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Brew Anniversary

Back in early November the Wife and and I had our first brewing anniversary.

We got the starter kit from NB, and the Lefse Blond extract kit. My tasting notes for that first batch were basically, “it’s drinkable.” The color of the “blond” was more appropriate to a Marzen, maybe even a bit dark for that. It’s not just that extract kits come out dark, we definitely had some scorching. Basically, I wasn’t a big fan of that Lefse Blond.

Since then we dove in, and perhaps went a little OCD, reading, researching, acquiring. We got a proper brew kettle, instead of the spaghetti pot, got an Oxygen kit, spare carboys, a wort chiller.
I even designed and programed a temperature controller based on a RaspberryPi computer, that’s controlling my new 7.1 cu ft freezer. We went from scared of liquid yeast to doing starters, and are even planning on chaining.

The day before the anniversary, for our 20th batch, I got another Lefse Blond extract kit, just to see if we’ve gotten better. Today we finally sampled the anniversary Lefse Blond and I am pleased. It’s a bit undercarbed and headless, but that’s to be expected after only 2 weeks in the bottle. The color actually looks like a blond, perhaps just a bit on the orange side of gold, which I blame on extract. It has some nice spice character, although I wish I had run the freezer, maybe a degree or two warmer.

It looks like we’ve made some real strides on our brew quality. Thank you to all of you regulars, I’ve learned so much reading this forum.

Thank You all! :cheers:

Glad to hear you are both passionate about this obsession / hobby. I think many of us can recall similar experiences and it is fun to look back and remember when. I am celebrating my 12th anniversary of brewing and I made a nice big Russian Imperial Stout to celebrate with. I just kegged it a couple days ago and I plan on bottling the majority of it when it is properly carbed and adding it to my Bierkeller.

Care to share how you built the raspberry pi temp controller? My 12 year old son is getting one for Christmas and
I would love to get some project ideas.

In addition to how awesome your story is, your quote from Ghostbusters might be just as awesome. I’m about to hit my first “brew-versary” too – also started to get a little obsessive about it.

Thanks for the inspiration and grateful for folks like you on the forum.

Congratulations JmcK!
I’m coming up on my two year anniversary on 12/26. Just counted, and I’m at 33 batches since then.
Obsession a little?

I just celebrated my 17th brewing anniversary. I just wish I’d had a forum like this back in the early days. I wouldn’t have had to tolerate so many years of so-so beer! I seem to learn something new with every batch. That’s probably what I love most about this hobby- I never tire of trying to achieve the perfect batch.

[quote=“Son of a Kraut”]Care to share how you built the raspberry pi temp controller? My 12 year old son is getting one for Christmas and
I would love to get some project ideas.[/quote]

Essentially I got tons of parts from Adafruit, Jameco, MCM Electronics, Amazon, and even Radio Shack. (BTW, that’s my order preference) I built a small board that included an i2c to 1-wire bridge to access 1-wire based temperature probes; a chip with a bank of Open Collector outputs to drive the power relays; a logic level converter so I could drive a 20x4 serial display, a power supply that has 12V and 5V output, The board also provides power to the Pi through the GPIO header so there’s no need for a separate micro-USB power brick. Plus a case to put it all in.
Most of the low-level drivers are available open source; from there I installed Apache Tomcat and had to write the application-level software to poll the temperature probes, turn relays on-and-off, and display status on the serial display. I can monitor and control my freezer from my iPad with it’s web interface.

Its probably a bit much for a 12yo. A temp controller needs to interface with raw AC lines; where mistakes can kill, or start fires. For your kid I would recommend a “Gert Board” or similar. Depening on your confidence in the kid’s skill you can get them pre-built or solder your own. Maybe a LED display with some buttons. “security alarm” is a pretty standard first project.

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