Author Topic: Most and Least  (Read 2736 times)

Offline klickitat jim

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Most and Least
« on: May 17, 2013, 03:41:51 AM »
For the sake of brew discussion and debate, what have you found to be the most valuable equipment or technique upgrade and what is the least?  Or most underrated vs overrated?

Assume that we all start with good sanitation and ingredients.

My personal choices on the most valuable side are #1 fermentor temp control (I use a 14 cf freezer with a heat pad and Ranco 1100) #2 yeast starters

Least valuable is oxygenation. I considered a stone, valve, and bottle once but have had great cheap success with simple, low tech, splash airing. I dump between two buckets until the foam is about to over flow then pitch away. Always have action within six hours. I've also seen some YouTube comparisons that show little diff from O2 on the homebrew scale.

What other underrated overrated things have you experienced?

Offline euge

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2013, 04:02:59 AM »
Definitely temp control is #1...

Least valuable to use are air-locks. I just don't see the need.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 04:29:53 AM »
Floor space is only reason I know. Lately I just leave the blowoff on till done.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 05:48:39 AM »
Of the upgrades I've made over the years:

1) My grain mill - controlling your crush really helps stabilize your numbers.
2) Kegs - They make the process so much easier over all
3) The carboy cleaner thing that attaches to my drill (can't remember the name right now).  - Saves a ton of work with a brush.

Temp control would be great but I just don't have room for another freezer right now.

Paul
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 05:56:32 AM »
Most   1.  Temp measurement/control - thermometers and thermostats
          2.  Dennybrew - I fly sparged for a long time and never hit the level of consistency I wanted until I  switched to batch sparging. Got it now.

Least   1.  Most recipe books
           2. Glass carboys
Jon H.

Offline tygo

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 06:03:37 AM »
My thermapen is probably my most used and valuable tools.  I'm really loving my March pump as well.

As far as least useful, off the top of my head I'd have to say the crappy little 5L mini-keg system I got before I decided to pull the trigger on the big boy kegs.
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Offline dak0415

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 06:36:25 AM »
Most:
Fermentation temp control
Fermentation temp control
Fermentation temp control
Fermentation temp control
Stir Plate(s) for starters
4L and 6L flasks for starters
O2 stone & little red tanks
Martin's Bru'n Water spreadsheet
RIMS mash (note: This does not make better beer, it does help with consistency)
Least:
Sooo many things
Lagering in those 6L Tap-a-Draft bottles
Chilling to pitch temps in the kettle (Now I just chill to ground water temps and stick 'em in the temp control freezer 'til they get to pitch temps)
Dave Koenig
Anything worth doing - is worth overdoing!

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Re: Most and Least
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 06:43:09 AM »
stick 'em in the temp control freezer 'til they get to pitch temps)

Yup! Another trick I started doing a couple batches back. I toss my yeast in there two so yeast and wort are same temp at pitch.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 07:54:11 AM by dbeechum »

Offline hubie

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Re: Re: Most and Least
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 07:22:15 AM »
Yup! Another trick I started doing a couple batches back. I toss my yeast in there two so yeast and wort are same temp at pitch.

I've recently started doing the final chilling in the freezer as well, and I really like the technique.

I've thought about putting my yeast in the fridge as well, but I'm worried that because the carboy has a huge thermal mass as compared to the starter, that at some point my starter would get much colder than the carboy every time the freezer kicked on.  I figured this would particularly be the case when I first put the carboy in the freezer because the freezer is running all-out until the wort gets down to temp.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 07:51:04 AM »
I pull my wort down to below 70 with the chiller, then drain to a bucket and crash overnight at 45. This is when I crash my yeast starter. Next day I rack the wort off cold break, decant and pitch the yeast and set my temp for fermentation. Works well for me.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2013, 09:48:25 AM »
Definitely agree that temperature controller on fermentation is the most important piece of equipment. Although I guess without a heat source I'd have to do only no-boil beers and have no way to heat the mash to appropriate temperatures, so maybe the stove or turkey fryer are most important.

I'm not sure what's least important. Maybe my erlynmeyer flask for starters. It does the trick for starters but I could use any number of other vessels. I only have an electric stove so no direct heating in the flask for me. A few months ago I would have said my party pig is my least useful piece of equipment but I've actually gotten a lot of use out of it by repurposing it. So much so that I bought a second one on ebay.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2013, 10:28:47 AM »
One of the most important things is the mop and bucket.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 10:39:37 AM »
For me the most important process improvement was patience. The only time I'm even in the same room as my fermenters between pitching and bottling is if I'm adding dry hops. Otherwise I just let the yeast do their thing and come back in 2-3 weeks to claim my booty.

As far as equipment goes the most valuable piece for me was my grain mill. Prior to that my efficiency was all over the place from high 60's to low 80's depending on who milled my grain. Not I'm pretty much solidly in the 84-86% range.

The second most useful piece of new equipment is actually a silicone oven mitt. I BIAB, and this lets me squeeze the snot out of my bag (without burning my hands) to get most of the wort out of the grains. In conjunction with my grain mill this has really helped me hit a steady efficiency, because I can get both a consistent crush and a consistent squeeze.

Least valuable for me has been whirlfloc/irish moss. I stopped using it about a dozen batches ago and haven't noticed any difference in my finished beer by the time I'm ready to start drinking it.

One of the most important things is the mop and bucket.

For me it's my "brewery towel" - same idea.
Eric B.

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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2013, 05:31:18 AM »
Definitely temp control is #1...

Least valuable to use are air-locks. I just don't see the need.
I totally agree with temp control, that took my beer from drinkable to very good.
But I use airlocks or blowoffs to keep fruit flies out of my fermenters.  Loosely covering them with foil results in very buggy beer.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline dls5492

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Re: Most and Least
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2013, 06:33:44 AM »
I would say getting a Blichmann Floor Standing Burner. It is more efficient with the propane and cuts my brewing time by 30-45 minutes.
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