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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dannyj621 on February 07, 2010, 06:41:10 AM

Title: so the debate is
Post by: dannyj621 on February 07, 2010, 06:41:10 AM
fermentation control...or switching to all grain?
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: bendbrew on February 07, 2010, 07:14:20 AM
or both! 

I brewed my first batches of all grain with an experienced all grain brewing buddy yesterday.  It was far easier than I thought and his beers are amazing.  I cannot imagine going back from all grain. 

Unless the cost of some form of temperature control system and getting all grain equipment is too prohibitive.  If so, perfect your fermentation process first.

Good luck,

Bill
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: majorvices on February 07, 2010, 07:33:36 AM
Fermentation temp control and full boils will make the biggest improvement on your beer. As I mentioned in your other thread, going to AG can be pretty darn cheap. Use denny's batch sparging technique or even the Papazian double bucket zap pap method. No real money involved there, unless you don;t have the outdoor burner and pot big enough to go full boil.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on February 07, 2010, 07:35:03 AM
Not having done all grain myself I would have to say all grain!  I'm dieing to make the switch myself. 
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: denny on February 07, 2010, 08:07:59 AM
You can start with a killer AG recipe, the freshest, best quality ingredients, and a big slurry of healthy yeast, but if you can't control the fermentation, you won't make great beer.  If you do go AG, you'll need temp control anyway....why not take care of that first?
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: beerocd on February 07, 2010, 08:24:37 AM
Both can be done for $500.
Craigslist freezer for $150, Johnson controller for $75,
camp chef burner $75, and this https://www.pelicansky.com/productdetail.aspx?id=118&cat=66 (https://www.pelicansky.com/productdetail.aspx?id=118&cat=66)

(https://www.pelicansky.com/Upload/Product/118-182_large.jpg)


all prices are rounded up, for easy math.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: MDixon on February 07, 2010, 09:08:41 AM
Fermentation control is key - hands down.

As far as AG, you probably have everything you need if you can perform a full wort boil. If you are planning on buying or building some elaborate piece of gadgetry equipment, you can make the same or better quality beer using an old cooler, a drilled copper coil and some tin foil.  ;)
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: 1vertical on February 07, 2010, 09:22:17 AM
beerocd, that is a great looking 20 gallon stainless vessel for a decent
price.  the site is a little vague about it's details. do you have one of those?
Is the bottom heavy duty heat spreading style or is it bare thin ss?
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: babalu87 on February 07, 2010, 09:25:38 AM
Dude, your thread titles are a bit ponderous

Include a little more in them please.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: a10t2 on February 07, 2010, 09:42:57 AM
Just buy a big cooler and use it as a mash tun and a swamp cooler. You can mail me the other $460, if you want... ;)

I'm curious about that stockpot too. That perforated basket just screams "mash tun".
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 07, 2010, 11:42:49 AM
I would say fermentation control now.

But when I made my switch I went to All grain first with round cooler and false bottom and then temp control.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: beerocd on February 07, 2010, 12:29:54 PM
Fermentation control is key - hands down.

As far as AG, you probably have everything you need if you can perform a full wort boil. If you are planning on buying or building some elaborate piece of gadgetry equipment, you can make the same or better quality beer using an old cooler, a drilled copper coil and some tin foil.  ;)

Alright, I'll ask - what's the tin foil for? (http://myiq2xu.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/outfront-conspiracy-watch-tin-foil-hat-big.jpg)
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: beerocd on February 07, 2010, 12:44:46 PM
Dude, your thread titles are a bit ponderous

Include a little more in them please.


There's way too many titles like that - it's like they're writing teasers for the GLOBE or for the nightly news.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: beerocd on February 07, 2010, 12:49:57 PM
beerocd, that is a great looking 20 gallon stainless vessel for a decent
price.  the site is a little vague about it's details. do you have one of those?
Is the bottom heavy duty heat spreading style or is it bare thin ss?

Some guys over on HBT are turning it into an electric BIAB/"that german system" sorry can't think of the name now. So I don't have anymore details on it, other than yep it looks great and some other homebrewers have determined that it's a great pot.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: capozzoli on February 07, 2010, 04:07:22 PM
Yeah, I like the one kettle in that image but you would never catch me using the one with the holes... makes it hard to keep the burner lit.  
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: The Professor on February 07, 2010, 10:29:14 PM
You can start with a killer AG recipe, the freshest, best quality ingredients, and a big slurry of healthy yeast, but if you can't control the fermentation, you won't make great beer.  If you do go AG, you'll need temp control anyway....why not take care of that first?

Right on the money, Denny, as always.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: MDixon on February 08, 2010, 05:27:26 AM
Alright, I'll ask - what's the tin foil for?

Well, since you asked...

When most people sparge they invert a plate, use a pie plate, float a tupperware lid or perhaps a flip flop on top of the mash to disperse the water and avoid disturbing the grain bed. Many purchase the whirlygig or some other such nonsense. I was of the floating tupperware lid/flip flop variety until one day it dawned on me to simply perforate some foil and put the sparge water on it. I'm so frugal I rinse off the foil and reuse.  ;D

Here's a vorlauf photo:
(http://www.ipass.net/mpdixon/Homebrew/Setup%20and%20Techniques_files/image022.jpg)
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: denny on February 08, 2010, 09:31:05 AM
When most people sparge they invert a plate, use a pie plate, float a tupperware lid or perhaps a flip flop on top of the mash to disperse the water and avoid disturbing the grain bed.

When sensible people sparge, they batch sparge and dispense with all that nonsense!  ;)
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: bluesman on February 08, 2010, 10:47:54 AM
First things first. One needs to master ferm control before one can make quality beer. That's the first order of business.

With that being said...when I made the switch to all-grain...there was no looking back.  8)
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: tubercle on February 08, 2010, 11:44:31 AM
  When I switched to all grain my quality went up beyond my expectations not counting the possibilities it opened up by being so versatile.

   But I still didn't realize how sub-par they were until I got temp control.
 
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: dannyj621 on February 08, 2010, 01:47:27 PM
i think im gonna go with denny and beerocd on this one my buddy has the cooler chest hes gonna buy the stuff to make our mash and i just bought a freezer chest for 36 bucks and im ordering the temp controller for it so thanks alot everyone appreciate it
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: babalu87 on February 08, 2010, 03:16:11 PM
Chest cooler is the way to go. You can always upgrade if you want to later but it gets you on the door cheap.

Love controller is a great one for a chest freezer control
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: beerrat on February 08, 2010, 05:05:48 PM
Fermentation control.  I do a mix off all grain and extract brewing and both are impacted by these key items: sanitation, fermentation temp control, and water quality (in my case, get the chlorine out). Once that process is repeatable, then all grain becomes the variable, not the fundamentals.

Good luck!
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: beerocd on February 08, 2010, 05:17:37 PM
When most people sparge they invert a plate, use a pie plate, float a tupperware lid or perhaps a flip flop on top of the mash to disperse the water and avoid disturbing the grain bed.

When sensible people sparge, they batch sparge and dispense with all that nonsense!  ;)

You can sparge with this too, just lay it down on top of the mash. No splashing, little temp drop.
(http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/images/products/tubing/100/58125p.jpg)
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: mr_jeffers on February 08, 2010, 08:14:18 PM
After reading this thread, I think I'll put off all grain for the time being and get my fermentation under control.  Do most people use the single stage (heat or cool) or the dual stage (heat and cool) controllers?
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: Hokerer on February 08, 2010, 08:30:06 PM
After reading this thread, I think I'll put off all grain for the time being and get my fermentation under control.  Do most people use the single stage (heat or cool) or the dual stage (heat and cool) controllers?

Single stage (cool) here.  Don't think I've ever had a fermentation where I needed to warm it up.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: MDixon on February 09, 2010, 04:19:17 AM
If you do need to warm it up (say a fridge/freezer on a temp controller in an unheated space during the winter), you can simply place an incandescent bulb of low wattage (15-40w) in the fermentation area and allow the fridge/freezer to function as it normally would.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: ndcube on February 09, 2010, 05:30:45 AM
The single stage that I have (Love) with heat or cool, just not at the same time like the dual stage version.  I would need to unplug the freezer and plug in a heater or lamp and switch over to heating mode.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: babalu87 on February 09, 2010, 05:34:21 AM
After reading this thread, I think I'll put off all grain for the time being and get my fermentation under control.  Do most people use the single stage (heat or cool) or the dual stage (heat and cool) controllers?

Single stage (cool) here.  Don't think I've ever had a fermentation where I needed to warm it up.

I'm warming up a lager in my basement now in a swap "cooler"
Basement is in the low-mid 40's, need an aquarium heater in the "cooler" plugged into a Love controller to keep it warm enough  ;D
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 09, 2010, 09:41:31 AM
Do most people use the single stage (heat or cool) or the dual stage (heat and cool) controllers?

It really depends on ambient temp where you ferment.
If you have ferment fridge in the garage and temp swings wildly then get two stage controller.
If you ferment in basement where there is quite moderate temperature you could get by single stage.

I use dual stage Ranco controller and I ferment in the basement.
My ambient basement temp is 53F.
When I brew lager I cool first week and then I raise temp 2F each day till I hit 56F - 58F.
I will have to heat there.
When I ferment Ales I would have to heat now all the time.

Johnson is a good controller but it is PIA when switching from cool to heat because you have to open the box.
With Ranco it is just in settings.
Not sure about LOVE controller.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: babalu87 on February 09, 2010, 10:03:47 AM
LOVE controller is just buttons, easy peazy
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: mikeypedersen on February 09, 2010, 10:07:25 AM
Do most people use the single stage (heat or cool) or the dual stage (heat and cool) controllers?
I have the dual stage for summertime and for when I have lots of stuff in primary.  My chest is in the north facing garage which most of the winter is very cold.  So I need the heat in the wintertime, except for when there is a bunch of stuff in primary and the temps are trying to run away, then I need the cold cycle.  In the summertime, we get 30 - 35 degree temperature swings from day to night time, but it normally runs the cold cycle.  I feel like it is really helpful to have both cycles, but a lot of it probably depends on where you live.  If you're in Florida, you probably don't need the heat cycle!
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: majorvices on February 09, 2010, 11:42:01 AM
Since I have my fermentation chambers (deep chest freezer) in my garage now I go with dual stage and the heat wrap with thermowell. Really works great even when the temp is in single digits outside. If your fridge/freezer will be indoors the single stage is all you need.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: mr_jeffers on February 09, 2010, 06:19:04 PM
I live in Maine, and my unheated basement is sitting at 52`F right now.  I doubt I'd move it out to the garage.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 09, 2010, 06:46:51 PM
I live in Maine, and my unheated basement is sitting at 52`F right now.  I doubt I'd move it out to the garage.

So you could go with single stage if you do not mind replugging heat/cooling source.
http://www.pexsupply.com/Ranco-ETC-111000-Single-Stage-ETC-Temperature-Control-w-Sensor-120-240V-Input-11627000-p
This is a cheapest Ranco single stage I have seen.
Not sure what is shipping.
It also needs to be wired so you have a cable/wire nuts cost.

LOVE controllers are around $50 + probe that is $10 (I think) and wiring.
Love controller does not have external housing.
May be babalu87 can chime in.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: ndcube on February 10, 2010, 05:30:11 AM
I got one of these to house it in.  I think this is the size I got and it just fit perfectly.  Didn't make it waterproof so it lives outside.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062283
$5

I went with the TS2 because when I got it the TS3 had a 2 month wait list.  The TS3 has a higher inductive load rating IIRC.
http://www.dwyer-inst.com/Products/Product.cfm?Group_ID=149&Product_ID=316&sPageName=Intro
$52.50 (The TS3 is $50).

I got the brass probe.
http://www.dwyer-inst.com/Products/Product.cfm?Group_ID=303&Product_ID=551&sPageName=Ordering
$6

...then there's shipping for the switch and wiring costs.


All well worth it for me.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: babalu87 on February 10, 2010, 10:27:20 AM
LOVE controllers are around $50 + probe that is $10 (I think) and wiring.
Love controller does not have external housing.
May be babalu87 can chime in.

$65 gets you the whole shooting match, probe included

Mine is velcroed on my lagering keezer  ;D

Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: mr_jeffers on February 10, 2010, 01:57:18 PM
So you could go with single stage if you do not mind replugging heat/cooling source.

I found a couple used A419 controllers at the shop that my boss said I could have.  I was thinking about setting one up to run the freezer and one to run the heater (lightbulb, heatpad, etc).  Anyone think of any reason not to do it this way?
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: beerocd on February 10, 2010, 06:53:53 PM
So you could go with single stage if you do not mind replugging heat/cooling source.

I found a couple used A419 controllers at the shop that my boss said I could have.  I was thinking about setting one up to run the freezer and one to run the heater (lightbulb, heatpad, etc).  Anyone think of any reason not to do it this way?

At the same time?  ???
They'd fight each other.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: dhacker on February 10, 2010, 07:20:31 PM
FWIW, I know a number of folks who have problems with Ranco controllers. The dreaded E2 error seems to be a chronic issue with these. If you have a Ranco controller and haven't experienced the E2 error yet, you likely will at some point.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: mr_jeffers on February 10, 2010, 07:49:56 PM
What's the model #'s of the 2 stage controls?  I seem to be having trouble finding them online.
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 10, 2010, 08:26:59 PM
What's the model #'s of the 2 stage controls?  I seem to be having trouble finding them online.
Here you go:
ETC-211000-000
http://www.rancoetc.com/ranco-etc211000000-stage-p-105.html?
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: toastedman on February 10, 2010, 11:40:11 PM
So you could go with single stage if you do not mind replugging heat/cooling source.

I found a couple used A419 controllers at the shop that my boss said I could have.  I was thinking about setting one up to run the freezer and one to run the heater (lightbulb, heatpad, etc).  Anyone think of any reason not to do it this way?
   i use the A419 for fermenting box, i only change it over once a year, cool in summer, heat in winter, only takes couple min to switch it over, pull the jumper off 2 pins, put on the other 2 pins , never a problem.  
    
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: theDarkSide on February 11, 2010, 06:16:51 AM
What's the model #'s of the 2 stage controls?  I seem to be having trouble finding them online.

Morebeer.com has them already wired if you're not comfortable doing that kind of stuff.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16664//Ranco_Digital_Two-Stage_Temperature_Controller_-_Wired (http://morebeer.com/view_product/16664//Ranco_Digital_Two-Stage_Temperature_Controller_-_Wired)
Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: homebrewgamecock on February 11, 2010, 09:53:57 AM
I have a Ranco 2 stage and Johnson Controls.  I like the Johnson Controls better, plus it is less expensive.  I have had the E2 error on my Ranco.  Thankfully it's on my kegerator, not my chest freezer for fermenting.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/fermentation-temperature-control/johnson-controls-a419-digital-temp-controller.html (http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/fermentation-temperature-control/johnson-controls-a419-digital-temp-controller.html)

Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: euge on February 18, 2010, 11:54:23 PM
Coming to this discussion late. But there's options that can give you both man!

How much to spend? If you only have a couple hundred you can get a brewing steup for all-grain or buy a cheapish fridge.

I've never seen any of those "deals" on Craigslist people brag about but maybe that's just my region. But it's a good place to look.

But! For only $20 one can get two 38 gallon totes w/lids at Walmart. Each will just barely hold two 7.9 gal fermentors. Frozen PET bottles or ice-packs keep my ales in the proper temp range. Even in our hot summers. Throw some blankets over and there's insulation...

Could this approach get someone a brewing rig and temp control for around a couple bones? You bet!



Title: Re: so the debate is
Post by: dak0415 on February 19, 2010, 07:04:50 AM
Check this out for a kettle.
http://www.shopperschoice.com/item_name_Bayou-Classic-82-Quart-Stainless-Steel-Stockpot-With-Vented-Lid_path__item_2110355.html
I have a 44 quart for 6 gallon batches and this for 12.  Why buy the basket if you don't need it?

Dave