Why brewing beer in Africa starts in the workshop
At the time of writing this, my first attempt of brewing beer (with a starter kit) is not even 24 hours old, so I have no idea if it will be even drinkable. According to every document that I have read, the most important thing of brewing beer is sanitization, and secondly temperature.
Sanitization is pretty much controllable; just make sure you sanitize every thing that will or even might come in contact with your beer. Temperature is a different matter, most instructions are written either in Europe or America, and tell you how to keep your brew above 16°C, not much of a problem here in Africa, but to keep it at the lower end of 20°C in the middle of summer is a different matter all together. If you have a temperature controlled room or an old fridge that you can set to 20°C then you are sorted, if not, and if you will have to store your brew in the garage due to space restrictions then you will have to make a plan.
This does not have to cost you an arm and a leg, at the most basic you will need:
|Duct Tape||Wooden Dowels|
|Tin Foil||Meat Thermometer|
|220V Fan and Cover||Electrical Wire (Ripcord)|
|16A Plug Top||Insulation Tape|
If you want to build a frame for your polystyrene box you will also need:
|6X40 Pine strips||Panel Pins|
|Wood glue or “no more nails”|
You will need the following tools:
|Small Hammer||Measuring Tape|
|Caulk Gun (Silicone Gun)||Sharp knife to cut hole in Polystyrene|
Start by measuring the length, width and height of your fermentation vessel; remember to include the airlock in your height measurement. Make provision for the thickness of your polystyrene in the height measurement as well as for one of the sides, make it slightly bigger than what you will need. Some hardware shops sell polystyrene in sheets of 1200x600mm, you might be tempted to use it as is to save time on cutting, just remember that at some stage you will need to lift a vessel weighing close to 30Kg over the edge and into the box.
Cut your 4 sides to length. Cut the wooden dowel at an angle into pieces double the thickness of the polystyrene. With the caulk gun add adhesive to the edge of the polystyrene and use the cut pieces of wooden dowels as nails and carefully hammer them into the polystyrene to keep it into place. When you are finish with this, measure the size that you need for the top and bottom and cut to the correct size, remember, measure twice and cut once! Cover the bottom with tin foil: use the adhesive to keep foil in place. Put the bottom in place the same way you did the sides.
Cover the outside of the box with tin foil, using the adhesive to stick the foil to the polystyrene and cover all the seams with duct tape. Make sure to go right around the box at the bottom, top and middle with the duct tape for sturdiness.
Measure the opening of the box and cut a piece of polystyrene just smaller than the opening. Find the middle of this piece of polystyrene and cut a hole for the fan, but keep in mind that the fan will rest on this, so make provision for the edge of the fan. Cut a hole for the fan in the piece of polystyrene that you have cut for the top of the box. Glue the two pieces for the top together, make sure that the bottom piece will fit into the opening of the box.
Cover the outside of the lid with tin foil, once again use the adhesive and duct tape to ensure a tight fit. Put the fan inside the hole that you have cut in the lid, and secure it to the polystyrene. Make sure the fan is drawing air out of the box, and not blowing air into the box. Put the cover of the fan on top of the fan and seal the edges around the fan with duct tape.
For added strength you might want to build a frame for the box using the pine strips, wood glue (I used no more nailsas it dries very quickly) and panel pins.
Measure the outside of the box, and build 2 frames into which the box can slide tightly. Measure the length of the box and cut 4 pieces to length. Connect the two frames with these pieces of pine; you now have a box (without bottom) the same size as your polystyrene box. Cut 5 pieces of pine the width of the bottom and secure them to the bottom using the glue and panel pins. Slide your box into the frame. You can also build the frame “around” the box, by sliding the top and bottom parts over the box, and then secure the upright and bottom pieces to them.
All that remains is the press the meat thermometer through the lid in one of the corners; make sure that it misses the side, but that it is out of the way. Connect the fan to a piece of electrical wire long enough to reach and electrical outlet, lastly add a 16A plug top, and you have a fermentation box, now we can start to make beer.