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sotlordrahl

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Hello All,

I've been brewing for about 4-5 months now. I'm mainly brewing 5 gallon batches. I've had one really off batch, one slightly off batch and the rest have been pretty good. I've got a very basic setup consisting of turkey burner and 8 gal aluminum pot. I live in Florida so I use basic ice baths to get the wort down to pitching temperature. I have a 7cuft chest freezer I bought off craigslist and hooked it up to a johnson temp controller. I'm using 7.5 gal bucket as primary ferm and 6 gal better bottle as secondary. I've got some cider going in 3 gal better bottles as well for the holidays.

My question is as I begin to look at equipment upgrades, I'm confused which upgrades should come first.

What is the most practical method for quickly cooling wort in a warm temperature location? I'm assuming running tap water through a chill plate prob won't cut it.

How important is stainless steel pots, etc?

When should I start looking at kegging?

How long should I brew extract before I start looking at all grain?

I'm mainly worried about spending money on pieces that I won't need moving forward or buying equipment I don't need. For example; If I'm going to buy some stainless steels pots, what size would be sufficient now and moving forward? I'd hate to spend $150-200 on a pot and outgrow it in a year.

Thanks for the input
 

max384

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If I were you, I'd get an immersion chiller first, then start on acquiring/building all-grain equipment. Extract is fun, and good beer can certainly be made, but it never felt like I was truly making my own beer until I went to AG.
 

GoodDogShelby

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My experience is that good beer is all about temperature control and consistency. You've got the fermentation temp covered and that's the most important. From your description, I assume you are brewing extracts in that 8 gallon pot. As you step up to all grain, go as big as you can. I went from an 8 gallon pot which I thought I would use for years (I used it 4 times!!) to a 15.5 gal keggle to a 20 gallon SS boil kettle in about 2 years. Had I taken the time to do some more study, I'd have saved myself $300!!

As for chilling, for ~$35, I made a 25' counter flow chiller. In the summer, I let that cool the wort down to as low as the ground temp will get it, then I have a 10' section of an old immersion chiller that I submerge in a small ice bath to use as a 'Post Chiller'. Never had an issue getting down to temp.
 
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sotlordrahl

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thanks for the feedback! yeah sorry I forgot to put extract.

how big are your batches w/ 20 gal pot?

how many pots are you utilizing for a single batch?
 

kh54s10

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My thoughts in RED

Hello All,

I've been brewing for about 4-5 months now. I'm mainly brewing 5 gallon batches. I've had one really off batch, one slightly off batch and the rest have been pretty good. I've got a very basic setup consisting of turkey burner and 8 gal aluminum pot. I live in Florida so I use basic ice baths to get the wort down to pitching temperature. I have a 7cuft chest freezer I bought off craigslist and hooked it up to a johnson temp controller. I'm using 7.5 gal bucket as primary ferm and 6 gal better bottle as secondary. I've got some cider going in 3 gal better bottles as well for the holidays.

My question is as I begin to look at equipment upgrades, I'm confused which upgrades should come first.

You already have fermentation temperature control so first I would look at making starters if you are using liquid yeast.

What is the most practical method for quickly cooling wort in a warm temperature location? I'm assuming running tap water through a chill plate prob won't cut it.

I made a 2 part immersion chiller out of 20 ft copper tubing. One goes in the boil kettle and the other in a bucket of ice water.

How important is stainless steel pots, etc?

When should I start looking at kegging?

Any time you are ready to do less bottling and have the $$ for it.

How long should I brew extract before I start looking at all grain?

You can switch to all grain any time you want. BIAB is not all that different than extract. Or decide on batch sparging or fly sparging and accumulate the necessary equipment and go for it.

I'm mainly worried about spending money on pieces that I won't need moving forward or buying equipment I don't need. For example; If I'm going to buy some stainless steels pots, what size would be sufficient now and moving forward? I'd hate to spend $150-200 on a pot and outgrow it in a year.

I do 5 gallon batches in 10 gallon pots for my HLT and BK with a 10 gallon watercooler mash tun. A 15 gallon BK would make boil-overs less of a concern. If you want to do larger batches increase the sizes. I prefer variety over quantity (of beer).

Thanks for the input

Keep researching and make some choices and step up your brewing.
 

ICWiener

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My progression went something like this (My beginner kit came with an immersion chiller, so I never had to splurge on that):

1) Temperature control
2) Starters
3) All grain
4) Kegging

I was focusing on making the best beer possible first, then I moved onto bigger batch sizes, kegging, etc. If you survey a large cross-section of homebrewers, a large chunk of them will tell you that they spent their time/money on kegging first because the hassle of bottling would have made them quit the hobby sooner rather than later.

Spend the time and money where you will see the biggest improvements, but also spend it on what's important to you personally.
 

mkyl428

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I use an immersion chiller with a hose to get below 100° then hook up a fountain pump i got from Harbor Freight for $15 immersed in a bucket of ice water. Gets to pitching temps pretty quick
 
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