« on: March 07, 2017, 10:23:50 AM »
1. Bru'n Water: for reasons explained above
2. Temperature controlled fermentation chamber: for reasons explained above
3. My two gallon cooler mash tun: I brew a lot of small batches and getting better control on mash temperatures greatly improved my smaller brews. I'm also using it as a coolship, allowing me to start spontaneously fermenting smaller batches.
1. 10 gallon cooler: This really isn't a bad piece of equipment but I rarely brew even five gallons and have maybe halfway filled the cooler. I was convinced by people who told me I would want to brew larger and larger batches. That never happened. It's only a bad piece of equipment because I don't need something this large and I fight temperature loss more than I would with a smaller cooler.
2. 8 gallon kettle: My first kettle was a cheap eight gallon tamale steamer. It does what it's supposed to but it's too thin to want to use on a propane burner but too big to use easily on my electric stove. It's too big for one burner but slightly too small for two. It takes forever to hit boil and has really high evaporation. I officially quit using it when I bought a turkey fryer for larger batches after I broke one of the stove coils with too much weight in the kettle. Now it's storage for homebrewing equipment. If my next house has a gas stove it will probably get use as a hot liquor tank during turbid mashes. Maybe.
3. Hop rhizomes: I didn't really know what I was getting myself into growing hops. I didn't realize how poorly suited they were for my home here in Texas. I started growing them right as we hit several years of drought and we would get actual hordes of locusts that would strip the bines of leaves in days. Even without the drought it is still too hot and too much sun for them. Due to the HOA (and for a time, my wife) I can't grow them as high as they need so I only get about eight feet of bines. In five growing seasons I have net about six dried ounces out of four plants. Not worth it. When we move to Denver I plan on keeping the plants but expect better yields.
I try to be economical with my brewing equipment. I have several pieces that I use and use well enough but neither fit in the top or bottom three. I have a couple party pigs which are a good example. I use them as faux casks (without the CO2 inserts) and they work well for that purpose until the internal pressure runs out and the beer pours at a crawl. Worth $30 and I don't have space for a cask (or tap) set up right now. Same for my corona mill. Works okay and I still use it for unmalted grains (which I use a lot). The roller mill I recently bought has improved my mash efficiency and lautering enough that the corona mill is relegated to limited use. I have very little that never gets use.