Author Topic: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?  (Read 2501 times)

Offline majorvices

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2009, 11:07:51 AM »


Its really not as complicated as it sounds and the equipment investment is minimal.  A 48qt cooler and a few bucks at the hardware store (see Denny's site).  The propane burner and kettle and chiller will be a bigger expense (but well worth it).  You can pick up a 'turkey fryer' at Walmart or someplace similar for under $60 - you'll have your burner and kettle to do a full boil.
d kettle will make your job easier on brew day.  The chiller and controling fermentation temperature will help you make better beer. 8)


+1, in fact, brewing all grain will save you lots and lots and LOTS of money over extract. The only expensive part is the kettle, but as was mentioned, you can find turkey fryers with 7-8 gallon kettles cheap right now. Use denny's batch sparge method, get a ball valve for your kettle, and you are there.

I can brew 10 gallons of all grain beer for probably cheaper than what you are paying for an extract batch. I buy my grains all in bulk and it ends up being about 15-25 bucks for a 10 gallon batch, or less!
Keith Y.
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Offline pdbreen

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2009, 11:38:05 AM »
My first big step after extract/grains was a switch to kegging.  I hated dealing with all the bottles and the switch to kegs made me enjoy things again.  Which for me was important, because I may have stopped brewing otherwise.  However, I did learn that I shouldn't have given my bottles away as I now keg, but like to bottle some of the better brews for portability/gifts/etc.

Next step was using starters and a stir plate.  This was followed by yeast washing which has saved a ton of money.

Next big step was to all grain.  I also hesitated with moving to all grain - it seemed so mysterious - but I'm so glad I did.  With batch sparging, it's really not that difficult to setup and get some great results.  It does make the brew day a bit longer, but I'm coming in right at 4 hours from first flame on to everything cleaned and put away.  And, there's lots of downtime during the mash and boil so I get lots of other things done as well.

Next on the list is building a keezer that will take me from 2 to 6 taps (or 4 taps and a lagering chamber).  I'm looking forward to being able to lager and experiment with a whole new set of beer styles and yeasties.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2009, 11:43:22 AM »
I also hesitated with moving to all grain - it seemed so mysterious - but I'm so glad I did.

Ha!  Same here.  Seeing words like 2-row, mash tun, sparging, etc made it seem so far out there.

Offline karlh

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2009, 02:02:50 PM »
I also hesitated with moving to all grain - it seemed so mysterious - but I'm so glad I did.

Ha!  Same here.  Seeing words like 2-row, mash tun, sparging, etc made it seem so far out there.

I would add that you save a great deal of money on ingredients with all grain brewing, but you may spend more on equipment. 

I agree that temp control, chilling, and starters are all very important, and a grain mill was one of my early and best investments.  It has probably saved me hundreds of dollars (I'm not sure why the LHBS charges 10-20% more for milling, but they do).
Karl
Mundelein, IL  USA

Offline makemehoppy

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2009, 02:27:26 PM »
My progression was:
True-brew kits with partial boil, water bath chilling, ambient air fermentation
Making my own extract/steeping grain recipes
Partial Mash / extract recipes
temperature controlled fermentations with fridge and ranco controller
kegging vs bottling
full volume boil with immersion chiller
liquid yeast with starters
all grain

temperature control fermentations made the biggest impact followed by all grain.

the all grain difference is likely just keeping a closer eye on the process and just gaining experience. I still occasionally made an extract batch and like them.
stir plate for starters

Offline my99thtry

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2009, 08:20:44 PM »
I've gotten a lot of great feedback and it is much appreciated.  I will definitely be implementing some of these techniques in my next batch and hopefully implement all of them eventually.


It seems fermentation temp control was a popular theme with everyone.  What kind of refrigeration are people using?  I would need to find something that I can put in my apartment and doesn't take up too much space.  Do the mini fridges fit buckets/carboys?

Also, with regards to doing full boils, is it possible to do this on a regular gas stove?  I saw someone mentioned getting a separate propane burner, but again i'm not sure I can swing this in the apartment.  This leads to the question on what a good size kettle is for a 5 gallon batch?  And is there a good kettle to have for full grain brewing?

I thought it was really interesting that with the exception of doing a yeast starter no one really mentioned ingredients at all. 


Offline tygo

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2009, 08:28:35 PM »
Doing a full boil for a 5 gallon batch on a stove probably isn't going to work.  That's what prevented me from moving up to all grain until just recently.  You need to be able to boil around 7 gallons of wort, give or take and that's difficult to pull off on a stove.  Probably impossible on an electric range and not much easier even if you have gas.  I have a 10 gallon brewpot and it works great for 5 gallon batches but I'm boiling on a Bayou burner outside.  I don't think I could get that sucker to a boil easily on my stove.
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Offline tygo

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2009, 10:00:14 PM »
Just out of curiosity I put 7 gallons of water in the brew pot on my gas stove and cranked up the heat.  After over an hour I still didn't have a boil although it was getting close.
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline Podo

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2009, 12:55:41 PM »
I have to echo hamiltont's recommendation to take good notes.  I have the occasional issue with my beers, and good notes help me to figure out what I could've done better. 
So good once it hits your lips!

Offline makemehoppy

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2009, 02:00:55 PM »
It seems fermentation temp control was a popular theme with everyone.  What kind of refrigeration are people using?  I would need to find something that I can put in my apartment and doesn't take up too much space.  Do the mini fridges fit buckets/carboys?

Also, with regards to doing full boils, is it possible to do this on a regular gas stove?  I saw someone mentioned getting a separate propane burner, but again i'm not sure I can swing this in the apartment.  This leads to the question on what a good size kettle is for a 5 gallon batch?  And is there a good kettle to have for full grain brewing?

I use a store bought kegerator for ferment in. Most mini fridges don't have a large enough level area on the bottom to support the carboy/bucket.

I can do a full boil on my stove by splitting the wort into two pots about 4 gallons on the big burner and 2-1/2 on the next biggest burner. Once I get both pots to boil I can combine and easily maintain a good boil. I believe this is refered to as texas two step.
Just using a single burner I can get NEAR a boil okay but I just can't get it ACTUALLY to a boil for a very long time.

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2009, 12:43:21 PM »
My progression was:
Extract/grain partial boils on the stove with dry yeast
Cooled wort with ice bath/cold water while stirring
Started using liquid yeast
Moved to partial mash and partial boil with liquid yeast
Moved to all-grain, got a wort chiller, did full boils outside
Started using 6.5 gallon carboys for primary instead of bucket
Stopped doing secondaries so often
Started buying hops in bulk
Started kegging (bottling was about to make me quit brewing, as often anyway...)


I actually digressed and started using more dry yeast because it's cheaper and there are some decent ones out there (US-05, S-04, etc).  I can't afford $6 for liquid yeast right now as money is tight. 
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Offline jeremybrown_9

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2009, 09:39:07 AM »
O.K. I looked for this answer on the forum, but I couldn't find it.  So here it goes...This question seems really trivial but I don't want to waste anything.  I recently picked up equipment to brew 10 gallon batches.  Is it as simple as doubling everything in a 5 gallon recipe?  Including 2 packets of Wyeast Activator?  Any insight would be most helpful, Thanks.

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2009, 09:46:44 AM »
O.K. I looked for this answer on the forum, but I couldn't find it.  So here it goes...This question seems really trivial but I don't want to waste anything.  I recently picked up equipment to brew 10 gallon batches.  Is it as simple as doubling everything in a 5 gallon recipe?  Including 2 packets of Wyeast Activator?  Any insight would be most helpful, Thanks.

Yes, you can simply double everything. That means doubling the amount of yeast too. So if you're asking "do I pitch two smack packs into my starter instead of one?" the answer is no, you can almost always use one pack and build a larger starter. If you aren't making starters, 10 gallons of stardard-gravity ale requires about 4 smack packs, a lager would need 8 packs, etc. http://www.mrmalty.com/starter_faq.htm
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Offline coypoo

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2009, 11:57:24 AM »
I started doing extract, partial boils and pitching dry yeast.  Then saving yeast and making starters. After 6 batches of decent beer, each batch got better, i was able to score a mash tun and a kettle for $40 and made the jump to all grain 2 weeks ago. As everyone has said, going AG isnt as complicated and scary as it might seem. The only thing was since we were doing full boils we built a 50', 3/8" copper immersion chiller for $55. For the OP, I think the best thing to do would be to get fermentation  under control. Making starters, pitching enough yeast, and controlling temperature will have the greatest effect on their beer. Reading up on saving/reusing yeast is also a great way to save money.

Offline BrewArk

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Re: What Are the Next Steps for Beg.- Intermediate Home Brewer?
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2009, 12:05:54 PM »
Mark your calendar.  Order your hop rhizomes in March.  I got enough Cascade for four batches last year (the other varieties were not as good though). :)
Beer...Now there's a temporary solution!

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