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Upgrade to 5 gal

I’m doing 1gal batches and want to upgrade to 5gal. I have a simple 1gal carboy/bucket beginner kit and I use a 16 qt granite soup pot for my boils. What are some favorites I should look at? I see mixed stuff about the big mouth bubblers, but I do love being able to watch that yeast do its work.

Take a look at his starter outfit while NB has a 20% off deal going.

Has the plastic wide mouth fermentors. Can still see the fermentation but is safer than standard glass carboys. I’ve read that the EVO2 glass fermentors are much thinner glass than the standard carboy. You will need to add one or two hydrometers. Standard hydrometer for OG and FG http://www.northernbrewer.com/lab-grade-hydrometer-1-000-1-070 and maybe a narrow range hydrometer just for FG http://www.northernbrewer.com/lad-grade-hydrometer-980-1-020

A bench capper such as the Super Agata is nice to use and speeds the bottling process. The wing capper with the kit can be kept for emergencies. http://www.northernbrewer.com/super-agata-bench-capper

Your 4 gallon kettle can work for partial boils of 2.5 gallons for the extract kits and small partial mash kits. You would need to be careful about boil overs though. I bought a 5.5 gallon clad bottom kettle at Walmart which also does major kitchen duties.

A lot of what you purchase depends on your budget and then your brewing facilities. Most kitchen stoves have a hard time bringing 4 gallons to a boil. You could buy a propane burner and move your brewing outside. You are limited by weather doing this. You can make great beer with extract kits doing a partial boil and brew inside no matter what the weather is.

I’m sure you will need more ideas. Ask any question that comes to mind.

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I like the bmb’s even though they don’t always seal well.

A couple things to consider when moving to 5gal batches:

  1. doing full boils (rather than partial 2.5gal and topping off). You’ll get less caramelization and better hop utilization.
  2. how are you going to cool to pitching temps? You might need an immersion chiller. You WILL need a chiller if doing full boils.
  3. temp control. How are you going to keep 5+gals of fermenting beer in check. Look into swamp coolers or fermentation chambers.
  4. you’ll need more active yeast. Do you use liquid yeast? Do upyou have a way to grow yeast?
  5. where do you see this taking you? AG? 10+gal batches? This may determine the size of equipment you get
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I looked at the kit and all it has that I don’t have already is the larger size bubblers and bucket, and that dryer. Already have a hydrometer. I think I’ll do partial boils for now. I have looked into cheap swamp cooler setups. I currently store my fermenter in my basement which stays at a constant 70-71 degrees. I have been using dry packets of yeast but my nearby hbs has liquid too.

My cheap swamp cooler.

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yup that’s the one i’ve seen everywhere since I started lurking :grin:

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Just get a few carboys 5.6 gall. A bigmouth bubler for primary fermenting. A larger kettle at least. 7 gall to avoid boil over. Me do 5 gall boil. And steep grains separate in 1 gal water. Than do add to the 5 gal. Kettle. On the end 5 gal wort left over. Find out its nicer than 2.5 boil. Dont have to add cold water to get the 5 gal mark. But you do need a wort chiller. To cool. and i use a swamp cooler system. New thing i do now. Partial mash as well

If you go with glass carboys you will want a safe way to move them around especially when filled with beer or wort. I use these…
https://www.morebeer.com/products/carboy-bag-carrier-65-gallon.html
I also have the Brew Hauler which is a strap system that I use on the 5 gallon carboys, but I’m am not moving those as far. When I brew outside I have to haul the 6 gallon full carboy to my basement and the bag carrier makes it much easier. I then just leave it in the carrier throughout fermentation. I don’t use a swamp cooler but instead bought one of these and for me it has worked awesome. I just don’t have the room for a swamp cooler setup and this is much easier for me and its dry.
https://www.morebeer.com/products/cool-brewing-insulated-fermentation-bag.html

Kettle wise, you want a to double what ever size you want to brew…. Trust us, we’ve all been there with boil overs. Sneezles61

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Thanks for mentioning a carrier, I move 5 gal water jugs up and down the stairs but i failed to realize carboys don’t have a convenient handle like water does. I’de like to get a large kettle and a burner for outside but I will probably wait until spring on that. I’de like to spread the total cost over time instead of just eating the total set up up front. Get brewing asap with lesser cost.

So people mention the new caps for big mouth bubblers are controversial, is this something I should be worried about when making a purchase? also am I correct in that I should have a 6.5 gal for primary and a 5 gal for secondary? Are the siphonless spigots easy to clean?

Got a few older style. Big mouth. Bubblers. Indeed you got to make sure. That you close them tight. They have the tendencies. Not to seal perfect. I do use some natural chemical. Free greas. What i use for. Cleaning scuba regulators. Works perfect. But. The good part. They are easy to clean. For the rest i do use a brewing bucket. Perfect seal. Secondary. I do use. 6.5 carboys. That i do like. But handle with care

Yes you will want 6 or 6.5 gallon for primary especially if you have an aggressive fermentation and if you are going to use a secondary best to use a 5 gallon to reduce air space. Never had a carboy or fermenter with a spigot, I have always racked off the primary to secondary and then secondary to bottle bucket. I wouldn’t think it would be any more difficult to keep clean than the spigot on the bottle bucket but I did read a post somewhere not too long ago where a guy was having infections and that was what he attributed it to.

And as far as carriers go don’t use the handles that attach to the neck of the carboy for moving when full. They are not meant to do that and can cause the neck of the carboy to break. Ok to handle empty carboys.

I have one last glass carboy WITH the said metal hootenanny around the neck. I’ve hoisted ssoo many time full and it never has broke…. yet. Now that I mention this, I will probably be taking a trip to the emergency soon…. Sneezles61

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I only use the carry handle when going back downstairs empty. I’ll refrain from saying I’ve never had a glass carboy crack. Not even the one that is going on thirty years old.

I used to have a few more , but…. Sneezles61

Those jerks broke into your house and hit them with a hammer!

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Yeah… YEAH, thats it! Its been every year at…. holiday time…. I wonder who would be so mean… Sneezles61

Probably someone you gave a lager to when they specifically demanded ale

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Maybe cause I didn’t leave any out fer Santa Cla… er I mean jolly holiday dude? Sneezles61

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