Home Brew: Cloned Duvel

2015-03-15-651.jpgFor Sunday.  First brewed February 2015.


Type: All Grain

Batch Size: 11.00 gal

Boil Size: 14.19 gal

Boil Time: 90 min

End of Boil Vol: 12.50 gal

Final Bottling Vol: 11.00 gal

Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage

Date: 15 Feb 2015

Brewer: Mark

Asst Brewer:

Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Minibrew (15 Gal) mash Tun

Efficiency: 72.00 %

Est Mash Efficiency: 78.5 %

Taste Rating: 30.0

Taste Notes:





22 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 80.4 %
14.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 3.2 %
4 lbs 8.0 oz Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM) Sugar 3 16.4 %
3.00 oz Liberty [3.90 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 4 17.8 IBUs
2.00 oz Styrian Goldings [3.10 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 5 9.4 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Strong Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP545) [50.28 ml] Yeast 6

Gravity, Alcohol Content and Color

Est Original Gravity: 1.073 SG

Est Final Gravity: 1.002 SG

Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 9.4 %

Bitterness: 27.3 IBUs

Est Color: 4.0 SRM

Measured Original Gravity: 1.080 SG

Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG

Actual Alcohol by Vol: 9.3 %

Calories: 271.2 kcal/12oz

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge

Sparge Water: 10.59 gal

Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F

Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE

Est Mash PH: 5.72

Measured Mash PH: 5.20

Total Grain Weight: 27 lbs 6.0 oz

Grain Temperature: 72.0 F

Tun Temperature: 72.0 F

Target Mash PH: 5.20

Mash Acid Addition:

Sparge Acid Addition:

Mash Steps



Step Temperature

Step Time
Mash In Add 28.59 qt of water at 161.6 F 148.0 F 75 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (3.09gal, 7.50gal) of 168.0 F water

Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: Bottle

Pressure/Weight: 8.64 oz

Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F

Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage

Volumes of CO2: 2.3

Carbonation Used: Bottle with 8.64 oz Corn Sugar

Age for: 30.00 days

Storage Temperature: 65.0 F



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Advanced Homebrewing–Part I

Brewing beer is fun.  I started in 2000 with a couple of brewing kits my friends gave me.  Sadly, my first impression of home brewing was from a friend who botched the recipe.  I had no idea what to expect, but remember tasting yeast sediment and dark beer flavor.

As a high school guy, I would have liked to remember getting a buzz but only feeling sleepy after drinking it.  Later, as my quest for making beer expanded, the internet around the period of 2000 provided a searchable database.  I sought instructions on building equipment or gadgets they called them.  So the Internet beginning as an early source of information as many home brewers shared their equipment and techniques.

Even though the premise of home brewing was to make something different from Bud-Miller-Coors, I actually liked and tried to brew these “light” beers.  I read that this type of style was even harder for simple home brewing methods to master.  But I did as a challenge and development of brewing skills.

Heat Exchange, circulating brew machine, circa 2001

The gadgets I especially liked is the electric home brewing and the heat exchange re-circulation systems (HERMS).  I tried these with limited success but the best gadgets are peices of systems I tried–somehow the part evolved and now part of my brewing tools collection.  And the glass carboy is still the basic of my brewing equipment.  How did I go from kit home brewing to advanced?

  • Extract to all grain brewing: better control of recipes
  • Boil kettle size increased to 60 quarts: full boils for larger batches
  • A fermenter can hold 12 gallons: consistent fermentation
  • Mash tun capacity up to 25 pounds of grain: better control of ingredients and lower cost
  • Wort cooling with tube: quick transfer to fermenter and shorter time to yeast pitching
  • Pump transferring liquids: faster transfer

Later on, I became familiar with the flavor and technique of brewing Belgian beers that were simple ale with less hops and more fermentables,  and not afraid to add candy sugar to attain higher ABV.


The Arizona Brewery, circa 2003

A most advanced brewing technique is the aging and fermentation of sour beer.  The reasons for moving to brewing of sour beer was that I was lazy and also having too much liquid beer around from brewing too often was tempting and possibly a health hazard ie. better to ride the bike then to just relax and have a home brew–as they say.  So the aging process for sour beer to finished product takes more patience.

Furniture-Like Wall


Finished project, before the weather Sealant

My furniture like wall started as an idea: a simple construct of readily available materials to replace a falling-down, rickety mess around my yard.  Little did I know how functional and aesthetically pleasing it would turn out to be.

Construction Plan:

  • Replace 300 feet of backyard fence.
  • Horizontal as apposed to vertical panels for a unique look
  • Raised wood off the ground to protect from termites
  • Block or masonry base
  • precast concrete pillars
  • Cedar or redwood pickets

I originally looked for precast pillars to attach the horizontal pickets.  In this precast product, slots run along the sides so that a wood picket could be set between.  As long as you “set” the pillars equidistant, this would work. However, in practice, a lot of custom cuts would be needed.   I found this light-weight landscaping material, fence posts for sale in the United Kingdom.  Such material could not be found at the local Home Depot.


The idea I liked, but materials only available in the United Kingdom


The available precast pillar available was a heavy-duty type used in DOT sound walls found along highways or commercial building projects.  The factory (to order) wanted $80 each and I needed a 16-wheel flat bed to have them delivered.

Another idea for the posts was a vertical steel tube with the grooves for the pickets welded on.  It would look great; rustic patina, strong but about the same price as the concrete pillars. I tracked down a weld shop who would make them to match a print drawing I made.

To make this backyard project affordable, however, I needed off-the-shelf materials from local suppliers. I finally settled on a plan after realizing that the block base I wanted had to be contracted out.  In that case, contractor System Pavers sent out the project manager Don.  I told him of my idea and Don gave me a few tips to make my project affordable and work with me as a DIY project when it came to completing the job.

Workable Materials and Plan

Don’s tip was to use Post-Masters, a galvanized “hat shaped” beam for the columns available at my local “depot” store.  Then I applied my idea to set the Postmaster in the slump block foundation before the concrete/footer set up — at an exact distance between posts, so the 72 inch ceder wood planks, set horizontally layed end to end with no gaps.  So 54 posts and a full “pack”  — 614 pieces of the 72 x 5.5 inch Cedar Fence pickets later, the bill of materials was a done deal.  Oh, and a bunch of dry wall screws to nail it all together.

As can be seen in the pictures, the result turned out really well.  Because of the materials and construction technique tips, Don at System Pavers estimated this wall would last 30 years.  Counting….

Freenas Update

The goal is to migrate the Windows Media Center (WMC)–till now run from a home office computer into two separate applications–one being powered by Freenas.

After studying online guides and making setup adjustments to Freenas version 9.10.2 over the last couple months, I decided to upgrade the server, originally featured in Freenas Server with a four bay, SATA backplane mini tower.

Original Build plus Changes:

  • 2X Western Digital, 3TB Red NAS Hard Drives
  • SanDisk Cruzer Blade CZ50 8GB USB Flash Drive
  • 16 GB Kingston KVR1333D3E9SK2/16G DDR3-1333 ECC Server Memory
  • ASRock E3C226D2I Mini ITX Server motherboard
  • Intel Core i3-4170 Haswell Dual-Core 3.7 GHz
  • From: In Win CE685.FH300TB3, a micro ATX desktop
  • To:       In Win IW-MS04-01-S265, a four bay mini tower case

After reviewing options on cases the IW-MS04-01-S265 mini tower, made more sense after rushing to get it going and stuffing everything into a desktop case. 

Transferring the motherboard to the convenient slide-out tray, relocating two Red NAS drives onto the hot swap caddies and connecting to the MS04’s 265 watt 80 Plus Bronze power supply, it was up and running in short order.  The MS04 was a bit more expensive then the desktop case but allows expansion in the future.

With this server, I created ZFS mirror with two (3 TB) drives for shared SMB data-sets.  Now the laptop and home PC have backups at the home office.

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One the entertainment side, the next phase includes experimenting with Plex media server available as a plugin with Freenas.  Initially I converted Microsoft .wtv recordings into MPEG4 and now able to tax the Haswell i3 CPU with transcoding to Plex clients.  Otherwise I noticed the CPU sat pretty much idle from only moving backup and image files around.

Also added a new WMC Recording folder on a Freenas iSCSI drive connected to the Media Center computer.

Brewing a Golden Ale

A 11-gallon batch of fresh home-brewed ale makes for a long day.  Despite a stuck sparge, in about eight hours I was able to transfer 10 gallons of chilled wort into the 45,000-milliliter, glass-carboy fermenter.

This high-gravity batch was mashed from 21 pounds of grains and 1 pound of candy sugar.  The final gravity after boil was 0.065–a little high, so added a gallon of fresh bottled water for topping the carboy up.  This beer should finish at a nice 6-percent ABV drinkable product.

Reelbox Avantgarde to Freenas

This dissembled Reelbox Avantgarde died a while back and I tried to revive it thinking the power supply was bad.  I bought a similar fitting ATX size, 250-watt unit and rewired it to the Reelbox circuit which has some wires tied into the power on function of the unit.

Most of the documentation for the Reel Multimedia and Reelbox is written in German.  If you’re not familiar with the Reelbox, it is a European satellite receiver containing a mini ITX, based HTPC featuring a Netceiver–a networked DVB tuner board, connected over Ethernet.  It came with a lot of support at one time before Reel went insolvent.

But a freestanding Netceiver could be optionally mounted in the attic next to the dish and connected to the main unit with CAT 5.  When located inside the Reelbox enclosure, a short Cat5 jumper is used to bridge the two on the back of the unit.

So the Netceiver that remained on my unit, the cool part, actually was salvageable until it may have gotten damaged while wiring it up wrong somehow on the power header.  TBD.

While reading about the Freenas project, the simple tenant of it was “use old hardware”  you only need 8M of RAM, old hard drives laying around, etc, etc.  So I had this Mini ITX Kontron motherboard from the Reelbox thought I’d use.netceiver_jpg

The photo below is a closeup of the Reel Netceiver.  It has a CAM slot to make subscription satellite reception possible in the EU.  Don’t get me started on how paid TV programming gets distributed in North America–and why TV providers didn’t also adopt the CAM/smart card system.  The picture also shows a RS232 driver hooked up to trouble shoot from the terminal messages sent from it.2015-01-16-564

So I was hopefully trying to use the Kontron mini ITX for the basis of a FreeNas system.  More information on the Netceiver from the developer here: Baycom Netceiver

Freenas Server

I put this Freenas server together over the holidays.  If you don’t know what Freenas is all about, this box and all the new parts inside was inspired by the developers over at http://www.freenas.org and some writing by proligde who build a similar system.

I will spare you a repeat of abundant online discussions and just tell you this unit contains two (2) 3TB Western Digital Red drives, an ASRock E3C226D2I Mini ITX motherboard that accepts the Intel Core i3-4170 Haswell cpu and 16GB ECC unbuffered memory.

As mentioned, there a many online guides where I followed the most popular hardware recommendations except the rule specifying that the storage space, the number of drives/memory holds significant how the unit performs and safe from data loss.

With this lingering in my mind, at first only had one (1) 3T red hard drive, but later caved and procured a second identical HD so at least, (according to the Freenas folks) I can now use a ZFS mirror space to store my files and test this unit out.

So for now, I’m just testing.  The project should include a space for WMC recorded shows and backups from several computers.

To finish the unit, installed the motherboard and drives into an In Win CE685 desktop case which has room for two 3.5-inch hard drives.  In Win makes a cool NAS enclosure. but I rushed out to find this one on a budget–a mini ITX case to enclose my new computer parts.


In Win CE 685.FH300B3 Disktop Computer Case


E3C226D2I Mini ITX motherboard fitting into the In Win case


A complete Unit

The Intel Raid/Server Motherboard

I bought the parts surplus, piece by piece–first the Intel server board; STL2, then memory, two Pentium III processors and finally, an Intel server case (SC5000).  The tower case from Intel was huge and designed to match the STL2 board to ultimately complete the system for a full blown RAID server if desired.  Naturally I had to find the companion RAID controller for it to test it out, an Intel SRCU-31 bought on Ebay.  It is a PCI card that augmented the SCSI controller already on the server.

Once set up, you could create Raid 0, 1, 5 and 10 volumes, and with the five full hard drive bays, could store a lot of data.  I got the courage to get it working again recently and attempt to sell on eBay here: Ebay $99 US.

Computer Backup Server

While looking for offset funds to build a Freenas system, went through my bins looking for computers I have built in the past.

Here is the find–IWill ARO RAID board.  Sadly computer technology changes rapidly but for old time’s sake, put power to the ATX Molex connector, sans computer case and booted to an old DOS drive.

  1. Original IWill Server board

The first computer server I built contained RAID.  It an IWill BS100 motherboard and Adaptec RAIDPORT II a PCI slot-extension card.  This PCI like board was uniquely produced for the BS100 motherboard.  IWill sold the BS100 motherboard around the years 1999-2000 and you needed to buy the Adaptec ARO-1130C board separately to get RAID storage.  Once integrated the motherboard could support up to 15 SCSI hard drives connected that leveraged RAID levels 0, 1 or 0/1, 5 .  It was my first hardware RAID based computer.  At the time I was only interested storing my stuff and OS all on the same Raid(0) hard drive striping scheme. 20161220_154934

Here is the naked IWill board with Pentium II processor.  This unit still works.


IWill BS100 booted running DOS Scandisk utility.