Author Topic: Getting Ready to Brew Again  (Read 1065 times)

Offline narcout

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Getting Ready to Brew Again
« on: January 23, 2021, 09:24:26 PM »
After 14.5 years of pretty much continuous homebrewing, I took a break starting in the summer of 2019.  Ironically, we bought a house a few months later, and I now have the brew space I always dreamed of. 

Anyway, I recently purchased ingredients for the first time in 18 months and have a Saison planned as soon as my hand feels ready (I broke it last month).

I'm not sure if I'm going to enjoy brewing again or not, but I'm looking forward to giving it a shot.  I sold my fancy RIMS system (I never really liked brewing on it), so I'm back to simple hochkurz mashing in an insulated, stainless tun.  Fortunately, I kept the kegerator and fermentation freezer.

Looks like Wyeast changed their packaging from a manufactured date to a best by date.  That confused me for a bit...
Sometimes you just can't get enough - JAMC

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 11:47:30 AM »
Welcome back.  All in one systems have grown in popularity, which you probably know, but the old style methods still work as good as ever.  New malts are coming in regularly, so there are plenty of avenues to explore on your restart!  Cheers!
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline majorvices

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2021, 01:24:50 PM »
welcome back! Two things that got me back into homebrewing was the All-in one system like ynotbrewsum mentioned and brewing 1 gallon batches on my kitchen stove and keeping it really simple.

The all in one systems are nice because you aren't dragging out a ton of equipment, they are easy to clean and fast to brew on. I went with the BrewZilla 35L because it is 110V and simply plugs into any home outlet.

The one gallon batches I use my sous vide for strike water temps and bottle everything with priming tabs in bottles directly off the spigot on the bottom of the Primary fermenter. Super fast and simple.

Back when I was in my homebrew heyday it was always quite a production (and a mess) with multiple chest freezers, fermenters, 12 gallon batches, etc. I've simplified that and I'm having a lot more fun now.

« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 03:47:04 PM by majorvices »

Offline Kevin

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2021, 03:15:57 PM »
Try using Imperial brand yeast. Its advertised as 200 billion cells which means just open the package and pitch for many low to average gravity beers.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2021, 04:02:04 PM »
I just got back into brewing steadily last year after a few years of only brewing once or twice a year. I got a Foundry, and the added simplification has made a big difference. I've also tried to keep my goals more manageable than back when I was going full bore. I generally have 3 kegs on tap and only one batch fermenting at a given time. When it's time to keg a batch I dump the rest of whatever keg I am least interested in, and refill it with the new brew. No matter how many brews I have on my want list, taking it in manageable chunks is keeping me from getting burnt out again, and I'm enjoying my beer more because of it.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline brewsumore

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2021, 05:29:01 AM »
I very recently brewed two 10-gallon batches after taking a full year off from brewing.  A big reason for the hiatus was because my kegerator chest freezer died in February 2020, and with the pandemic it has been very hard to source small chest freezers.  I recently got one with similar dimensions to the old one, and just finished refitting it as a kegerator, and was able to use the previous wood collar.  I just had to replace the wood splash plate/drip tray mount on the front, and a wood drip tray mount on the side.

But honestly, I'm not drinking as much beer as I used to, so the idea of a self-contained 5-gallon electric system is very appealing, or maybe even a 3-gallon system.  But I haven't pulled the trigger yet because honestly I enjoy the big enterprise, hand-crafted feel of batch sparging 10-gallon batches outside.  But I doubt I'll enjoy having 10 gallons of one beer very often going forward.

Roll with life's changes I suppose.

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2021, 03:24:45 AM »
My last brew house was a 3-gallon brew house, but that was because I needed to maintain a yeast bank of more than dozen cultures on slant. Brewing smaller batches more often allowed me to piggyback sub-culturing on top a starter propagation event.  Right now, 5-gallons kegged is the right size batch.

Offline wesbrew

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2021, 02:59:41 PM »
I've been slowly adding to my setup over the years. converted to indoor electric last winter, now 3 vessels. too late now but i would have gotten an AIO electric system just for simplicity and less cleaning.  I have a pretty convenient setup for a 3v though. can't complain
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Offline ttash

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2021, 03:13:25 PM »
For me, keeping things versatile is the key. I  have two systems, one for brewing in the kitchen during winter, and one for brewing in the garage during the warmer months. The big rig is a 3 vessel 1/2 bbl propane fired system with 2 pumps that can turn out 12 gallons post boil of all but the highest gravity worts efficiently with good repeatability. The inside rig is a basic single infusion system that can turn out 3 gallons post boil of average strength worts quickly and easily. During the warmer months I'm very busy and can't brew very often, so being able to produce 10 gallons of kegged beer is essential. Once winter rolls around I have more time to brew more often so smaller batches are plenty. The big rig takes more time to set up and is more complex and I enjoy that, but I love going back to the basic mini system in the winter. It keeps things fresh, interesting, and versatile. I think that if I were locked into brewing just one way on one system I wouldn't brew as much and lose interest.

Offline narcout

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2021, 11:18:46 PM »
Well, that was about the smoothest, most enjoyable brewday in recent memory.  I hit everything (mash step temperatures, pH, volumes, gravity) on the nose.

Keeping it simple with a two vessel setup (although I did break out the pump today as it's only been 12 weeks since I fractured my hand)...

Sometimes you just can't get enough - JAMC

Offline majorvices

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2021, 11:43:49 PM »
Pretty sure I have that exact stove. Not sure I'd brew on it though. LOL

Offline narcout

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2021, 12:32:26 AM »
Pretty sure I have that exact stove. Not sure I'd brew on it though. LOL

Kenmore - got a good deal on it when Sears was in trouble.  It can boil 7 gallons no problem; you don't even need the burner on max heat once it gets going.
Sometimes you just can't get enough - JAMC

Offline majorvices

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2021, 03:34:16 AM »
Mine the same model but not a Kenmore. You know, they put different brands on the same models nowdays. Also, I thought it was a 15 gallon brew pot. I can easily see mine boiling 7 gallons.

I love the stove BTW.

Offline narvin

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2021, 03:37:16 AM »
Congrats man.  Not only is it worth the wait, but when life gets complicated simplifying things is really satisfying. Enjoy!

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Getting Ready to Brew Again
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2021, 04:04:52 AM »
That’s a good looking system from where I sit.


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