Author Topic: Brewing as you age  (Read 1231 times)

Offline Bob357

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Brewing as you age
« on: July 22, 2016, 01:54:13 AM »
Getting old enough that I can't remember exactly when I started brewing. I began with canned kits with a yeast packet taped to the top and corn sugar and took the natural progression of the times as I graduated to extract, partial mashing, all grain, yeast starters and building my own water. My beer became better and better to a point that I settled into a proven process with great results.

My brewery was simple, but efficient. A 10 gallon cooler MLT with a braid, 10 gallon kettle and a propane burner. Big Mouth Bubblers and a keezer with 2 taps and room for 4 kegs. A fermentation fridge and dual stage digital controller. Pretty much had everything covered without getting too expensive or elaborate.

And then began the dreaded decline of physical ability. Limitations that kept me from being able to do all of the lifting and moving involved. I'm not one to accept defeat, so began looking at ways to overcome my limitations. When I first looked at BIAB I kind of passed it off as stepping back into the past. The more I read the more feasible it sounded. Last year I went to my LHBS (BrewChatter, in Sparks, NV) for learn to brew day. There I watched several brewers with different techniques and systems brew. I was intrigued by a guy who used the BIAB technique and decided to try it.

 I had recently upgraded to a 14 gallon kettle with a spigot and thermometer, so only needed a bag to try BIAB. Got the bag from my LHBS and was ready to go. As a long time BeerSmith user I had the resources necessary to convert my recipes seamlessly. The results have been great.

The only changes I made since have been to remove the kettle thermometer so it doesn't puncture the bag,( I use a digital remote and floater now) add a stainless vegetable steamer to the bottom of the kettle to prevent scorching the bag and a Weber round grill to set the bag on top of the BK to drain.

The results have been amazing. The only lifting I do is to dump the RO water into my BK and lift the filled carboy about 6" to get it into the fridge. Post-fermentation I lift the carboy about 3 feet straight up onto a counter high enough that I can siphon into a keg and the keg into the keezer. Cut the lifting and manually moving by 2/3. Yea, I know more limitations will come, but I got a young neighbor that I can draft to help for the cost of a few beers, Life is good again.

I lost absolutely no efficiency and have since produced a couple of beers that are truly stellar. I see no negatives associated with BIAB. The brew day has been significantly shortened and physical effort reduced. What more can an Aleing old goat ask for?

God bless the Aussies and their ability to produce great results using simple processes.
Beer is my bucket list,

Bob357
Fallon, NV

Offline 69franx

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 02:12:15 AM »
Awesome story, desire will always find a way. Good to hear that your brews really have not skipped a beat since changing methods,  you must have some solid, tried and true recipes
Frank L.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2016, 12:59:54 PM »

...The only lifting I do is to dump the RO water into my BK and lift the filled carboy about 6" to get it into the fridge. Post-fermentation I lift the carboy about 3 feet straight up onto a counter high enough that I can siphon into a keg and the keg into the keezer. Cut the lifting and manually moving by 2/3. Yea, I know more limitations will come, but I got a young neighbor that I can draft to help for the cost of a few beers, Life is good again.

What size batches are you doing? How do you lift the bag from the BK?

If your young neighbor develops a bad back or runs off to join the circus, you could use a pump to move liquid from the carboy into a keg. With that, you still have a couple of steps that require lifting 5 gallons of liquid (ca. 40 lbs), if you're doing full batches. Part of the reason I do small batches is that until I build a pump-driven system, I need to limit myself to how many gallons of liquid (or pounds of wet grain) I am moving post-boil. Everything pre-boil (including mashing in a cooler) has easy workarounds.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2016, 01:02:42 PM »
One of the award winning guys in the club went to a BIAB system to save time. His beer are still winners.

As I age, lifting is minimized with pumps. Being in shape helps, so trips to the gym are part of my routine.
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Offline Philbrew

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 03:44:44 PM »
Looks like you are well on your way to no-lift-brewing.  There are some more ideas in this thread. 

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=25940.0
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline EnkAMania

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2016, 04:47:08 PM »
I have a dolly to roll my brew kettle with and I just ordered a pump.  Once I get the pump, my old man setup will be complete   :)
Some day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny

Offline denny

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2016, 05:37:24 PM »
A pump makes a huge difference for me.  I tried BIAB and didn't find it any faster or easier than what I normally do.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2016, 08:14:39 PM »
For five gallon batches, I use BIAB bags, but really just use the bag as a nylon "false bottom" in my rectangular cooler (also works right in the pot, if I really want to do it that way). I don't squeeze the bag, either, so I mash just like I did previously including the vorlauf.  Bigger batches may work, but I use my tried and true keggle mash tun for those and either pump or just run off 2 gallons at a time into buckets for transfer to the BK or into the fermenter.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2016, 11:41:13 PM »

...The only lifting I do is to dump the RO water into my BK and lift the filled carboy about 6" to get it into the fridge. Post-fermentation I lift the carboy about 3 feet straight up onto a counter high enough that I can siphon into a keg and the keg into the keezer. Cut the lifting and manually moving by 2/3. Yea, I know more limitations will come, but I got a young neighbor that I can draft to help for the cost of a few beers, Life is good again.

What size batches are you doing? How do you lift the bag from the BK?

If your young neighbor develops a bad back or runs off to join the circus, you could use a pump to move liquid from the carboy into a keg. With that, you still have a couple of steps that require lifting 5 gallons of liquid (ca. 40 lbs), if you're doing full batches. Part of the reason I do small batches is that until I build a pump-driven system, I need to limit myself to how many gallons of liquid (or pounds of wet grain) I am moving post-boil. Everything pre-boil (including mashing in a cooler) has easy workarounds.

Doing 5 gallon batches and likely will continue to do so since I want to fill cornies. A pump will probably be in my future. At this point easier is easier. Improvements will follow, as I plan on having my pipeline full for my funeral.
Beer is my bucket list,

Bob357
Fallon, NV

Offline Bob357

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2016, 11:42:06 PM »
Looks like you are well on your way to no-lift-brewing.  There are some more ideas in this thread. 

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=25940.0

Thanks Phil
Beer is my bucket list,

Bob357
Fallon, NV

Offline Bob357

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2016, 11:43:44 PM »
I have a dolly to roll my brew kettle with and I just ordered a pump.  Once I get the pump, my old man setup will be complete   :)

I use a dolly too. Forgot to mention.
Beer is my bucket list,

Bob357
Fallon, NV

Offline 69franx

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2016, 06:22:52 AM »

...The only lifting I do is to dump the RO water into my BK and lift the filled carboy about 6" to get it into the fridge. Post-fermentation I lift the carboy about 3 feet straight up onto a counter high enough that I can siphon into a keg and the keg into the keezer. Cut the lifting and manually moving by 2/3. Yea, I know more limitations will come, but I got a young neighbor that I can draft to help for the cost of a few beers, Life is good again.

What size batches are you doing? How do you lift the bag from the BK?

If your young neighbor develops a bad back or runs off to join the circus, you could use a pump to move liquid from the carboy into a keg. With that, you still have a couple of steps that require lifting 5 gallons of liquid (ca. 40 lbs), if you're doing full batches. Part of the reason I do small batches is that until I build a pump-driven system, I need to limit myself to how many gallons of liquid (or pounds of wet grain) I am moving post-boil. Everything pre-boil (including mashing in a cooler) has easy workarounds.

Doing 5 gallon batches and likely will continue to do so since I want to fill cornies. A pump will probably be in my future. At this point easier is easier. Improvements will follow, as I plan on having my pipeline full for my funeral.
Love that final line!
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg: Märzen
In Bottles:  
In the works:

Offline majorvices

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2016, 01:25:38 PM »
The answer is to open a brewery and hire young 20 year old studs to do all the hard work for you! :)

Offline 69franx

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2016, 02:39:42 PM »
The answer is to open a brewery and hire young 20 year old studs to do all the hard work for you! :)
Fantastic plan! I like it
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg: Märzen
In Bottles:  
In the works:

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Brewing as you age
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2016, 12:14:07 AM »

...The only lifting I do is to dump the RO water into my BK and lift the filled carboy about 6" to get it into the fridge. Post-fermentation I lift the carboy about 3 feet straight up onto a counter high enough that I can siphon into a keg and the keg into the keezer. Cut the lifting and manually moving by 2/3. Yea, I know more limitations will come, but I got a young neighbor that I can draft to help for the cost of a few beers, Life is good again.

What size batches are you doing? How do you lift the bag from the BK?

If your young neighbor develops a bad back or runs off to join the circus, you could use a pump to move liquid from the carboy into a keg. With that, you still have a couple of steps that require lifting 5 gallons of liquid (ca. 40 lbs), if you're doing full batches. Part of the reason I do small batches is that until I build a pump-driven system, I need to limit myself to how many gallons of liquid (or pounds of wet grain) I am moving post-boil. Everything pre-boil (including mashing in a cooler) has easy workarounds.

Doing 5 gallon batches and likely will continue to do so since I want to fill cornies. A pump will probably be in my future. At this point easier is easier. Improvements will follow, as I plan on having my pipeline full for my funeral.
Love that final line!

+1


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