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Brian Dempsey

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Happy Holidays All,
Wasn't sure where to post this, so ill start here. Quick background... Got back into brewing at home about 3 years ago now.
*First year was just a simple start kit, brewing on the stove with extract kits/messing around with recipts. Brewed maybe a total of 45 gallons.
* Second year, with let me use the old garage fridge for 1 keg, got into BIAB, and got a few more buckets to secondary ferment. Brewed maybe 80-90 gallons.
* Last year, wife got me an all 20 amp, electric 15 gallon 2 vessel system that i now run in the garage. along with that, 2 more kegs to go into the fridge. Doing all grain now, messing around with styles. split between 5 gallon batches and 10 gallon. Brewed maybe 130-140 gallons.
* Looking to add this year and this is were i need some help/advice from the seasons professionals on here.....

I decide to only do 10 gallon batches now (unless its something crazy and not sure i want the extra) on the 15 gallon system i have. more bang for the buck and i can keg 5 gallons and bottle the other to give out for tasting. I currently only have 5 gallon buckets and when i do 10 gallons, i split them between 2 buckets, with a 2L yeast start for each. My initial thought process was to go bigger, for a 14G fast fermentor ( i wanted the conical style now to get the yeast and trub off in one vessel and learn more, just incase my pipe dream ever gets off the ground) and then a 14G SS brew bucket to cold crash and then move to bottles and keg. This would cut down on how much i transferred/oxidization (never really had a problem here) and additional work. I also now get to cut down on the time (currently around 4-6 weeks depending on the beer and was looking to cut that in half) i was fermenting by getting stuff off the beer and cold crashing. But the more i thought about this, it really got me away from why i was brewing in the first place..... the quality of the beer, the journey of the process, and loving the end results (as do my neighbors). not necessarily killing the time right now (im not selling it, so WTF). So instead of larger vessels, worry about the temp of the first and second stage of things:

* keep using buckets for now
* a 8.8 cu chest freezer to put in 4-6 kegs and the outside taps for them, instead of the pinic stuff i have in the garage. this would also double up as a cold crash area for 2 5 gallon buckets right before i transfer.
* a grain mill (did this once with a buddy and it really helps the efficiency i had, instead of relying on someone else).
* take my old beer fridge and temp control it for the first stage of fermentation (maybe get a 5/7 cu chest instead).
* looking to brew ever 2/3 weeks, if that helps.

I currently ferment in my basement, in MD. the winter is 63-66, the summer is 73-77. not bad and i haven't had any off things happen, yet. But if i start going 10G at those temps.... possible. I have about 500 to play with, so looking for some feedback on where to go, where to improve, etc.

Let me know if you have any questions, cheers!

Gimp
Charlestown, MD
 

mdscole

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Favorite things:
1. Tilt Hydrometer. If you have an old cell phone to upload the Bluetooth data via WiFi to google sheets.... awesome.

2. Kegs. Bottling sucks.

3. A french door or other bottom freezer as a temperature chamber. Ergonomically it's easier and the bottom of the fridge is higher than the top of the keg = Gravity draining into kegs! These big fridges will hold 4 x 7 gallon Fermonster containers.

4. Fermenters either need to be small enough to lift or too large to lift. Backs are expensive to repair. I have both. 7 gallons fermonster up to a 30 gallon food grade poly drum.

5. Grain mill... had mixed results here. The barley crusher had issues with the non driven roller.
 
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Wayne1

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Grain Mill: look at Cereal Killer. You should be able to get it for under $100.00.

Fermenter: Look very closely at the Fermzilla. It is available in 27L and 55L. You can get 10 gallon out of the 55L very easily. There are many accessories for the Fermzilla that will allow you to ferment under pressure and control the fermentation temperature.

iSpindle: less expensive than Tilt. Uses rechargeable batteries and uses wi-fi instead of bluetooth.

Brewfather for recipe formulation and keeping track of your brew.
 
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Brian Dempsey

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Thanks for the input, let me give some clarifying input into the way i am moving out, so others can give some advice:
* I am gonna stick with 5 gallon buckets for fermenting.
* i am taking my current beer fridge and will turn it into my first stage for fermenting (will figure out temp control)
* will get a 15 cu chest freezer for 5 kegs to dispense and cold crash/lager the rest
* will get a grain mill, for freshness

now, looking into brewpi, fermentrack, etc for controlling things. will most likely get some ispindels and figure out some things from there.

thoughts, concerns, issues. this should get me to a stage where i am tracking the process more, controlling it better, and also getting some of the volume that i want as well. happy new years, cheers!

Brian
 
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