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Old 08-12-2012, 11:11 PM   #11
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Perhaps you could consider which part of the process gives you the most grief and go from there. Do you have a hard time fermenting at a particular temp? Do you hate bottling? Put your first efforts into resolving whatever the answer is to that question.

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Old 08-12-2012, 11:12 PM   #12
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Save up and pay cash....boo credit says this Dave Ramsey addict

I sold random crap around my house on Craigslist and garage sales to pay for my brewing hobby

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Old 08-12-2012, 11:32 PM   #13
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Man cave brewer here. I got a great starter kit with 5gal glass carboy. Added a 6.5gal firm bucket. Outside of a good kit the best thing I did from the start was a firm chamber using a Jonson controller and small chest freezer . I brew 5gal batches "kits,extract" and I'm very happy with it. I have 4 cases in the bottle and a batch in the chamber. 5gal extract batches are more than enough for me. there are some "tweaks " to my brewing I will do. But a lot of it doesn't cost a lot of money.

The biggest improvement you can buy/make is keeping your fermintation temps in check.

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Old 08-12-2012, 11:54 PM   #14
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I agree that fermentation control is the way to go, and I second (third or fourth...) the suggestions for getting a chest freezer for this. However, since you're spending the money anyway, I'd suggested getting something other than the Johnson controller. While it is good and simple, it can't give you heat control as well as cool. If you really want good control over your ferm temp (especially if you live in a space that might have a cold basement) you'll need a controller that can heat, too. I don't actually have a product to which I can refer you, unfortunately.

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Old 08-13-2012, 12:25 AM   #15
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I use the lightbulb in a paint bucket can and it works perfectly for heat and costs 10 bucks. I use the DIY ebay controller with hot/cold switch on the electricity and plug the light into the hot side. Here is the link for the build: http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html

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Old 08-13-2012, 12:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theveganbrewer View Post
I use the lightbulb in a paint bucket can and it works perfectly for heat and costs 10 bucks. I use the DIY ebay controller with hot/cold switch on the electricity and plug the light into the hot side. Here is the link for the build: http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html
Do you have a link or more specifics on the temp controller with hot/cold switch?

Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:46 AM   #17
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Two controllers I know of work for this. I use the STC-1000 from Ebay. One on amazon for $18.04 and 6.95 shipping, and then the STC-1000 on Ebay for various prices. The ones from Ebay generally come from Asia. The one on Amazon might too. The issue here is making sure they are 110v models and not 220v. The 220v will not work here.

That said, you've got:



From Amazon.

And then you can click here for the search I did on Ebay. The top link is the one. There are other sellers too. It's the STC-1000 model.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=...ller&_osacat=0



This is the thread on the build out. It does take some patience and a lot of wires, but it's really accurate and works well. Basics are you wire this controller to an electricity jack and wire it so when the probe is over your temp threshold, the power is switched on to the electricity plug that controls the fermentation chamber. Then if it gets too cold, the plug powering the heater turns on.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/stc-...-build-330427/

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Old 08-13-2012, 02:27 AM   #18
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The Jonson can cool or heat but not both at the same time. Chances are when its too cold "in the basement " to cool. You switch it over to "warming". Simple plug and play controller to work with. Jonson controller and a chest freezer and your done. No wiring needed other than plugging it in and setting the parameters .


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Old 08-13-2012, 03:02 AM   #19
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Keginf system was a great investment for me. I've got 220 plus a fridge for a two keg system including the kegs. I hated bottling, syphoning 5 gals into a keg and carbing in a couple days is awesome.

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Old 08-13-2012, 03:15 AM   #20
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You should get a mash tun, after that a turkey fryer. Those are the 2 best things you could get at this point IMO.

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