Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Bring on the hops!
I'm proud to present my latest homemade brewing gadget, a Randall. Its full name is Randall The Enamel Animal, and is also known as an organoleptic hop transducer module. The contraption was first invented by the Dogfish Head Brewery. It has later been bought by many pubs serving their beers, all in the the U.S. unfortunately, but they are to my knowledge only used for special events.
I have never tried it myself, but it sure looks like I good idea. I love hops and what couldn't be better than having beer pushed through lots of delicious hops cones on the way to your glass? Yummy!
As far as I know there are no places in Europe where one can try it. So, what was there to do other than to make one myself?
The device is made from one filter canister housing with threaded barbed fittings on both sides. Inside the filter there is a stainless steel pipe with twenty small 1.5 mm drilled holes. I had to get hold of and adapt this one myself. It wasn't easy as getting hold of a 1/2" stainless steel pipe was harder than expected. I ended up buying a towel rack from IKEA(!) and sawing it into pieces with a hack saw. Drilling the holes wasn't easy either as stainless steel is a pretty hard material. I ended up using five titanium covered HSS drills.
I have installed a dual system with two picnic faucets, so that one can serve the beer from the keg directly or from the Randall. That way it will be easy to find out what effect the hops have made to the beer.
The plan is to serve the keg of India Pale Ale through it at this year's Norwegian Homebrewers Festival. So, if you'd like to try it yourself you now know where to be on March 17th.
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I have a feeling that you're going to have issues pouring through two faucets like that. I have worked at a few festivals where I was in charge of the Randall and you will probably need quite a bit more pressure to get the beer through the hops. This in my opinion could cause the other line to pour too aggressively.
Also, when you get this all set up and you are ready to start dispensing, you need to make sure you have at least one pitcher, because the beer coming out of the Randall might be very foamy.
When we would use the Randall, the beer seemed to come out of the picnic tap very heady, but when the head settled, the beer almost seemed stripped of a lot of it's co2. I had lots of fun pouring Randallized beers (but at first it was messy). A lot of people came up to get beer from me simply because it was something different (I think some of them thought the hops were drugs).
Thanks a lot for your feedback. It is extremely useful to hear from someone that has actually tried one.
I have thought of the issue of balancing the pressure by using a long and much narrower beverage line to the first faucet. I didn't actually do any calculations as I don't really know how much restriction there will be in the filter housing. A trial run next week will show if I need to make any adjustments.
Bringing a pitcher sounds like a good idea. Do you have an opinion on whether it will be best to just push a lot of beer through all at once and serve it from the pitcher, or if it is better to just leave the beer on the hops for some time between each pour?
I'm sure it'll be messy. :)
It remains to see how conservative Norwegian beer drinkers react...
What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what you're trying to say. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.
I agree with the comment above that it needs more pressure to get the beer through the hops because in a big company, there are many special faucets with high pressures to make the beer because it's very essential to make sure that the beer is good and having quality
What is "Randall"? I have heard about this very first time. However, It seems very effective.
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