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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: jakey on October 21, 2019, 10:03:21 PM

Title: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: jakey on October 21, 2019, 10:03:21 PM
Thanks to the community in advance for any opinions! I was curious what other people have done when they are ready to step up from a basic 5 gal system? What kind of equipment did you go after?

Cheers,

Jake
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: denny on October 21, 2019, 10:16:43 PM
I still make 5 gal. batches 99% of the time mainly using my cooler and propane burner.  What are you usong now and what kind of "step up" do you have in mind?
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: jakey on October 21, 2019, 11:08:06 PM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Bob357 on October 21, 2019, 11:48:48 PM
Can we assume that you're brewing with extracts? Some information is always helpful.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: tommymorris on October 21, 2019, 11:51:01 PM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake
Are you already an all grain brewer? If not, any all grain is a good next step. If you are there are tons of choices. I like my Grainfather and Picobrew Z1. There are lots of other systems. Automated, not automated. Homemade, prefabricated. 2.5, 5, 10,... gallons. And many more choices.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: jakey on October 22, 2019, 01:08:47 AM
I've been doing extracts but the next batch is going to be all grain. Tommy, do you find either of those setups makes it "too easy"? Both of those setups look really slick!
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: tommymorris on October 22, 2019, 02:12:18 AM
I've been doing extracts but the next batch is going to be all grain. Tommy, do you find either of those setups makes it "too easy"? Both of those setups look really slick!
I started with batch sparge and did BIAB for several years after that. I recommend starting with one of those two if you are worried about being “too easy”. I like that my first 7-8 years homebrewing were totally manual. I finally bought a Grainfather 2 years ago and the Picobrew a few months ago. I like both but I feel I understand and appreciate those machines because I spent a lot of time learning with the more manual methods.

The cost of entry is also much cheaper with BIAB and batch sparge.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 22, 2019, 02:49:09 AM
Kegging. Lots of fridges, keezers, tap handles on all of those, CO2 tanks, regulators, and so on.

Nothing like a good pint at home, and saying I brewed this.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191022/fd6c0d033518c6ed153757d62fa90f70.jpg)

My Two Hearted Clone.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Robert on October 22, 2019, 03:27:24 AM
Kegging. Lots of fridges, keezers, tap handles on all of those, CO2 tanks, regulators, and so on.

Nothing like a good pint at home, and saying I brewed this.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191022/fd6c0d033518c6ed153757d62fa90f70.jpg)

My Two Hearted Clone.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
That is a beautiful looking, crystal clear (clarity and foam among my obsessions of course!) pint.  Rankert over Mallett in this Bracket. 
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 22, 2019, 03:59:05 AM
Kegging. Lots of fridges, keezers, tap handles on all of those, CO2 tanks, regulators, and so on.

Nothing like a good pint at home, and saying I brewed this.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191022/fd6c0d033518c6ed153757d62fa90f70.jpg)

My Two Hearted Clone.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
That is a beautiful looking, crystal clear (clarity and foam among my obsessions of course!) pint.  Rankert over Mallett in this Bracket. 

It is the basic THA recipe with some modifications. Bell's Select Centennial and the Imperial Bell's House yeast. Some time to let it clear.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 22, 2019, 11:46:42 AM
To the OP:

I would look at Denny’s Cheap and Easy system or Brew in a Bag as your first step, unless you have a bit of money to burn on one of the all in one systems, which are quite popular.  Those all in one systems range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand, depending on features.  They all brew beer, though.
Title: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: BrewBama on October 22, 2019, 01:11:04 PM
To the OP:

I would look at Denny’s Cheap and Easy system or Brew in a Bag as your first step, unless you have a bit of money to burn on one of the all in one systems, which are quite popular.  Those all in one systems range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand, depending on features.  They all brew beer, though.

If you go the ‘Cheap and Easy’ route and if you’re like me and learn from watching, Don Osborn has a bunch of videos on You Tube. He bases his brewing on Denny’s (giving full credit to Denny’s method) and showed me just how easy it is. 

I found Don O by watching the videos Jake Keeler, Michael Dawson, and Chip Walton were doing for Northern Brewer at the time. I found Denny’s site by watching Don O.  I used Denny’s site for theory but Don O’s videos for the demonstration.

Underneath my current setup there’s a cooler and a boil kettle that  was patterned after ‘Cheap and Easy’. Over the years I added a filter bag for better wort clarity and easier clean up, kegging to eliminate bottles, a mill to control my own crush, an immersion chiller and recirculating pump to chill wort faster, a pump and hoses to eliminate lifting pots full of hot liquid, a RIMS for mash temp control, induction to get me out of the weather, some techniques and processes to reduce O2, etc., etc., ...but the basis for my all grain brewing is still one brew kettle and a cooler.

I say all that to say this: think about where you want to go with this. If resources are constrained, periodic upgrades to a base system over time as resources become available can get you up and running now with full feature status in the future. Begin with the end in mind.


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Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: denny on October 22, 2019, 02:33:48 PM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake

Check out www.dennybrew.com.  These days I have severqql fancy brewing systems, but why houses on the website is still what I use 90%  of the time.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: denny on October 22, 2019, 02:34:36 PM
I've been doing extracts but the next batch is going to be all grain. Tommy, do you find either of those setups makes it "too easy"? Both of those setups look really slick!

Too easy?  What, you want to ourposely make it more difficult?  😉
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Kevin on October 22, 2019, 04:44:23 PM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake

There is no step up... there is no step down. And thinking you need to be "pro" is not way to think at all. I started on the kitchen stove with 5 gallon extract batches. My next system was a turkey fryer from Wallmart and a round coleman cooler for a mash tun. Then I bought a three vessel system made of used 15.5 gallon beer kegs and started making 10 gallon batches. Eventually I began using only one of those keggles as a BIAB MT/BK. Last year I sold that and bought a 3 vessel eHERMs set up with all the bells and whistles. So how did I brew my last two batches? On the kitchen stove doing 2.5 gallon BIAB using the same 5 gallon stock pot that I started with.

Each of those systems cost more than the one before and each added more technology, complexity and shiny stainless steel bits. But none of them inherently made better beer than the other. That is up to the brewer.

It is a natural tendency to see the fancy set ups others have and want that too. But the hobby is not a race. There is no winner and one brewers bigger, shinier kettle is not better than another. Become the best brewer you can be with the equipment you have now and if what goes into your glass makes you happy then you have arrived.

Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: denny on October 22, 2019, 04:50:01 PM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake

There is no step up... there is no step down. And thinking you need to be "pro" is not way to think at all. I started on the kitchen stove with 5 gallon extract batches. My next system was a turkey fryer from Wallmart and a round coleman cooler for a mash tun. Then I bought a three vessel system made of used 15.5 gallon beer kegs and started making 10 gallon batches. Eventually I began using only one of those keggles as a BIAB MT/BK. Last year I sold that and bought a 3 vessel eHERMs set up with all the bells and whistles. So how did I brew my last two batches? On the kitchen stove doing 2.5 gallon BIAB using the same 5 gallon stock pot that I started with.

Each of those systems cost more than the one before and each added more technology, complexity and shiny stainless steel bits. But none of them inherently made better beer than the other. That is up to the brewer.

It is a natural tendency to see the fancy set ups others have and want that too. But the hobby is not a race. There is no winner and one brewers bigger, shinier kettle is not better than another. Become the best brewer you can be with the equipment you have now and if what goes into your glass makes you happy then you have arrived.

Well said!
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Megary on October 22, 2019, 09:54:50 PM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake

There is no step up... there is no step down. And thinking you need to be "pro" is not way to think at all. I started on the kitchen stove with 5 gallon extract batches. My next system was a turkey fryer from Wallmart and a round coleman cooler for a mash tun. Then I bought a three vessel system made of used 15.5 gallon beer kegs and started making 10 gallon batches. Eventually I began using only one of those keggles as a BIAB MT/BK. Last year I sold that and bought a 3 vessel eHERMs set up with all the bells and whistles. So how did I brew my last two batches? On the kitchen stove doing 2.5 gallon BIAB using the same 5 gallon stock pot that I started with.

Each of those systems cost more than the one before and each added more technology, complexity and shiny stainless steel bits. But none of them inherently made better beer than the other. That is up to the brewer.

It is a natural tendency to see the fancy set ups others have and want that too. But the hobby is not a race. There is no winner and one brewers bigger, shinier kettle is not better than another. Become the best brewer you can be with the equipment you have now and if what goes into your glass makes you happy then you have arrived.

This.  A thousand times this.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 22, 2019, 10:11:32 PM
Indeed, what gets you there is unimportant.  It’s arriving to the point you want to reach that is the key.  But human nature, such as it is, will make you curious to try new things and do the same things new ways.  BIAB is the one thing that I adopted for the longest while, but now I am back to batch sparging a lot, using the bag as a recirc filter...so there you go!

Cheers to your next step, whatever you decide that to be.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: charlie on October 23, 2019, 12:40:17 AM
I ran a 5 gal AG rig starting Jan 11, 2009, and made 23 batches that calendar year. I might have gone smaller if the equipment had been available because I was worried that I would screw something up. That didn't happen, and it didn't take me long to realize that I could have made 50 gallons in the same time it took me to make 5 gallons. So on Jan 10, 2010 I mashed in on my new 10 gallon rig, and have been pretty happy with it.

My 5 gallon AG rig was a 7.5 gallon stainless HLT (about $120.00), a 7.5 gallon Polarware BK (another $95.00 or so), and a 7.5 gallon SS Blichmann mash tun that  cost me well over $450.00! What I am coming to, by degrees, is that you can get old 15.5 gallon beer kegs on Craigslist for $35-$45 dollars! When I completed fabricating my keggle MT, BK and HLT I only had about $150.00 in that system! And here we, are almost 10 years later.

Of course there were other expenses along the way. Temp controllers, another pump, a fermentation chamber, stuff like that. But the keggle system is by far the least expensive and most productive system you can get in the 10 gallon range.

Charlie (wishes they still made 1 bbl beer kegs!)
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 23, 2019, 12:59:50 AM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake

There is no step up... there is no step down. And thinking you need to be "pro" is not way to think at all. I started on the kitchen stove with 5 gallon extract batches. My next system was a turkey fryer from Wallmart and a round coleman cooler for a mash tun. Then I bought a three vessel system made of used 15.5 gallon beer kegs and started making 10 gallon batches. Eventually I began using only one of those keggles as a BIAB MT/BK. Last year I sold that and bought a 3 vessel eHERMs set up with all the bells and whistles. So how did I brew my last two batches? On the kitchen stove doing 2.5 gallon BIAB using the same 5 gallon stock pot that I started with.

Each of those systems cost more than the one before and each added more technology, complexity and shiny stainless steel bits. But none of them inherently made better beer than the other. That is up to the brewer.

It is a natural tendency to see the fancy set ups others have and want that too. But the hobby is not a race. There is no winner and one brewers bigger, shinier kettle is not better than another. Become the best brewer you can be with the equipment you have now and if what goes into your glass makes you happy then you have arrived.

You said this very well. Make the beer you want to make on the system you can afford, and physically operate.

I know two guys who have a metric boatload of awards that have simple systems, but solid process that works on their system for their beer styles.  One mashes in a zappap lautertun, and has a ceramic canning kettle to boil in.

Much of making quality beer happens after the boil. We tend to for get that sometimes.



Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Visor on October 23, 2019, 02:22:13 PM
   I whole heartedly agree with Kevin and others, but also know from decades of making/building/growing/doing stuff that better tools make it easier to achieve better results, but they also don't guarantee better results. The right tools can sometimes make it possible to do things that are otherwise impossible. The trick is knowing which are the right tools for you, I'd love to have back all the money I've blown on stuff that when I bought it I thought was going to help me walk on water or provide the secret to life, the universe and everything.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: BrewBama on October 23, 2019, 03:52:33 PM
   I whole heartedly agree with Kevin and others, but also know from decades of making/building/growing/doing stuff that better tools make it easier to achieve better results, but they also don't guarantee better results. The right tools can sometimes make it possible to do things that are otherwise impossible. The trick is knowing which are the right tools for you, I'd love to have back all the money I've blown on stuff that when I bought it I thought was going to help me walk on water or provide the secret to life, the universe and everything.

Any job worth doing requires a new tool.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Robert on October 23, 2019, 03:57:14 PM




Any job worth doing requires a new tool.




Corollary:  Any job requiring a new tool is worth doing. 
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: denny on October 23, 2019, 04:11:10 PM
I hate buying tools and building things.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: MNWayne on October 24, 2019, 08:09:14 AM
Go the direction your heart/mind/soul leads you.  It's possible you are at the perfect place right now.  Keep brewing as you normally do, in another batch or 10 batches, or 100 batches, you might find a new and improved path, if not, then stay the course until the next obvious change presents itself.  Ask yourself; Am I happy with my finished product?  Am I happy with my process?  If you answer "no" then something has to change. If you have 2 "yes's" then you are right where you need to be.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Visor on October 24, 2019, 03:35:29 PM




Any job worth doing requires a new tool.



Corollary:  Any job requiring a new tool is worth doing. 

     ^^^^
    This!!
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: charlie on October 24, 2019, 10:16:29 PM
   I whole heartedly agree with Kevin and others, but also know from decades of making/building/growing/doing stuff that better tools make it easier to achieve better results, but they also don't guarantee better results. The right tools can sometimes make it possible to do things that are otherwise impossible. The trick is knowing which are the right tools for you, I'd love to have back all the money I've blown on stuff that when I bought it I thought was going to help me walk on water or provide the secret to life, the universe and everything.

True, but if you do stuff there are certain minimum tools that you must have: Sockets ratchets and adapters, drill, drill bits, rotary tool, circular saw, saber saw. The basics. And as you become more advanced the tools become more specialized: Miter saw, table saw, drill press, bench grinder, air compressor, band saw. You can see where I'm going.

I have been playing that game for longer than I care to mention, but the upshot is that these days I can walk in my shop and do damn near anything I want to do without making a trip to Home Depot!

They say that money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy tools, and sometimes that's pretty much the same thing. :-)
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Visor on October 25, 2019, 02:17:02 PM
   Amen to that brother, my younger self would have thought I had died and gone to DIY heaven if I had the shop and tools I have now. The real sad thing is that I never seem to find much time to play with them unless I have a pressing, urgent need for something I can't find or buy and therefore must [read get to] build or make myself. The happy thing is that more often than not I have the tools and skills to do so.
   I'll pretend I didn't read Denny's blasphemy about hating tools, hope he doesn't get struck by lightening for that one.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: denny on October 25, 2019, 02:30:54 PM
I have a decent collection of basic tools, but I long ago learned that I prefer to have someone else do it.  I consider building brewing equipment a somewhat necessary evil .  I'd rather spend my limited time using something than building it.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: Robert on October 25, 2019, 02:47:55 PM


   
   I'll pretend I didn't read Denny's blasphemy about hating tools, hope he doesn't get struck by lightening for that one.

No, no, he's not gonna get hit by lightening.   It's not Zeus and the thunderbolt, pretty sure Thor's gonna take this one and get him with the hammer.  Tools and all. 

Seriously, I can see Denny's side.  We all have to prioritize.  We all have only so much time to allot and have to decide how we most want to spend it. 

Pretty much the lesson of this thread.  It's not an upgrade if your new system has you spending time on aspects  of the process you don't find rewarding.

Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: BrewBama on October 25, 2019, 02:51:15 PM

Pretty much the lesson of this thread.  It's not an upgrade if your new system has you spending time on aspects  of the process you don't find rewarding.





Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: tommymorris on October 25, 2019, 09:23:45 PM
I have a decent collection of basic tools, but I long ago learned that I prefer to have someone else do it.  I consider building brewing equipment a somewhat necessary evil .  I'd rather spend my limited time using something than building it.
I agree with Denny.
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 25, 2019, 11:05:23 PM
I have many tools, for all sorts of jobs. Now few projects come up where I need a new tool. If it is something a friend has he can help me do it. Sometimes I hire a job out, to get it done in a timely manner. Old guy syndrome is becoming a thing at times, the back acts up, so I let some do a job. That stimulates the local economy.

When my house needs a new roof, not doing that!

Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: jakey on October 28, 2019, 12:15:43 AM
Kegging. Lots of fridges, keezers, tap handles on all of those, CO2 tanks, regulators, and so on.

Nothing like a good pint at home, and saying I brewed this.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191022/fd6c0d033518c6ed153757d62fa90f70.jpg)

My Two Hearted Clone.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

Looks awesome. Kegging seems like a great move if you've got the space for a setup!
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: jakey on October 28, 2019, 12:18:18 AM
Thanks Denny! Just a basic stove top setup. I don't have a cooler. Very "un-pro".

Jake

There is no step up... there is no step down. And thinking you need to be "pro" is not way to think at all. I started on the kitchen stove with 5 gallon extract batches. My next system was a turkey fryer from Wallmart and a round coleman cooler for a mash tun. Then I bought a three vessel system made of used 15.5 gallon beer kegs and started making 10 gallon batches. Eventually I began using only one of those keggles as a BIAB MT/BK. Last year I sold that and bought a 3 vessel eHERMs set up with all the bells and whistles. So how did I brew my last two batches? On the kitchen stove doing 2.5 gallon BIAB using the same 5 gallon stock pot that I started with.

Each of those systems cost more than the one before and each added more technology, complexity and shiny stainless steel bits. But none of them inherently made better beer than the other. That is up to the brewer.

It is a natural tendency to see the fancy set ups others have and want that too. But the hobby is not a race. There is no winner and one brewers bigger, shinier kettle is not better than another. Become the best brewer you can be with the equipment you have now and if what goes into your glass makes you happy then you have arrived.

Thanks Kenny, no disagreement here!
Title: Re: What is the next step after a 5 gallon setup?
Post by: jakey on October 28, 2019, 12:24:16 AM
So seems the moral of the story is that new tools are nice, new equipment is nice, but all of it is not necessary to make good beer. BIAB is next for me then kegging I think is the move at some point when I have space to do that!