Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Patience

Patience is a virtue in the world of brewing, and a pint helps!
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Finding the equipment has proved to be easier and cheaper than finding ingredients. The local ferreteria had a pretty good burner on a stand for 300 pesos ($30 usd). After a series of exagerated hand gestures and some badly expressed spanglish I was able to explain my needs for "mucho fuego" to the young clerk. Of course I was assured the burner in question would provide adequate fire. I carefully inspected the spoke shaped burner head and the clerk graciously replaced a cross threaded fitting where the gas line attached. I proudly carried this floor model back home.
Hardware stores in Mexico are different than the States. They have all the same stuff including an extensive supply of very cheap Chinese versions, but you don't walk down aisles picking up what you need. Here you step up to a counter (kind of like an auto parts store) and you ask for what you want. I had to learn quickly to say in spanish "I want..." fill in the blank, Cobra tubo, manquera regulador and otro regulador esta roto "...another regulator this one is broken", again pointing and picture drawing were important language skills.
For those familiar with home brewing do's and don'ts, aluminum boil pots are a big NO-NO (See picture above).Primarily because of the possible metallic taste that may occur in your beer and also, some claim that the metal may cause brain damage. We'll I've got another two weeks to wait on the flavor aspect since that is when my first batch of brew will be fully carbonated in the bottle. I'll keep you posted. As far as the brain damaging effect...only time will tell. I will say though that over the many years of my life I have ingested significant amounts of vegetable, mineral and animal parts that could possibly cause brain damage, so if some brain related desease or deficiency does occur, one would be hard pressed to single out aluminum as the route cause. In any case I purchased a 6.5 gal Aluminum pot at the Tuesday outdoor market. I haven't seen any stainless pots here and my plan is to only make two 5 gal. brews anyway.
Fermenters in the form of glass carboys are a very rare item here in Mexico, "land of the plasticos". Although I did find a couple in the rubble of a friends house that is being remodeled. My first instinct was to grab them for nostalgia sake and because I like to horde anything beer related, but I gave up on the inconvenience of the weight and difficulty in cleaning carboys long ago. I have been primary fermenting in a large foodgrade plastic containers for years (I use some empty malt extract containers that I got from a homebrew store with no ill effects. Before coming to Mexico I had the forthought to toss a few food grade bags in my carry-on and these I use to line my current fermenting container which I know for sure is not food grade.

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