polyethylene beer siphon hose and filled with epoxy resin.
The wire is industrial PTFE insulated equipment wire. To maintain gas seal when passing through the
fermenter lid, wire is epoxy encapsulated into a short length of copper tubing.

Working Rig

photo of fermenter with probe installed

Probe is shown installed in fermenter; an extra hole has been drilled in the fermenter lid and a nylon cable gland installed. An ‘O’ ring is fitted between the underside of the fermenter lid and the locking ring of the cable gland to prevent gas leakage.

When fermenter is active, data may be viewed on my current weather page. Note that the fermenters live in the laundry and close to the temperature probe in there, so you can see the difference between air temperature and beer temperature.

A Good Time of Year

Before I start, I will point out that we are in the midst of Autumn (Fall) down here, below the Line.

The mean ambient temperature in my Big Shed seems to be pretty well at the perfect serving temperature for my St Steven's Ale, which I have stored out there. In the bottle now for about nine months, it is drinking so beautifully.

Mmm – more beer!

The Belgians have a lambic beer called Kriek, containing cherries. It was, therefore, only natural that when I chucked a load of cherries into my beer fermenter, the result would be Kroak.

Kroak nearly went down the drain at bottling time, reeking of aldehydes. However, I bottled it and left it for some months – actually having forgotten that I had made it. When I “found” it again, in the shed, I tasted and was quite smitten with it. It did not take long for the Kroak to disappear.

Today, I brewed up again, but with a revised recipe. As my beers tend to sit in the fermenter longer than the usual homebrew (like up to three months), it will probably be Christmas before I actually get to try today's batch.

Here's what went in it:

  • 2.5kg Munton's light DME
  • 0.5kg Munton's dark DME
  • 870g cherries – pitted and frozen a while back, when they were being sold off cheap.
  • 30g Saaz hop pellets, made into hop tea
  • 5g Saaz hop pellets, straight into the fermenter
  • 20 litres rainwater, filtered to 1 micron (mesh, then charcoal)
  • ½ packet Safale S04 yeast

The original gravity was about 1058.

Mmm, Beer…

Having nearly run out of beer, I have finally got my act together and now have two batches on the go; one, my "St. Steven's Ale" (first made on the feast of Steven), a potent, dark winter warmer with Fuggles hops and the other, all light malt, Saaz hops and the zest and juice of lemon.

I am currently waiting for the epoxy to set on a new addition to the brewing rig – a 1-Wire® temperature sensor, which I am hooking into my weather system.