Author Topic: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high  (Read 2645 times)

Offline thrive

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Like every one else here, im pretty adventurous. i like to do things that break the norm. hense the beer making...
sure.. i could buy a TON of beer for $1000, and it wouldnt take up 24 sq ft of my kitchen... BUT......

how close to semipro could i get for $1000? i see kits with 2 5gallong buckets for $100 online... will these produce PBR quality crap? Can the semi-talented pull off good beer with these cheap systems?
 
i will say, that i cant stand buying inferior stuff. i.e. i dont want a kit that i could try out,and maybe upgrade if i like it.  id much rather buy the expensive stuff, and learn on the fly :D

i am blessed to live in SF area, and there isPLENTY of craigslist brew stuff.  i just dont really know what things you should skimp on, and the things you shouldnt skimp on


Thank you very much for your help.     P.S.  has any one got a killer hefe recipe? what about a Racer5 Clone ?  yummmm beer of the gods :D

Offline narcout

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 08:54:04 PM »
i see kits with 2 5gallong buckets for $100 online... will these produce PBR quality crap? Can the semi-talented pull off good beer with these cheap systems?

Brewing technique has a far greater impact on beer quality than fancy gear. Plenty of award winning homebrews are brewed on those cheap systems.

If you are new to the hobby, picking up a copy of How to Brew and reading through the forums is a great place to start.
Also, here's a good thread from the Northern Brewer forum that will give you a decent idea of the various types of systems people are brewing on:  http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=69096

Offline euge

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 12:33:52 AM »
What he said.

Really it's not about skimping in brewing. It's more about critical areas. You can brew award winning beer one gallon at a time, but what does "Pro" mean? A commercial brewer?

As a Homebrewer a grand can set you up real nice if you're cleverly handy and have a good idea of the volume you want to produce. I'd focus on fermentation temps, wort heating vs volume and wort transport. Basically burners, refrigeration, pumps and pots. You could have a pretty decent production.

Good luck and all that.

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

Offline majorvices

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 05:39:23 AM »
I agree with the above posters. Here's something to think about. Fermentation is really the most critical part of brewing. For my homebrewery set up I have 3 chest freezers - one for fermentation and one for lagering and one for serving. Those chest freezers are about 400 bucks a piece. I have 2 analog and one digital temp controller with those. Already well over 1000 dollars.

My mash tun is a plastic cooler (free) with a braid ala Denny method. I do have a nice 15 gallon kettle with ball valve and diverter plate (~$300), a B3 3/10 split chiller (~125), a pump (~150 or so), several QDCs (~100), etc. I have a refractometer, a pH meter and several other gadgets.

I also have 2 stir plates, several flasks, an o2 regulator, etc... oh, and about 20+ homebrew kegs.

You can see this is starting to get expensive...

My suggestion is to concentrate of fermentation control first. Invest is a good freezer or fridge with temp control and build up from there. A good kettle with a ball valve and a way to cool your wort is also really important. But a mash tun can be had fairly cheaply.

If you really want to get "semi-pro" with equipment you will need to look into building a stand or invest in a Sabco system (I think around 5K!). But even with those systems, if you don't have proper fermentation control, your beer will suck.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 05:42:00 AM by majorvices »
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Offline babalu87

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2010, 05:44:27 AM »
+1 to above comments
I'll add the following:

Brew some beer
See if you like it
See if your drunk friends like it
See if people other than your drunk friends like it
Keep yourself in a pipeline for a year or so

Then see if you want to go semi-pro (whatever that means)

Oh, if PBR is crap I'll take a 6 of tall boys please.
Jeff

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Hefeweizen,Berliner Weisse, Mead

Offline narvin

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2010, 05:57:37 AM »
A semi-pro turnkey system will make brewday easier and allow you to brew bigger batches.  That's it.  Starting with a more automated system might even mean that you learn less about the process.

As others have said, what you do after wort production is actually far more important than the mashing and boiling process.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2010, 06:47:55 AM »
Welcome to the AHA Forum!

I also agree with the aforementioned suggestions.  Most importantly, learn how to crawl before you try to walk. 
This forum is a great start. 

I highly suggest picking up a copy of John Palmer's book "How To Brew" and reading it
before you delve into this great hobby.
 
I would suggest getting a good starter set in the case you may decide this isn't your thing. 
Ron Price

Offline gsandel

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010, 07:49:37 AM »
Brewing PBR "crap" is hard....perhaps the most difficult beer to home brew (debate amongst yourselves).  So, if that is what you are trying to avoid, good, it would be expensive to try to do that (see thread from guy with three converted chest freezers....I bet he could brew something close to pbr, if he wanted to).

A $1000 could buy you over 1/3rd of the http://www.brew-magic.com/rims_brwy_pro.html cheapest sabco brewing system.  And that doesn't include fermentation or bottling equipment.  At a minimum a basic set up to do extract brewing could cost probably $100-$200.  You can spend as much as you want on whatever gadgets you can think of.  Some are useful, some are not.

In this case, spending $1000 right out of the gate doesn't make a lot of sense.  If you buy good expensive equipment and don't know how to use it, it is useless.  If you buy an expensive system for all grain and use it just for extract, most of the $$ are wasted.  If you buy expensive temperature control systems and only do ales your money is not very well utilized.  Each of our brewing rigs were developed for our personal brewing styles and tastes as well as the type of brewing and types of beers we like to brew.  They were considered investments after we figured out how to brew.  some will spend $5000 on the turn key automated system, some will spend a couple of hundred on raw materials and MacEyver their own systems (as complex as the $5000 system).  Mine is in the middle.

The best way to start is read Palmer's and/or Papazian's excellent books on brewing.  They give you basic ideas of what is necessary for each level of brewing (and what they are, for that matter).  After that, a local home brew store...being near SF you have a lot of excellent stores to choose from, will be able to help you spend $$ on good equipment (craigslist works, but you need to know what you are buying) for beginning.  If you want to spend $1000 at that point, go for it....but I would go with a good kit.  I started on the Williams brewing kit almost 20 years ago (williams is one of the local shops you have in the SF bay area).  I was happy with that kit for more than 5 years, and made successive purchases and builds to my current all grain manual control, fire brewed rig (valued only at $1,000 or thereabouts in parts, not including my labor of assembly, of course).....of course, I also triple hop (often) and cold filter too.  But my crap doesn't taste like PBR (which I like btw)....PBR is sold so cheaply that it is not worth brewing myself (for the effort).

You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...

Offline lazydog79

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2010, 08:30:24 AM »
I agree with the consensus.  Sure, the fancy systems look cool, and I'm sure you can brew good beer on them.  As others have said, the automation of these systems would certainly lead to better consistency, but a sound understanding of the process is what makes good beer.  In this way, brewing is a lot like golf - sure you can drop $1000 dollars on clubs, but if you don't know how to swing 'em, you're not going to do much much with them.  I brew with a cooler mashtun, a 7.5 gallon boiler (shoulda bought the bigger one!) and a propane burner.

Here it is in action:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=640758&l=10df47a663&id=1077800222

I don't like to brag, but I think my patio system makes some pretty decent beer.  Sure, it's not as sexy as a Sabco BrewMagic or a B3 1550, but it works.  As others have said, special attention to fermentation is the difference between good beer and great beer.  The addition of a chest freezer and temp controller was the best addition I could have made to my brewery.  Any problem brews I have had have been on the fermentation side - something I need to work on.

I started brewing extract w/ specialty grains with a basic starter kit like this: http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/starter-kits/basic-starter-kit.html and picked up a 5 gallon kettle.  I soon added a couple of 5 gallon glass carboys for secondaries.  I then went all-grain by picking up a grain mill, a cooler and some copper pipe, a bigger boiler, and a propane burner.  I then came into a free freezer and bought a temp controller.  All in all, I'm still into the hobby for less than $1000.  This is all you really need for equipment.

As other have mentioned, start by picking up a copy of "How to Brew."  I completely taught myself out of this book.  Welcome to the obsession!


Offline denny

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2010, 09:43:07 AM »
Can the semi-talented pull off good beer with these cheap systems?

For the last 12 years and 378 batches, I've made award winning beers with a picnic cooler with a toilet hose in it for lautering.  The brewer makes the beer, not the equipment.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline majorvices

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2010, 11:45:33 AM »
tart. 

I highly suggest picking up a copy of John Palmer's book "How To Brew" and reading it
before you delve into this great hobby.

 


This is the most best advice in the entire thread - way, way cheaper than 1000 bucks.  ;)
Keith Y.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2010, 04:00:53 PM »
The brewer makes the beer, not the equipment.

For shame, Denny! Brewers make wort, yeast make beer!
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
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Offline denny

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2010, 07:36:15 AM »
Yeah, but the brewer pitches the yeast!  (Did I cover my ass with that one? ;) )
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline kgs

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2010, 07:42:35 AM »
tart. 

I highly suggest picking up a copy of John Palmer's book "How To Brew" and reading it
before you delve into this great hobby.

 

This is the most best advice in the entire thread - way, way cheaper than 1000 bucks.  ;)

Just my own newbie perspective (brewing 18 months): Palmer's book is essential reading, but I find the Basic Brewing DVDs to be extremely helpful in understanding the actual brewing workflow. "Basic Brewing™ Introduction to Extract Home Brewing DVD" DVD is $17.95 online and money quite well spent, in my opinion, as is the all-grain DVD.

Since you're in the Bay Area, you could spend $150-$200 to try out your hobby this way:

* Go to one of the local homebrew stores and buy a basic kit, Palmer's book, and the DVD. Buy one of the store's recipe kits (they will mill the grain for you right there), or if you're at Brewcraft, ask Griz for a recipe and he'll write it out from memory. Read the book. Watch the DVD. Note: Griz' two-page sheet on how to brew is really clear.  
* Go to Safeway or Lucky's and get a big ol' container of Oxiclean.
* If you can, sit in on Griz' Monday night class at Brewcraft. It's half hooey but half really good advice (the best being to "Turn off your &$#!@ cell phone before you start doing this"), and besides, Griz is his own local institution.
* Brew a batch of beer. Follow instructions closely. Clean everything immediately. Put the fermenter in the coolest, darkest place where you live. Cool as in temp, not level of hipness.
* Bottle the beer. This is a drag, but if you don't like this, down the road you could start kegging. City Beer Store in SF lets homebrewers take their empties, and I bet other places do too, but if you really have $1000 buying a couple cases of clean new bottles that you only need to sanitize might be a nice treat. Now wait.
* When the beer is ready, no matter how bad it is, ask yourself, did you have fun? Do you want to do this again? No? As Griz says, life is short, and if brewing is an "anal-retentive neurotic nightmare" for you, don't do it any more. Put the kit on Craigslist at half-price and be done with it, and spend your hobby money on something that gives you pleasure. Yes? Try it again, maybe this time with a recipe from the boards. Repeat.

Where you and I live, grasshopper, the only reason to homebrew is because we like to homebrew. At our block party last Sunday I met a neighbor who has been homebrewing 12 years and we started talking process... our better halves edged away from us with a knowing look... soon we were breaking out our worst beers and analyzing them... it's the thrill of the chase, the exactitude of the process, the place it takes us. If that's not there for you, there are many wonderful breweries where we live who will be more than happy to keep you in great beer for the rest of your live-long days.
K.G. Schneider
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Offline denny

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Re: How Pro can I go for $1000 and a space roughly 4ft X 6ft x 10ft high
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2010, 07:56:21 AM »
it's the thrill of the chase, the exactitude of the process, the place it takes us. If that's not there for you, there are many wonderful breweries where we live who will be more than happy to keep you in great beer for the rest of your live-long days.


WELL SAID!!!!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe