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Old 05-28-2010, 10:30 PM   #1
Captain_Bigelow
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Default Brew stands, pumps etc - make brewing easier?

Right now I have the basic AG set up, mash in a 10g cooler, brew on a propane burner, chill with IC. For the past year I have been using this I have consistantly made good beer.

I am looking at brew stands, pumps, plate chillers etc. They all look great, but do they really make the process all that much easier? When I think about it, I imagine it could actually take longer to complete a batch. As you have a lot of hoses and equipment to sanatize then clean after. I only brew 5g batches and have no interest in upgrading to 10g (I know people say that all the time and change their mind!).

I was interested to hear from people with advanced set-ups comment and see if it is really worth the investment.

Thanks


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Old 05-28-2010, 10:47 PM   #2
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Justification of the expense. Is it worth the investment: That's up to you.

Would you go from a cooling time of 30 minutes, to 10 minutes, for $200? Many of us did.

How about automatic, electric control of your HLT and boil temps: $200. Tempting? Maybe not.

Better beer? Maybe, especially when consistency is considered.

I think most here spend money on this because it is their hobby and that is a great place to blow the $$. I collect stamps... try justifying spending $1k for an old stamp.


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Old 05-29-2010, 12:08 AM   #3
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No, it's not worth the investment in the pure sense. It does not guarantee better beer or even better consistency. Whether or not it saves any time is debatable. Automation does offer more flexibility for doing step mashes and such, but whether or not this is a big deal is also debatable. I've got a semi-automatic RIMS setup which I like. I like the flexibility is offers, I like to build stuff and I'm a gadget freak. It satisfies a lot of those requirements. It also helps me make pretty good beer sometimes. My advise is not to look at it from an investment perspective. Instead, look at it purely as a hobby and an addiction. Forget about the money part.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
My advise is not to look at it from an investment perspective. Instead, look at it purely as a hobby and an addiction. Forget about the money part.
Could you please speak to my wife and explain this to her? I was gone a couple of weeks ago and a local fabricator delivered my single tier brew stand and left an invoice. So I get a call at 9:00 pm and she wants to know why it is worth $200. I tried to tell her that it was very cheap, especially considering it was powder coated as well.

Clearly it is an addiction for me but I cannot forget about money as someone keeps reminding me.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:44 AM   #5
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Could you please speak to my wife and explain this to her? I was gone a couple of weeks ago and a local fabricator delivered my single tier brew stand and left an invoice. So I get a call at 9:00 pm and she wants to know why it is worth $200. I tried to tell her that it was very cheap, especially considering it was powder coated as well.

Clearly it is an addiction for me but I cannot forget about money as someone keeps reminding me.
$200, powdercoated? WTF. She should take you out to dinner after that.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:51 AM   #6
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Yeah, $200 is nothing. Remind her that it will keep you at home more. Remind her that a set of new golf clubs would be a lot more than that, not to mention the greens fees, balls, clothing, misc continuous upgrades and lunches. Would she prefer to be a golf widow? There are far worse hobbies than home brewing.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:52 AM   #7
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Go with what you are comfortable with...

My stepping up to 10g batches was made easier by certain purchases (or gifts)....

I love my March pump for wort transfer... Sooooo much nicer than have to drain and dump via an extra pot... Also helps with my CFC... Gravity works, but I am clumsy and climbing on a step stool with 4 gallons of near boiling water is a trip to the ER in the waiting for me....

I am currently in the market / planning phase for a single tier stand as SWMBO is tired of random brewing equipment spread across the garage...

As for the comment about the cleanup taking time, that is just relaxing for me... Gives me time to take some pride in my hobby / addiction...
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:26 PM   #8
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My opinion on this is that the amount of money most people spend on homebrewing is not practical whatsoever. I would definately put myself in this group. I have an aquantence that brews with very basic equipment, produces good beer, and saves money by not buying beer. Me...well, I would have to drink lots and lots of beer before I ever break even and the way I spend money on gadgets and knick-knacks it will never happen. On a side note, my beer is no better than his. I brew beer because it's a hobby I love while he brews beer to save money. From the standpoint of this being a hobby...I think it's a pretty danged cheap hobby compared to a lot of other hobbies. LOL I can't imagine how much money I have spent playing golf...or on hunting and fishing trips.
Wait...what was the question? Oh yea. Yes, pumps, stands, gadgets do make brewing easier
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:46 PM   #9
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It does not guarantee better beer or even better consistency.
While I agree it does not guarranty good beer. I disagree about consistency. That is the whole premise of my automating beyond PID's. Automation is not all about bling and being cool but is has alot to do with eliminating variables. I am using a Brewtroller to automate volume measurement, sparging, temperature and I can't forget the RIMS. While the Sanguino based Brewtroller is not the ultimate brew engine, it is good enough for my purpose at the moment. The guys over at the Brewtroller are already looking at using a controller based on an ARM9 with RS485 controlled modbus I/O devices. I am using the automation to eliminate as many variables as I can, only leaving the raw materials and recipe. Once the recipe is cast in concrete the only variable should be the raw materials (ingredients). I hope to get to the point where it is easier for me to concentrate on the recipe and not worry about the brew to consistently reproduce a good product.
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:08 PM   #10
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For me it is the little things. I no longer have to swap pots on one burner, I have one up high for the HLT and one down low for the kettle. Also I don't have to fill the HLT at the kitchen sink, measure the amount with a dipstick, then lug it to the porch. I just open a valve and watch it fill up, monitoring the amount with a sightglass, and then I watch the temperature rise with a dedicated thermometer, perfectly at eye level, that is basically a part of the HLT.


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