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What is the one best change you've made to upgrade your beer quality?

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kartracer2

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I had to dump my second batch ever today because I got lazy with my pitch rate (I didn't make a starter) and temp control (my ferm chamber is occupied and fermentation temps got up to the upper 70s) resulting in an undrinkable fusel/phenolic mess. Lesson learned.
I hope this comes out in the spirit intended, I mean no offense or make any judgment.
OK. would you have tossed this beer if you didn't feel that you are a better brewer now than when you started to brew?. My point is that have your expectations changed so much you might have drank this beer if it, lets say, was your first or 2nd batch or was it really undrinkable by any standard?.

Thanks, Joel B.
 

Mer-man

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Learn more from brewing science and process authorities.
Once you better understand the impacts of all the process changes you can make in brewing, you will go from happy accidents to gradual improvement and learning.
There are so many facets of brewing that it will keep you busy for a long time -- and your beer will get better.
 

kingmatt

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I hope this comes out in the spirit intended, I mean no offense or make any judgment.
OK. would you have tossed this beer if you didn't feel that you are a better brewer now than when you started to brew?. My point is that have your expectations changed so much you might have drank this beer if it, lets say, was your first or 2nd batch or was it really undrinkable by any standard?.

Thanks, Joel B.
I am definitely at point where I won't drink a beer I don't like just because I made it. The beer I just dumped was undrinkable in my opinion, but I am sure some people would be ok with it.
 

NewJersey

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About a month ago I made a beer for the first time in 3.5 years. New system. Mistakes made brewing. New fermenter. None of that really impacted the beer though. Fermentation was temperature controlled. Problem was I kegged it the second it hit FG. And really it might've had a point or two to go before I cold crashed. Diacetyl mess.
Still gotta pay attention to basics.
 
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Thank you all for the responses. I heard a lot of what I anticipated. I'm currently all grain, I had ward labs do an analysis on my tap water and adjust and dilute with RO water to hit target profiles, I have 2 fermentation chambers for temp controlled fermentations and I try to get the highest quality of ingredients that I can. I also have a rule of no drinking before the timer on the boil starts.

The one take away that I was planning on instituting on my brew starting Wednesday is to do closed transfers. I have had too many brews taste world class out of the fermenter only to end up very good once kegged. I assume this is my next step.

Thoughts?
I agree with your thoughts, from where you are currently. I had very similar results and when i switched to a spike conical and have been doing closed transfers the beer i pour several weeks later is still as good as it was on day 1, or well day 14 after some conditioning depending on the beer. minimizing oxygen has been a huge improvement overall.
 

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Reducing cold side oxidation is the one improvement area that I haven't been able to reliably, safely and cheaply implement....Putting a glass carboy under pressure (even 1 or 2 psi) is very dangerous, and I hate doing it.... solution for me will be getting either a Spike Flex+ or a CF5. But they come with some big price tags that I'm having a hard time justifying.
Do you have an aversion to PET fermenters? They've worked great for me for several years. No infections, super easy to clean, inexpensive, safe, and gravity powered closed transfers are a breeze using the spigot.
 
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LittleRiver

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Significant improvement steps for me were:
  • fermentation temp control
  • milling my own grain (for better efficiency)
  • kegging, with closed transfer to the keg
 

charliethebum

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I upgraded to a Grainfather and started adjusting Ph of mash. Efficiency went from about 70% to 85%.

Since I live in Florida and don't have a fermentation fridge/freeze, I have been unable to brew a lager. But I did get a BrewJacket Immersion Pro as a gift and gave it a try. It still can't cool to a low enough temperature, even with house kept at 72. Gonna be interesting to see how the dunkel I'm fermenting turns out. So I guess next upgrade needs to be a fridge/freezer for fermentation temperature control.
Definitely make it happen. Precise temperature control is necessary for consistently great beer
 

specialkayme

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Do you have an aversion to PET fermenters?
Generally, yes. I did a few early brews in a 6 gallon bucket. Seeing the scratches appear in the plastic, and the discoloration had a really off putting feeling to me. And the general consensus is to just throw it out when it gets old. I just don't like it. I get the PET carboys are a world away from bucket fermenters, but more plastic is just something I don't like.
 

LittleRiver

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Generally, yes. I did a few early brews in a 6 gallon bucket. Seeing the scratches appear in the plastic, and the discoloration had a really off putting feeling to me. And the general consensus is to just throw it out when it gets old. I just don't like it. I get the PET carboys are a world away from bucket fermenters, but more plastic is just something I don't like.
If using a PET fermenter would diminish your enjoyment of brewing, then by all means don't use them. We are different in our perception on this. Having actually used PET fermenters for many years I've found that they increase my enjoyment of brewing.

Glass is a non starter for me. Too fragile, too dangerous, and too difficult to clean thoroughly (most have a narrow opening).

I don't see myself switching to stainless, because I like a clear fermenter. I like to watch the yeast work. I want to see when the krausen has fallen. I want to see when a cold crash has finished clarifying the beer (especially when using a yeast with low flocculation).

The sweet spot for me is PET. Years of use have proven to me that fears of scratching are just that -- fears. Being able to reach my arm into the fermenter for a good cleaning with a soft sponge has never resulted in a scratch. I've never had an infection.

I've got several years on my PET fermenters, they are not discolored, and I do not foresee a need to trash them. That may eventually happen, but it's going to be a long time away. PET fermenters are safe, there's zero chance they will badly injure me. A bottom spigot enables taking samples and gravity powered closed transfers. What's not to love?
 

hopjuice_71

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Fermenting in kegs for complete cold-side O2 exclusion and natural carbonation via spunding was a game changer for me.

For those who like stainless, kegs make fantastic fermenters. Many of the advantages of conicals and unitanks (not all) without the horrific price tag. A new 10 gallon corny costs $200 now. I got 3 used ones for a total of $150. Add a floating dip tube and spunding valve and you have a stainless steel vessel that you can fully pressurize and use for closed transfers.
 

z-bob

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Brewing the same beer (or very minor variations) over and over.

Accepting that I can't really control the temperature that much and temperature is important, so I pick styles of beer and varieties of yeast appropriate for the temperature I have.

(that's 2, isn't it? I was supposed to just give one. I'm not sure which was most significant)
 
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specialkayme

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Glass is a non starter for me. Too fragile, too dangerous, and too difficult to clean thoroughly (most have a narrow opening).
I've used glass carboys for over 15 years, and have never been concerned about one breaking under normal conditions. Much like your view on PET, years of use have proven to me that fears of fragile glass carboys are just that -- fears. Sure I can't toss a glass carboy around, but why would I want to? Dont toss one from hot to cold, or back and it'll be just fine.

I think glass carboys are actually quite sturdy and very easy to clean, considering that I have zero concerns about scratches or chemical issues. I like the idea that I can pass my carboys down to my grandchildren. Something I think is unlikely with PET carboys.

But to each their own. That's what makes this hobby so awesome.

I'll admit, I got a PET 3 gallon carboy about a week or so ago. I was in the market for a 3 gallon carboy to do half batches with, and decided to try a PET out. I don't think I'll like it, but I'd rather say I tried it and didn't like it than have some unverified prejudice about it. Time will tell if my fears were indeed fears.
 

Cato1507

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Hello Everyone,

I've been trying to figure out what the next tweak or change I should make in my brewing to take my beers up another notch. This got me wondering what other brewers have done that has made the biggest difference in their quality of beer?
Several things for me as I wanted to try some competitions.

First was going to the Ss Brew Bucket that is stainless and has a cone shaped bottom and racking arm. Result excellent clarity.

Next I revamped my BIAB when the Brew Commander controller fell into my price range.

At that point I got the Blichmann 10 gal 240v ekettle w/whirlpool, the Brew Commander controller, and their Riptide pump. That move allowed me to control my temp in a precise fashion, whirlpooling not only allowed a hop stage after flameout but produced a nice cone of trub that remains behind when I pump to the fermenter.

I really couldn't be more pleased with those upgrades and how much my beer has improved.
 

Braufessor

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I would agree with many of the suggestions - I would break into two categories though..... The first two things, if not correct, will ruin your beer or result it bad beer. The other things are more about improving on already decent beer.

* Water/pH - Depending on your water supply/style you are brewing, I actually think this could be the #1 thing. If you happen to have a good water supply for the particular style you brew, it may make no difference. But, if you have water that is not good for brewing, it can ruin every beer you make. So, learning about your water is a key 1st step.

* Sanitation - Bad process = Bad Beer

Once you have those two down - these are some of the next ones that can improve what you are doing:
Yeast management, All Grain, quality ingredients, Temp. Control, oxygen control, etc. are all good suggestions that can take "good/average" beer to outstanding/great beer

***One thing that I would add, which made a HUGE difference for me is repetition. Pick a particular style/beer you like and brew it over, and over and over. Tweak one thing at a time to really get a feel for what you are doing, what impact your changes make, and really helps you understand brewing. Change things like water chemistry or yeast or grain bill, or hops, or process (low oxygen or other strategies). Isolate one variable each time and just brew that beer 10-20-30 times until you perfect it..... then move on to another style. Obviously, start with something you and your friends like to drink because you will kind of always have it on hand. Start with things that are simple, easy to brew, fast to turn around and make it a "house beer."
Some of the ones I have brewed 30+ times over the years, tweaking a little here and there and trying to "perfect":
Blonde Ale
NE Pale Ale
British Dark Mild
Dortmunder Export
German Pilsner
"Americanized" German Pilsner
Porter
Simple, classic styles are the types of beers you want to target for this type of thing. Learn to perfect a style (or several).... keep brewing "one-off's", but always have a certain style you are brewing over, and over, and over as you learn about it until you are satisfied with it and feel you can brew it great, in your sleep.
 

Cato1507

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I would agree with many of the suggestions - I would break into two categories though..... The first two things, if not correct, will ruin your beer or result it bad beer. The other things are more about improving on already decent beer.

* Water/pH - Depending on your water supply/style you are brewing, I actually think this could be the #1 thing. If you happen to have a good water supply for the particular style you brew, it may make no difference. But, if you have water that is not good for brewing, it can ruin every beer you make. So, learning about your water is a key 1st step.

* Sanitation - Bad process = Bad Beer

Once you have those two down - these are some of the next ones that can improve what you are doing:
Yeast management, All Grain, quality ingredients, Temp. Control, oxygen control, etc. are all good suggestions that can take "good/average" beer to outstanding/great beer

***One thing that I would add, which made a HUGE difference for me is repetition. Pick a particular style/beer you like and brew it over, and over and over. Tweak one thing at a time to really get a feel for what you are doing, what impact your changes make, and really helps you understand brewing. Change things like water chemistry or yeast or grain bill, or hops, or process (low oxygen or other strategies). Isolate one variable each time and just brew that beer 10-20-30 times until you perfect it..... then move on to another style. Obviously, start with something you and your friends like to drink because you will kind of always have it on hand. Start with things that are simple, easy to brew, fast to turn around and make it a "house beer."
Some of the ones I have brewed 30+ times over the years, tweaking a little here and there and trying to "perfect":
Blonde Ale
NE Pale Ale
British Dark Mild
Dortmunder Export
German Pilsner
"Americanized" German Pilsner
Porter
Simple, classic styles are the types of beers you want to target for this type of thing. Learn to perfect a style (or several).... keep brewing "one-off's", but always have a certain style you are brewing over, and over, and over as you learn about it until you are satisfied with it and feel you can brew it great, in your sleep.
+1, good points and observations.
About the time I made system upgrades, I subscribed to Beersmith software and bought an Apera ph meter, as well as a supply of brewing salts. It really does make a difference.
 
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danielthemaniel

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Great points. I definitely agree with you on all of them. I have a problem with needing variety in my beers. I struggle brewing the same thing time and time again. I do agree that this will lead to all the great benefits you mention, however. My solution has been to pick out about a handful of beers that I really enjoy and brew them seasonally, year after year. I take good notes and tweak them each year as you described. It will probably take me another 10 years of doing it this way for them to really become great haha! Oh well, it makes me happy and I get to enjoy variety in my homebrew while improving some of my "house" beers.
 

Cato1507

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Great points. I definitely agree with you on all of them. I have a problem with needing variety in my beers. I struggle brewing the same thing time and time again. I do agree that this will lead to all the great benefits you mention, however. My solution has been to pick out about a handful of beers that I really enjoy and brew them seasonally, year after year. I take good notes and tweak them each year as you described. It will probably take me another 10 years of doing it this way for them to really become great haha! Oh well, it makes me happy and I get to enjoy variety in my homebrew while improving some of my "house" beers.
I go with the variety route by trying new styles or recipes about every third or fourth batch. I'll do smaller batches then 2.25-2.75 gal, as I can fit two of those fermenters at a time in the mini fridge.
 

Leezer

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My solution has been to pick out about a handful of beers that I really enjoy and brew them seasonally, year after year. I take good notes and tweak them each year as you described. It will probably take me another 10 years of doing it this way for them to really become great haha! Oh well, it makes me happy and I get to enjoy variety in my homebrew while improving some of my "house" beers.
This turned out to be my approach. I have a core group I make time after time, and have started to try out new things as 1G batches rather than my usual 2.5G batch. Working out well for me too.
 

Braufessor

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Great points. I definitely agree with you on all of them. I have a problem with needing variety in my beers. I struggle brewing the same thing time and time again. I do agree that this will lead to all the great benefits you mention, however. My solution has been to pick out about a handful of beers that I really enjoy and brew them seasonally, year after year. I take good notes and tweak them each year as you described. It will probably take me another 10 years of doing it this way for them to really become great haha! Oh well, it makes me happy and I get to enjoy variety in my homebrew while improving some of my "house" beers.
I do the same type of things with my core beers in terms of brewing them more or less depending on season..... No one wants a Porter when it is 95 degrees and humid:no:
I definitely ramp up things like Dark Mild, Porter, Dark Lager for fall and winter. Then I start cranking up pilsners, dortmunders, etc. for spring through fall. I brew the blonde ale and NE Pale Ale all the time because those are the two everyone loves drinking.
 

mattdee1

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I jumped right into all-grain with fermentation temperature control, so I don't have any before/after experience on those things.

Easily the 2 biggest "process" improvements for me have been:

- switching from tap water to RO water + salts
- reduced O2 on cold side (mostly by purging kegs and doing closed transfers)

The latter has only been a big thing for hoppy beers, for which it was like night and day, but I've little doubt that it is helping all my beers to some extent.

***One thing that I would add, which made a HUGE difference for me is repetition. Pick a particular style/beer you like and brew it over, and over and over.
^^ Honestly, I can't believe how little attention this point gets in threads like this. It's almost like we fall into this mindset that within every combination of ingredients lies a knock-your-socks-off beer, we just need to change some variable in our process or buy some gadget or move some temperature around to get there. I used to be guilty of this myself, but more and more I'm seeing the value in recipe development. The most perfect "process" in the world isn't going to make a great beer from an ill-conceived combination of ingredients.
 
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Well said. I think process is critically important to ALL beers but it alone will not reach the full potential of any particular beer. Recipe development is half the battle to making that "perfect" beer.
 
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danielthemaniel

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I haven't gotten into the smaller batches much. For me, I have limited brew days and want to get the most bang for my buck so to speak. I do 10 gallon batches. I often do a variant in one of the kegs. I should consider doing some smaller batches with new recipes however.
 

coonmanx

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The best thing I did was to start priming my kegs. Resulted in excellent carbonation levels and reduced the hassle. I now get more compliments on my beer. I never liked the process of forced carbonation anyway.
 

specialkayme

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Going electric certainly increased my enjoyment of brewing, but I can't say it increased the quality of my beer. At least, not from what I can tell.

***One thing that I would add, which made a HUGE difference for me is repetition.
Personally, I know this would do wonders for my development as a brewer, but I'm just not interested in it. There are literally hundreds of different styles of beer out there, and each one can have thousands of variations on it. I don't brew frequently enough to invest in any one style that much. I enjoy the variety of brewing. But to each their own. I know what I'm sacrificing by jumping styles all the time.

That doesn't mean I won't repeat a beer. But only a handful of beers will I brew a second or third time. I'll change a variable and see if I like it more or less. But because I could be a year+ between the two brews, it's critical that you take good notes. Not just on the brew process, but on the evaluation of the finished beer.

If your notes are good enough you can pick up potential improvements on different batches, even different styles, sometimes years apart. For example, I'll notice a certain spice on the finish of a beer that I wasn't expecting. So I'll look through the last few brews that shared similar ingredients and/or similar tasting notes. I can then sometimes narrow down what caused it, which can then lead me to a better understanding of how to either enhance or reduce it. I might not be able to make those comparisons if I used the same ingredients over and over again. But it takes pretty good notes to be able to reference back to what a beer tasted like 3 years ago.
 

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Going electric certainly increased my enjoyment of brewing, but I can't say it increased the quality of my beer. At least, not from what I can tell.



Personally, I know this would do wonders for my development as a brewer, but I'm just not interested in it. There are literally hundreds of different styles of beer out there, and each one can have thousands of variations on it. I don't brew frequently enough to invest in any one style that much. I enjoy the variety of brewing. But to each their own. I know what I'm sacrificing by jumping styles all the time.

That doesn't mean I won't repeat a beer. But only a handful of beers will I brew a second or third time. I'll change a variable and see if I like it more or less. But because I could be a year+ between the two brews, it's critical that you take good notes. Not just on the brew process, but on the evaluation of the finished beer.

If your notes are good enough you can pick up potential improvements on different batches, even different styles, sometimes years apart. For example, I'll notice a certain spice on the finish of a beer that I wasn't expecting. So I'll look through the last few brews that shared similar ingredients and/or similar tasting notes. I can then sometimes narrow down what caused it, which can then lead me to a better understanding of how to either enhance or reduce it. I might not be able to make those comparisons if I used the same ingredients over and over again. But it takes pretty good notes to be able to reference back to what a beer tasted like 3 years ago.
I agree - my suggestion is predicated on pretty regular brewing and not everyone has the time/desire to do that. Everyone needs to tweak their strategies and processes to their brewing style and equipment.
 

mattdee1

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The best thing I did was to start priming my kegs. Resulted in excellent carbonation levels and reduced the hassle. I now get more compliments on my beer. I never liked the process of forced carbonation anyway.
I just started doing this as well on my last handful of batches. I really like it. If a keg is just going to sit in a corner of my basement anyway, might as well have it carbonating so it's ready to go when a tap frees up. Some claim that keg priming also helps to consume dissolved oxygen in the beer. If that's true, then great. But even without it, I think it's still a very worthwhile and convenient method.
 

coonmanx

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I just started doing this as well on my last handful of batches. I really like it. If a keg is just going to sit in a corner of my basement anyway, might as well have it carbonating so it's ready to go when a tap frees up. Some claim that keg priming also helps to consume dissolved oxygen in the beer. If that's true, then great. But even without it, I think it's still a very worthwhile and convenient method.
So easy...
 

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If using a PET fermenter would diminish your enjoyment of brewing, then by all means don't use them. We are different in our perception on this. Having actually used PET fermenters for many years I've found that they increase my enjoyment of brewing.

Glass is a non starter for me. Too fragile, too dangerous, and too difficult to clean thoroughly (most have a narrow opening).

I don't see myself switching to stainless, because I like a clear fermenter. I like to watch the yeast work. I want to see when the krausen has fallen. I want to see when a cold crash has finished clarifying the beer (especially when using a yeast with low flocculation).

The sweet spot for me is PET. Years of use have proven to me that fears of scratching are just that -- fears. Being able to reach my arm into the fermenter for a good cleaning with a soft sponge has never resulted in a scratch. I've never had an infection.

I've got several years on my PET fermenters, they are not discolored, and I do not foresee a need to trash them. That may eventually happen, but it's going to be a long time away. PET fermenters are safe, there's zero chance they will badly injure me. A bottom spigot enables taking samples and gravity powered closed transfers. What's not to love?
Just to dog pile a little bit on this, don't fear glass. ALL glass fermentors should have either carrying straps or a carrying handle. With that, they are pretty safe. Without it, the fear is justified.

The biggest reason I wanted to reply however is that weather it's PET, glass, or stainless, you do not want to focus or count on "scrubbing" to clean. This was the biggest mistake I have made, and cleaning PROPERLY is what improved my beers past the homebrew level.

Simply add PBW, fill with warm water, and let it sit overnight. Hell, let it sit for a week if you want. Come back and drain, and rinse with hot water. In some cases, the vessel will be 100% clean without any scrubbing at all, just by doing that. However, I always take my L-shape carboy brush, spend 10 seconds to "wipe" (not scrub) because again, PBW breaks down everything without the need to "scrub" it down. Perfectly clean glass carboy. This same method should be used for your PET too. If you stagger it, you can dump used PBW fluid into another vessel or container where it is needed.

BTW, I ferment in buckets and glass carboys. Each of their benefits, but there's nothing wrong with glass carboys. They last forever. It's also nice being able to see inside them. And no, they are not harder to clean! The only downfall to a glass carboy is that they are not optimized for fruit additions due to the small spout. But that small spout has it's benefits, such as less oxygen gets in when you want to quickly dry hop.
 

coonmanx

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Just to dog pile a little bit on this, don't fear glass. ALL glass fermentors should have either carrying straps or a carrying handle. With that, they are pretty safe. Without it, the fear is justified.

The biggest reason I wanted to reply however is that weather it's PET, glass, or stainless, you do not want to focus or count on "scrubbing" to clean. This was the biggest mistake I have.

Simple add PBW, fill with water, and let it sit overnight. Hell, let it sit for a week if you want. Come back and drain. In some cases, the vessel will be 100% clean, without any scrubbing at all, just by doing this. However, I always take my L-shape carboy brush, spend 10 seconds to "wipe" (not scrub, because again, PBW breaks down everything) it down. Perfectly clean glass carboy.

BTW, I ferment in buckets and glass carboys. Each of their benefits, but there's nothing wrong with glass carboys. They last forever. It's also nice being able to see inside them. And no, they are not harder to clean! The only downfall to a glass carboy is that they are not optimized for fruit additions due to the small spout. But that small spout has it's benefits, such as less oxygen gets in when you want to quickly dry hop.
I suppose it depends on what kind of fruit you are using. I get the Vintner's Harvest fruit puree in a can and just pop the fermentation lock off, stick in a funnel and pour it in. Whole fruit might be an entire different story....
 

fendersrule

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I suppose it depends on what kind of fruit you are using. I get the Vintner's Harvest fruit puree in a can and just pop the fermentation lock off, stick in a funnel and pour it in. Whole fruit might be an entire different story....
Yea, it totally is! No chance of stuffing a bag full of fruit in them, that includes making your own purees.

I've never used "purees in a can", but I don't feel I have a reason to because I've not only been impressed, but absolutely floored with the results of using frozen fruits to make my own!

I've used frozen concentrates (which are different) in my ciders before, and they are absolutely no match for the overall complexity and freshness of frozen fruits!

Frozen fruits are not cheap, but as they say: YGWYPF!
 

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Yea, it totally is! No chance of stuffing a bag full of fruit in them, that includes making your own purees.

I've never used "purees in a can", but I don't feel I have a reason to because I've not only been impressed, but absolutely floored with the results of using frozen fruits to make my own!

I've used frozen concentrates (which are different) in my ciders before, and they are absolutely no match for the overall complexity and freshness of frozen fruits!

Frozen fruits are not cheap, but as they say: YGWYPF!
I did once use frozen cherries in a batch and for that one I used a bucket. But it was early on in my brewing experience and I added them to primary right away. I no longer do that. I wait until primary has crashed and then add it to the fermenter before racking to secondary. That is where I am today with my Strawberry ESB. I just poured the strawberry puree into the primary yesterday and will give it a few days before it heads to secondary.
 

fendersrule

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I add fruits about 3-4 days into the fermentation (when it's mostly finished and krausen has dropped). You get really good flavor that way! Yea, I've heard adding everything at the beginning is a way to lose the flavor.

I also mash/puree all fruits too during pasteurizing. Breaks down the skins and really allows the flavor to release into the beer.

I also haven't found a need to use a secondary for fruits!
 

coonmanx

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I add fruits about 3-4 days into the fermentation (when it's mostly finished and krausen has dropped). You get really good flavor that way! Yea, I've heard adding everything at the beginning is a way to lose the flavor.

I also mash/puree all fruits too during pasteurizing. Breaks down the skins and really allows the flavor to release into the beer.

I also haven't found a need to use a secondary for fruits!
Looks like we are both adding fruit at exactly the same time. I recently switched to doing it this way with great results!
 

LittleRiver

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... you do not want to focus or count on "scrubbing" to clean. ...PBW, fill with warm water, and let it sit... drain, and rinse with hot water. In some cases, the vessel will be 100% clean without any scrubbing... I always take my L-shape carboy brush, spend 10 seconds to "wipe" (not scrub)...
Agreed, it's not necessary to focus on scrubbing to clean a fermenter.

My first step in cleaning is to use the nozzle on my garden hose rinse away the remnants of the beer, yeast cake, & krausen ring. Then I reach my arm inside and sponge wash the inside with some hot PBW solution, followed by a rinse. No hard scrubbing is required. It's also never necessary to mix, lift, or dispose of 5gallons of PBW solution.

... there's nothing wrong with glass carboys. They last forever...
Refer to this thread for photos of "nothing wrong" glass carboys that lasted "forever".

The glass vs PET debate is off topic for a thread discussing upgrades that improve beer quality, except when it comes to transfers. A closed transfer is a big improvement, that makes a noticeable difference in the longevity of flavor & aroma. Closed transfers from PET fermenters are easy and safe, powered by gravity or bottled CO2.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I don't see myself switching to stainless, because I like a clear fermenter. I like to watch the yeast work. I want to see when the krausen has fallen. I want to see when a cold crash has finished clarifying the beer (especially when using a yeast with low flocculation).
I've used glass carboys for over 15 years, and have never been concerned about one breaking under normal conditions.
I fermented in glass carboys for 20+ years. It was when a brewing buddy of mine went to the ER after a broken carboy that hit home for me. His advice was that I could get several quality stainless fermenters for less than the cost of his medical bills. In any case, I don't miss the additional weight and small neck.

I looked at stainless but 1) I wanted a couple smaller fermenters and at least 1 larger fermenter so the price was an issue and 2) like LittleRiver I knew I would miss all the valuable information that I get from being able to observe fermentation. That pushed me towards getting a pair of 3 gal Fermonsters and a 7 gal Fermonster. I did have an infection issue, but I have since learned to disassemble to clean/sanitize my spigots.

No one wants a Porter when it is 95 degrees and humid:no:
You must be making the wrong kind of Porter! When I am working in the yard, I find a 4.5% English Porter to be the ultimate refreshing beer with just enough substance to keep me going.
 

specialkayme

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It was when a brewing buddy of mine went to the ER after a broken carboy that hit home for me.
I don't understand why so many are so quick to point out the dangers of glass carboys alone. No doubt I could drop a glass carboy and become injured. But I could also:

1. Be burned (or have a loved one burned) by steam from brewing.
2. Be cut on any number of pieces of equipment, some self made, some enough to sever an artery.
3. Drop a co2 tank causing the neck to snap off causing serious injury.
4. Ferment under pressure and have a metal carboy fail and cause injury.
5. Have a bottle break causing injury.
6. Be electrocuted on an electric brew equipment (or burn down your house on half of the advice given on building your own panel).
7. Drop the wrong item on a foot, leg, hand causing injury.
8. Accidentally drink caustic chemicals inadvertently left in beer lines from cleaning.
9. Heck, getting into a car accident while driving to the homebrew store is hundreds of times more likely to injure or kill me than the glass carboy.

How many large brewery injuries have you heard of? Never seen a single glass carboy in one.

I'm not taking glass carboys lightly. I handle them with care. But to a certain extent brewing involves risk of personal injury. Reduce your risks how you see fit. If you don't think you can handle a glass carboy with care, or if you don't think it's possible, don't use it. But to target it out as the one dangerous devil in the brewing operation that's just sitting idly by, waiting to kill you and everyone you love is an absurd exercise.
 
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