About Me

Jeff Manol

I’ve always been fascinated with beer. It’s a mystical substance. Where does it come from? How does it get that captivating colour? That invigorating smell? Does some remote purveyor of ancient skills concoct spells and chants to bring it into being? The mystery seems just too deep, and probably better left in the hands of the gods.

I remember when I was back in high school, an English teacher of mine wrote in my yearbook “don’t hide your creativity under a beer case”. That statement has been stuck in my brain ever since. Problem was, I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. Rather than hiding my creativity under a beer case, as might have been the case at the time, why not hide it in the beer case?

All these years later, I finally understand. I need to unlock the secrets and brew my own…









20 Responses to About Me

  1. Is Eric originally from Cochrane, ON?

  2. Good morning,

    Not really well, but when his family lived in Cochrane some years ago I knew him enough that I gave him a ride back to Queen’s U. What a small world.

    I have bookmarked your site – what I’ve read so far is interesting. I started brewing back in the early 90’s when I was at Queen’s, gave it up a few years and now have even gone AG. Lots of this is thanks to the internet, BBR and HBT in particular.

    Anyhow, I’ll keep checking your site. Please say hello to Eric.

    Brent Irvine

    • Hey Brent,
      Small world indeed. I’ll definitely pass on your message to Eric.
      Thanks for stopping by the site too. We brewed our first extract batch about a year ago this month and have since jumped to all grain and haven’t really looked back.
      My friends got sick of me talking about brewing all the time, so I thought I’d start a blog about it. I’m by no means an expert, just love learning more and sharing it. There’s some great blogs out there that have been very helpful.
      Anyways, happy brewing.

  3. Looking at your upcoming posts: building the temp controller and brewstands. Plans in place already?

    • Funny you should mention that! I’m actually writing out the temperature controller post right now.
      It’s a long one, and so is the ‘brew stand’ post. I’ve been chipping away at it slowly, but I’m hoping to have the temp. controller one finished for early next week.
      The brew stand one might be the following week if I find the time to build it between now and then. I hope I can, because I want to use it for our Sierra Nevada Pale Ale brew which I’m hoping to do on the 11th.
      and btw, if the pvc works for you, go for it. I know it’s easier to work with than the copper. I have made a sparge arm arm from the flexible ipex tubing which is supposed to be rated up to 180C.
      Like you, I also built an ‘under the lid’ sparge arm for my bigger system, but haven’t had a chance to use it either as I’ve been brewing 2.5 gallon pilot batches to figure out some recipes. Hopefully on the 11th I can pull it all together and see how it all works….
      We’ll see how it goes!

  4. Did you build up the controller from individual parts from an electronics surplus store? I’m going to build a PWM so if you have a schematic for a temp controller, I’ll wait to put my order into Active.

    • no,no, I didn’t get that far into it. Sorry if the title is confusing, but I ordered a temp controller unit from china like this one http://tinyurl.com/7dk6fwf and built a housing for it, wired to a receptacle to plug your fridge/freezer into.
      Are you thinking of building one from scratch? and btw, what’s a PWM?

  5. Think of a PWM (pulse width modulator) as a ‘dimmer’ switch for an electric kettle element. An actual dimmer switch won’t work correctly so this is the work-around which pulses full power to the element in a range between 0% and 100% of the time – which in essence, provides between 0% and 100% heating. A range top element works the same way. With this you control how vigorous the boil will be. Initially, full power, then dial it down so you don’t make a huge mess. Just like stove top or propane.

    • Cool, makes sense. I looked it up, but wasn’t sure how it would apply to your setup, now I get it.
      Is it more to be able to brew indoors? or just not a fan of propane? or….. ? At least between my stove and my propane burner, the burner cuts my heating time in at least at least half, which is nice, but has to be done outside obviously, so winter outdoor winter brew aren’t too common…. I’ve heard the elements do a quick job if sized properly…….

  6. You can e-brew outside, but I plan to be inside. When it’s -35C I’m not very keen to brew outdoors not to mention the IC might not work well with the hose filled with ice. With electric all of the heat goes into the water whereas with a flame a lot is lost. I won’t run out of electricity whereas propane might have a nasty habit of running out when you least expect. I am using 120v so it takes some time to bring water to temp, but it’s not too bad. Finally, I envision using the computer to monitor and control at some point and I think electric would be best suited to it. No, there is nothing wrong with propane. I like to create and build!

  7. I may be in TO sooner than later but I know I MUST be in TO late April. Any chance of swinging by to see your setup and sample an ounce or two? (I’ll be driving.)

    • Sure, that’d be cool. Give me a heads up closer to the date so I can make sure I’m around. Maybe if you have any of your brews ready, you could bring them with you, we can trade….

  8. No contact option so hopefully this gets through… What is your opinion on stir plates? How much yeast improvement do stir plates create?

    • Yep, it got through.
      I just built my own stirplate recently and will be trying it out very soon.The more active of a state that you have your yeast in at pitching time, the better. Ideally at high krausen is best, but that is difficult unless you brew very often and have fresh yeast available when you brew. Stirplates are a must if your yeast is old, either from an old pack, or from an old batch you saved in the refrigerator. the stirplate introduces oxygen into the starter wort, which the yeast prefers. It actually is healthier when in an aerobic (oxygen rich) environment as opposed to an anaerobic (carbon dioxide rich) environment. Leaving your starter in a container to ferment as normally will still help your yeast, but a stirplate puts the whole process on steroids and will provide you with more viable yeast at the end of it. Let me know if this answers your question..

  9. Hey Jeff
    It kinda make sense but is there any way you could make one of your diagrams with the heater and cooler hooked up? Also include the relay if you could. Thanks so much for your time. Could you e-mail it to me as well so I could have a copy on file?

  10. Hi from another beer nut. I just discovered your blog, can’t believe I haven’t run across it before. We seem to share the same interest in beer. Are you on untappd? I love connecting with other beer geeks.

  11. Hi Jeff. Where have you been? No posts for a while??

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