It’s a beautiful blue sky, time to Solar homebrew. This time, a retro-recipe.
I believe the U.S. has the world’s-best beer now, but I can’t forget about 25 years ago when the U.S. had the world’s worst beer. Strange days indeed. Back then, it wasn’t hard to be boastful of your label; PBR was voted America’s Best in 1893, and is still bragging about it because beer competitions were rare. I don’t want to go on naming other breweries because I find it hard to write bad about my fellow brewers, but one really can’t appreciate where we are now, if we don’t look back. So, here is my retro-recipe that I’ve made.
About the Creator:
As recognized by Uncle Charlie Papazian, I am considered to be the world’s first modern day solar homebrewer (http://www.examiner .com/beer-in-national/brewing-beer-with-sun-power). My invention is currently awaiting patent. As the owner of Princeton Homebrew for the past 16 years; I have seen this hobby mature into many off-the-shelf brewing equipment, but it is the hand crafted energy saving equipment I love to see people homebrew with.
For more information on solar homebrewing, check out the “Solar Brewing” article in the October/November 2009 issue of Philly Beer Scene, www.issuu.com/phillybeerscene/docs/pbsoctnov09.
Original Gravity: 1.050
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV: approx. 5.1%
8# Briess 2-Row Brewers Malt
2# Solar-Toasted Briess 2-Row Brewers Malt
1# Briess 60L Crystal
1/2# Briess Carapils
2 oz. Brewers Gold Bittering Hops
1 oz. Brewers Gold Knock-It-Off Hops
1 ECY10 Old Newark Ale
- Check the weather. A few clouds (<10%) are allowed. Roll out both Spot and Linear Fresnel lens, wheel chair, and old converted convenience store fridge (hence called oven). Don Sunglasses. Caution: the Fresnel lens creates blow torch like heat!
- Heat the 4 gallons of strike water to 135F with the Fresnel lens pointed at the side of a 20# water filled Aluminum CO2 tank painted high temperature flat black. Capacity – 4 gallons, called the “Hot Liquor Tank” or “Pressurized Brew Tank” depending on which stage it is used.
- Solar Toast 2# Pale malt to a color around 20L-50L, until it looks like toasted Malt, be careful and stir the grains — or it will turn black, absorb more heat and will catch on fire.
- Mill all the Grains
- Simultaneously, while mashing, heat sparge water to 170F in Hot Liquor tank with the other Fresnel lens.
- Mash the grains in a 10 gal. Corny tank painted Flat Black (the “mash tun”). The mash tun has a 1/2” SS bazooka screen fastened on the dip tube with a 1/2” x 1/4” holed spacers for rigidity and secured with an adjustable ring clamp, which serves as the false bottom. The dip tube is cut 3/4” off the bottom.
- Once mashed-in, add several more inches of strike water on top of the mash, cover the mash tun and aim the Fresnel lens so that the concentrated sun light is hitting the mash tun where the mash is, (not above it.) The high temperature flat black paint will absorb the concentrated solar radiation. The mash tun and fresnel lens must be moved every 15 minutes so the sun/Fresnel lens/target plane is almost perfectly aligned, roughly 30 inches away, or where the beam is focused. Also, check the shadows for alignment. In this area the mash will boil and create Melanoidin’s (anti-oxidants) through the Maillard reaction. This heat will slowly radiate throughout the mash till it rises to 148F – 158F, seal and hold in the oven for at least 1/2 hour without the Fresnel lens, so when you do the starch test with iodine, you’ll get no reaction.
- Add all the 170F sparge water that was heating in the other hot liquor tank to mash tun.
- Seal the mash tun and push the wort out of the corny with a pressure no greater than 4 psi (Note: if the mash is stuck, simply reverse the hoses to un-stick the mash – it does not get any easier to fix a stuck mash.) The low pressure will push the runnings into the two Pressurized Brew Tanks. Add the bittering hops in muslin bag and seal with both tanks with CO2 Aluminum Cylinder Valve (3000 psi).
- Heat both Pressurized Brew tanks with the Fresnel lens at the and SuperBoil under pressure for 30 minutes, carefully vent at 30 minutes to release volatiles, seal, and put in the oven for one hour with the Fresnel lens searingly pointed at the Pressurized Brew Tank. Open and add 1 oz. Brewer’s Gold knock-it-off hops.
- Chill both 20# Aluminum CO2 tanks down to pitching temperature.
- Transfer to two 5 gallons Corny tanks, pitch yeast, clean-up.