Author Topic: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System  (Read 6277 times)

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2012, 08:42:05 AM »
I keep planning to upgrade to mashing in a cooler, instead of BIAB. I even bought the cooler.

And I also have that ol' turkey fryer sitting in the box in the basement for when I get around to brewing outside.  It's been there for six years or so at this point...

But when it comes down to it, I know my equipment and I know my process and changing it will take more time.

So I brewed 10 gallons this weekend on the stove top.  Hit my numbers (actually a little on the high-side, but that's OK by me).  Pitched the yeast and it's fermenting right now.

I have so little time to commit right now, that it seems better suited to staying with what I know works rather than investing the time in changing.

If you know your system, IMO you should invest your energy in improving your process and making better beer.  Don't change just to change.
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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2012, 09:10:44 AM »
[...]It is a bad practice to say temperature control is more important than sanitation....IMHO.  There is no substitute for (nor any excuse for not having) good sanitation practices.  [...]

I did not mean to imply that sanitiation wasn't highly important. very little sucks more than getting foot smelling, sour, moldy beer. However sanitiation is really a sinch, and if you have a very basic understanding of it you will not have major problems there. But my point stands I think, you can make excellent beer with minimal or even non-existent sanitation, if you are lucky. with incorrect fermentation temperatures it is simply impossible. Now, temp control doesn't necessarily mean a dedicated cold room with two way digital temp control down to the .01th degree. Perhaps it's just a cool/warm place in your house, or a tub of water with frozen water bottles or a fish tank heater. but if you try to make a kolsch at 82* it WILL be nasty. If you forget to sanitize your clean fermenter but you ferment at around 58-62* it'll likely be just fine. Maybe even amazing.

Let's remember people have been making (by all accounts) amazing beer with zero understanding of sanitation for thousands of years. but climates that lend themselves to beer making tend to be temperate and cool during brewing season (eg. scotland, northern germany). Those climates that aren't tend to favor styles that don't mind as much (eg. saisons in a climate that tends to warm a bit during brewing season).

My point was simply that all things being equal, if you are already making beer temp control is going to give you more bang for your buck then just about anything else you can do to upgrade your system. But don't aerate the wort with your toilet plunger.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2012, 09:33:33 AM »


. But don't aerate the wort with your toilet plunger.

no wonder i make s***ty beer 8)
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2012, 09:54:43 AM »


. But don't aerate the wort with your toilet plunger.

no wonder i make s***ty beer 8)

I actually do keep a clean never-used-on-anything-else toilet brush for scrubbing cornies.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline a10t2

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2012, 10:17:14 AM »
I actually do keep a clean never-used-on-anything-else toilet brush for scrubbing cornies.

That's a very dangerous game if you have roommates. ;)
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2012, 10:24:33 AM »
I actually do keep a clean never-used-on-anything-else toilet brush for scrubbing cornies.

That's a very dangerous game if you have roommates. ;)

Just a wife.  So no worries.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline denny

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2012, 10:28:59 AM »
Years ago I came to the conclusion that the brewer makes the beer, the equipment doesn't.  That's not to diss anyone who ises a fancy system.  That's a personal preference, not a requirement for good beer.  After all these years and all these brews (somebody cue "Still Crazy After All These Years"!), I'm still happy with my incredibly down scale Cheap'n'Easy system.  It fits my style of brewing, I make good beer and I have fun doing it.  Those should be the considerations.
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Offline gsandel

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2012, 02:30:50 PM »
I agree with Denny
Quote
It fits my style of brewing, I make good beer and I have fun doing it.  Those should be the considerations.

The gear should compliment the brewer's style....you need very little else except a little desire to make good beer.

I'll bet that Denny's cheap and easy system is pretty impressively clean where necessary, however...
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline ckpash88

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Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2012, 04:45:43 PM »
Upgrading can be fun though. I get quite a bit of satisfaction from building and working things out but changing things or the sake of changing things is pointless.


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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2012, 06:03:56 PM »
I would also say that process trumps equipment every time.  After 10 years of brewing I had upgraded all my equipment, gone from a single burner system to a 3 tiered 3 burner 10 gallon system with a stainless conical.  I made more beer in less time, but not better beer.  About 7 or 8 years ago I started reading about temp control and how it relates to each beer style I liked to brew, and suddenly I have truly excellent beer.  I'm lax on sanitation, most of my kegs have not been taken apart and cleaned for 15 years and I use my equipment for brett and normal beers, but I am relentless in keeping my temps consistent.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline The Professor

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #40 on: November 12, 2012, 07:44:23 PM »
Years ago I came to the conclusion that the brewer makes the beer, the equipment doesn't.  That's not to diss anyone who ises a fancy system.  That's a personal preference, not a requirement for good beer.  After all these years and all these brews (somebody cue "Still Crazy After All These Years"!), I'm still happy with my incredibly down scale Cheap'n'Easy system.  It fits my style of brewing, I make good beer and I have fun doing it.  Those should be the considerations.

I'm with Denny on this, 1000%.
The only upgrades to my 'system' were after I already had 15 years of brewing behind me:  so around 26 years ago I decided to ramp the hobby up a bit and  I built a very simple 3000watt electric 'keggle' (simple, as in just on/off, no fancy controls); I also bought a 5 gal Gott/Rubbermaid  cooler for mashing to replace the bucket I was using, and I started using a counterflow wort chiller.  Fortunately, I've always been a lunatic  about sanitation.
I've only just in the past year replaced the cooler with a new one (of the same type), and at some point soon will add a 10 gal one.  Other than that, I've essentially  been brewing on the same 'system' since 1986.  I know exactly  what to expect from it and get great results...certainly on par with or better than my local micros are putting.

It's definitely a 'ghetto' system without a doubt, and it's certainly more 'hands on' than an automated system would be, but I couldn't even imagine changing the setup now, since it has, for so long, consistently delivered what I want. 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 07:46:18 PM by The Professor »
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Offline mpietropaoli

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Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2012, 08:21:38 PM »
Some things you NEED decent gear for.  My answer would be to learn your system, but also learn what those critical components are and could benefit from either monetary or time investment if u are particularly handy.  In this order:

-Chest freezer/temp controller
-blichmann top tier burner
-stir plate
-kegging

Are all great brewing investments, with the first being out to a HUGE lead, and the second helping the most with beer made:time spent brewing ratio (my BIAB brew days are down to 4 hours, cleaned and on the couch with a coldie). 
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Offline denny

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Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2012, 11:47:47 AM »
Upgrading can be fun though. I get quite a bit of satisfaction from building and working things out but changing things or the sake of changing things is pointless.


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That's kinda what I meant about having a system that fits your style.  I HATE building equipment and making changes.  I'd rather spend the time brewing.
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Offline safi

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #43 on: November 14, 2012, 07:16:47 PM »
thanks everyone i love reading this thread and getting advice from the experienced brewers!
Dani

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Upgrading Equipment vs Learning Your System
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2012, 08:21:10 AM »
I HATE building equipment and making changes.  I'd rather spend the time brewing.

I really like building things, and I've bought a lot of parts to build a lot of things (hop spider, for one).

But I also don't like making changes and would rather spend the time brewing.

So I have lots of parts for things I will likely never build.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton