Movin on up in the brewing universe. I’m currently brewing extract and bottling, its been a blast but it’s time to upgrade. What’s the next step? Buy an all grain set up or a kegging system?
To me, the next step in regards to the best beer and the possibilities is a kegging system.
With today’s extracts you can make pretty much anything an all grain brewer can make. But kegging is a different world that makes things so much simpler.
Once you do that, go all grain so you can lock in your recipes.
Any experience with a counter pressure filler or beer gun? The advantages of kegging have got me leaning that way, I’d love to be able to send a sixer home with friends
I have successfully used the Blichmann beer gun to bottle beer and MAINTAIN acceptable levels of CO2.
My next was BIAB. It is a very modest investment, greatly advances your brewing knowledge, improves you beer IMO. But I’m saying that as someone who cannot keg due to lack of space.
Its so much easier once you start kegging. I also use the beer gun (bought it used from a member here), it works great for me and makes it as easy as it can be to bottle up some beers for my non-kegging family and friends,
Later this morning I will be transferring a batch of Ordinary Bitter into a keg and start the carbing with Co2. Just tapped a Kama Citra IPA yesterday that was finished carbing sitting in my kegerator. And in another week I will have a batch of Irish red going into a keg, that after carbing I will be bottling half the batch for friends. My back aches just thinking about if I had to bottle 15 gallons of beer… that’s a lot of bottle washing and sanitizing.
Do both. Brew bag $20 used keg $30 regulator $30 some tubing and disconnects another $20. If you’re brewing extract kits it’s maybe costing $40 a batch that same batch all grain about $15. Four or five brew sessions and you got your money. Of course you can spend alot more money if you have it but that won’t make better beer.
Beer gun is nice but a piece of tubing works also.
+1 on kegs. The best improvement you will make to brewing. You can still bottle the entire batch or just some of it.The initial investment for kegging equipment is high but after that about all you need is to fill the CO2 tank.
About CO2 If you want a nice shiny new tank of your own that’s OK but it will need to be tested at your expense every 5 years. The cost of a tank is sometimes about the same as the deposit on one at a gas dealer and it is his problem to test it and you can just exchange the tank rather than wait to have it filled. They might look beat up but what is inside will be the same.
Kegging… I don’t use any beer gun stuff either… Keezer build up… Get a bid enough freezer, you can pour from a couple of kegs, have a couple more just sitting in the cold… “lagering”… If you lived close I would have enuff stuff to set you up in all grain…
I’m BIAB… I like where I’m at… One kettle for my brew day… and I have 12 kegs… need more brew time… Sneezles61
Well thanks for the advice gents. Looks like I’ll be investing in some kegging equipment, doing 2 batches next weekend so good timing. Cheers.
I would look into start kegging your beer. Build a kegurator. Or buy one. One advive. My first kegurator i build. A 1 tap conector. It did fit 2 kegs. But me not happy way to small. My next step i did. 3 tap conector. 3 kegs. And two kegs forced carb. So never run out of brew. While others are fermenting. And still enough space for. Hops. Yeast. And other things. Extract brewing. You create nice beers. As well. Start to experiment. With different kind of hop adition. Do full boils as well. Next move create your own recipy. I did this for about 2 years. Than i went to all grain. Now i would. Say why not biab. Saves you some money on equipment. I love all grain. Its my day of relaxing. All day event.
It depends on what you want to accomplish with your next step in brewing. Your next step should be Kegging if you want to make the process easier or want to shorten the time between brew day and drinking day. However your next step should be All-Grain if you want to improve the quality of your beer or configurability of your recipes. While you can definitely make quality beer with extract, you can make it just a little better with all-grain (IMHO). And while there are numerous extracts to choose from when building a recipe, it’s nowhere near the volume of all-grain malts available. Also, with all-grain, each batch costs less. So, depending on how often you brew, and whether you buy in bulk, your ROI can be as little as a year or two. With kegging, you never recoop that cost. Although there is definitely a cool factor with serving your home brew from a tapper. Some day I’ll get there
I’ve been doing a lot of research. Think I’m going to build a kegging system and try my hand at BIAB. Producing the highest quality beer has been the goal since day one but I’ve already had some looooong days bottling.
But brewing beer is not about saving money on the end. Its a hobby and try to create a nice beer
After you get the kegging set up, you’ll need to keep them full… When you switch and go all grain… leave room for making bigger batches… I do 10 gallons in the same time it took to do 5… PLUS… One keg is sitting… “lagering” whilst one drinks the first one! If you know your way around electricity… look at building electric kettle… Its sooo sweet! Look back further in the beer gear… I showed my electric kettle build up. Sneezles61
100% agree with you @wilcolandzaat! This is definitely a hobby and a passion! One non-financial thing that led me to choose all-grain was to have more of the “I made that” feeling; To move up a level on the DIY ladder. However, being on a budget, lowering the cost of each brew made my decision to go all-grain over kegging easy to justify…to myself as well as my wife. I could justify that all-grain would pay for itself in a relativity short period of time where kegging would not.
I hear you. Bottling is the definition of tedious, punctuated by short periods of panic(forgot to stir, knocked over bottles, hose came off, fruit fly in bottling bucket, etc lets see what did I leave out…
Somehow I managed to get my wife to assist after the first two bottling days by myself, and that helps. The late Flars- (RIP) used to enjoy bottling solo, but not me.
I do still bottle Saisons(bombers) and Hefeweizens but that is only about 4-6 times a year, so not that bad…
As a bottler I have to say that I have it down and do it without thinking now. I got my Dad’s bench top capper, early 80’s edition, for Christmas and I that is a lot easier than the hand held version. I wish Flars was here to back me up.
He is Gentlemen… in Spirit, he’s watching and has a big smile… sipping that endless bottle of home-brew! Sneezles61