Author Topic: New Equipment - What to get?  (Read 3596 times)

Offline BrewinSB

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New Equipment - What to get?
« on: September 04, 2012, 03:21:24 PM »
I wanted to get some input on what my next purchase should be. I have $500 to play with. My equipment list that I currently have is as follows:

1. All the basics
2. Kegerator + temp controller
3. 1-10 gallon SS brew kettle with ball valve
4. 1-5 gallon SS brew kettle
5. Coleman 52 Quart Xtreme cooler as my mash tun
6. 5 gallon corny keg
7. Counterpressure filler
8. 5 gallan & 6.5 gallon glass carboy
9. 2 Bayou Classic burners

I think that is mostly it. Any suggestions?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2012, 03:37:15 PM »
If I had $500 to spend I would start with

a) more kegs
b) a bigger kettle (at least 15 gallons maybe a keggle)
c) gotta have a bigger mash tun if you are going to use that 15 gallon pot to make 10 gallon batches!
d) more kegs
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Offline Pinski

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2012, 03:53:01 PM »
If I had $500 to spend I would start with

a) more kegs
b) a bigger kettle (at least 15 gallons maybe a keggle)
c) gotta have a bigger mash tun if you are going to use that 15 gallon pot to make 10 gallon batches!
d) more kegs
I think Mort nailed it.  More capacity to store/serve and increase your production potential. Doesn't mean you have to brew larger batches, just means you can.
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Offline cheshirecat

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2012, 04:58:39 PM »
If you have the space, what about a fermentation fridge/freezer with temp control? Also, a grain mill, love mine. +1 on kegs though, can never have to many and the way prices are getting....

Offline erockrph

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2012, 05:39:04 PM »
If you have the space, what about a fermentation fridge/freezer with temp control? Also, a grain mill, love mine. +1 on kegs though, can never have to many and the way prices are getting....

+1 to the fermentation chamber with temp control. That will be my next big equipment purchase (even before I get into kegging). Also, how is your chilling situation - does it need an upgrade?
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Offline lornemagill

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2012, 06:35:38 PM »
pretty much what everyone else has said.
in order for me:
kegs
barrels
bigger kettle
walk in cooler
grain mill
grain storage
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 06:38:49 PM by lornemagill »

Offline BrewinSB

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2012, 07:50:54 PM »
So, looks like for the most part the general consensus is more kegs.  I currently ferment in my kegerator with a Johnson Digital Temp Controller.  I have an extra fridge that we will be putting in the garage (fridge on bottom freezer on top).  I want to get a temp controller for that so I can have something fermenting or lagering in there while I have something on tap in my kegerator.  However, we also wanted to somehow rig the freezer part to be able to store my good beers and my wifes good wines in there, yet somehow still be able to use the fridge portion to ferment at a different temp than the freezer may be set at for storing our beers/wine...

I currently have an immersion chiller, but if I got a counterflow or plate chiller, then I have to get a pump etc.

Offline lornemagill

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2012, 08:05:10 PM »
you dont have to get a pump with a plate or counterflow, use the imersion as a prechiller.  but a pump to recirculate the chilled water through the pre chiller is better.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2012, 05:48:52 AM »

2. Kegerator + temp controller

Definitely, this is a huge improvement in beer quality.  Having fermentation temperature control is imperative.

3. 1-10 gallon SS brew kettle with ball valve
4. 1-5 gallon SS brew kettle

I don't feel that the premium for a SS kettle is worth it.  Aluminum is more effective than SS with heat transfer from external flame to internal wort. In addition, I've found its every bit as durable.  I suggest finding a 10 to 15 gal aluminum kettle on Ebay or craigslist along with a lid of some sort.  You can easily add a drain valve later. 

5. Coleman 52 Quart Xtreme cooler as my mash tun

That is what I have, works well.

6. 5 gallon corny keg

Once you have kegs, you'll wonder why you ever bottled.  It is such a time and effort saver.

7. Counterpressure filler

This is kind of iffy.  I have one, but hear a lot about a Beergun.

8. 5 gallan & 6.5 gallon glass carboy

You only need the big one.  Don't move your beer to a secondary vessel, just move it directly to the keg after the beer has cleared.  You don't really need a glass carboy if you move your beer in a timely fashion from a bucket to the keg.  A glass carboy is definitely one of the most dangerous articles in a home brewery.  Think carefully about including one in your equipment list.  I bit the bullet and upgraded to a SS conical fermenter, just for safety reasons.

9. 2 Bayou Classic burners

I found that a single burner was sufficient.  When you think about it, you'll be heating sparge water when the rest of your wort is in the mash tun.  So there isn't a need for two burners then.  Having an insulated vessel to hold that hot sparge water is recommended.  I used to overheat my sparge water and put it in a regular bottling bucket and that worked well. 

When you are running off your wort into the kettle, it can be sitting on the burner and you can proceed directly to the boil.  Again...no second burner is necessary. 


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Offline kramerog

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2012, 08:14:28 AM »
If I had $500 to spend I would start with

a) more kegs
b) a bigger kettle (at least 15 gallons maybe a keggle)
c) gotta have a bigger mash tun if you are going to use that 15 gallon pot to make 10 gallon batches!
d) more kegs

Bigger kettle yes, but keggle's make bad kettles. Bigger batches might require bigger burners too.

Your mash tun is way oversized for fly sparging 5-gal batches.  I was pretty happy with my 40 qt mash tun for 10-gal batches except for making beers with 7+% alcohol.  I can't imagine why you would want a mash tun bigger than 52 quarts. 
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Offline kramerog

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 08:18:19 AM »
I would add more carboys/better bottles or even fermentation buckets so you can age beer, do stuff with bugs, and increase to 10-gal batch size.

If you don't have software, put that on top of your list.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2012, 08:30:51 AM »
If I had $500 to spend I would start with

a) more kegs
b) a bigger kettle (at least 15 gallons maybe a keggle)
c) gotta have a bigger mash tun if you are going to use that 15 gallon pot to make 10 gallon batches!
d) more kegs

Bigger kettle yes, but keggle's make bad kettles. Bigger batches might require bigger burners too.

Your mash tun is way oversized for fly sparging 5-gal batches.  I was pretty happy with my 40 qt mash tun for 10-gal batches except for making beers with 7+% alcohol.  I can't imagine why you would want a mash tun bigger than 52 quarts.

perhaps with fly sparging but batch spargeing I can fill my 72 qt to the brim doing a no sparge 10 gallon batch or a really big 5 gallon batch. in fact, I just did 10 gallons of 1.051 kolsch and i had to reserve about 1.5 gallons of my mash out water till I had run some off because it was to full.

This is the first I have heard that keggles are bad, why for?
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Offline kramerog

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2012, 08:43:50 AM »
perhaps with fly sparging but batch spargeing I can fill my 72 qt to the brim doing a no sparge 10 gallon batch or a really big 5 gallon batch. in fact, I just did 10 gallons of 1.051 kolsch and i had to reserve about 1.5 gallons of my mash out water till I had run some off because it was to full.

This is the first I have heard that keggles are bad, why for?

Keggles are inefficient because they are narrow (=> absorb less heat), have lots of mass above the useful volume (=> lose more heat), are thick (=> lose more heat), have a weird bottom which can reduce the amount of oxygen in primary and secondary air for the burner (=> dirty burn, more soot production), are heavy (=>more likely to hear yourself moving the thing).  Then there's the ethical and legal issues with keggles.
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Offline BrewArk

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2012, 09:51:18 AM »
I fit my conical in my kegerator w/two cornys.  If you're not controlling fermentation that's the place to start.  If you are... another keg and the tap to go w/it.  For me it'll be a stand:

« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 09:53:40 AM by BrewArk »
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Offline micsager

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Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2012, 01:56:06 PM »
If you have the space, what about a fermentation fridge/freezer with temp control? Also, a grain mill, love mine. +1 on kegs though, can never have to many and the way prices are getting....

I hear ya on the price of kegs.  my gosh it's getting crazy.  But, (you know there's always a but)  I recently scored 10 corny's at a garage sale for $5 a piece.  They were in pretty rough shape, but, some PBW, new poppets and a seal kit, and they all work great.  (Plus a 20lb C02 tank for $10)  Sometimes, you just gotta get lucky)