$150 to spend

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Josh Hughes, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    #1 Josh Hughes, Oct 20, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
    I’m giving the ACT Saturday so I’ve got $115 in brew money coming lol. Told the wife I’d go up to 150 or so since my birthday is a few weeks away. I cannot get a fridge or chest freezer, we are worried about another constantly running appliance. What should I get?
    1. A bigger brew kettle. Some have a thermometer and spigot although I use an ice bath. Right now I only have a 5 gallon kettle
    2. A gigawort electric from northern brewer
    3. Stainless fermenter not sure how I’d keep it cool though
    4. Another “brew box” o
    5. Open to other suggestions
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    If energy cost is your concern, it's a non issue. Energy star compliant chest freezers cost, literally, pennies/week to operate. Especially since you'd be running it at a much higher temperature than it was designed for.
     
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  3. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    It’s my electric I’m worried about. We have a chest freezer and lights flicker every Time It kicks on
     
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  4. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I’m beginning to think what I need/want most (minus fermentation control) is a bigger kettle so I can do larger batches at times or another “brew box” so I don’t have to bottle every time and can have something akin to a keg experience. Still open to any suggestions.
     
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  5. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Do have a grain mill? Refractometer?
     
  6. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Refractometer yes
     
  7. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    A bigger brew kettle will expand your options for bigger batches as well as bigger beers. So that would be my vote.

    Regarding your electrical situation, could it be that the circuit that your current chest freezer is on is just on a heavily loaded circuit? Maybe try plugging it in to a separate circuit and see if the start-up load still causes the lights to flicker. I only mention this because a chest-freezer/fermentation-chamber comes in a close second to the BK. Also, my current house (built in 1952) originally had all the appliances and half the outlets and lights running through one 20 amp (fuse) circuit with other circuits being almost unused. (We've since had the electric upgraded and appliances split out on their own circuits.)
     
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  8. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    Because I only brew 3 gallon batches, I have managed to spend mere pennies on my brew stuff except for one thing. Kegs. It was the best money I ever spent. $150 wont get you all the way there, but I would just save that money until you have enough. Or just go all in now and call it a Birthday/Christmas present!!
     
  9. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    We need a complete electric upgrade. This house was built in 1962 and when the previous owners wanted electric plugs, a new room etc they added it haphazardly to other circuits. We’ve been here 15 years and it is always “next in the list”m
     
  10. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Yup, same here. I finally bit the bullet when some insurance companies literally would not talk to me because we only had 60 amp service.
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Bigger kettle but = more bottling but = maybe less frequently brewing.
     
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  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If you don't have it, something to control fermentation temperature. Used fridge and temperature controller.
     
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  13. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    Can’t brew less lol.
    If my buddy and I can start brewing again then we’d do 5 gallon batches and I want to stay all grain BIAB. Right now neither of us has a pot big enough for that. Right now to do 5 gallons I’d have to do 2 mashes and top off probably 2-3 gallons at the end.
     
  14. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    If you get the bigger pot, how about some type of winch to lift the bag??
     
  15. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    o_O
     
  16. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    You could just send the 150 u$ my way and then you don't have to worry any more;)
    More seriously:fermentation temperature control (fridge, inkbird, heating pad)
     
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  17. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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  18. ^Tony^

    ^Tony^ Active Member

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    Hope I'm not too late to weigh in. For my number one suggestions: I'd say buy an immersion wort chiller. Cost between $50 and $200 depending on what you want. Saves you a ton of time if your using an ice bath now. You can modify just about any tap to fit a hose with a cheap adapter from the hardware store. You can run outlet hose down a toilet or any sink if you wanted.

    If not that, I love my 7 gal SS brew bucket with thermal well and sample spigot. https://www.ssbrewtech.com/collections/brew-buckets/products/the-brewmaster-bucket Super easy to clean and I can control the heat side with an inkbird https://www.northernbrewer.com/products/northern-brewer-dual-stage-temp-controller and a fermwrap https://www.morebeer.com/products/fermwrap-heater.html. My basement is always about 12-16 c so I dont really worry about cool.

    If you want a toy then buy a Tilt Hydrometer. https://tilthydrometer.com/products...reless-hydrometer-and-thermometer-for-brewing T.hey are fun but not as accurate with FG as I like. The thermostat is almost spot on and they save brew by eliminating frequent sample testing down to 1 or 2 a ferment session.

    Bigger pots are awesome but I also had to buy a new burner, and bag, and change my process, and find somewhere to store it. And mine cost waaay more than $150
     
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  19. Pricelessbrewing

    Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester
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    Going off of only what you've said,

    I'd buy an immersion chiller,
    a wards lab report, and some basics for water chemistry if you're not doing it already. Lactic acid, gypsum, calcium chloride, epsom salt.

    And spend the rest on replacing any old tubing you have, and a couple used kegs. Kegs are nearly perfect, they're durable, easily maintained, replacement parts, can take pressure, and build a pressure washer, can do closed transfers, can fermenter under pressure, you can age beers in them without worrying about oxidation or anything like that.
     
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