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Old 12-22-2011, 06:03 PM   #1
price2bc
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Default Slowly building my brew system (what to add next?)

I have started to build a better system and get into all grain brewing. Im slowly adding equipment and upgrading old equipment. Eventually id like to have a very nice homebrew system capable of handling larger quantities.

Take a look at what i have currently and let me know what you suggest id add or upgrade next. Just looking for some input from some experienced brewers. Thanks guys.

My Current equipment:

5 gallon brew kettle
Ale pail 6 gallon primary fermenter
1 plastic carboy
10 gallon igloo cooler conversion mash tun
2 liter Erlenmeyer flask



Heres what i am considering:

15 gallon stainless brew kettle
2-3 glass carboys
stir plate


any input is greatly appreciated

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by price2bc View Post
I have started to build a better system and get into all grain brewing. Im slowly adding equipment and upgrading old equipment. Eventually id like to have a very nice homebrew system capable of handling larger quantities.

Take a look at what i have currently and let me know what you suggest id add or upgrade next. Just looking for some input from some experienced brewers. Thanks guys.

My Current equipment:

5 gallon brew kettle
Ale pail 6 gallon primary fermenter
1 plastic carboy
10 gallon igloo cooler conversion mash tun
2 liter Erlenmeyer flask



Heres what i am considering:

15 gallon stainless brew kettle
2-3 glass carboys
stir plate


any input is greatly appreciated
Those are all good ideas to step up. I would first look to get the larger brew kettle. Doing a full boil is a great way to improve your beer.

How are you chilling your beer currently? If you want to do a larger batch, you will need a good way to chill that amount of volume. When I went to 10 gallon batches, I picked up a 50' copper immersion chiller, and it does a good job.

Also, do you have a way to control your fermentation temperatures? If not, consider picking up a chest freezer and external temperature controller.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:13 PM   #3
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x2 on the brew kettle and chiller

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:13 PM   #4
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I would get a wort chiller before you even consider getting a bigger kettle.

A 15 gallon kettle is not much good if you can not cool it down in a timely fashion.

As far as the glass carboys, i have been getting away from them. I still have 4 but i have been using to the better bottles. I like them better, but that's just my personal preference

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:14 PM   #5
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Sounds like you are on the right track. I find I need two kettles for batch sparging with a cooler...one to heat water, one to hold the first mash. wort. If you brew a lot, you will definitely need the extra fermenters. I prefer a mix of buckets and carboys. The 10 gallon cooler is a good call, I have a five gallon and it is kind of pushing it to do 5 gallon batches of a big beer.

The kettle size just depends on how big you want to go. I have read a lot of posts saying 15G kettle is the way to go, in other words buy big now so you don't have to later, but you have to look at your current needs, and what you really plan on in the future. I just bought a sweet 9 gallon kettle with two welds (for valve and thermometer) for $99 from adventures in homebrewing, thermo included in that price. I just looked at my setup and realize I like to brew frequently, I can barely drink everything I brew now in 5 gallon batches, and I don't have a lot of space for storage of keggles and a brewstand. For me personally right now the benefit isn't there to go to 10 gallon batches. But that is just me, everyone is different.

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:32 PM   #6
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I do not have a chiller but did plan to get that next I had just forgot to post that. Was going to build one but will wait to see what kettle I decide on so I can customize it for fit. I have an old keg that i could use for conversion to a keggle i just do not have the equipment or skills to do so. I may contact a local metal fab facility to see if they would be interested in taking on the project.

I will have two kettles once I upgrade, so i can use the new 15 as the brew kettle and my old 5 gallon as my sparge tank.

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:41 PM   #7
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I'd get the kettle. Get it out of the way, I wish I would have. You can do 10 gallon batches without a problem using the BIAB method. You won't need the other kettle. Get the chiller after that. You can use the 5 gallon kettle until you get a chiller.

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:52 PM   #8
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How are you fermenting right now? The first thing I would do would be a good way to maintain cool fermentation temperatures.

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Old 12-22-2011, 07:04 PM   #9
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I currently ferment in a ale pale 6 gallon. Use temps around my house to control fermentation temp. Obviously not accurate or ideal. I see the suggestion of the freezer with external temp control. What other options do you suggest that might be less costly?

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Old 12-22-2011, 07:11 PM   #10
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How are you fermenting right now? The first thing I would do would be a good way to maintain cool fermentation temperatures.
Although daksin makes a good point and I agree with him (as I pretty much always do) that maintaining temps is important, I still think the kettle should be first, then maybe temp control before the the chiller. You're going to get the double benefit of taking the evolutionary step of full boils and preparing for the future (all-grain/10gal batches).
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