Author Topic: Most important next purchase to make my brew better  (Read 1928 times)

Offline gmiller598

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Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« on: March 17, 2016, 06:50:11 PM »
I'm just looking for some opinions on what would help me make better beer. I currently have the following:

5 gallon stock pot to heat strike water and sparge water for batch sparging.
10 gallon rubbermaid cooler from Home Depot as a mash tun
10 gallon SS BrewTech kettle (on it's way to replace the 8 gallon aluminum pot I have been using)
Bayou Classic burner
copper immersion wort chiller
2 6 gallon glass carboys
2 5 gallon glass carboys for secondary fermentation when I choose to use them.

What is the next thing I should consider purchasing to make my beer better? I don't have any way to control my fermentation temperature other than keeping the carboy in an upstairs closet or my basement depending on the range of the yeast I'm using. Should I look into a mini fridge/freezer with a temperature control unit that will control my fermentation or is there something else I should consider as my next step?

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2016, 06:58:42 PM »
I would lean toward fermentation controls, but don't discount some stuff to do yeast starters. That would be a couple of flasks, DME, etc. You don't need a stir plate, shaking is adequate, but might be something to explore.

Offline gmiller598

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2016, 07:03:22 PM »
I would lean toward fermentation controls, but don't discount some stuff to do yeast starters. That would be a couple of flasks, DME, etc. You don't need a stir plate, shaking is adequate, but might be something to explore.

Sorry, I forgot to mention I do have a flask and stir plate was well for doing a test started when needed.

Offline kpfoleyjr

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2016, 07:04:01 PM »
I once was at the same level of equipment as you, and the next things I bought (in order) were a used 10 cu ft refrigerator with a Johnson controller, BeerSmith software, a yeast starter kit, and Bru'n Water software.  John Palmer has a good video on all-grain brewing, with 5 things to help make a better beer - proper sanitation, controlled fermentation, use of yeast starters, mixture of malts, and water treatment - I watched it to help me choose my next brewing equipment first.  Look for it on YouTube.


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Offline Stevie

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 07:08:24 PM »
Temp control is a no brainer

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 07:20:06 PM »
Temp control is a no brainer
Yes!
And make sure the controller you get does both cold and heat at the same time.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2016, 07:21:02 PM »
Temp control above everything.
Jon H.

Offline gmiller598

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2016, 07:23:50 PM »
Temp control is a no brainer
Yes!
And make sure the controller you get does both cold and heat at the same time.

Is there a good recommendation for a controller?

Offline toby

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2016, 07:27:13 PM »
Temp control is always my first recommendation for somebody at your level.  Best ROI for making better beer.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2016, 07:27:42 PM »
Chest freezer plus temp control is a top option. The other is your own grain mill if you don't have one. I went with the mill first, since I have a basement that works well enough for fermentation temp control for the majority of my beers. Having your own mill leads to consistency in mash efficiency, and allows you to purchase unmilled grain in bulk.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2016, 07:32:01 PM »
Is there a good recommendation for a controller?

For a dual stage controller, I really like this one:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=334

Offline riceral

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2016, 07:41:11 PM »
I agree with the others on temperature control.

I would add something else. _Brewing Better Beer_ by Gordon Strong. Small investment with loads of information to take your beer to the next level. I'm still working on changes suggested in the book.

Ralph R.

Offline pete b

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2016, 08:59:30 PM »
I have one that's easier on your wallet: It looks like you do primary in carboys. A good old fashioned fermenting bucket is easier in every way.
I agree that temp control is key, but if you live in the north, have a cellar, and are willing to brew somewhat seasonally, it doesn't need to be an expense.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2016, 09:48:38 PM »
Is there a good recommendation for a controller?

For a dual stage controller, I really like this one:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=334
+1, been very happy with mine
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg:
In Bottles:  
In the works: Hopefully brewing 10 gallons of Pilsner tomorrow for a family reunion in July, then back to IPA and  a barleywine to age

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: Most important next purchase to make my brew better
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2016, 09:54:13 PM »
Chest freezer plus temp control is a top option. The other is your own grain mill if you don't have one. I went with the mill first, since I have a basement that works well enough for fermentation temp control for the majority of my beers. Having your own mill leads to consistency in mash efficiency, and allows you to purchase unmilled grain in bulk.

If you're getting a bit long in the tooth like I am an upright freezer might be easier on the old back. When my chest freezer crapped out a while ago I went with an upright.
#1 on the mill.
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