Author Topic: How big for a homebrewer?  (Read 10288 times)

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2012, 07:13:21 AM »
Well, not to be the buzzkill (pun intended), isn't the legal limit 200 gallons per year for a household with 2 or more adults?

Good point but that only applies to the US.  I've searched the Alcohol and Gaming Commission website multiple times and I've never been able to find anything that stipulates a maximum volume for homebrewers in Ontario.  The only information I've ever found is on the www.agco.on.ca site where it states:

"You may make beer or wine at home as long as it is only for your personal consumption or to be given away free of charge.  Homemade (or U-Brew) beer or wine may not be sold or used commercially."

You can assume that we will never see that kind of freedom here in the "Land of the Free".  Sorry.  That's how brewing laws really should be, in my humble opinion.

Knowing that, I'd design something in the 1bbl range.  Full batches for the house beers and .25 or .5 batches for not so popular ones. 

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Offline gmac

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2012, 07:59:52 AM »
What do you guys think about a 100 qt batch sparge system?  I've never done anything but batch sparge and to be honest, I'm apprehensive about pumps etc.  I know they work fine, I've just never used them so I'm unsure.

I can do a relatively good strength 10 gal batch in my 52 qt (blue) cooler.  I saw some 120 qt ones on line but they seem to be out of stock so it looks like 100 is the biggest.  That would get me to 20 gals pretty easily (I mash at 1.5L/lb approx for 10 gal batches, 2L/lb for 5 gal).  If I was to buy two of them, I could get to 1 bbl pretty easily but how would the cost compare (approx $200) to pumps, mash tun etc.  I have to think it would be a much cheaper option (assuming I can get blue ones).  I'm very happy with my results to date so I don't know if I'd change it at all.  I like the barrels that Denny posted too and if I can get one, I think it would make a decent brew pot.  I'd have to either elevate it somehow or get a pump to transfer the wort and after reading other posts about chillers, I would imagine I'd need to go with a recirculating chiller to try to get that much wort cooled in a decent amount of time.  (How do big breweries chill larger volumes of wort?)

Then, there is the nagging question of fermenters...

Offline denny

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2012, 08:40:11 AM »
Graham, I batch sparge large and/or high gravity batches using a 152 qt. cooler.  It works fine.  The only drawback, if you can call it that, is that I use so much mash water that most of those batches turn out to be no sparge.  That gives me the opportunity to do partigyle batches, too.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2012, 09:41:48 AM »
Graham, I batch sparge large and/or high gravity batches using a 152 qt. cooler.  It works fine.  The only drawback, if you can call it that, is that I use so much mash water that most of those batches turn out to be no sparge.  That gives me the opportunity to do partigyle batches, too.

I've been eying up a 150qt Igloo cooler at Sam's Club for $69.99 for this very purpose. :)
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Offline gmac

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2012, 09:44:55 AM »
Igloo makes a 250 qt. Only $750 in their online store.
I think two 100's will do better for me.
I'd be all over that 150 if there was a SAMs club near here.
I also like the idea of two so I can do 1/2 batches and keep a decent grain bed depth

Denny. Why do you use so much water in the mash?  Wouldn't the ratio be the same?
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 09:50:33 AM by gmac »

Offline denny

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2012, 10:39:08 AM »
Igloo makes a 250 qt. Only $750 in their online store.
I think two 100's will do better for me.
I'd be all over that 150 if there was a SAMs club near here.
I also like the idea of two so I can do 1/2 batches and keep a decent grain bed depth

Denny. Why do you use so much water in the mash?  Wouldn't the ratio be the same?

It's the same ratio, but the overall amount is much greater when you use 75 lb. of grain per batch!
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Offline gmac

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2012, 12:54:37 PM »
Igloo makes a 250 qt. Only $750 in their online store.
I think two 100's will do better for me.
I'd be all over that 150 if there was a SAMs club near here.
I also like the idea of two so I can do 1/2 batches and keep a decent grain bed depth

Denny. Why do you use so much water in the mash?  Wouldn't the ratio be the same?

It's the same ratio, but the overall amount is much greater when you use 75 lb. of grain per batch!

I understand that you're scaling up everything accordingly but where you lost me is where you ended up as a no-sparge. I guess if you were making the same amount of 2X strength wort it would make sense but I am thinking I'd be ramping up everything else in conjunction.

Offline denny

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2012, 01:53:27 PM »
Igloo makes a 250 qt. Only $750 in their online store.
I think two 100's will do better for me.
I'd be all over that 150 if there was a SAMs club near here.
I also like the idea of two so I can do 1/2 batches and keep a decent grain bed depth

Denny. Why do you use so much water in the mash?  Wouldn't the ratio be the same?

It's the same ratio, but the overall amount is much greater when you use 75 lb. of grain per batch!

I understand that you're scaling up everything accordingly but where you lost me is where you ended up as a no-sparge. I guess if you were making the same amount of 2X strength wort it would make sense but I am thinking I'd be ramping up everything else in conjunction.

It may work out like that because all I ever use it for is 10 gal. batches of 1.100 BW.  I'll try to remember to pull out my notes and give you an example.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2012, 01:44:03 AM »
I did some 20 gallon batches recently, and batch sparged.  The biggest problem I had was having enough hot water on hand, I just didn't have the vessels to heat it all so things went pretty slowly :)
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Offline gmac

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2012, 07:01:00 AM »
Something I've been wondering lately is how hot the water really needs to be to sparge.  Since you are washing the sugar out of the grain, not converting the starch what is the issue with using warm water, not hot.

Offline realbeerguy

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2012, 07:17:15 AM »
As someone previously said, work backwards.  You can brew a metric ton of beer, but do you have the fermentation space?
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2012, 07:51:38 AM »
Something I've been wondering lately is how hot the water really needs to be to sparge.  Since you are washing the sugar out of the grain, not converting the starch what is the issue with using warm water, not hot.

I think Denny talked about cold sparging and said he only saw a little drop in lauter efficiency. so yeah it should work, if you have a hot water on demand system you could for sure use that to sparge!
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Offline majorvices

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2012, 09:18:56 AM »
I love my 40-45 gallon pilot system down at the brewery. It's also electric, which is awesome. I can post some pics if you like.
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Offline denny

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Re: How big for a homebrewer?
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2012, 09:21:50 AM »
Something I've been wondering lately is how hot the water really needs to be to sparge.  Since you are washing the sugar out of the grain, not converting the starch what is the issue with using warm water, not hot.

I think Denny talked about cold sparging and said he only saw a little drop in lauter efficiency. so yeah it should work, if you have a hot water on demand system you could for sure use that to sparge!

Kai actually did an experiment by sparging with room temp water and didn't find any negative effect on efficiency.  My lone experiment showed me the same thing.
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