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Old 09-07-2007, 01:59 PM   #1
JeffNYC
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Any recommendations to best way to spend $400? Here's what I have:

* 8 gallon kettle (no spigot)
* turkey fryer propane burner
* 7.5 gallon round Igloo converted to mash/lauter tun
* 6.5? gallon plastic orimary fermenter
* 6.5 gallon glass carboy secondard fermenter
* 50' immersion wort chiller (new)

Ultimately I want to put together either a gravity-fed or ultimately pump, kinda tired of lifting here and there.

 
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffNYC
Any recommendations to best way to spend $400? Here's what I have:

* 8 gallon kettle (no spigot)
* turkey fryer propane burner
* 7.5 gallon round Igloo converted to mash/lauter tun
* 6.5? gallon plastic orimary fermenter
* 6.5 gallon glass carboy secondard fermenter
* 50' immersion wort chiller (new)

Ultimately I want to put together either a gravity-fed or ultimately pump, kinda tired of lifting here and there.
Normally I'd recommend hookers and smack, but you seem like a good guy so I'll say some type of kegging setup, or maybe a burner upgrade. I'm guessing that the turkey fryer is about 50k btu or so? You can also never have too many carboys sitting around.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:09 PM   #3
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No, I think he was listing what he already had on hand as a basis for understanding where he would benefit.

I'd suggest a fridge, temp controller, and another primary. Getting your fermentation temps more controllable is a great way to make better beer (and you can ferment lagers if you wish).

If you're frugal and go used (craigslist) you can then afford a grain mill and a sack of marris otter.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:13 PM   #4
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I'll vote for a fridge or chest freezer and a temperature controller; controlling fermentation temps will have the most direct impact on your beer's quality, and will allow you to do true lagers.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:16 PM   #5
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Here we go, in order of priority, from top to bottom:
  1. Chest Freezer + Johnson Temp Controller
  2. Barley Crusher grain mill
  3. More fermentation vessels
  4. Larger (10gallon+) Kettle
  5. Oxygenation kit
  6. Lumber (2x's and plywood) & hardware for cheap brew sculpture (should alleviate some of the lugging of stuff)
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:25 PM   #6
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Build a brew stand - made a HUGE difference in my brew day experience.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:37 PM   #7
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I'd say get a chest freezer with temp controller or build a brew stand. If you're a good bargain hunter, $400 could probably get you both or close to it. Maybe get some 5 gallon carboys for secondaries if you have any funds left over.
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Old 09-07-2007, 02:42 PM   #8
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I agree with Bobby_M, the_bird, and Evan!...controlling fermentation temps is critical. That's got to be next, unless you are one of those lucky bastids with a basement that is 60* year round.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:04 PM   #9
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I too don't like lifting heavy objects, if I can help it or figure out an easier way. Life is to short to get hurt and be in pain all the time from lifting heavy objects.

Here's what I did:

I got 2 small folding scaffolds from Home Depot ($99 each). And I put my tall turkey fryer and HLT on the highest level of the first one. Then put the MLT on 2 each 1x8's that span at mid-level between the 2 scaffolds. On the lowest level of the second scaffold I have a Banjo Burner and boil pot which is just high enough so I can gravity feed into a fermenter sitting on the ground.

This was cheaper than what my LHBS wanted for a dedicated brew stand. The scaffolds fold up and take up very little room in storage, they have nice large lockable wheels if I need or want to move them around. They also have a work shelf on the ends that will hold my paddle, thermometer and other accessories handy. A big plus for me is they come in handy for doing other work around the house such as painting, and other projects I might have going.

I also agree with Brewtus about going with a kegging setup. I find bottling to be boring, time consuming and a general PITA. And think corny kegs make the absolute best secondary fermenters you can buy. Couple that with the fact that they are close to the same price as a glass carboy and there is no comparison between the 2.

The Banjo Burner and kegging setup both save a lot of time.

I happen to be one of those fortunate souls with a conditioned air basement.
But if I didn't have one I think I would go with an Igloo Ice Cube cooler
($25) and modify it as a fermentation chamber, long before I purchased a dedicated fridge or freezer and temp controller for that purpose.

Best wishes
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abracadabra
I got 2 small folding scaffolds from Home Depot ($99 each). And I put my tall turkey fryer and HLT on the highest level of the first one. Then put the MLT on 2 each 1x8's at the mid-level between the 2 scaffolds. On the lowest level of the second scaffold I have a Banjo Burner and boil pot which is just high enough so I can gravity flow into a the fermenter sitting on the ground.
Let's see pics please!

 
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