Best upgrade for my current system

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Jasonmck, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. Jasonmck

    Jasonmck New Member

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    Hi all. I'm wondering what next to help with my brewing
    I currently have:
    10G SS brew kettle with temp gauge
    Igloo orange mash ton with false bottom
    Turkey fryer propane burner
    extra cooler for sparge water
    immersion chiller (copper)
    SS Brewtech fermentation bucket
    Tilt hydrometer
    2 Kegs
    Kegerator with tap

    I'm wondering if a sight glass on my kettle
    or a pump to move wort around quicker
    or even an improved burner would be my next step
    What are your thoughts.
    I'm in a townhouse so I have no option to go 240V so I don't think going electric is an option

    Thank you,
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    A refrigerator/freezer and temperature controller. Aside from sanitation, fermentation control is the largest factor in making great beer.
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That^^^. ;)
    A pump would be handy and a sight glass is nice if you have trouble figuring out volumes along the way but for 5 gallon batches you can do without them and neither is going to have the impact on beer quality that decent fermentation temp control will have.
    Also, going to a stainless fermentation vessel will make life better all around. The Chapman brew pot is a good choice in terms of bang for the buck and a conical is great but a little more unwieldy. Or for that matter, a quarter barrel sanke with fittings from Nor-cal to make it a pressure-transferable fermenter is pretty awesome.
     
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  4. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    Definitely agree on the temp control. Everything else you have should be good as is. Maybe more fermenters if you make a lot of beer and if you have to siphon the auto siphon are way better than the normal ones.
     
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  5. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    10-4 on fermentation temperature control. Likely the top contributor to better beer.
     
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  6. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    Another vote for temp control, but if you live in a cold climate then a sight glass on your kettle can make volume measurement in the winter easier. I brew outdoors in the winter in Montreal and I couldn't do without my sight glass, but if you are in California then it wouldn't be as important to you.
     
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  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    My most recent upgrade is temperature controlled fermentation, inkbird plug and play controller, in a fridge with a wrap around heater. Instant improvement to my brews!
     
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  8. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I'm still working on that, but my garage is 8C unless I increase it so I can have pretty good control right now. 19C in my basement consistently. Once spring hits I'll have to actually bypass the AC shutoff.
     
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  9. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    As others said, sanitation and ferm temp control. I would add, yeast health/quantity and oxygen free transfers to keg. It’s all about the process first, then off to grain bills, hop schedules, etc. if you have a local Homebrewers club that’s a good place to share brews and see other systems. Enter a competition; the feedback is valuable. Cheers :)
     
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  10. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I am pretty new to this gig, but have learned that it is not the air temperature to be concerned with, it is the temperature of the wort that is important.
     
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  11. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    True but all I can really do is control the air temp right now. I just hit 2 years brewing without temp control beyond this and I'm yet to make a bad batch of beer. Consistency makes a bigger difference in my opinion.
     
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  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Who could argue with that!
     
  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    ooh ooh! that! :cool:
    If the OP has decent ambient temps then getting a stir plate for making starters would be absolutely huge!!! I'm still working on my yeast-wrangling regimen and usually end up doing 3-5 gallon starter beers to get good yeast slurry for big batches. That's not bad if my timing is good, but a big starter fresh off the 'plate is absolutely the best thing you can do to make your beer better and more consistent pretty much instantly. ;)
     
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  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    As an addendum to that I just won gold with a Helles that I used Brulosophy short and shoddy style for. 30 minute mash, 30 minute boil, room temperature fermentation with Munich lager yeast.

    There are a lot of know it alls out there, just be clean and consistent and you'll probably be fine.
     
  15. Jasonmck

    Jasonmck New Member

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    Thanks all,
    IveI toyed with the idea of temp control.
    I'm in Vancouver BC so never too cold and never too hot.
    I dont have room currently for a freezer and controller.
    Any ideas on something that could work with a SS conical fermentor
     
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  16. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Man, oh man!!! A lot of us have just been wasting our time trying to master those crazy centuries-old brewing methods. :D :D :D
     
  17. KC

    KC Active Member

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    Do you have said conical or are you considering one? Stout makes a 7 gal conical with chill coil for <$500USD, just add glycol chiller. May be my next major purchase.
     
  18. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Considering the materials they worked with I don't know why anyone would want to brew like someone from the 1600s. ;)
     
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  19. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Jason, in addition to KC’s clarifications, do you have an SS conical or an SS Brewbucket?
     
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  20. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ I realize that I misread the OP and suggested upgrading to stainless fermenter but he's already got that. ;) A conical might be nice for cleaner, easier yeast harvesting, but the Brewbucket has you covered in terms of collecting trub and separating from the beer.
    Since temp control isn't a big issue, I vote for the sight glass or a stir plate. :)
    Or...you don't mention whether you bottle or keg, Jasonmck... if not kegging, maybe an upgrade in that direction is the most bang for the buck.
     
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