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Old 04-25-2012, 02:20 AM   #1
dpeanut7
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Default Turkey fryer a serious upgrade?

If I were to buy a turkey fryer, would it seriously upgrade my final product? Or is it more important to focus on securing a fermentation chamber? I see you can get them for around $60 from Home Depot. I currently just use a 26 qt pot on my stovetop. I have a wort chiller, so that would be fine.

Also, is a 30qt turkey fryer good enough for a potential switch to AG?



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Old 04-25-2012, 02:22 AM   #2
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http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=100056313&storeId=10051&l angId=-1&catalogId=10053&MERCH=REC-_-product-3-_-202038907-_-100056313-_-N

With that would I be able to just buy a new saucepan when I want to go to AG? One that would be big enough for 10 gallons?


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Old 04-25-2012, 02:22 AM   #3
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I'd go with controlled fermentation first over the ability to do a full boil.
there is absolutely no benefit to full boil or AG if you cant control fermentation.

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Old 04-25-2012, 03:06 AM   #4
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OK, thanks.

I think my order of purchase will be Flask for yeast starting, fridge, temp controller, turkey fryer

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Old 04-25-2012, 06:54 AM   #5
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Just got a turkey fryer myself makes it so much easier, especially since my electric stove takes hrs to boil water. Worth the upgrade to me more convenient to not have to split my batches in half on the stoves.

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Old 04-25-2012, 06:59 AM   #6
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as long as your using a high quality modern yeast there should be no need for specialized starter equipment, the advantage to even using a starter is considered by some marginal at best as long as your yeast is healthy. A sanitized cup full of lukewarm water or starter solution will work just as well as any fancy flask does.
The only major thing I worry about with pitching my yeast is to make sure that the wort is cooled enough (I made that mistake once and it delayed the onset of fermentation and I got all sorts of off flavors), but as you say you have a chiller that shouldn't be an issue.

Some form of fermentation temperature control is probably the place you'd see the most gain, particularly if your basement (or wherever you store your fermenter) is a few degrees outside your target temperature.

*EDIT* As for a turkey fryer or other large apparatus for doing your brews, they could potentially speed up the intital heating but they may not justify the expense. I personally just use the Propane burner on the side of my grill and that works just fine. *EDIT*

As I understand it the main draw for doing a full 5 gallon boil is that it allows you to get a brew with extraordinarily high bitterness.
As it was explained to me with regards to Alpha Acids, your boil follows basic rules of solubility, meaning you can only dissolve so much of the Alpha Acids from the hops into solution before no more will dissolve, thus with a 2.5 gallon boil, no matter how much hops you add there is a "cap" as to how much the boil will extract. By increasing the water in your pot to 3.0 gallons, or even 5 you allow more Alpha Acids to enter your brew, giving you more bitterness. That said, for most brews that level of bitterness is undesirable and a 2.5 gallon boil is sufficient for achieving the bittering called for by 99% of the recipes out there excluding a few Imperials or other specialties.

IMO dont even worry about doing AG recipes yet. By and large they add an unnecessary level of complexity. IMO a partial grain is the way to go, using a can of munton's (or other supplier) gives you a solid base of fermentables (reducing the chance of something going wrong) while you still use specialty grains to impart desired characteristics and flavors.

I take most of this from "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Papizan its a few hundred pages of solid advice and recipes that everyone should read.

Even if your no longer a "beginner" the book is divided into various levels of detail, the first section being for the beginner with the final sections basically requiring an Undergraduate degree in Cellular biology to fully understand

While this book was published some years ago, and our fellow homebrewtalkers have discovered more modern changes to the brewing formula, everyone has their opinions and they often conflict, and sometimes those conflicting opinions are each partially right but for different reasons, so take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt.

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Old 04-25-2012, 07:04 AM   #7
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It really depends on how hands on/off you want the temp control to be. For fermentation I just pull a wet t-shirt over my fermenter, set the fermenter in a shallow plastic tray, fill the tray with water and make sure the bottom edge of the shirt touches the water all the way around. That keeps my temp down low enough. Sometimes I even periodically add some ice cubes to the water tray.

I too aim to get a fancy, digital, refridgeration powered fermentation chamber to make lagers and have "set it and forget it" capabilities, but I have not had the need for that yet.

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Old 04-25-2012, 12:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew5329 View Post
as long as your using a high quality modern yeast there should be no need for specialized starter equipment, the advantage to even using a starter is considered by some marginal at best as long as your yeast is healthy. A sanitized cup full of lukewarm water or starter solution will work just as well as any fancy flask does.
The only major thing I worry about with pitching my yeast is to make sure that the wort is cooled enough (I made that mistake once and it delayed the onset of fermentation and I got all sorts of off flavors), but as you say you have a chiller that shouldn't be an issue.
A lot of people are going to disagree with you on this one... for dry yeast generally no starter is needed, but for liquid yeast it's almost always recommended. It is true that you don't need specialized equipment, a growler or any plastic jug works fine.

Complete Joy of Homebrewing is a great friendly introduction to the hobby, but I think 30+ years later a lot of it is outdated. At least that seems to be the general consensus. I have the book, but since I purchased How to Brew it's gathering dust on my shelf.

But I'd like to agree with BuddyWeiser above that you can rig up something fairly simple for temperature control, especially if you buy a controller! Place the carboy in a box and use the controller to power a light bulb for heating. Or make a swamp cooler by placing the carboy in a tub full of water, throw a T-shirt over it, and use the the temperature controller to power a fan blowing across it. Evaporative cooling at its best! This works fine for a lot of people. Not as elegant/foolproof as a proper fermentation chamber, but it'll do.

Also, what kind of stove do you have? I can get 7 gallons boiling on my stove indoors, no problem, but I have a fairly powerful gas range.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpeanut7 View Post
If I were to buy a turkey fryer, would it seriously upgrade my final product? Or is it more important to focus on securing a fermentation chamber? I see you can get them for around $60 from Home Depot. I currently just use a 26 qt pot on my stovetop. I have a wort chiller, so that would be fine.

Also, is a 30qt turkey fryer good enough for a potential switch to AG?
I would go with the fermentation chamber over the turkey fryer. There are other ways to control fermentation temperature, but a dual stage temperature controller and fridge/freezer are the way to go. I can go out of town and not worry about my fermenting beer for a few days anytime of the year. IMO, it's probably the single best thing I've done to make better beers. The yeast turn the wort into beer and it's crucial to make them happy.

Also, I have a 30 quart pot from a turkey fryer kit at the moment and I'm already looking to upgrade after just a few batches. The pot works and allows me to do full boils, but I'd like a bigger pot and a ball valve would be nice. Just my two pennies.
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Old 04-25-2012, 12:17 PM   #10
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I'd go for a controlled fermentation first, I've lucked out since I've gotten a turkey fryer for free and a stand up fridge for free.



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