Author Topic: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System  (Read 7087 times)

Offline mmitchem

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2012, 08:31:14 AM »
I HATE building equipment and making changes.  I'd rather spend the time brewing.

EXACTLY. If you know what is going to work for you and allows you to have a good time while making beer - make it happen and stick to it.

All the equipment upgrades and extras will not make up for poor brewing and fermenting practices. Master those things before wrangling a whole new set of obstacles. I would never buy anything with the hope of fixing the faults in my process.
Michael P Mitchem
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Offline redbeerman

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2012, 01:50:54 PM »
I HATE building equipment and making changes.  I'd rather spend the time brewing.

EXACTLY. If you know what is going to work for you and allows you to have a good time while making beer - make it happen and stick to it.

All the equipment upgrades and extras will not make up for poor brewing and fermenting practices. Master those things before wrangling a whole new set of obstacles. I would never buy anything with the hope of fixing the faults in my process.

I agree 100%.  Get the process working for you first.  Must understand the basics of brewing good beer before screwing it up with additional equipment. ;)
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

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Offline dcbc

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2012, 02:01:33 PM »
Just to pile on to what others have said, but with my own experience.  Get to know your brew day.  All of our home breweries are differently situated.  Once you have yeast management and fermentation temp control nailed down, if you feel the need to make changes, do it with the idea of improving the process, i.e., make it easier and shorter.  Like Denny, I don't really enjoy building brew stands as much as I like brewing.  That's why I started off by copying his system.  Over time, I made adjustments to suit me.  But ultimately, I wanted a rig I could automate.  So given my desire not to spend a year building it, I had someone build it for me.  Because I don't like messing with wiring control panels, I saved up for a pair of the Blichmann TOP controllers.  I did some of the little things, but left the heavy lifting to the experts.  All of this doesn't necessarily make the beer better.  The improvements in the result is probably a bit of a coincidence coupled with the fact that I have been doing this for a while.  But having a system that holds the mash within 0.5 degrees of what I tell it to without my running around with pots of boiling water or standing and stirring to get that strike water temp just right as it drops from the preheated temp doesn't hurt.  I don't miss that extra effort.  I get just as big of a thrill out of watching the machine ramp up temperatures.  But everyone is different.  And no system is perfect for every brewer. 

Every major change to my brewing setup took about two batches to get dialed in. 
I've consumed all of my home brew and still can't relax!  Now what!

Offline redbeerman

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2012, 05:51:45 AM »
Just to pile on to what others have said, but with my own experience.  Get to know your brew day.  All of our home breweries are differently situated.  Once you have yeast management and fermentation temp control nailed down, if you feel the need to make changes, do it with the idea of improving the process, i.e., make it easier and shorter.  Like Denny, I don't really enjoy building brew stands as much as I like brewing.  That's why I started off by copying his system.  Over time, I made adjustments to suit me.  But ultimately, I wanted a rig I could automate.  So given my desire not to spend a year building it, I had someone build it for me.  Because I don't like messing with wiring control panels, I saved up for a pair of the Blichmann TOP controllers.  I did some of the little things, but left the heavy lifting to the experts.  All of this doesn't necessarily make the beer better.  The improvements in the result is probably a bit of a coincidence coupled with the fact that I have been doing this for a while.  But having a system that holds the mash within 0.5 degrees of what I tell it to without my running around with pots of boiling water or standing and stirring to get that strike water temp just right as it drops from the preheated temp doesn't hurt.  I don't miss that extra effort.  I get just as big of a thrill out of watching the machine ramp up temperatures.  But everyone is different.  And no system is perfect for every brewer. 

Every major change to my brewing setup took about two batches to get dialed in.

Amen to that!
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

[441, 112.1deg] AR

Jim

Offline davidgzach

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2012, 06:53:07 AM »
To the OP-pehlman, what is your current set-up?  I don't think I saw it in the thread.  BIAB, extract, partial mash, all-grain?  And if all-grain, what equipment do you currently have?  As you can tell, there is a lot of advice to be had on this topic, but I'd like to know where you are now and what you are contemplating.  If this is in the thread, just point me backwards.

To safi-I'm assuming you are making an extract brew for your first beer?  Or are you diving in to all-grain?  I would make an extract as my first brew, maybe even a kit, and get through the process once before trying anything fancy.  As has been said, make sure to follow the instructions as best you can, pitch the appropriate amount of yeast in well aerated wort and enjoy the results of making your first brew.  Then make small improvements from there.

Happy brewing!  And rely heavily on the forum.  It's a great place to learn.

Dave
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 06:59:11 AM by davidgzach »
Dave Zach

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #50 on: December 15, 2012, 02:21:21 PM »
The most valuable upgrades were my two chest-freezers, a digital Ranco and a Johnson analog controller. I would implore anyone without the elusive "year-round cool spot" (does it really exist?) that can do ales and lagers perfectly to make these their first major capital outlay. Not a bigger kettle, large burner, pump or brew sculpture. Not a kegging system. Controlling your fermentation temps will be the single most important thing one can do to improve and achieve consistency in the finished product. Without ferm control everything else goes out the window.


I just picked up a chest freezer and a Johnson controller.  Will probably wind up being the single best investment I could make into my beer ($250 or so for both, brand new).  Since I'm now in TX, it's basically a MUST have setup to do beer at all, because it's way too hot here in the summer to brew without some form of temp control.

Offline dcbc

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #51 on: December 15, 2012, 05:24:41 PM »
The most valuable upgrades were my two chest-freezers, a digital Ranco and a Johnson analog controller. I would implore anyone without the elusive "year-round cool spot" (does it really exist?) that can do ales and lagers perfectly to make these their first major capital outlay. Not a bigger kettle, large burner, pump or brew sculpture. Not a kegging system. Controlling your fermentation temps will be the single most important thing one can do to improve and achieve consistency in the finished product. Without ferm control everything else goes out the window.


Ain't that the truth.  Where in Texas are you?
I just picked up a chest freezer and a Johnson controller.  Will probably wind up being the single best investment I could make into my beer ($250 or so for both, brand new).  Since I'm now in TX, it's basically a MUST have setup to do beer at all, because it's way too hot here in the summer to brew without some form of temp control.
I've consumed all of my home brew and still can't relax!  Now what!