[caption id="attachment_8390" align="alignleft" width="300"]IMG_5699 Brupaks Boiler[/caption]

It has been a while since I've written a beer blog post. Rest assured that I have been brewing a lot. In fact, I have probably been brewing far too much. Since I last wrote an entry here, I have been making lots of wines and beers. I am not having much success getting a good wine - the summary of my work is that they are "not awful", but lots of room for improvement.

Beer is something I am making continual progress with. I have been brewing with a couple of experienced brewers and I've up'ed my game with water treatments and new methods. I have also been attending a beer club. The other members are beer judges and chemists. I suspect the amount of knowledge in the room is well over 100 years, if not more.

Over the past month or so I have brewed a Stout, a Sweet Stout, a Lager and an IPA. These are all for a competition in July. It's probably safe to say that I've over-brewed - it is never good to overdo things.

[caption id="attachment_8389" align="alignright" width="299"]IMG_5698 In operation, sort of[/caption]

Today I decided to have a go at a Porter. And it did not go well, which brings me onto the subject of the Brupaks Boiler. I bought this boiler in December 2015 and I have a love/hate relationship with it. When it works, it works really well. When it breaks, it is usually in the middle of a boil. It has done this too me twice and today I could not recover from it. Other than this, it has served me reasonably well.

The first time the boiler cut out was making the Old Burton Ale last summer. Halfway through the boil, I had to drain the boiler, clean the element and resume. This did not seem to cause much issue - the beer was very drinkable indeed.

Today, the boiler cut out and I drained it, cleaned the element as best I could, descaled it and resumed. I'm afraid to say I didn't recover. This time it needs a proper clean.

[caption id="attachment_8391" align="alignleft" width="305"]IMG_5701 A shiny, cleaned, element[/caption]

To take the boiler apart (be careful about warranty - you will probably void it), there are three screws on the bottom. This will take the black base off. Be careful because there are electrical wires that are not very long and can easily be stretched. The element can be removed easily with a screw driver. I've used normal detergent and a sponge to clean it, removing anything stuck on with wire wool (I don't like to use this but no option this time). I then soaked it in citric acid to get rid of any scale and followed that by a soak in VWP solution. My element looks almost new.

Unfortunately, time constraints today mean that I've dumped the wort. GRRRRR. It is an incredible waste but I can't boil it today given my setbacks. On a positive note, I suspect my boiler will work better next time. We have very hard water here so it does get scaled, and over time the gunk from the wort and hops does get burnt onto the element.

If you have a Brupaks, definitely descale it after every use and consider taking the element out for a proper clean at least once a year.