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Starting with the "Right" equipment

I first started with a 7 1/2 gal pot and camp chef ring burner. Then made a brew kettle out of an AB 16 gal keg, that way I could easily make 10-12 gal batches. Like RC I now have a 10 gl Mega-pot and Edelmetal stove. Fits what I do most. Today, I would put a small used freezer and digital temp controller near the top of the list[ that is if you have the space]. These last two items are the equipment that has made the most impact to my brewing. My beers are significantly better now because of temp control. That being said, because of my age I’m going to start saving my coin for a countertop Zymatic. I refuse to stop brewing!

I completely agree with old guy. Controlling the temp of your fermentation is KEY! I purchased a small chest freezer. Fits one car it comfortably and has room for a blow off WHEN you need it. I also got the Johnson thermostat controller to control the temp of the freezer. Super easy install. I then purchased a simple digital fish tank thermometer so I knew exactly how cool it was in my freezer. Works outstanding and only set me back about $100 bucks.

There are also STC-1000 temp controllers available for about $20 online. I recently increased my fermentation set-up from one large chest freezer with a Johnson control, to 4 Craigslist-acquired mini fridges, each with an STC-1000 controlling temps so I can independently ferment four at a time. Not saying you should go so crazy as 4 fermenters… but the temp controller seems to work as well as the Johnson, at a fraction the cost.

http://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-All-Purpo ... s=STC-1000

Also, when you make the stir plate purchase, check out this site: http://bit.ly/craftstirplates

  • Daniel

Wow. I’m so glad I didn’t just go out and drop a wad of cash on a ‘kit’.

I’m in the process of polishing my keggle… have a huge list of equipment I’m getting ready to order in order to consolidate to save shipping costs.

couple more ???'s )

  1. If I plan on doing 10 gallon batches relatively soon.
    Is a ten gallon cooler mash ton going to be enough? I’ve seen the keggle version masn tun wrapped with iinsulation and wondering if I should just go straight to a keggle mash tun right now??..

  2. Most of the beer ‘kits’ are for 5 gallon batches, can I get enough wort from these kits to have 5 gallons at kegging or bottling time??

  3. my city water is pretty compatible for most recipes, can I be safe by adding a campden tablet and at the end of boil(or close) a whirlfloc tablet? Are there certain beers i’ll mess up doing that with??

  4. for some reason I cant seem to wrap my head around the yeast pitching options… I know it takes some experience, but so far I feel good about all steps except this. :frowning: the Palmer book is pretty clear and I plan on delving into it with more focus… but in the mean time if you order a the wyeast does that mean its a smack pack?

  5. When measuring gravity… does a refracometer(sp)eliminate the need for a hydrometer? What are the absolute time I should get readings of my brew?

  6. Burner. uggg. I really think im going to end up building a setup similar to some ive seen here and don’t want to spend a ton right now if I cant use it on the new build…(will probably borrow neighbors for now) But would like suggestions for the best burners when using keggles?

  7. Does spending a little extra on a few BigMouth bubbler 6.5gl with spicet sound like a decent start for fermenting?

Thanks.

ps. did I mention I have six kids???..lol this is cutting it close for a x-mas beer:(

Oh boy… Gird your loins. You opened a few cans of worms there.

My quick answers:

  1. Mash tun size: If you really want to do ten gallon batches, go big and get used to your equipment. Dial in your variables, like dead space, efficiency, etc.

  2. Yes, a 5 gallon kit is meant to give you closer to five gallons finished. You may need to fudge a bit for trub loss, etc, but close enough.

  3. Water is easy to add later. Go with tap for now, and fig into water later. Water is probably the last 10-15% of the way to great hombrew, but it gets involved.

  4. Yeast is way important. Your quick question, yes, Wyeast is a smack pack. Yeast is more important than water, IMHO. Learn about pitch rates and temp control now.

5). Refract: Perfect for OG (before you add yeast). After you add yeast, alcohol throws off the reading. There are ways to correct for this, which I trust, bit others do not. Google “refractometer FG adjustment” for of the shelf tools. Short answer, it replaced my hydrometer, but others don’t agree with me. For all grain, measure gravity after the sparge, after the boil, and a couple of times before bottling (at the minimum).

Just saw your edit about the big mouth with a spigot. In my humble opinion, a spigot should only be on your bottling bucket, never in your fermentor. Too many nooks and crannies to sanitize, and places for leaks to turn up. The big mouth bubbler (without spigot) is my fermentor, and a bucket is also a good choice. Get a second bottling bucket with a spigot and rack into it with an autosiphon when you bottle/keg.

1 Like

I probably am reading too much into the reviews etc. … just trying to handle the beer as little as possible and as few hoses/tubes as possible. Sounds like a great idea having the spicet on the fermentor and just gravity feed either a secondary or keg or bottle???

[quote=“hammertime”]
I probably am reading too much into the reviews etc. … just trying to handle the beer as little as possible and as few hoses/tubes as possible. Sounds like a great idea having the spicet on the fermentor and just gravity feed either a secondary or keg or bottle???[/quote]

In theory, sure. However, in my experience, the primary usually ends up with an inch or two of yeasty, funky trub. I’d you were going to bottle out of it, you’d either mix in priming solution and stir, which would get all that stuff into suspension, out use priming drops. Even so, you run the risk of getting that gunk into your bottles. Racking does provide a small risk of oxidation and contamination, do don’t do it too often, but in general is pretty safe. I personally think a racking cane is easier to sanitize than a washer, spigot with moving valve, and hole for the spigot.

O2-absorbing crowns if you are bottle conditioned/naturally carbing. On,y a few more bucks. They can’t fix everything, but they definitely help. One out of two bottle conditioned homebrews I have had are oxidized.

[quote=“uberculture”][quote=“hammertime”]
I probably am reading too much into the reviews etc. … just trying to handle the beer as little as possible and as few hoses/tubes as possible. Sounds like a great idea having the spicet on the fermentor and just gravity feed either a secondary or keg or bottle???[/quote]

In theory, sure. However, in my experience, the primary usually ends up with an inch or two of yeasty, funky trub. I’d you were going to bottle out of it, you’d either mix in priming solution and stir, which would get all that stuff into suspension, out use priming drops. Even so, you run the risk of getting that gunk into your bottles. Racking does provide a small risk of oxidation and contamination, do don’t do it too often, but in general is pretty safe. I personally think a racking cane is easier to sanitize than a washer, spigot with moving valve, and hole for the spigot.[/quote]
As a newb i’ll take all the advice I can get. But if its clean to start with and the spicet is a few inches above the trub and if you only transfer to a bottling bucket or whatever it just seemed like a good idea???

As a newb i’ll take all the advice I can get. But if its clean to start with and the spicet is a few inches above the trub and if you only transfer to a bottling bucket or whatever it just seemed like a good idea???[/quote]
There are always trade-offs. If the spigot is a few inches above the trub, then you end up leaving beer that you could have recovered using an autosyphon and careful lowering of it as the beer gets towards the bottom.
Other may disagree with me, but I would strongly recommend a fermentation bucket instead of any sort of carboy (bigmouth is basically a carboy with a big opening). Except that you can’t see through the sides, buckets are superior in every other regard.
How are you planning to mash? That determines how big/what type of mash tun to get. If you will be doing BIAG, you can use your kettle for the mash tun if you wrap it in insulation. Denny’s quick & easy batch sparge method works best with a square cooler (40-50 qt size for 5 gallon batches, 60-75 for 10 gallon batches). Fly sparging gets more complicated, and I wouldn’t recommend it for a home brew system if you have a choice.

Wow…6 kids. You are going to want to start with extract brewing for sure! I have a 2 and 3 year old. I would love to do all grain. However, all grain takes all day. Set up to clean up, I can have a batch of brew fermenting within 4 hours. I think an all grain kit will be a high school graduation present…to myself!

I’ve been using bucket fermenters with spigots since about 1990. I’ve had two leaks: I caused one by over-tightening it; the other just wore out after many years. The bucket and spigot should have been replaced after no more than two years, according to my rules of sanitation.

I always intend to disassemble the spigot to clean and sanitize it. Sometimes I even get around to actually doing as planned.

I leave my beer in primary for at least three weeks: Until The gravity is the same on two samples taken two days apart, plus a week to clean up, plus a few days cold crashing. By that time the trub has settled and compacted pretty well. I can tip the fermenter so that I leave very little beer behind.

I transfer directly into a purged keg; the hose slips over the spigot and has a liquid disconnect on the other end. No oxidation. A gentle transfer to a bottling bucket should not cause excessive oxidation.

You guys have been great. Have patience with me lol…

Game plan so far is to make my mash tun from a coleman cooler I have already.

BK is going to be a keggle, not going with the sight tube right away just the ball valve and thermometer.

For chilling my wort im leaning towards a PC. Which then leads me to my next ???'s

Ive searched almost every forum looking for the most convincing answer.

When using pellet hops what is the best dip tube method for not clogging the PC?

and if I do decide to go IC does that change my dip tube placement?

Thanks

oh yeah any opinions on the Spiedel 7.9gal primary??

Don’t need a thermometer on your boil kettle unless your going to do biab. Boiling is boiling 212

Very true, but I find my thermometer useful to judge how close the wort is to boiling. You really want to be present when it first comes to a boil to make sure you can prevent a boil-over, and knowing there is still some time lets me go do other things instead of hovering over the kettle.

I really like my PC, but try to avoid or minimize the use of pellet hops because I’m afraid debris from them will get stuck inside. I find that whole hops can be easily contained in the kettle by putting a screen over the outport, and they will even act as a filterbed to reduce the amount of hot break that goes into the chiller. Cold break is another issue, and it will actually form IN the chiller, so you’ll still see chunks coming out when you clean it.

RC, do you have a remote thermometer that beeps at a certain temp? Otherwise you still have to check your pot. I think the poster would better benefit from a sight glass than a stem thermometer in a BK. just my opinion though.

PC: in my world that’s a personal computer. Here, I assume it’s a P??? chiller. Peripheral? Post-boil? Peristalic? Prehistoric? Perfect? Help me out here.

Meanwhile, back at the boil kettle: I use an IC (inversion cooler - no, wait; I’ll remember it soon and get back to you) and a thermometer sticking into the kettle would interfere. I use the sensor of my STC-1000 in a copper thermowell resting in the boil kettle so I can track the temp while cooling with my … uh uh cooler thing.

Instead of a sight glass I use a stick.

They also let you know when you’re at pitching temp.

[quote=“Old_Dawg”]PC: in my world that’s a personal computer. Here, I assume it’s a P??? chiller. Peripheral? Post-boil? Peristalic? Prehistoric? Perfect? Help me out here.

Meanwhile, back at the boil kettle: I use an IC (inversion cooler - no, wait; I’ll remember it soon and get back to you) and a thermometer sticking into the kettle would interfere. I use the sensor of my STC-1000 in a copper thermowell resting in the boil kettle so I can track the temp while cooling with my … uh uh cooler thing.

Instead of a sight glass I use a stick.[/quote]

Plate I assumed

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