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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Take it to the next level
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:35 AM   #1
addis29
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Default Take it to the next level

I am brewing with the straight bascis that everyone probably started with. Plastic buckets and glass carboys. What is next? How can I improve what I'm doing. I started this as a hobby and I am hooked. I would like I said, take it to the next level. Some of the equipment is a little pricey. Any tips on what is most important to make a better brew.

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Old 07-11-2008, 02:51 AM   #2
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Many people say going all grain and controlling temperatures during fermenting offer the biggest improvement. I recently started all grain brewing, and control temps during fermentation with an ice cube cooler and ice packs. I know this is not as precise as a fridge with temp controller, but it is the right price right now.

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Old 07-11-2008, 03:01 AM   #3
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Thats the fun of it. its up to you.
Would more complicated/automated process be more fun?
yeast farming?
get real technical w/ your water?
or even build a bar to serve it all at.
Ben

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Old 07-11-2008, 03:08 AM   #4
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If you have the room, I recommend going to all-grain. It's a minimal investment, especially if you're already doing full boils, and you'll see a noticeable difference.

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Old 07-11-2008, 03:12 AM   #5
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I just took the next step from where you are and it made a world of difference in my last brew. The biggest issues I was facing were chilling the wort quickly and controlling the fermentation temperature (I live in South FL). I purchased a 60' roll of 3/8" copper tubing from Home depot for $60 and made an immersion chiller and post chiller - you just need something to roll it around (I used a small trash can) and a couple hours. Also, if you don't have one, I recommend picking up an auto-siphon. Basically, I use the immersion chiller for about 15 - 20 minutes to get the wort to about 80 degrees, then siphon it through the post chiller which is submersed in an ice bath and directly into the carboy at a final temp around 65 degrees.

Finally, Jamil and John (in Brewing Classic Styles) indicate that the difference between an okay beer and a great beer is in controlling the fermentation, so I picked a Johnson controller and converted a barely used chest freezer into a temp controlled fermentation chamber - it's working out great. I also picked up a 2L flask for making starters (should have gone with the next size up) and upgraded my sanitation from bleach to a big bottle of StarSan, the stuff is great. My next upgrades will probably be to all-grain but that won't be until next year, still working on getting everything else under control.



Good luck,
Chris

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Old 07-11-2008, 03:32 AM   #6
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+1 on the all grain... That was my last step up and I think it was by far the best thing I have done for the quality of my beer so far. My next advance is to start yeast ranching (beginning with the Rogue St Rogue's Red Ale in my beer fridge!)

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Old 07-11-2008, 05:00 AM   #7
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I agree that getting good at all grain will make better beer. But, an easy way to seriously improve your beer (and correct the most common beginner brewing problem) is to control your fermentation temperature. This doesn't mean buy a new fridge and a temp controller, unless you have the space and money to do so. It just means a little rigging and extra effort.

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Old 07-11-2008, 05:38 AM   #8
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The next level is repeating good recipes...you don't need to invest in any more equipment (yet)...

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Old 07-11-2008, 09:02 AM   #9
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+1 Fermentation temp control. IMHO the most critical factor after sanitation.

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Old 07-12-2008, 09:17 PM   #10
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thanks for the info and picks.

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