Author Topic: Torn between purchases  (Read 1188 times)

Offline jaftak22

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Torn between purchases
« on: April 17, 2014, 12:06:09 PM »
So I am about to make a purchase. Trying to decide weather to buy a grain mill or a set up for a fermentation chamber. Both of which I know are good investments for my brewery. It's just hard to decide if I want to be able to buy bulk grain and mill at home, or drop some money on a fermentation chamber. Guess I could build a son of a fermentation chamber to save some money but it looks like I would still drop a little bit of money.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 12:12:19 PM »
fermentation chamber, hands down. a mill is nice to have but will not significantly increase the quality of your beer. temperature control will make an orders of magnitude difference in the quality of your beer. it's not even a question.

if you are worried about efficiency most good HBS places, whether local or online, will double crush your grain for you but none of them can keep your beer cool for you.

Offline jaftak22

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 12:16:14 PM »
fermentation chamber, hands down. a mill is nice to have but will not significantly increase the quality of your beer. temperature control will make an orders of magnitude difference in the quality of your beer. it's not even a question.

if you are worried about efficiency most good HBS places, whether local or online, will double crush your grain for you but none of them can keep your beer cool for you.

This is a good point. I have been surfing the web looking for plans. Found the one who I think Ken Schwartz made. Anyone have a link to some really easy to follow plans?

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 12:26:03 PM »
Yeah, fermentation chamber.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2014, 12:27:53 PM »
+ however many to temp control. Not even close. You can have the best recipe, ingredients, and process but you only get mediocre beer (at best) without temp control.
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Offline euge

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2014, 12:34:21 PM »
I second the fermentation control purchase. Single best thing I did for my brewing.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Pinski

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2014, 12:49:07 PM »
Absolutely a fermentation chamber.
FWIW- a 7cf chest freezer can be had for ~$250 or a 14cf model ~$500, add a 2-stage ranco temperature controller for ~$100 and your good to go.
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Offline euge

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2014, 01:05:17 PM »
Want to add that there are alternatives as mentioned previously but your best bang for buck and PITA free operation is either a fridge or chest freezer run by controller(s).

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2014, 01:08:12 PM »
+1 to ferm chamber
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Offline nbarmbrewer

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 01:30:08 PM »
I have a chest freezer that I found on craigslist and built my temp controller using an stc-1000. I bought that off of Amazon. It was cheaper than a Ranco. It is in celsius though. You can find the wiring diagrams online.

Offline jaftak22

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 01:30:52 PM »
It might be two weeks or so before I can spend that kind of money. But I'd do have a batch I am brewing tomorrow. I am not worried about this one because it stays at 67-68 degrees in my closet. Have you guys had much luck using a rubber tub and frozen water bottles?

Offline kramerog

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2014, 01:43:27 PM »
It might be two weeks or so before I can spend that kind of money. But I'd do have a batch I am brewing tomorrow. I am not worried about this one because it stays at 67-68 degrees in my closet. Have you guys had much luck using a rubber tub and frozen water bottles?

That's what I use now.  Changing water bottles is a bit of a pain, so this summer I'm going to try to do more stuff with yeast that like warm ferm temps and bacteria, e.g, Australian Sparkling, Berliner Weiss, & Saison with DuPont yeast.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2014, 01:45:30 PM »
It might be two weeks or so before I can spend that kind of money. But I'd do have a batch I am brewing tomorrow. I am not worried about this one because it stays at 67-68 degrees in my closet. Have you guys had much luck using a rubber tub and frozen water bottles?

yeah, that's fine. more labor intensive and hands on but that's not a bad thing perse. be aware that the temp can drop quite a bit that way. also be aware that the stick on fermometer thermos will stop working if submerged in water (or at least they used to). with 67f in the closet if you have decent airflow I'd go with an evaporative cooler for now. less possibilty of mess and ideal performance. have the tub with only about 4-6 inches of water in it and put the fermenter in it. drape a cotton t-shirt or towel over the fermenter and pour water over it to wet it. now as long as the air flow is good and the bottom of the cotton is in the 4-6 inches of water it will continue to wick up more water as it evaporates. these types of coolers will get you ~5-10 degree drop from ambient which is more or less exactly what you want if starting at 67-68. plus you don't have to monitor and switch out ice bottles or worry about dropping the temp way too low.

Offline duncan

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2014, 02:06:31 PM »
I built a Son of a Fermentation Chamber. It is great and I definitely noticed differences in my final product, but it is still a lot more upkeep then simply having a fridge/freezer. Owning a mill is super convenient and is another step in controlling your variables, but my vote is for a refrigerated, temp-controlled fermentation chamber. Now I want one... ;D

Offline euge

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Re: Torn between purchases
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2014, 03:14:09 PM »
I found 30 gallon totes with lid at walmart for $10 each.


It's work to check it twice a day etc... I'd skip the water as it can cause mildew. A small fan of some sort would go a long way towards improving convection. I wired up a case fan from an old PC and random cellphone wall charger to stir the air around. Not optimal though. Not even close.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman