Hooked on Brewing
The Blichmann Beer Gun: Its purpose is to fill bottles directly from a keg while maintaining the CO2 and purging O2 out of the bottle.
I have tried it once so far and failed. I bottled four bottles and kept them in the fridge for a week. Unfortunately, they clearly lost some CO2 after I popped them open today.
I wish I would have videotaped the process. It was a comedy of errors. Anyway, I need to get this thing dialed in so I can start bottling on special occasions. (mailing to friends, entering contests, etc.)
8/20/16: Update on the Beer Gun ... I sold it. :) I just didn't see the big advantage of using it. I'm going back to bottling directly from the tap; upping the pressure for a day or two prior, then lowering the pressure to a very slow flow for bottling.
The "Airhog 2000" kit came with an empty tank, regulator, hose, hose clamps, and wand w/stone.
The idea is to introduce oxygen into the wort right after (or before?) before pitching the yeast. Shaking your vessel or simply stirring the wort is how many home brewers do it. However, there is only a certain amount of oxygen in the air we breathe - about 8 parts per million. Therefore, there is only a certain amount that you can "shake" into your wort.
For some reason the yeast operate more efficiently and finish more cleanly if "extra" oxygen is introduced to the wort - especially for higher gravity beers. They say 10 ppm is nearly the ideal concentration. And, it only takes about 90 seconds to accomplish. A system like this makes the chore super easy. Also, at 90 second sessions, this tank should last a very long time. (it cost $12 to fill at the local welding supply store - the same place I get my Co2 for the kegs and the mixed gas (Co2 + Argon) for my MIG)
After sanitizing the wand and stone, insert this into your fermentation vessel (wort already chilled to fermentation temperature) with the stone at or near the bottom. Then, release the oxygen such that bubbles visibly escape the stone. The oxygen flow should be low to medium - it should look more like a simmer than a violent boil. Your wort will get frothy on top. Move the wand around so you cover the entire container. *Note: Be sure to use the proper amount of yeast! (Big beers need more than one vial.) And, don't just guess at it. Use a yeast calculator like the one at MrMalty.com. If you go through the expense and extra work of oxygenating your wort, you don't want your FG finishing low because you didn't pitch enough yeast!
Things like this (and water balancing and filtering) are often what sets apart the good beers from the great beers.
With the tubing clamped to the top of the keg.
Next New Thing ...
Although the pictures below are from different stages in the process, you can clearly see the new port.
New port in the side of the keggle.
I ditched the copper tubing I was using to fill, recirculate, whirlpool, etc for a new port in the keggle. Now I just attach the line and I'm good to go ... no more clamping the tubing to the top of the keg. Although I dislike drilling a 1" hole in stainless steel (especially with a worn out step bit), I very much like the convenience and effectiveness of the new port!