I brewed on New Year's Day again this year. It was the one year anniversary of brewing on Megan Fox. What a special moment :D
My recent brewing obsession is: Solar Brewing
I figure if I'm NOT using solar, I'm kinda being a jerk. We have free energy out there to be used, why use fossil fuels?
I need to build a box-oven big enough to hold a 5 gallon bucket of water. Actually, I'd rather build one big enough to hold 2, but I think there is a loss of efficiency when you take the mass of the contents of the oven and divide it by the surface area of the glass.
I may even need to make a solar oven with a shelf so I can split the 5 gallons into 2, smaller quantities.
The theory is that if I leave the water in the oven in the morning, I will have strike water in the afternoon when I come home from work. This is similar to how I brew now- the timer heating up the coffee pots of water, except without the electricity.
For the boil, I need to get a Fresnel lens and mount it in a frame. Then I can paint the side of a pot black with hi-temp paint, and hopefully boil-away.
The thing about solar is this- there aren't a lot of resources when it comes to brewing. I mean, I do know that brewing is just like cooking, and solar cooking is well documented. The thing is, there is very little documentation regarding BOILING things with solar. Plenty about how easy it is to cook with solar, parabolic ovens, box ovens, etc etc. Boiling- not so much.
Using a Fresnel lens will heat the SPOT the beam touches, to a very high temperature. The problem is, this is a very localized reaction. That is to say- the heat is a pinpoint on the pot. This does not lend itself for very effective heating of a 7 gallon volume of wort. If it were a 1 gallon volume, sure- boom! But 7 gallons is a lot of thermal mass to bring up to temperature.
So- this is my new obsession. SO excited!