Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cheap Malt Mill

I received my first order ever from a homebrew store in Mexico! A homebrew store out of Mexico City called Fermentando sold and shipped me four kilos of 2-row to brew a batch of IPA while I'm down here in San Miguel. The order process was easy using my Pal pal account and I received the shipment via Estafeta in just four days. I was happy with the process and feel like a satisfied customer.

Now, I need to mill this grain. I could have ordered it pre-milled but I like the idea of using this molino that I found at the market. I used it a couple of years ago for this project and had good results with my efficiency so I'm confident this time that the results will be similar.

This mill is inexpensive at a cost of about $25 and easily available here, where roller mills are hard to find. It's adjustable with a wing nut that holds the position of the grinding plates at a certain distance. Here I will maximize my yield by setting the gap very close and crushing the grain severely. As you will see in the video, the mill clamps onto the table top and doesn't leave room for a catch bucket. I improvised by cutting a cardboard box out to catch the grain which tends to spray out to the sides as you crank. Of course, modifications to the table or building something effective for this would be preferable but I'm only using this thing once this year and so I'm trying to keep it simple.

One other thought on this type of mill, although I've never done it myself, I suspect that a 1/2" drill or screw gun could be attached to drive it rather than the laborious hand cranking. You could probably even adapt it to be used with a stationary motor and belt system. If anyone reading this has experience with this type of mill or has gone so far as to modify it to make it more practical, please share in the comment section. I've only used this type a few times but I imagine there are some great changes that could be made to really have an effective piece of equipment for the brewery. Cheers!

Watch how it works!

Friday, January 20, 2012

T.J.'s, 21Beer and Red Pig Ale

Tijuana brewing or T.J.'s makes a good beer compared to the mass produced lagers that are typical of Mexico, and that's how you need to evaluate this one. It's a light (yellow) lager but with much more flavor then for instance, Modelo. A slightly sweet bready beer with a fast dropping head and a mild floral hop aroma. Filtered and clean tasting. From the craft beers I've sampled her so far this is one of the better ones.

Cerveceria 21Beer
Calling itself a pale ale 21 Beer states 4.3% abv. and the ingredient list includes 'anti oxidant' besides the usual water, malt, hops and yeast. Interesting.
Cerveza Fina Artesanal is the apparent brewer for La Casa de La Cerveza which is located in the state of Jalisco although I'm unable to locate these guys on the web.  It is mysterious and my friend over at reviewed this beer in the past and that's the only way I was able to find the website for 21 Beer He also made mention that the beer is from Canada and I also noted this when I saw that the contact email is a Canadian address at: but chances are this is the distributor. I sent an email to the offices in Canada regarding the brewery name and location but as of this posting there is no reply. Nada.

21 Beer has Champagne and apple juice as the predominant flavors and this is reinforced with high carbonation bite and crystal clear straw color just like Champagne. Sweet bready malt and little to no hop in attendance and looks as though it is filtered.  A very un-typical pale ale.

Mexicali's Red Pig Ale is brewed and bottled by Cerveceria Mexicana out of Tecate, Baha California, Mexico. 
Brewed by cerveceria Mexican in Baha California the same people that brew the Mexicali label.
This is an ale with a good balance of crystal or caramel malt sweetness that offsets the substantial bitterness. Although the hop bitterness is appropriate for this malty beer there is little evidence of hop aroma but the hops do provide a hint of citrus flavor. Fruity, crisp and clean this beer appears filtered. A beautiful copper color with a full mouth feel and lasting head that laces the glass as it is drunk. This 5.5% abv ale is another example of a well made beer out of Baha California. Could it be the close proximity of Southern California that is influencing the quality of the Mexican beers coming from that part of the country?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Down Time

Be back at you when I return from a little beach time.

Drinking Pacifico and thinking of nothing. I hope it's not too cold in your part of the beer world. Hasta luego!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Basic Equipment For Extract Brewing

I've heard some voice concern over the investment in equipment to start brewing your own beer at home. True, you could spend quite a bit if you buy more than you need and buy the best of everything. However, there are really inexpensive ways to start out and this is what I recommend. The reason I say this is that many begin brewing only to find that it's just not there thing. Well, the loss is minimal based on the suggested equipment I list in this video. On the other hand, If you really develop a passion and continue to brew, there is still no great loss in your initial purchase as you step up to more elaborate and expensive systems because a lot of what you initially bought can still be utilized in your new system.

I recorded a brief explanation of the basic equipment needed to get started brewing an extract beer. I quickly ran over the list of items with no explanation of the use of these items just to show how little it takes to make a batch of beer. In fact, if you wanted to step up to an all grain batch you could simply add an additional bucket as a mash tun to the list I show here, and brew five gallons of all-grain beer with the same equipment. You can see how I did just that, if you follow this link and look at the picture at the bottom of the post.

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