4500w Element
Well, my HERMS build is moving along. One of the biggest hurdles with the system was figuring out how I was going to GFCI protect it. 50a GFCIs are $100+, and the range won't run properly on one. 30a GFCIs are $65, and the dryer won't run properly on one either. Also, since we rent, I don't want to make any permanent changes to the condo. The plan was to buy a 50a GFCI Spa Panel. Use a 50a range cord to connect it to the wall outlet, and another 50a range cord to go from the spa panel to the control box. That would have cost around $125 just to get power into my control box, and I would still have to pull the range out from the wall, unplug the cord(that's all the way down by the floor), and plug in the spa panel every time I brew.

Lots of goodies
Over the next couple months I'm going to be building two HERMS brewing systems. One that's primarily propane, and one that's all-electric (for now at least). Yes, this does sound a little strange considering I already brew on a HERMS system as I detailed here. Well, my good friend Greg and I share that brew system. It's a mixture of his parts and my parts, and it's turned out some great beers over the past couple years. It's been particularly nice for me, as I live in a small, up-stairs condo, with a small kitchen, and no backyard. Having propane burners and a back porch to brew on has been fantastic.

HBC 342 Pale Ale in the afternoon sun
I was placing an order for hops with Farmhouse Brewing Supply when I noticed they had some experimental hops in stock -- HBC 342. Impulse kicked in, and I bought around 12 ounces to play with. The spec sheet of the hops is here, but to summarize, they are a fairly high-alpha hop with a "pleasant aroma" described as "citrusy and watermelon". That sounds good. So I took my standard Pale Ale recipe, and replaced all the hop additions with HBC 342, only changing the bittering charge to keep the IBUs the same.

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