Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Equipment Addict

Hello.  My name is g, and I am an equipment addict.

Hello g.......

Ok.  I admit it.  I am addicted to equipment.  I can't help it, it is in my nature.  I love beer.  I always have, and I liked brewing ever since I started, but it used to be about making BEER.  Now, with all of my "toys", it is now about MAKING beer.

My mom tells a story about me when I was too young to remember.  I was at my Aunt and Uncle's new house either while it was being built or just as they were moving in.  I must have been around three years old.  I was found "operating" a radial arm saw.  I have a hard time believing this story, as I have all of my hands and fingers, and am still alive.  The story is my mother's way of explaining who I am.  She calls me a "button pusher and knob puller".  In this description, she probably couldn't be more accurate.  As a child, my favorite toys were tools, equipment, and appliances around the house....any complex machine with knobs and buttons would keep me busy for hours as I systematically figured out how to work them or incorporated them into my fantasy play.

My dad, an electrical engineer and all around handy man had lots of ancient electrical testing equipment (with scopes, and meters and vacuum tubes), an old adding machine, one of the first generation scientific calculators, old hand drafting equipment, power tools, stereo name it.  I played with everything, and knew how to operate everything that worked, and took apart just about anything with moving parts.  Some things I got back together....and others, well, I am pretty certain that it "just broke"...the official story is one of denial.  I am sure that this comes as no surprise to either of my parents.

This brings me back to brewing.  I liked brewing beer when it was extract brewing in a couple of buckets and a 5 gallon pot, but now that my brewery involves the use of pumps, valves, and fittings of all sorts, I am kind of in a state of nirvana.  This holiday season I have on order a 20 gallon stainless steel hot liquor tank (HLT) with professional tri clamp fittings, sight tube, valves, thermowell, and an internal stainless steel heat exchanger.  The HLT will allow me better control of temperatures and volumes while speeding my brew day. I am expecting to take delivery of this beast by February....and man I couldn't be more excited!  I know this means nothing to most readers.

Taking delivery of the HLT will require a lot of work tuning our systems to work with the new stuff.  It will take many brewing sessions to dial in, and yet it will only serve to point out other deficiencies in our system to correct, and require modifications of others.  This should keep me busy, this should keep me happy....But, I am not satisfied, either.  My brain has moved on.

I woke up in the middle of the night convinced on moving away from bottling and into a keg system....which will require that I either buy another freezer or fridge or juggle my fermentation and keg storage in my converted chest freezer.....more equipment.  My 40 year obsession with making things work.  Call it applied technology.

I am a child of industry.  I like smokestacks, and assembly lines.  I like valves, pumps, and control systems.  I like shiny stainless steel and fire and steam.  I like beer.    Ich bin ein Detroiter! Ich bin ein handwerk brauer!  

I probably require professional help or an intervention of some sort.

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