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Old 10-10-2012, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default Why go with a home factory for your homebrewery?

I've been acquiring the the odds and ends needed to move from very basic 5 gallon all grain brewing to a more streamlined system I can brew 10 gallon batches on. I'll probably end up with a pump to recirculate my immersion chiller water, but sticking with manually controlled burners and gravity.

So coming from the opposite end of the technology spectrum as so many folks here, what's the big appeal of having a home beer factory as opposed to a more hands on approach? I'm not talking about lifting kettles, just having to open valves, adjust flames, and maybe stir the mash a little. I feel like I want to sculpt my beers, not make them with a CAD lathe.


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Old 10-10-2012, 02:55 PM   #2
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Consistency for one, if it is the same process every time it is easier to duplicate previous successes. Plus, as you alluded, it's just easier to use a pump.


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Old 10-10-2012, 03:01 PM   #3
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Consistency for one, if it is the same process every time it is easier to duplicate previous successes. Plus, as you alluded, it's just easier to use a pump.
I disagree, I think you can make perfectly consistent beer with a more "manual" setup. I would say its easier to make consistent beer on a automated setup.

OP, keep in mind that people aren't likely to post their ghetto, manual systems on here....the people who post the fancy rigs are posting because they are fancy. My conglomeration of pots, pans and coolers don't make for good brewing pron. I would wager that my beer is just as good as the ones coming off of the the arduino controlled, RIMS system with custom control panel system. Its just a big more work to do it my way. To each their own.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:12 PM   #4
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I kept my system at the bare minimum to keep costs down. I'd love to go electric and automate it, but I just can't afford it. Once you get your process down and get a handle on the variables like heat loss, dead space, efficiency, etc you can definitely achieve consistency. Using good software will help out immensely as well.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
I disagree, I think you can make perfectly consistent beer with a more "manual" setup. I would say its easier to make consistent beer on a automated setup.

OP, keep in mind that people aren't likely to post their ghetto, manual systems on here....the people who post the fancy rigs are posting because they are fancy. My conglomeration of pots, pans and coolers don't make for good brewing pron. I would wager that my beer is just as good as the ones coming off of the the arduino controlled, RIMS system with custom control panel system. Its just a big more work to do it my way. To each their own.
This...

And also, some of the people who get into brewing are equally into fabricating, building ect...and creating their brewery is as much fun for them as brewing, so they go overboard.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
OP, keep in mind that people aren't likely to post their ghetto, manual systems on here....the people who post the fancy rigs are posting because they are fancy. My conglomeration of pots, pans and coolers don't make for good brewing pron. I would wager that my beer is just as good as the ones coming off of the the arduino controlled, RIMS system with custom control panel system. Its just a big more work to do it my way. To each their own.
Hahah- that's true!

I HAVE posted my ghetto stove top setup before, the one I used for years and years:



Note the fancy nail polish to mark the volumes!


And here's my system today:


Is the beer better? Well, no, probably not. But the beer brewing is easier, that's for sure.

I realize mine is still ghetto-ish, as it has no fancy stand, or other bling factors going for it. But it's so much easier on my back! I (rarely) burn myself anymore by misadventures. My stove doesn't need to be taken apart each time I boilover, and it allows me to do bigger batches. I don't think I will even want something automated, beyond what my PID does to heat water for me. But if others do, I think it's great.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:25 PM   #7
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I said it is EASIER to get consistency with an automated system, not you couldn't be consistent without!
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNGabe View Post
I've been acquiring the the odds and ends needed to move from very basic 5 gallon all grain brewing to a more streamlined system I can brew 10 gallon batches on. I'll probably end up with a pump to recirculate my immersion chiller water, but sticking with manually controlled burners and gravity.

So coming from the opposite end of the technology spectrum as so many folks here, what's the big appeal of having a home beer factory as opposed to a more hands on approach? I'm not talking about lifting kettles, just having to open valves, adjust flames, and maybe stir the mash a little. I feel like I want to sculpt my beers, not make them with a CAD lathe.
If that is the way people want to make their beer what difference does it make?
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:44 PM   #9
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. . . not make them with a CAD lathe.
CAD lathe?





But seriously, I agree. My system is all electric, but HLT, MLT and boil are all manual temperature controlled and gravity fed. I like being able to spot check my mash in different locations and make the adjustments. Makes me feel like I'm doing something rather than watching something. This is one of those, "to each his own", things.

The ultimate automation . . . buy your beer.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:58 PM   #10
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The question I would answer is, "What's the appeal of having a home beer factory as opposed to a more hands on approach?"

My answer is that I want my brewing to be more convenient, more consistent, and because I really dig the building portion of the upgrade.

Convenient as in using a pump to move wort (you admit that is one convenience you want too), electric heat so I don't have to light a burner or worry about running out of fuel, or have to listen to the mini jet engine noise that my burner makes when I am using it.

Consistent because I do not get a consistent mash temp when I strike in. If I brewed more often I probably could do that, but as it is I don't. Also with a PID to control the mash temp I can just type in a number and the system maintains it, all while recirculating the wort, helping to clear it.

Building the system because I have built a grain crusher, cooler MLT and I enjoy the design and building factor. I also do not like spending a lot of $$ so in order for me to get the first two points so I am building it.

Will I get a better beer from all of this? Maybe. But there is no reason to think that being more consistent will necessarily make the later stages of brewing, fermentation and packaging, any better, so there is still room for error. But being familiar with a system and repeatedly doing the same things the same thing each time will be easier with some automation. And I can see how it will help me tweak recipes if I am confident that the brewing process is consistent.

I know a few brewers who brew with minimal equipment and make very good beer. Some of them upgraded fro convenience, some of them see no reason to change. They have their system down and it works very well for them.


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