My new brewing setup. A nice large stainless steel urn with a dual element, and a cooler box with a filter that used to be a braided hose and a tap.

The box under the urn is a PID controller so that I can (in theory*) dial the temperature, have a homebrew, and have water at the right temperature on tap.

It’s not going to win a panel wiring contest, but it works. The PID doesn’t have the switching capacity, so there’s a solid state relay. I also wired diodes to send the positive part of the AC to the one element and the negative part of the AC to the other element to spread the heat.

The switch controlling whether the diodes are in-circuit or not comes from the junkbox. Been a while since one could buy something useful for R3.45.

Grain in the cooler (this is 6 kilos of pilsner, on Saturday), add the water, let it be for about an hour…

..and drain the good stuff (this is Sunday’s brew, an IPA).

The pilsner is all-grain, which means that you end up with quite a lot of liquid to boil.

That’s the next step. The urn, on low, should be able to boil the wort as well. If not, I need to get a 30 liter+ pot, I have quite a few gas burners.

Good news is that both brews started bubbling easily (I added Servomyces to both and DAP to the IPA). The pilsner is my first all-grain and my first lager — I’m using ice to keep it cool.

* The water coming out the tap seems about 5C too cold. Some calibration required, looks like.




I made this game stew for the second time, and it was again great.

The original is from the Weg magazine and is in Afrikaans.

• 40 g dried mushrooms
• ½ cup warm stock
• 1 kg meat in 4 cm cubes. I used gemsbok.
• ½ cup flour
• 2 onions
• garlic
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 cups stout (I used Guinness the first time and homebrew the second)
• 1 tin cherry tomatoes, drained (reserve sauce)
• 2 tablespoons Worcester
• 2 tablespoons soy
• 4 sprigs thyme

Chop the dried mushrooms and soak in hot water or stock (I added the stock powder later). Do this before prepping the meat and onions.

Coat meat with flour and brown in oil (I skipped the flour, it makes a mess and I am yet to be convinced). Keep meat warm.

Brown onion and garlic. Add sugar, add meat, fry for five minutes (I added the stock powder to the onion mix with the sugar)

Add beer, tomatoes, Worcester, soy, thyme, mushrooms.

Cook for an hour or so. Add the tomato sauce if it looks dry.

Serve with rice.

I didn’t bother with Weg’s baby onions at the end, but it sounds like a good idea.



Sunday was mead bottling time. After fermenting for about six weeks, I had no bubbles in the airlock and SG was down to 1.000 or maybe even 0.999.

Of course it still has to bottle ferment for six months or more.

I also added some sugar to almost two litres of the mead and bottled that under crown caps, the future will tell whether I get sparkling mead or bottle bombs.


No, not the black-to-white transracer with the glove, the other Michael Jackson.

This interview, from just before he passed away in 2007, is now on YouTube.

(H/T to MetaFi)