Opinions On Next Purchase

Looking for thoughts on next expansion to the (very new and growing) home brewery.

Have the wifes blessing, but its not with the longest leash. My ideas are going towards saving towards…

  1. Kegging equipment

  2. Going all grain

I can see reasons for both, but interested to hear why y’all would chose one over the other.

I’d go with kegging equipment nowadays since extract beers these days are so much better than 10 years ago.
You’ll appreciate the faster turnaround with kegs.

I went all grain and I make much better beer being able to control things only after 4 batches. If you believe you make as good of beer keg worthy with extract then by all means go keg…but if not…move to AG first.

I had the same question not to long ago. Decided to go all grain after some great responces from all here. Much good info can be found Here

http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=114359

Good luck it is a tough decision. Cheers

That can be a tough one. I went the kegging direction. Most all of my extract brews turn out just as good as AG (atleast my palate can’t tell much difference) and I am very pleased with it. Also coming across a really good deal on a kegerator and kegs online helped influence my decision.

I know a couple of people that make fantastic beers with extracts. They have no desire to move to AG brewing. Extract fits into the time that they have.

One kegs, one doesn’t.

YOU have to decide what fit’s into your needs/want. No one else can determine that.

BIAB can be an easy and cheap way to go AG. Saves you the money to buy kegging equipment.

My opinion is that you should go for the kegging system first. And this is why: You will not waste any beer at bottling time, or waste any beer when you drink the beer out of the bottles because of sediment, and also you are cutting probably an hour from your brewing process. I don’t know about you but to me my extra time can mean extra $$$ :slight_smile: A third reason would be that your beer will be ready much faster and its also nicer to present to friends/family

Just say to yourself that you’re paying yourself back $20 for every hour you save

I plan to go keg’s in the next few months. Probably still a year or 2 away from AG. Don’t have to as much storing, collecting, and cleaning each individual bottle. One and done with kegs.

I went with kegging first as I was TIRED of bottling. Now I try to time my kegging with a brew day. I’m already cleaning and sanitizing equipment to brew, plus I’ve got some free time in the middle of the boil.

Just a thought - do you have fridge space or jockey box for kegs? If not, you’ve got to add that into the $ figures.

From an AG guy who’d like to keg :wink:

I’m starting with nothing to support either route. Was thinking about sitting down today and running the numbers.

For AG, I don’t have a LHBS, so I would probably need to get a mill and also a larger burner setup (as I am stove topping now). BIAB is a possibility, but I have a hard time with half measures…

For kegging, it’d be the works, chest freezer / fridge, kegs, regulators, taps CO2…

Feeling pretty torn, I very much appreciate all the perspective.

It all depends on what you want. Here is a list of things to make your beer better.

  1. Full volume boil (big pot, immersion chiller)
  2. Yeast starters (stir plate, flask/growler)
  3. Fermentation temp control (controller, heater or fridge/freezer or both)
  4. All grain

Kegging just makes making the beer easier, but won’t make your beer any better.

As stated earlier you can go all grain really cheap if you do mash in a bag. You also save money on a per batch basis by going all grain. You can use those savings to eventually buy the kegging system.

+1. Chances are you have most of what you need already to BIAB.

Do you have fermentation temperature controlled? I’d go this route before the other two, if you haven’t already. Then I’d go all grain (BIAB) on the cheap and use the extra cash to start kegging.
Converting a used mini-fridge to a kegerator is a cheaper way to go than buying a brand new unit. I built my 2tap tower including fridge, tower, tap handles, 3 kegs, CO2 tank, all lines & connections for just over $300.

I’ve never brewed a thing in my life, only helped a Buddy brew several batches, extract brewed.
All good stuff!
When I decided I wanted to get into brewing, I looked at the pros and cons of of all the different brewing and packaging / serving / dispensing style.

I set my mind that I wanted to do all grain right off the bat, mainly for all the advantages mentioned above, plus I like gathering or making the equipment that I will need.

That said, my pockets ain’t bottomless :shock:

So, I began shopping Craigslist mainly, for people who might be getting out of the art, or people cleaning out warehouses, storage rentals, etc…

I made myself aware of what I think are the most important things, being cleanliness, sanitation, temp control, and attention to detail.

It all looks like fun, with my only downfall being mathematically challenged, but hey, work that shit out well in advance, and go from there!

I’ll either brew a lot of beer that I love, or a lot of beer that tastes like ass, but I have been known to learn, a LOT, from my mistakes!

Get as much “leash” as ya’ can, especially if she likes beer( my Wife likes Dos Equis,Hefeweizen’s, Trappist brews), and shop wisely for some cooking, mashing, and kegging equipment.
It’s out there, as evidenced by my post that starts with"Here’s what happens…"

And support our host here for the stuff ya’ don’t find otherwise.
:cheers:

One of the many reasons I’m learning to appreciate the crowd here, the answer was not even something I had thought of. I am not controlling fermentation temps well at all.

Going to start researching, some methods to do so now. Have read the stuff in Nighthawks sig, any other recommendations about preferred ways to do so?

Get a wort chiller and the biggest fridge you can fit in your home (or the biggest the wife/girlfriend/significant other will allow). Make sure to pick up a temp controller. Again, look for used fridges to keep costs down. A mini fridge is good for fermenting single batches, but if you have a garage or basement where you can fit something bigger, that would be ideal.

Controlling fermentation temps is one of the biggest ways to improve your beer. I’d list it right after sanitation and proper yeast pitching/handling.

temp control will improve the quality of your beer better than AG or kegging. Kegging is fun, and its a great luxury to have beer on draft, but I’ve been to plenty of homebrewers houses who have really mediocre and in some cases, ‘not great’ beer on tap. When I ask them how they control temps, they give me a quizzical look. That is usually when I dump the pint glass I am holding into a nearby plant to avoid a fusel headache.

You don’t need a fancy fridge, you can do it with a swamp cooler. But if you are making equipment upgrades, this is by far the best way to improve the QUALITY of your brews.

It all depends what you want though. If you want to show off to your friends and have a convenient way to carb and serve your beer, maybe kegging is the way to go. If you are super curious about learning how to control mash enzymes, maybe go AG. If you have some dough to blow though, do BIAB and get some temp control. You will notice a difference.

  • whatever to temp control first.

Brewing AG is as simple as getting a 10-gal kettle (as cheap as $20 if you go the aluminum tamale pot route) and three 5-gal nylon paint-strainer bags (less than $5). Use the no-sparge method to KISS and you’re making the same beer as someone with a $5K HERMS system.

Kegging is great if you have the refrigerated space to keep multiple kegs on tap, but I would get these other two things in line first and then look at kegs.

How much fermentation can you get into a fridge? I’m between that, and building something like the “son of a fermentation chiller” build I found online.

Cost is a relative issue, in the more spent on equipment, the less I can spend on my next actual brews!

There’s plenty of local used refrigerator’s for 75-100ish.