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Old 02-13-2013, 05:50 AM   #1
bwhit55
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Default Looking for affordable brew enhancers

I am pretty new to brewing but have had a great time doing it and drinking it. I am a broke college student looking for cheap ideas or DIY ideas to enhance my brewing experience. Just wondering of any suggestions you may have?

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Old 02-13-2013, 10:38 AM   #2
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Have you thought about BIAB ? You could use it as an enhancer without changing equipment. All you need is the bag and a few pounds of grain at $1.25 per pound.

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Old 02-13-2013, 11:15 AM   #3
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What Jehro55 said. Purchase the 5 gallon paint strainer bags from the hardware store to use for the grain bags (they're cheap). Most average strength ales can be made with a 3# bag of dme or 3.3# tin of lme plus 3-6# of grain in a brew in the bag partial mash. Learn yeast washing and you can use every pack of yeast for 3-4 batches. Brew low hop beers. When low-hopping isn't possible bitterness additions can be Magnum or similar high alpha hops saving perhaps a couple dollars on hop cost.

Many will advise against it harkening back to ye olde kit-n-kilo days, but... Most beers can do with using table sugar for 10% of the fermentables. If you do this though for average american ales for example you'd be wise to raise the mash temp by 2 degrees to compensate for the thinning the sugar is going to give you.

Finally beer calculus is a wonderful free online beer recipator to help with putting together your own recipes.

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Old 02-13-2013, 12:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jethro55
Have you thought about BIAB ? You could use it as an enhancer without changing equipment. All you need is the bag and a few pounds of grain at $1.25 per pound.
Can't I only do small brew batches with that? I have read quite a few things about that and it sounds like a great idea. Can I make a two gallon brew with a three gallon pot?
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:32 PM   #5
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Yeah,you could do that. I use 5lbs of grains with 3-3.3 pounds of extract for 5 gallon brews. I do 3 gallon partial boil biab partial mash. Just did one yesterday (fat tues!),& since I started using the paaint strainer bag,my OG's jumped from 1.043-1.044 up to 1.055! Def get better efficiency with the paint strainer bags vs muslin grain sacks.
And I'll tell you another one. I've been trying to control mash temps without much success. But yesterday,I decided to wrap the mash tun (my SS BK with a cake cooling rack in the bottom & the bag of grains) in my winter hunting coat with the MT siting on two pot holders so it wouldn't damage my coat. I wrapped the coat around it,hood down over the top with the sleaves tied around it to hold it all closed for the 1 hour mash. I had a floating thermometer in it too.
The mash temp was 161F. I know that was a bit high,but it crept up on me while I stirred the mash. After one hour wrapped up in that coat,it crept up to 162F! Gained one degree instead of oosing 5 or so like I thought. So now I can start the mash at 152F,& get 153F by the end. So if you have a winter coat,preferrably lined with thinsulate,wrap the kettle in it. Really worked!
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwhit55 View Post
Can't I only do small brew batches with that? I have read quite a few things about that and it sounds like a great idea. Can I make a two gallon brew with a three gallon pot?
Only if you're going all grain. With grain and malt extract, however, you can easily do a full 5 gallon batch.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:01 PM   #7
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As long as you can handle 2.5-3 gallons of water volume, You can def do partial mash/partial boil BIAB like I do. A 5G SSBK would be better volume-wise.
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