Author Topic: What should I do to improve my current setup  (Read 861 times)

Offline vleonino

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What should I do to improve my current setup
« on: June 19, 2016, 09:08:16 PM »
I am looking for suggestions on how best to improve my current brewing setup. I am having trouble making a decision on what is the next step to improve my setup. I currently have a 2 tier brewing stand. It has one jet burner on the bottom and a standard burner on the top. I also have another burner that I bought prior to the 2 tier stand.

I have a 16 gallon bayou classic kettle with a ball valve and a bazooka screen. I also have a 5 gallon pot. I have been using the 16 gallon pot as both my mash tun and boil kettle. I mash in it, transfer the wort to a fermentation bucket, empty the grains from the kettle, and then transfer the wort back into the kettle for boil. This seems to work but I am having trouble maintaining consistent mash temperatures. I can turn on the burner if the temperature starts dropping but I have concerns about scorching.

I have an expendable rectangular cooler that I could convert into a stand alone mash tun.  As an alternative I was thinking of adding a RIMS tube but I would have to buy the tube, a pump, and a temperature controller.

I suppose could always add a RIMS tube to the cooler mash tun as another option. Another alternative that I have seen is a RIMS controller that turns on and off the propane but that option seems to be more expensive than a RIMS tube but I could be wrong.

Currently I am leaning towards converting the cooler to a mash tun and buying a pump. I have 3 burners (only using 2 in current setup) though so it might be cheaper to buy another kettle and try to make some type of 3 burner system with a pump. I also looked into HERMS but that seems to be a more expensive.

https://www.amazon.com/King-Kooker-94-90TKD-Dual-Burner/dp/B00264G584/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466369742&sr=8-1&keywords=brewing+stand

https://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-1064-Stainless-16-Gallon/dp/B007V493PG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466370045&sr=8-1&keywords=bayou+classic+16+gallon

https://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-SP10-High-Pressure-Outdoor/dp/B000291GBQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466370121&sr=8-1&keywords=bayou+classic+burner

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005CIOBFU/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Offline toby

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 09:35:29 PM »
It's hard for me to answer without knowing your entire setup.  What sort of temp control do you employ?  After all, just the hot side isn't the whole picture.

Offline vleonino

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 09:52:27 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to read and reply Toby.

I have a counter-chiller to cool down the wort. Then I have a full size Kenmore Elite stand up freezer with a temperature controller that is my fermentation chamber and also kegerator. Its not ideal but it works.


Offline toby

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2016, 10:44:12 PM »
In that case, I would probably lean towards converting the cooler into a MT and getting a banjo burner instead of a jet.  It will give you a more even heating with less chance of scorching and a single hot spot.

Offline texaswine

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2016, 01:50:57 AM »
First thing I would do is buy a bag and go BIAB. Not much reason to transfer your wort around like that, jockeying it back and forth.

I use these bags. They are the Cadillac of bags, and worth every penny.

http://biabbags.webs.com/

Next thing I would do is find an old sleeping bag, towels, blankets, etc to wrap around that mash tun. This is exactly what I used to do before I got my eBIAB setup. Held within 2F over an hour.

About $25 in upgrades would be a nice step towards what you seek, IMO.

Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2016, 08:49:05 AM »
The major source of pain for you seems to be your mash step, there are 2 simple ways to address this:

Go BIAB , and insulate your kettle with an old sleeping bag (or similar) to address the temperature stability issue.  The bag should act as your filter, and allow you to remove the grains without having to transfer to another vessel.

Convert a cooler, and add another vessel to your process.  You could still bring the BIAB to this solution, using it as your grain filter, and simplifying your clean up process  (simply raise the bag, allow it to drain, then dump the grain).
Dom

Currently drinking - Amarillo saison
Currently fermenting - Pale ale 1 - 2017

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2016, 03:35:30 PM »
What do you want to accomplish by improving your brewing system? Are you seeing a quality issue (e.g. with the inconsistent mash temperatures)? Just looking for greater convenience (e.g. not have to transfer back and forth between the boil kettle)? Or are you just looking for something to tinker with even if you don't need to?
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2016, 07:01:51 PM »
What do you want to accomplish by improving your brewing system ... are you just looking for something to tinker with even if you don't need to?
I'm not sure about the OP, but I feel like maybe you understand my issue :)

Offline vleonino

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2016, 01:24:16 PM »
I am trying to produce better quality and also make ithe easier.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: What should I do to improve my current setup
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2016, 01:50:09 PM »
I am trying to produce better quality and also make ithe easier.
Those are great goals.

Equipment can make it easier. What is hard for you? For me it is the lifting, pumps solve most of that.

You have more influence on the quality than the equipment. One of the top homebrewers in the US has a system so simple and rudimentary that most would not believe it. Process is the key. The process improvementscomes with knowledge. Learning how to taste and judge beer has made me more aware of what can be improved, and how to improve.

Keep learning, keep improving!



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