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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > What's the next step in improving my brewing?
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
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Default What's the next step in improving my brewing?

I've been brewing for about a year. I'm looking for advice about what to do/buy/build to make a step forward.

I've done extract and partial grain, but don't really have room for all grain equipment. I always do a yeast starter. I've got a little 2 keg system in a mini fridge. I've done kits and followed recipes from books.

What should I tackle next? New kettle for a full boil? Build or buy a wort chiller? Try some BIAB all grain? Build a tower to replace the picnic taps on the kegs? Create a recipe? Get a stir plate?

Thanks for the thoughts! Posting this has got me thirsty...

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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You could try what I do. Partial boil/partial mash brew in a bag. I have a 5 gallon ss kettle use a 5G paint strainer bag in with a cake cooling rack on the bottom to keep the bag/grains from burning. I generally mash 5lbs of grains in 2 gallons of water at 152-155F for an hour. Then sparge grains in a collander on top of the BK/MT with 1.5G of 165-168F water for total boil volume of 3.5 gallons.

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:34 PM   #3
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Bigger pot to do biab all grain. And build a small immersion chiller.

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:36 PM   #4
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Temperature controlled fermentation was the upgrade that had the most improvement for my brews.

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:40 PM   #5
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What should I tackle next? New kettle for a full boil? Build or buy a wort chiller? Try some BIAB all grain? Build a tower to replace the picnic taps on the kegs? Create a recipe? Get a stir plate?
All of those sound like good things to try
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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All of those sound like good things to try
Agreed. It's a slippery slope, and I bet you are employing all those and more within a season. Going BIAB might be your best option given your restraint on space, but I am biased.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:00 PM   #7
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#1. Fermentation Temperature Control

Everything else is debatable in improving your beer on what level of importance it has. So in no particular order these things will improve your beer...

-Process improvements like full boils and fast chilling or brewing all grain with step or decoction mashing when called for.
-READ Yeast, Style books, How To Brew, Tasting Beer, New Lager Beer, tons of books on brewing - the info WILL help
-Compete - it can be a pain in the butt, but competing has taken my brewing to another level and it was already good.
-Judge - become a BJCP judge. Evaluating beer will give you a whole new appreciation for beer and the ability to find nuances in them that was previously absent to your taste buds. Armed with that information you will be able to formulate recipes with information about how the beer will actually taste when it's done.

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Old 04-09-2013, 05:18 PM   #8
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Wow, you guys rock. Thanks for the thoughts.

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Old 04-09-2013, 05:23 PM   #9
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Temperature controlled fermentation was the upgrade that had the most improvement for my brews.
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#1. Fermentation Temperature Control

Everything else is debatable in improving your beer on what level of importance it has.
This can't be stated enough. Temperature control and pitching proper levels of yeast have the greatest impact on the end result. Since you already make starters I would focus on temperature.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:47 PM   #10
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Im still extract brewing with spec grains. Process improvements is where im at. Refractometer to test the OG while boiling has been a big help. Wort chiller,temp controls,yeast handleing and health. I even go so far as to crush my own steeping grains as well as sparge them. Im always tweaking my brewery.

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