Brew Beer with Electricity

Info Links:

The formula to determine wattage is as follows:

Gallons * Temp Rise (F)
———————————— * 1000 = Watts Required
372 * heat up time (hours)

So, for a homebrew example of 7 gallons of wort at the beginning of your boil, and desiring to reach boil in 15 minutes, and assuming your wort temperature before boil is 150 degrees F after sparge runnoff:

7 * (212 – 150)
———————- * 1000 = X Watts
372 * .25 hours

Or 4666 watts…. or a 4500W element.

You’ll have to tweak the formula to account for your starting boil size, typical sparge runnoff temp, and desired time to boil. Another limiting factor is going to be your available amperage to hook up the element. Since watts = amps * voltage, a typical 15 amp household breaker running at 110V will at most power a 1650W element.

The other main concern you’ll want to watch out for is watt density of the immersion element. This is the measure of watts per square inch. Sugary water like wort tends to not conduct heat very well, so you want a low watt density to prevent the sugars from scorching. What qualifies as a ‘low enough’ watt density is something I’ve yet to figure out, but I suspect you’ll be fine with anything at 40 or less watts/sq in. Keeping the wort moving (by stirring) will also mitigate this potential problem.

Related links:

Posted in beer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Gruit, or Brewing Without Hops

Gruit is a drink from olden times, a drink much like beer, but made without the use of hops. Instead of hops, bittering herbs of different varieties were used, and there is evidence to support the idea that beer without hops is a different and livelier experience on many levels. Gruit was swept under the rug when beer purity laws ravaged the brewers of Europe in the 1500s, but is now making a revival.

Today's Gruit Ale
Today, Gruit is making a comeback. More and more, brewers are realizing that although Hops are a delicious herbal addition to beer, they have their fair share of down sides. As with any brewed herb, Hops convey a number of qualities to the beer we drink.

Before the beer purity laws which swept Europe in the 1500s, beer was made with many different admixtures, and Gruit was one variety which was popular. Recipes for gruit were different depending on which herbs grew locally. According to, gruit usually included the following herbs: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Bog Myrtle (Myrica Gale), and Marsh Rosemary (Ledum palustre). This claim is also supported by the book Sacred & Healing Herbal Beers, by Stephen Harrod Buhner. This book contains many ancient recipes for beer, including a section on gruit. Additional herbs which have been found in gruit recipes are Juniper berries, Mugwort, Wormwood, Labrador Tea, Heather, Licorice, and some others.

There are a few factors to consider when comparing the inebriatory qualities of gruit in comparison to more commonly made beer. It is held amongst those experienced in gruit inebriation that gruit rivals hopped beer on many accounts. One factor is that hops create a sedentary spirit in the imbiber. Amongst those knowledgeable about herbs, hops tea is well known as a catalyst for dreams, and creates drowsiness for the beer drinker. Hops is also an anaphradesiacal herb – meaning that it lessens sexual desire. While the alcohol in beer can lessen inhibitions – which may result in bawdier activities in many – the anaphradesiacal effect of the hops does counter act this to some degree. Gruit, on the other hand, does not counter this effect and also has a unique inebriatory effect due to the chemical composition of the herbs involved in its manufacture. One of noticeable aspect of this chemical composition is the Thujone content.

Thujones are chemicals known as alkaloids, which cause an additional form of inebriation when imbibed in beer. According to Jonathan Ott’s book, Pharmaecotheon I, Thujones act upon some of the same receptors in the brain as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, as found in Marijuana), and are also present in the spirit known as Absinthe. Gruit and Absinthe sometimes share the same herbs in their manufacture, such as Wormwood, Anise seed, and Nutmeg, but it is the herb Yarrow (Achilles Millefolium) that contains the lion’s share of thujones in the gruit concoction.

Yarrow is an herb with many uses and plays a profound part in history and myth. According to Buhner, its use can be traced back 60,000 years. Through many different cultures, from Dakota to ancient Romans, Yarrow has been used to staunch serious wounds – it is even rumored to have been used by Achilles (hence the name Achilles Millefolium, the thousand leaved plant of Achilles). According to Buhner, the plants’ aphrodisiacal qualities are also documented in the Navaho culture. As an inebriant, it has been used in the Scandinavian countries and in North America as well.

Bog Myrtle (Myrica gale) and Wild Rosemary (Ledum glandulosum) also have many uses in the realm of herbalism, but not nearly as many as Yarrow. Both tend to have inebriation enhancing effects in beer, but also tend to cause a headache and probably a wicked hangover, if too much is drunk. The use of Bog Myrtle in ale was continued through the 1940s in Europe and the 1950s in outlying areas of England and the Scandinavian countries – Wild Rosemary probably through the 18th century.

Although some traditionally made non-hopped ales have survived the pervasiveness of hops in the world of beer, the craft of making gruit has largely been out of practice. But, in the golden age of craft ales in which we live, we can see a re-newed interest in this ancient ale and others like it. Namely, beer made without hops: Williams Brothers brewery’s Fraoch, a revival of an ancient Scottish recipe, uses heather, sweet gale, and ginger. Belgium brewery Proefbrouwerji’s Gageleer uses sweet gale. England’s Lancelot brewery has mixed styles with their Cervoise, containing heather as well as hops. I think we will see more herbal beers in the coming days that will open the world of beer to more and more unique forms of inebriation.

Related Articles:
Brewing with Wormwood – a short history on how wormwood has been used in beer in ages past.
Using Herbs and Spices to Enhance Your Brews – Learn How Using herbs and spices to enhance your brewing opens your beers to an infinite variety of flavors.

Posted in beer | Leave a comment

Understanding Water for Homebrewing

Discussions about water can get complicated fast, especially if you aren’t familiar with hydrology. But there are a few basics that specifically apply to the homebrewer, which can set the foundation for further exploration into the realm of brewing water.

Let’s take a look at the four key aspects of water that relate to homebrewing and how they affect the beer making (and drinking) process.


pH is the measurement of acidity in water. The amount of concentrated hydrogen ions determines where a sample of water will fall on the 0-14 pH scale. A neutral reading (seven) indicates there is an even balance of hydrogen and hydroxide ions. Anything below seven treads into acidic territory, and above seven towards the base side of the scale.

The affects of pH begin in the mash and follow through to the last sip of a pint. pH influences everything from enzymatic activity and fermentability to color and taste of beer, making it a crucial aspect of water. However, it is a common misconception that water must be a certain pH prior to brewing. While this is somewhat true, the real concern is achieving a certain pH in the mash and ultimately in the kettle. After all, mash pH directly affects kettle pH, and kettle pH ultimately impacts how the character of beer will be perceived on the palate.

Ideally, mash pH should be in the range of 5.1-5.8 (5.2-5.5 being optimal). When lautering, it is key to ensure that the pH of the runoff is not above 5.8, since this is when astringent, lip-puckering tannins can make their way into the kettle. Many brewers who have issues with runoff pH being too high will use phosphoric acid to acidify the sparge water. The final beer should be in the 4.2-4.4 pH range to achieve optimal taste and stability. Brews above 4.5 will likely exhibit heavier, harsher character with a lacking freshness. Below 4.0 can start to create a thin drinking experience and even add an unintentional tartness.

Homebrewing Water


Chances are you’ve heard of “hard water” before, especially if you live in an area that has hard tap water. Hardness was originally developed to indicate how difficult it is to get soap to lather in the water sample, which is not all that useful when it comes to homebrewing beer. However, hardness can also be used as an indicator of the amount of calcium and magnesium ions in water.

Hardness is categorized as either temporary or permanent. Temporary hardness is a signifier as to how much calcium carbonate is present, which can be reduced by boiling the water and allowing the calcium carbonate to precipitate out. Permanent hardness, on the other hand, is based on the amount of sulfates and chlorides present.

While hard water might not be pleasant to drink, the calcium present is key to brewing, so it’s not typically a priority to reduce the hardness of brewing water.

Alkalinity & Residual Alkalinity

Alkalinity is a measurement of how much a water sample will resist a change in pH, otherwise known as water’s buffering capacity. Hydroxide, carbonate and bicarbonate ions primarily contribute to alkalinity, which undergoes reactions with acidic substances that increase water’s pH value. On water reports, alkalinity is often times recorded as the amount of bicarbonate or calcium carbonate.

Because much of the United States water sources have medium to high alkalinity, it can cause the mash pH to increase, which can cause mash efficiency issues and carry over into the final beer as an overall dullness and other unfavorable characteristics.

The alkalinity remaining in solution after phosphates present in malt react with the calcium and magnesium water, which precipitates out insoluble salts lowering the pH, is termed residual alkalinity. In the end, it is largely the residual alkalinity and the acidity of the malts being mashed that will determine the mash of the pH and affect the outcome of the final beer.


Homebrewing Water

“Flavor” Ions

Sometimes called stylistic ions, flavor ions are the most important when it comes to affecting beer character. Flavor ions include sodium, chloride, and sulfate, while calcium and magnesium mainly affect hardness and carbonates and bicarbonates affect alkalinity. Together, all three groups affect pH and mash chemistry, which impact the flavor of the final beer.

Calcium is arguably the most important ion for brewing. It affects enzymatic activity in the mash, protein coagulation during the boil and benefits yeast health. Clarity, flavor, and stability of the final beer all rely on calcium. Ideally, the mash should have 50-200 ppm or calcium.

Magnesium also affects mash pH, but to a lesser extent than calcium. It mainly enhances flavors and sourness when present at lower levels. 10-30 ppm of magnesium will help this flavor accentuation and act as a yeast nutrient, but as concentrations exceed 50 ppm, an unpleasant sour-bitterness and astringency can become apparent.

Sodium also helps round out flavors, particularly accentuating malt sweetness, at an ideal concentration of 70-150 ppm. In higher concentrations (>200 ppm), sodium can add harsh salty-sour notes and potentially become toxic to the yeast.

Chloride accentuates a fuller body and sweetness in beer, particularly in malt-forward styles. In appropriate quantities, it will also improve stability and clarity, but in excess, it can cause a harsh drinking experience.

Sulfate, on the other hand, accentuates a dry crispness and hop bitterness in beer, particularly in hop-forward styles. If concentrations exceed appropriate amounts, a harsh, sulfury quality can be instilled and the hop bitterness can come across as harsh.

Bicarbonate is the primary source of alkalinity in beer. Its role affects the pH, more specifically the ability to alter the pH, of wort and ultimately the final beer.

Posted in beer | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Backsweeten Mead and Cider

Backsweetening is a process commonly used in mead and cider making to sweeten the finish of a fermented drink just before packaging. This is a useful technique to have in your arsenal of tricks since it is very common for meads and ciders to ferment out bone-dry, especially if they are intended to be lower in alcohol.  But the process is not as simple as dumping in sugar to taste.

Yeast’s job is to convert sugar into alcohol and CO2, a sacred process better known as fermentation. Yeast are very efficient and will continue the fermentation process until all fermentable sugars are depleted, the beer passes the yeast’s alcohol tolerance threshold and/or the yeast is halted by the brewer (either intentionally or accidentally). This means, if you were to simply add in sugar to sweeten a mead or cider, it is very likely the yeast will pick up where they left off and ferment those added sugars, reducing the sweeteness and raising the ABV. This is where backsweetening comes in.

Simply put, backsweetening requires two steps: halting fermentation and adding sugar. The following steps from Ken Schramm’s The Compleat Meadmaker can be used to create a sweetened, uncarbonated mead or cider:

How to Backsweeten

  1. Add 1/2 teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon of mead/cider and and stir to halt fermentation. Potassium sorbate does not kill yeast, but prevents them from converting anymore sugars into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
  2. After at least 24 hours, additional sugar (typically honey) can be added to the mead without the risk of fermentation.
  3. The desired sweetness will depend on your personal preference. Add the sugar* of your choosing in small increments, thoroughly stirring, and then testing until the desired sweetness is obtained.

*It is common for honey to be used in meads and apple juice concentrates for ciders, but explore the other sugar options available for something different!

Carbonation and Residual Sweetness

Things get a little trickier if you’re wanting a backsweetened and carbonated mead or cider, especially if you bottle.

The simplest method is to use a homebrew kegging system. Keg systems use tanks of CO2 to force carbonated liquid to a desired level, which does not require the yeast’s services in any way. This is good since ‘step 1’ of the backsweetening process above effectively eliminates the fermentation capabilities of the yeast.

Bottle-conditioning a backsweetened and carbonated mead or cider, on the other hand, is a tricky puzzle to solve. Bottle-conditioning is the process of allowing yeast in a sealed bottle to ferment a small amount of sugar in order to produce CO2 that will dissolve into solution and create carbonation. This means the yeast cannot be halted (as in ‘step 1’ of the process above), and in most instances the sugars added intended to sweeten the mead or cider will be fermented out completely by the yeast. If this occurs in a sealed bottle, the pressure from fermenting all the added sugar can lead to over-carbonation and bottle bombs.

There is the possibility of heat-pasteurizing sweetened, bottle-conditioned mead and ciders, but the process takes some experimentation to master. It involves fermenting some of mead or cider in a plastic bottle so you can squeeze the bottle and gauge the progression of the carbonation. Once it’s at the target level, heating the bottles in a hot water bath stops the yeast from fermentation. Results may vary at first, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few attempts.

The safest and easiest method for bottling carbonated and sweetened meads and cider is to buy or build a counter-pressure filler to fill bottles with force-carbonated mead or cider from a keg. Since the carbonation is being forcefully added from a CO2 tank, the yeast do not need to be active. It’s the best of both worlds.

source: HBA

Posted in beer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study: Beer is a Better Pain Reliever Than Tylenol

Beer is fun, but it can also make you feel better. A new study from the University of Greenwich found that three or four beers can ease your pain better than some over the counter painkillers.

The study found that when a person brings their blood alcohol content to the legal limit of .08 percent, that person’s pain threshold is elevated. The researchers concluded from their study that “alcohol is an effective analgesic (pain reliever) that delivers clinically-relevant reductions in ratings of pain intensity.”

The head of the study, Dr. Trevor Thompson, told The Sun that the pain relieving power of alcohol “is more powerful than paracetamol.” Paracetamol, or acetaminophen, is found in over the counter pain and fever reducers like Tylenol.

To get to this conclusion, Thompson and his team did a meta analysis of 18 studies on PubMed, PsycINFO, and Embase dating back to April 2016. Each study looked at the dosages of alcohol on pain response. In all, 404 people were involved in the studies, with 13 of the studies comparing pain thresholds of people who drank alcohol versus those who drank no alcohol.

Of course, no one is suggesting you go out and drink to the legal limit every day. But this isn’t the first time beer has been held up as having health benefits. There’s the Pennsylvania State University study that found beer consumption helps maintain good cholesterol, and the study from the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment that found beer puts women at a lower risk for osteoporosis.

Yet the study focused on how alcohol in general can make you feel better, not just beer. We already know that wine is good for your brain, and that hot toddies cure the common cold. Time to add pain reliever to that list as well.

So the next time you feel a headache coming on, consider a pint or two. It’ll make you feel better.

source: vinePair

Posted in beer, Health and wellness | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mastering the Art of Bottle Conditioning

Bottling catches a lot of flack, especially from the die-hard keggers out there. Sure, preparing and filling a few cases of bottles is more labor-intensive than racking to a single keg, but packaging homebrew in bottles also has its benefits.

For one thing, grabbing a 6-pack of bottles to share or give to friends is quite a bit more convenient than shlepping a keg, CO2 tank and tap gear. Bottles are also perfect for long-term aging without taking up too much space in the cellar. And sometimes, there’s just nothing like popping a bottle of your own homebrew and hearing that “pffft” sound before pouring a beer into a glass.

To successfully bottle condition beer, it is important to take into account four key components: yeast, sugar, temperature and time.


First and foremost, is yeast. Without enough viable yeast, there is nothing to convert sugar into CO2, which is what creates carbonation. If a beer undergoes a standard, healthy fermentation then there should be no issue with having enough yeast ready to do just a little bit more work to bottle condition beer.

Issues can arise, however. Extended fermentation periods, as well as highly flocculent yeast strains paired with lengthy secondary aging can cause yeast to go dormant. Filtering beer can also prevent enough viable yeast from making it into the bottling bucket. In these instances, more yeast can be pitched, which is actually sometimes standard procedure in many commercial breweries that bottle condition filtered beer.

The moral of the story—make sure the yeast is happy, healthy and up to the task of bottle conditioning your homebrew.


The next vital key to the bottle conditioning puzzle is sugar. Without enough fermentable sugar, yeast will have nothing to transform into CO2 and carbonate beer. There are a few options for ensuring sugar levels are where they need to be to achieve the desired level of carbonation without fear of creating the dreaded “bottle bombs” (bottles that explode to due being over pressurized).

The daring homebrewer may determine when there’s just enough fermentable sugar left during fermentation and bottle at this point, but this is quite risky and without some experience with the particular recipe you’re brewing. The more common route is to wait for primary fermentation to complete fully, pick an easily fermentable sugar and add it to the bottling bucket. Rack the beer atop the sugar, mix it in thoroughly (without splashing!) and fill the bottles.

Corn sugar is the go-to priming sugar for many homebrewers because it is a simple sugar that is easily converted by yeast in a short time span. But brewers use everything from malt extract to honey to bottle condition beer. It is important to point out that different sugars have varying degrees of fermentability and will take different amount of times to achieve conditioning.

But wait! One of the most important parts of priming sugar is determining how much you need to achieve a specific level of carbonation, measured in volumes of CO2. The general rule of thumb used by beginners is 3/4 cup (177g) of corn sugar per 5 gallon batch to reach 2.25-2.5 vol. CO2. But, if you are after something with a higher or lower level of fizz, then you need to make some measurements.

Use the nomograph below to determine the amount of sugar you need to reach a specific level of carbonation. This is intended for a 5 gallon batch, but the amount of sugar determined for 5 gallons can be scaled to any volume. To use the nomograph, mark the temperature at which the beer will be bottled, the volumes of CO2 you’re after and then connect the lines with a straight-edge. Where the lines intersect the meter all the way to the right will determine how much corn or cane sugar is needed to reach that level of carbonation. Simple! Brewing software and online calculators can also be used to determine priming sugar amounts.

Carbonation Chart


As with primary fermentation, temperature plays a big role in how efficiently yeast will do its job converting sugars into alcohol and CO2. At the very least, filled and capped bottles should be stored at the temperature it was held during primary fermentation. A little warmer can be even better. 68-80°F is the general range for bottle conditioning.

If you notice your bottles are having a hard time fermenting, but you’re confident with the yeast and priming sugar levels, it could very well be the temperature. Try sticking the bottles in a slightly warmer place and keep them off cold cellar floors that may be deceptively colder than the ambient temperature.


Last but not least is time. Bottle conditioning typically takes 2-4 weeks to complete when using corn sugar. If you pop a bottle at two weeks, you’ll likely still hear the “pffft” of carbonation, assuming everything went to plan, but aging time up to a month is beneficial to ensure all the priming sugar has been consumed and the carbonation level has reached its fullest potential.

It’s important to remember that different priming sugars will take various lengths. Honey, for example, typically takes a bit longer than corn sugar. After two weeks, open a bottle every week or so and track the carbonation. Once you enjoy what you taste, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

source: HBA

Posted in beer | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Light Roast vs. Dark Roast Coffee: Which Packs More Health Perks?


Both contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, but one brew takes the win, says a new study.

Coffee fanatics already know that their beverage of choice is rich in antioxidants, which may explain many of the health benefits associated with a regular morning joe or afternoon iced latte. But if you really want to maximize those good-for-you chemicals in every cup, a new study suggests opting for a light roast over dark.

For the new study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, Korean researchers compared coffees of several different roasting levels, analyzing their caffeine content and levels of chlorogenic acid, a well-known antioxidant. They also exposed extract of each coffee to human cell cultures to test their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The results? The lighter the roast, the higher the chlorogenic acid content—and the better the coffee extract protected human cells against oxidation (cell damage) and inflammation when tested in the lab. Caffeine levels, on the other hand, did not vary significantly between samples.

These cell-culture findings could potentially translate to real-life benefits, says Sampath Parthasarathy, PhD, interim associate dean at the University of Central Florida School of Medicine and Journal of Medicinal Food editor-in-chief—but they need to be replicated in human trials before any definite conclusions can be formed.

“We know that antioxidants protect against many health problems, and we also know that inflammation is the basis of many chronic diseases, whether it is diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s,” says Parthasarathy, who was not involved in the new study. “But these diseases are progressive and occur over a long period of time, and you can’t see long-term benefits in a test-tube study.”

The study specifically looked at Arabica coffee beans, roasted at levels corresponding to “light,” “medium,” “city,” and “French” roasts. The roasted beans were then ground and run through an espresso machine to obtain the extract used in testing.

Parthasarathy says it’s not surprising that lighter roasts would have higher levels of antioxidant activity. “When we roast something, we expose it to air,” he says. “There’s also a time element and a temperature element involved, and all of those things contribute to oxidation.”

This depletes the antioxidant molecules present in the coffee grinds, he continues. “They sacrifice themselves during the roasting process,” he says. “But ideally we would want to preserve them as much as possible, so they can have a better effect inside the body rather than getting wasted outside of it.”

While antioxidants aren’t always anti-inflammatory (and anti-inflammatory compounds aren’t always antioxidants), Parthasarathy says the two often go hand-in-hand.

If you love dark roasts for their flavor, Parthasarathy says you’re still likely getting some of the benefits. But cup for cup, lighter blends may have more powerful effects.

“If both types have the same amount of caffeine, why would you compromising on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect?” he says. “People might have to ask themselves, to what extent is the aroma important to them? Are they drinking coffee for health, or just to feel good?”

Future studies may also help coffee producers make more health-focused decisions on the type of coffee and the level of roasting they choose to promote, he notes. Companies like Starbucks tout their dark French roast for its rich flavor, he says, “but it may not be better for health benefits.”

Of course, how long coffee is roasted for is only part of the equation when it comes to maximizing its superfood potential. Parthasarathy would also like to see more research on different types of beans grown in different regions and climates, and on different brewing processes, as well—like cold brew versus conventional.

“People drink coffee for flavor and for caffeine and for many other reasons, and many people won’t even want to start their day without it,” he says. “Most people don’t consider antioxidants or anti-inflammatory properties, but this study brings to light that the benefits of coffee—especially certain types of coffee—may be beyond what most people think.”


Posted in Food and drink | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How to Make a Heat Stick

Use and make at your own risk. Only use with a GFI outlet otherwise you could die!

The items you will need

You can use a different wattage hot water heater element depending on the amperage of the circuit you are using it on. If you don’t know anything about electrical, please don’t use anything higher than what i am suggesting here.

A 1500W will work on a 15A GFI circuit with no problem.

The items you will need are as follows:

  • 1500W 120v hot water heater element
  • 1 1/2″ chrome/brass sink waste arm
  • 1 1/2″ pvc elbow
  • 10 ft. Extension cord 15A rated or higher
  • JB weld
  • 1 #6 brass screw, nut, and washer
  • (not pictured):
  • 1 1/2″ pvc 8 inch straight section
  • 1 1/2″ pvc elbow
  • 1 1/2 ” pvc cap
  • 15 HD 3-prong plug.

punch a dimple in the waste arm to make it easier to get your drill started

First, you want to punch a dimple in the waste arm to make it easier to get your drill started. You then want to pick a drill bit the same size as your screw. Then drill a hole in the side of the waste arm.

hole drilled

After you’ve got your hole drilled you’re ready to get started with then next portion of the heat stick.

connect the white and black wires to either side of the posts of the element

Next, you want to connect the white and black wires to either side of the posts of the element, it doesn’t matter which side is which.

coat the entire end in jb-weld

Once your connections are tight, coat the entire end in jb-weld. Be very generous with the jb weld as you want to make sure no water can seep through.

Let the JB-weld cure for about an hour or so

Let the JB-weld cure for about an hour or so before you move on to the next step, so you don’t get JB-weld everywhere.

feed the screw, wrap the green wire around the screw, tighten the nut down. Make sure you coat everything on the inside very liberally with JB-weld.

Next you want to feed the screw through the hole in the side and on the inside the washer then the nut. Wrap the green wire around the screw and tighten the nut down. Make sure you coat everything on the inside very liberally with JB-weld. This has to be water tight. You can even put some around the screw on the outside.

Coat everything with all the jb-weld

Now feed the open end of the extension cord through the waste arm. And mount the heater element in place. Coat everything with all the jb-weld you can get on it, it has to be water tight.

screw the cap on the waste arm

Once everything is coated very well screw the cap on the waste arm. Make sure you fill any gaps you see with JB-weld as to make a water-tight seal. After this you can wait about 12 hours for the JB-weld to cure. After it’s fully cured stick it in a pot of hot water for about 10 minutes just to make sure it is water-proof.

the Heavy Duty 15 Amp plug

Here is the Heavy Duty 15 Amp plug, you don’t have to use this, but i would recommend it.

Secure the ends of the cable to the posts on the plug

Secure the ends of the cable to the posts on the plug. Like i said before the white and black don’t matter. The green does however, it should be hooked to the bottom prong on the plug, it will most likely be marked with green of some kind anyway.

Hook up the PVC

Hook up the PVC however you like, as you can see I wanted mine to be able to be hooked over the pot. Just make sure before you attach the plug you run your wire through the pvc section.

GFI outlet

This is a GFI outlet. Only use a Heat Stick if you have one of these otherwise you could die. Make sure to test it each time you use the Heat Stick to check functionality.

the first test

Now for the first test. Make sure the heat stick is submerged, and plug it in. It’s almost instantaneous heat. And because its only 1.5kw it’s very cheap to run. Absolutely do not plug in the heat stick unless it is submerged in water, the element will get red hot and fry.

Again, I am in no way responsible if you kill yourself using this. Use a Heat Stick at your own risk. They are very safe if made and used properly, if used improperly or not hooked up to a GFI circuit it could kill you.

source: loveBrewingCo

Posted in beer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

DIY: Kettle Etching

While it is possible to brew without the simplest of measurements, a key to repeatable recipes is measuring your ingredients. Your grain and hops may come pre-measured, but you still need to know how much water you’re using and how much wort is in your pot. I’ve gotten by for several years using a notched yardstick, and one of my kettles has a sight glass, but when I read an article about etching volume markers on a stainless steel kettle, I got excited—it sounded cheap and easy, I’d have one less piece of equipment to hassle with, and, it just looked cool.

In practice, it turned out to be more time consuming than I expected, and my results didn’t turn out as pretty as some of the examples I saw, but it was still a great learning experience, and I ended up with a functional solution.

Basic Idea

Electrolytic acid etching sounds fairly technical, but it’s just a matter of combining a DC power source, an acid medium to support the chemical process, and an applicator. In this case, the medium is a blend of vinegar and table salt, and the applicator is a cotton swab. The swab is attached to the negative lead of your power source and dipped into the vinegar solution. The positive lead is attached to the kettle, so touching the applicator to the metal completes a circuit and the electric current pulls metal ions from the steel. The resulting surface is roughened and reflects light differently from the smooth, unetched metal.

This process should work for both stainless steel and aluminum, but from what I’ve read, a significant number of people have had problems getting a lasting visible mark on aluminum. It’s a good idea to try it out on the bottom of your kettle first to make sure that it will work as expected.

For simplicity’s sake, the instructions below refer to gallons. However, if you use another unit of measure, you will want to tailor the units of measurement to your preference.


  • DC power source (Some people have used a 9-volt battery, and others have tried similar sized DC adapters. I used a 12-volt car battery charger, which already had clips attached.)
  • ¼ cup (59 ml) white vinegar, with 1 Tbs salt dissolved in it
  • A supply of cotton swabs
  • Stencil materials (I used a combination of electrical tape and reusable vinyl stencils for the numbers.)
  • Levels
  • Large measuring cup or gallon jug
  • Latex gloves
  • Alcohol wipes
  • X-Acto knife
  • Bar Keepers Friend cleaner


There are three steps: stenciling out the volume marks and associated numbers, the etching process itself, and clean up.

Create the Stencil

You’ll need to locate where the volume marks belong and mark them out. One approach would be to use a grease pencil to make the marks, and then create the stencil once you’re done. I chose to use electrical tape that I could cut at the appropriate points. Here are the steps I followed:

Start with a clean, dry kettle. Clean the area you will be etching with alcohol wipes.

Apply two parallel strips of electrical tape about 1/4″ (6 mm) apart to the inside of the kettle—they will be placed vertically, as shown in the photo below.

kettle etch2

Place a few levels on the top of the kettle to make sure your water measurements will be precise (below).

kettle etch1

Add a measured gallon (or your unit of preference) of water and wait for the surface to settle.

Cut the right-sided strip of electrical tape at the level of the water.

Repeat the preceding two steps until you’ve made the full range of marks.

Empty and dry the kettle.

For each cut on the right-sided strip of electrical tape, make a second cut a little higher, and continue to work up the side of the pot.

Peel off the resulting thin bit of tape between the cuts. At this point, the stencil will reveal a design that looks something like one-half of a ladder.

Apply reusable number stencils immediately to the side of each ladder rung, as shown below.

kettle etch4

Etching Process

Before you continue, I think it’s important to keep in mind that you should take your time doing the etching. The longer you work each area of the stencil, the clearer the image will be.

Attach the negative lead to a cotton swab. If your lead is a loose wire, wrap it into the cotton puff, but leave the end of the swab clear. If you have an alligator clip, attach it to the cotton, below the top of the puff. You can see how I rigged mine in the photo below.

kettle etch3

Attach the positive lead to the kettle, relatively close the specific area that’s being etched (you can see how I worked in the photo below). A loose wire can be taped in place. If you have a clip, it can be attached to the edge of the pot. You can also just hold it in contact with the metal if you prefer.

kettle etch5

Dip the applicator into the vinegar solution.

Put the applicator in contact with the metal inside the bounds of the stencil. You should see some bubbling, and the liquid around the swab will turn yellow/brown.

kettle etch6

Touch the applicator to each section of the stencil, making sure it is in contact with the kettle for at least 30−60 seconds in each spot. Redip the swab often to keep it damp.

Replace the cotton swabs when they become worn down and badly discolored and reattach the negative lead each time.

Wipe away excess liquid as necessary.


Once the etching is done, remove the stencil completely, clean the inside of the kettle using Bar Keepers Friend, and rinse the inside of the kettle.


In the process of doing this, I learned a couple of things. The first is that reusable number stencils can be tricky. Interior elements of the stencil sometimes slipped, making the number less distinct. Also, I needed to be more patient during the etching process. I ended up with some areas that were lighter than I wanted. Still, my first attempt was successful, and I’m looking forward to my next brewing session to try out my kettle.

kettle etch7

source: beerandbrewing

also: “Etch Your Kettle – mark metal”

Posted in beer, Info | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ELAN Smart-Pad Edge Scroll in Windows 10

It seems to be missing settings and have no option for one-finger scroll after driver update for ELAN Smart-Pad version

I found a working solution, and it even uses an updated driver!

  1. Open Internet Explorer (Sorry, doesn’t work on Edge or any other browser)
  2. Go to Microsoft’s update catalog
  3. If the screen you get is solid blue or missing the search bar, you might be missing a plugin. Refresh the page and there should be an option to install it.
  4. The page should now look like this. Search “Elan Input Device”.
  5. Press the “Last Update” column header. It should now be sorted by the most recent release.
  6. Click the titles on both of these (you may need to enable popups). Check inside the popup if the architecture is for AMD64 (64-bit) or x86 (32-bit). The reason I ignored the top two results is because they are exclusively for Toshiba pcs.
  7. Click “Add” ONLY if the driver is both compatible with your OS version (Windows 10) AND the correct architecture for your system (AMD64 = 64-bit Windows ; x86 = 32-bit Windows). If not, close the popup and keep selecting titles until you find a match.
  8. Near the top right of your screen, you should see “view basket (1)”. If you have a number, sucess, your driver has been added. Click on it.
  9. Press “Download” and curse Microsoft for their convoluted driver update system.
  10. Choose where you want the driver to download (I just chose the default Downloads folder).
  11. Locate the downloaded driver file (.cab). Extract it to another folder by using WinRAR, 7zip, or open a command prompt and use expand[2] .



  1. Open “Device Manager” (Right Click on Start Menu).
  2. Locate “Mice and other pointing devices” and expand it.
  3. Right click on “ELAN Input Device” and select “Update Driver”.
  4. Choose “Browse my computer for driver software.”
  5. Choose “Browse” and select the folder where you extracted the driver files.
  6. Choose next and cross your fingers. Restart your pc after installation for the changes to apply.
  7. Head back to device manager, right click “ELAN Input Device,” and select “properties.” It should now be version “”
  8. Navigate to: Settings > Devices > Mouse & Touchpad > Additional Mouse Options. See if there is an ELAN tab.
  9. Enable it if necessary. Then choose options.
  10. This window should appear. Choose “Edge Scroll”, enable Vertical and Horizontal scroll, and apply your changes.
  11. You should be all set, this solution worked for me and I hope it works for you too! (P.S.: I basically expanded upon this post and changed the instructions from the sound driver to the Elan driver, as well as going into more detail on some instructions.)

Source: ELAN Smart-Pad settings gone after Windows 10 update – Microsoft Community

Posted in Computer | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment