First California Brew Day!

I bought a couple of extract kits, a wit and a stout, and boiled them in a pot on an outdoor burner. After the move (nearly 18 months ago – how have I not brewed since then?!?), I ended up with 3 fermentation buckets and a bottling bucket, plus a couple of utility buckets, but only one lid. I decided to finally try fermenting in Cornelius kegs; I’ve been wanting to do that for a while because their size and proportions make them a lot easier to handle and store than either buckets or carboys.

I still have all the bits and pieces of the fancy 2-vessel all-grain RIMS brewery I used in Georgia, but the heaters need 240V and running the heaters with both pumps takes a 50 amp circuit, and the house we’re renting doesn’t have anything close to that. I used the water filter, heat exchanger, immersion chiller, and a bunch of hoses and connectors. I put the immersion chiller in an ice bath and ran that through the water side of the heat exchanger. That worked great, and let me cool the 3.5 gallon boil down to pitching temperature in about 15 minutes!

The wit, in my only fermentation bucket, is happily bubbling away already. I can’t really tell how the stout is doing but it should be fine. Two weeks and I’ll rack them both in to kegs to age a few weeks before serving.


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