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Old 05-21-2010, 05:56 PM   #1
Frankdaatank24
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Default Feeling Way Overwhelemed!

Well, its been a good 6 months since I finally got back to the states from being station in Japan, and yea I promised myself that I would start brewing again when I got my house. Well, that hasn't happened yet.

With a lot of people in my command wanting to try some of my homebrew the pressure is on to start up again, which is cool. The problem is that its starting to become warmer outside (I'm in the Central Valley in CA) its hard to keep an ambient temperature inside a room at 65 degrees for fermentation. On top of that I need to start with making 10 Gal batches vice 5 Gal batches just because of the demand (I love my beer, I want to keep some for myself :-)).

So with that comes a list of stuff that I need. There is no way that I'm going to chill a keggle with an ice bath, so I'll need an immersion chiller. I'll either need to buy one straight out or make one, and if I make one then I'll need the proper tools for that.

As far as fermentation I'll definetly need a fermentation chamber. I was thinking that getting an old refrigerator or chest freezer with a temp controller, but on craigslist the median price is $100, which is rediculous. That would be ideal for me as a set it and forget it type thing, but I don't know.

Then there is the burner. I will need one, but unsure what type to get for my keggle that I'm currently in the process of building. From all the pictures that I've seen I'm not sure if I have to buy the stand and burner seperatly, then there is the propane tank that I have to get as well.

But yea, just feeling a bit overwhelmed with the entire process. Not enough time between the wife and kid, not enough cash, unsure of materials needed, etc. Anyone have anything like this?



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Old 05-21-2010, 06:05 PM   #2
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Frank, I wouldn't let any of your mates pressure you, if that's what's happening. I'd get stuff as you can, no timetable, no promises. A couple of ideas:

1. Brew some extract/steeping grains or partial mash batches, to get back into it - not as much time or equipment needed, and you can do great beer.

2. For the fermentation temperature control, you could try a solution some of us here use - submerge the fermenter in a larger container of water with frozen liter bottles, does a great job of lowering the temp. Swap the bottles once a day.

Cheers!



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Old 05-21-2010, 06:05 PM   #3
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Nope. I started with extract and slowly added bits until I got everything I needed. Or at least everything I need so far. But I am pretty much the only one drinking my beer.

I built most everything. Unfortunately, a ferm chamber is going to cost $100 or more by the time you buy a used unit and the controller. You might consider looking for a large cooler on craigslist or yard sales and put your fermenter in there with an icewater bath. I've done that and it works pretty good. You only have to remember to change out the bottles of frozen water twice a day.

I would not feel pressured about others wanting your beer. Brew as often as you like and give out as much as you like. It's your beer. The others are like the animals in "The Little Red Hen".

EDIT: Another unison post! Great minds think alike!

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Old 05-21-2010, 06:28 PM   #4
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Thanks for the posts guys. In retrospect I think I'm just going to get a refrigerator and do 2 5 gal batches seperatly with specialty grains and DME like Pappers suggested (Thanks btw!). The others can wait until I get the time to make, which I hope won't be long.

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Old 05-21-2010, 11:30 PM   #5
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I seem to recall reading about someone using an old window AC and some solid insulation board to make a ferm chamber, which would be cheap and wouldn't require too much equipment - a hammer and something to cut styrofoam. AC would keep the air in the chamber at whatever you set it to. Just something else to consider - keep in mind that the result would probably not be very pretty

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Old 05-22-2010, 01:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorneliusAlphonse View Post
I seem to recall reading about someone using an old window AC and some solid insulation board to make a ferm chamber, which would be cheap and wouldn't require too much equipment - a hammer and something to cut styrofoam. AC would keep the air in the chamber at whatever you set it to. Just something else to consider - keep in mind that the result would probably not be very pretty
It works. That setup keeps lagers @ 50 degrees in my garage in oklahoma during the summer.

I agree with everyone that brewing should be a hobby that is about making great beer for yourself and your family to enjoy, and having FUN!!! If you get into a weekly or monthly routine of doing even 5 gallon batches, in a few months you'll have a pipeline of beer waiting to be drank and more than enough to give some to buddies.
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:42 PM   #7
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As mentioned before you can keep your fermenters cool pretty easily with iced water bottles or a swamp cooler. This thread may give you some ideas for a fermentation chamber using a cheap temp controller.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay-aquarium-temp-controller-build-163849/

Keep an eye on Craigslist for chillers. I see them in my area pretty often. If you can't find one there are a lot of tutorials online for making them. It's pretty easy.

This burner is cheap and works great.
http://www.webstaurantstore.com/bayou-classic-sq14-single-burner-outdoor-patio-stove-range/554SQ14.html

If you are looking for a burner that is ridiculously powerful search for "banjo burner"



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