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Old 03-16-2012, 07:33 PM   #11
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After smashing a carboy, replacing glass carboys with 6 gal bayou classic pots as fermenters.

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Old 03-16-2012, 08:22 PM   #12
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I'm going to cheat and give two. The starsan spray bottle is terrific and an immersion chiller has made the post boil part much less tedious.

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Old 03-16-2012, 11:19 PM   #13
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I put my IC on a shelf and went to no chill.I love it!!

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Old 03-16-2012, 11:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogwash View Post
Does this affect your hop utilization? Not that I could see why it would but just curious.

I have an 8 gal kettle that has proven itself to be a little small for all grain. I've been managing okay with it but I almost always have sparge water left over that does not make it into the kettle.
I split my hops proportionally between kettles. It may not be ideal for hop utilization, but I doubt it would affect it enough for me to even be able to notice.
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Old 03-17-2012, 02:00 AM   #15
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I put my IC on a shelf and went to no chill.I love it!!
I am a fourth grade teacher and have the patience of a Saint in the classroom. For some reason though, I just can't wait around for wort to cool. I think it is because I am so concerned about the yeast. They must be very hungry after sleeping so long! Who am I to make them wait on delicious, sugary malt?!
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:31 PM   #16
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Genjin - I like that you are looking out for the well being of your yeasties ... I'll bet that they appreciate it.

I have done a few no chill brews, and they have all come out perfectly fine. Something about it feels wrong though - just like not worrying about the foam from star san ... I know that I'm supposed to not worry about it, but it is tough to do!

I was worried that someone was going to list a pump as the best addition right away ... and that is exactly what happened!

I have just made a few of the other practices listed here my own (before starting this thread). I have switched to Star San (and I have a spray bottle for application), I have just received an Immersion Chiller (I had a CFC but it didn't work very well without a liquid pump for me), and I'm kegging my beer.

I would really like to go electric at some point (so that I can basement brew) ... but I don't know that I'm really quite ready for that just yet.

Really I think that kegging the beer is the best addition. I find that I drink less and not more (I can have a 1/2 glass if I want), and it is so much less work. Of course, it wasn't as cheap as I'd have liked...

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Old 03-17-2012, 04:46 PM   #17
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Of course, it wasn't as cheap as I'd have liked...
It never is.... it never is...
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:34 PM   #18
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Equipment aside, larger batch size has made the process a lot more enjoyable for me. Brewday itself is not as easy going and relaxing as it used to be, but, I'm not brewing every other week anymore so the work doesn't really bother me. I can now jam six 4-6 hour brew days into one 12-14 hour brewday. As a result I have more time to spend doing other things that I enjoy. The best part about it is that I never have to drink green beer anymore. I used to hate getting half way through a keg before it started getting carbed up good. Or having to be stingy with friends and family because the pipeline was low. I finally got to a point where I knew brewing would be a permanent part of my life so I sized and built a brewery (as cheap and simple as possible) that more than sustains my consumption rate and maximizes time and cost effictiveness. And aside from dreaming about equipment that I'd love to have, I really don't need to make any more major upgrades ever.

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Old 03-17-2012, 05:38 PM   #19
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Besides taking the whole operation outside with a turkey fryer, I'd say a fountain pump to feed icy-cold water through my IC.

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Old 03-17-2012, 05:44 PM   #20
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I'm also going to cheat and give two.

First, making a yeast starter for every brew. Fermentation takes off so much faster, and finishes up faster as well, and it doesn't take more than 15-20 minutes to get a starter going. Even for the low OG brews, I still like using one.

Second, kegging. Yes, it's got a high up-front cost (especially for a grad student on a budget) but it saves so much time and energy. Bottling is convenient if you want to give beer away, but I've found that having a keg of delicious homebrew just makes everyone want to come visit me

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