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Old 06-26-2009, 11:21 AM   #31
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You can make the same quality of beer with a large pot, a turkey fryer and a modified cooler for a fraction of the cost. My suggestion would be to go this route first to see if AG batches are really what you're into before you sink a couple grand into a shiny system.

I mean no disrespect but having a shiny expensive system isn't going to make your beer taste that much better.
It may or may not taste better. My beers get definably better as my system improves and the brew days are infinitely more enjoyable.

I think if you want to avoid DIY, the Synergy system is nice. It is basic and can be upgraded as you see fit, wen you see fit.

If you are like me and know you like brewing, buying a cooler and any parts you don't see yourself wanting later is just a waste of money. Trust me, I wasted probably $1000+ over the first 3 years of my brewing career buying mini upgrades that were washed out of the system within a few brews. Then I planned out my rig and now I do not waste a single cent. A cooler here and a cheap pot there adds up incredibly quick.
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Old 06-26-2009, 01:19 PM   #32
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It may or may not taste better. My beers get definably better as my system improves and the brew days are infinitely more enjoyable.

I think if you want to avoid DIY, the Synergy system is nice. It is basic and can be upgraded as you see fit, wen you see fit.

If you are like me and know you like brewing, buying a cooler and any parts you don't see yourself wanting later is just a waste of money. Trust me, I wasted probably $1000+ over the first 3 years of my brewing career buying mini upgrades that were washed out of the system within a few brews. Then I planned out my rig and now I do not waste a single cent. A cooler here and a cheap pot there adds up incredibly quick.
+1

I couldn't agree more. Starting small may not always be the most economical way. I am not suggesting that everyone should run out and spent mega bucks, but if you have any idea you could get hooked in this hobby and want your brewery to evolve, it could be less expensive to start off with something that would be reuseable as the brewery evolves.
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Old 06-26-2009, 01:44 PM   #33
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<snip>
If you are like me and know you like brewing, buying a cooler and any parts you don't see yourself wanting later is just a waste of money. Trust me, I wasted probably $1000+ over the first 3 years of my brewing career buying mini upgrades that were washed out of the system within a few brews. Then I planned out my rig and now I do not waste a single cent. A cooler here and a cheap pot there adds up incredibly quick.
This is very wise advice. It hasn't applied to me much where brewing is concerned, but I've seen it over and over again in my other hobby (technical scuba). If there is an item (items?) that you know you want/need you're better off to wait and save up for it rather than buying a less expensive alternative. Eventually you'll get what you want anyway, so why not do it right the first time and buy things only once?

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Old 06-26-2009, 01:53 PM   #34
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Let's not forget that brewing equipment has a pretty good resale value within our tight community. I made at least 20 batches on my first converted cooler and sold it to a fellow brewer for about half price. A 3-stainless vessel system isn't for everyone. Half the time I brew on my system, I think of how easy it was to just dump a bucket of strike water into the cooler and walk away for an hour.

The key thing here is that without having brewed all grain yet, it's very difficult to know what you want. I wouldn't even suggest taking our advice on what you'll want because it's such a personal thing.

That' being said, if you want an upgradable system that gets you brewing sooner than later, the Synergy system looks about right. If the price tag is a little steep, I will say that you can contract out the stand for probably $300, the kegs will run you about $400 fitted and welded if you grey-market liberate them. IOW, if you do some of the leg work, the synergy system can be built for about $800 total.

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Old 06-26-2009, 02:43 PM   #35
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It may or may not taste better. My beers get definably better as my system improves and the brew days are infinitely more enjoyable.

I think if you want to avoid DIY, the Synergy system is nice. It is basic and can be upgraded as you see fit, wen you see fit.

If you are like me and know you like brewing, buying a cooler and any parts you don't see yourself wanting later is just a waste of money. Trust me, I wasted probably $1000+ over the first 3 years of my brewing career buying mini upgrades that were washed out of the system within a few brews. Then I planned out my rig and now I do not waste a single cent. A cooler here and a cheap pot there adds up incredibly quick.
You got it. I know I'm into brewing, and I know I want to continue with it. No question there. In retrospect, if it wasn't for the experience Extract Brewing gave me, I would have went straight to AG.

I say $2k as a top end budget. I'd love to spend less, Ideally a couple hundred, but if the system costs a bit more and allows for future expandability, customization, and improvements... I think thats worth it to me. I'm looking to strike that great balance between cost efficiency, getting the best product I can get, and being able to essentially start AG brewing with minimal fuss. I don't mind doing work on the system, installing lines and tweaking this and that or even attaining some form of table/stand to brew on... but I don't want to be welding, going to welding school, talking to my Union friends and ending up with broken knees for asking if they can do a job for me, etc. I'd rather be spending my time crafting my beer, instead of working out kinks in my system, troubleshooting this and that, and causing more variances that will ultimately lead me away from the glory land of consistancy.

Ideally, I'm looking to brew 10-15gal batches as well, so the land of small pots is kind of out of my scope. I'm not a sucker for stainless, but I suppose alot of people are. I don't really care what the hell my pot is made of, as long as it's functional, durable, and brews me great beer. If it is stainless and looks awesome, well thats bonus. Stainless however I woudl think is best for cleaning and sanitary concerns... considering it's generally used in Food Grade products... just a thought.

And, I appreciate ALL the input in this thread so far... thank you guys so much. I love this community.
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:58 PM   #36
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You got it. I know I'm into brewing, and I know I want to continue with it. No question there. In retrospect, if it wasn't for the experience Extract Brewing gave me, I would have went straight to AG.

I say $2k as a top end budget. I'd love to spend less, Ideally a couple hundred, but if the system costs a bit more and allows for future expandability, customization, and improvements... I think thats worth it to me. I'm looking to strike that great balance between cost efficiency, getting the best product I can get, and being able to do essentially start AG brewing with minimal fuss. I don't mind doing work on the system, installing lines and tweaking this and that or even attaining some form of table/stand to brew on... but I don't want to be welding, going to welding school, talking to my Union friends and ending up with broken knees for asking if they can do a job for me, etc.

Ideally, I'm looking to brew 10-15gal batches as well, so the land of small pots is kind of out of my scope. I'm not a sucker for stainless, but I suppose alot of people are. I don't really care what the hell my pot is made of, as long as it's functional, durable, and brews me great beer. If it is stainless and looks awesome, well thats bonus. Stainless however I woudl think is best for cleaning and sanitary concerns... considering it's generally used in Food Grade products... just a thought.

And, I appreciate ALL the input in this thread so far... thank you guys so much. I love this community.
It's your money Billy. Don't let us spend it for you. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 06-26-2009, 03:08 PM   #37
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This would all be alot easier if I went home and there was just a complete setup waiting for me.

I forsee lots of research and planning until I see my first home AG brew day...

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Old 06-26-2009, 03:11 PM   #38
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Ok, some other commentary then. Start with the vessels that will get you to your 10-15 gallon batches. You can brew on them while you get your "sculpture" details ironed out. If you have scrapyards near you, make a few visits. I've seen some great brew systems made from industrial stainless tables with holes cut out and they may also be a place to find stainless tanks or kegs to convert. Look out for pool filter housings that are painted but are really nice stainless tanks.

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Old 06-26-2009, 03:13 PM   #39
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Ok, some other commentary then. Start with the vessels that will get you to your 10-15 gallon batches. You can brew on them while you get your "sculpture" details ironed out. If you have scrapyards near you, make a few visits. I've seen some great brew systems made from industrial stainless tables with holes cut out and they may also be a place to find stainless tanks or kegs to convert. Look out for pool filter housings that are painted but are really nice stainless tanks.
Not a bad Idea, Bobby...

You look to live in Jersey... me to. Any recommended spots?

I have some time this weekend... I should go do some investigating.
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:05 PM   #40
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I say $2k as a top end budget. I'd love to spend less, Ideally a couple hundred, but if the system costs a bit more and allows for future expandability, customization, and improvements... I think thats worth it to me.

Ask and you shall receive....













That is what I would do with your budget. You don't need a stand right away, just mount those pumps onto a board, or into a toolbox.
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