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Old 10-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #41
J187
 
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Jan 2012
, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanThomas View Post
Changing from glass carboys to plastic buckets for primary fermentation (only use them for secondary now) and paying attention to fermentation temps with a swamp cooler.

Buckets are super easy to use, clean, transport.
I like buckets better too, but this is purely style and preference, nothing more. Each fermenter has it's own drawbacks and advantages, but one can't really say fermenter A will produce better beer than B.

 
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:29 PM   #42
jerrodm
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Sep 2012
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No way--glass is way more fun, particularly in primary. My kids saw a lava lamp at the store a few weeks ago and spent the rest of the trip talking about how my lava lamps are way cooler than the one at Target.

 
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:03 PM   #43
JordanThomas
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Jul 2012
Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J187 View Post
I like buckets better too, but this is purely style and preference, nothing more. Each fermenter has it's own drawbacks and advantages, but one can't really say fermenter A will produce better beer than B.
Absolutely true. I think the change to buckets was for a few reasons, a few of which I mentioned earlier. I store my fermenting beers in the basement, and it's an old Michigan basement with sketchy stairs. Carrying a full glass carboy down the stairs, while not the hardest thing in the world, is a bit less inviting than a full plastic bucket.

Also, the buckets have multiple uses. I like to sit my brew water out over night to remove the chlorine. Using a carboy to do so would be silly. A bucket on the other hand, extremely convenient. Also, I use them for cleaning and sanitizing bottles on bottling day. I have 2 fermenting buckets and a bottling bucket, plus a homer bucket. Bottling days, I bring out my fermenter, use the extra one as a starsan bucket, fit about 20 in at a time, and pull them out as I go. Easy!

It is really cool to see the beer fermenting and settling out in a glass carboy, and those things will last forever, assuming they don't get dropped. But hey, I'll take the buckets over the carboys any day. Might even consider selling them.

 
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:36 PM   #44
tre9er
 
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Jan 2012
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I like this fermenter, personally (although this is my first batch using it)

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3c...Vd5RzVGQzV5UjA
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Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!

 
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:06 PM   #45
zeg
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Jan 2012
West Lafayette, IN
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I started with a good handle on the importance of temperature control (although my techniques for achieving it are improving in terms of reducing the amount of effort to maintain it), but from what I've read (not counting this thread), this is a "must" for producing repeatable results. My first beer was a little weak, but other than that and one late-onset infection, I haven't had any of the typical "homebrewer" flavor problems. So if you're not already controlling the temperature, at least to prevent going over the recommended temperature for your yeast, I would put a very high priority on that.

In terms of changes I've made that improved things the most, I think going to partial mashes has been it. I did it pretty early, so it's hard to separate the effect from just getting more familiar with the process, but it has opened a lot of doors to recipes that might be hard to pull off with extract alone.

My wort chiller made a big difference, particularly with respect to safety, but the OP already has that so no need urging them to pick one up. But if you don't have one, I feel a lot better being able to leave my kettle on the stove and chill it instead of having to trust the handles to keep gallons of scalding, stick wort from spilling all over me.

 
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Old 10-16-2012, 06:33 PM   #46
Jonobie
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Aug 2012
Redmond, WA
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Thanks, all - this is really good information.

Definitely feel like I want to go investigate different options for temp control now.

[And yes, I love my wort chiller. I'm not unhappy with that as my first "upgrade" to my equipment. ]

 
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