How to spend ~$500

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StarrHill

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I have about $500 to request in gift items for my brew setup. I do 5-6g BIAB in a concord 40qt with a ball valve, and a Bayou Classic SP10 burner. I have a Cool Brewing bag for temp control, and I bottle my brew. Use plastic buckets for fermenters, although I've used my kettle on occasion as well. Have a homemade 25' x 3/8"copper IC, but often no chill as well.

I'd like better ferm temp control, and have thought about the SS BrewBucket with the FTSS, but also thought about the BrewJacket Immersion.

I have a small space to work in, so I can't really do a chest freezer, leaving me with more expensive options to get automated temp control.

I've also looked into moving to electric. I've considered one of the 240v induction cookers vs an electric kettle diy with a water heater element.

What do you think would be the best way to invest about $500 in my brew setup? Thanks in advance
 

jekeane

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Can you fit a small dorm fridge anywhere? It probably has just about the same footprint as the area you are currently using for your buckets.
 
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StarrHill

StarrHill

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I thought about that, but I can't find any dorm fridges that will take a bucket or carboy without modification. I have no tools or space to work on such a project - urban living! Any suggestions on a specific model?
 
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StarrHill

StarrHill

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I'd love to get into kegging, but again am worried about space for a fridge. BTW, my first kettle fermentation is going well. No apparent infection, at least, and attenuated well. Thanks for the pointers.
 
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R U Happy? Specifically, are you happy with the Cool Bag? Or would you like to upgrade? And the buckets? Or would you prefer carboys?
 
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StarrHill

StarrHill

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The cool bag works well, but I really like the idea of something lower maintenance. I have to keep checking on the ice bottles in the cooler, making sure I'm not overshooting or undershooting the cooling, etc. If I've got money to spend, a set it and forget it option would be nice. I'm happy with buckets. If I were to upgrade my fermenter, I'd look at stainless. Maybe I've let people scare me too much about glass carboys. :cross:
 

jperry

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What about a march pump, hoses, and fittings? Mine can really make the brew day easier, by transferring all the water/wort, so I'm not picking up 80 lbs of hot water.
 

ndinh

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If I was in your shoes, I'd go for either of the two:

1. kegging equipment- small fridge + 2 kegs + regulator + co2 tank. I honestly don't know how people are able to bottle all their brews because it's so much work and time consuming.

2. AG setup- Larger kettle w/ ball valve, 10gal igloo + ball valve, another burner.

With option 2 you should have enough to pick up a carboy or 2.
 
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StarrHill

StarrHill

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Thanks for the replies. I'll look more into kegging option and see if I can make it work with my space limitations. I'm not interested in going to a 3 vessel system. I love BIAB.
 
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StarrHill

StarrHill

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Do you have the brewbucket? I know there's a thread on here, but I'm always interested to hear people's opinions of the product.
 

jimyson

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I do not as I use Sanke's, but my goal is to move to a temp controlled conical. If they had a 15 gallon brew bucket with FTSS that was cheaper than the conical, I would buy it.
 
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StarrHill

StarrHill

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After thinking about it some more, I'm leaning towards the kegerator now. Talk about something that takes up a lot of space - cases of empty bottles and full bottles conditioning/in the fridge! All the other stuff is really bling when it gets down to it, where the kegging system drastically changes the way I make and enjoy my beer.

I can continue to use my buckets/kettle with the cool bag for now, and step up to fancier stuff down the line.

That said, any advice on specific systems/kegerators? Used vs new kegs? Prebuilt vs diy kegerator/keezer? Do I need a Johnson controller or should the fridge's native thermostat keep me in the temp range I want?
 

ndinh

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After thinking about it some more, I'm leaning towards the kegerator now. Talk about something that takes up a lot of space - cases of empty bottles and full bottles conditioning/in the fridge! All the other stuff is really bling when it gets down to it, where the kegging system drastically changes the way I make and enjoy my beer.

I can continue to use my buckets/kettle with the cool bag for now, and step up to fancier stuff down the line.

That said, any advice on specific systems/kegerators? Used vs new kegs? Prebuilt vs diy kegerator/keezer? Do I need a Johnson controller or should the fridge's native thermostat keep me in the temp range I want?
I think that's the best choice although an oxygenation stone/wand is a great addition and will undoubtedly up your beer game. Plus, it's a cheap upgrade. Back to the kegerator....it all depends on your space and it sounds like your space is limited so a keezer will probably not work. Cheapest is to look on CL. Here in L.A., there's always a few on sale for a couple hundred. I found a new but damaged box one for about $300 and bought a dual tap tower for it and gas splitter. It's a Danby with a digital temp so I can get it down to the 30's if needed. There's plenty of info on converting a fridge on HBT and it's pretty simple. After all the parts, you probably won't save that much in the end. I've only bought used kegs for $60 each and they're fine.
 

poptarts

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Ferm chamber is the best, I would rather bottle good beer then keg garbage.
 

Weezy

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I need 45' of 8-4 cable and a gfi spa panel...that's almost $500.
:(
 
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