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

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jdauria

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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.
There are a lot of lager yeast that work well in the mid 60's if you can get that cool. Brulosophy guys do "warm lagers" all the time.
 

LittleRiver

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I don't understand why so many are so quick to point out the dangers of glass carboys alone....
No one is pointing out the shortcomings of glass in isolation, glass is being compared to the other fermenter options. In the comparison, PET gives the advantages of a transparent fermenter without having the fragility and injury potential of glass that can be seen in this thread.

There's a reason there is no similar thread describing catastrophic PET fermenter failures & injuries.

... 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.
I see no evidence of anyone thinking that way, except you.
 

fendersrule

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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.
Exactly. How much of those cases involved, a) a drunk brewer, b) a brewer with no carrying straps/handle, c) a carboy that has been exposed to 200F hot wort from a cold state (oops, chiller broke, better get the wort inside quickly!, d) a brewer that carries a carboy up and down a flight of stairs to the basement, e) a brewer that leaves a carboy in an area where it can be kicked/hit during fermenting.

BTW, I estimate my glass carboys to be about 30 years old right now.
 

specialkayme

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Exactly. How much of those cases involved, a) a drunk brewer, b) a brewer with no carrying straps/handle, c) a carboy that has been exposed to 200F hot wort from a cold state (oops, chiller broke, better get the wort inside quickly!, d) a brewer that carries a carboy up and down a flight of stairs to the basement, e) a brewer that leaves a carboy in an area where it can be kicked/hit during fermenting.

BTW, I estimate my glass carboys to be about 30 years old right now.
Most stories of breaking, if not one of the above reasons (of which people are usually not willing to admit), and like the one linked to by LittleRiver, almost always involve a story something like this:

While I was draining one of them into the sink the carboy gently bumped the side of the sink and broke in my hands.
It usually involves a "gentle bump" followed by a catastrophic shattering. I don't know about that.
 

specialkayme

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No one is pointing out the shortcomings of glass in isolation
No, that's exactly what's happening. Half of the first dozen posts in this thread suggested fermenting under pressure. You felt no need to address any safety concerns involved. No less than 2 people on the first page mentioned not brewing while drunk (obviously way more dangerous than anything else mentioned) and you felt no need to express caution. An electric brewery was mentioned in post #36, and no comment on your part about the health or well being of someone else or the possible dangers involved. It wasn't until I mentioned glass in post #39 that you suddenly start addressing safety concerns (and linking the same thread on other people being injured almost ten years ago THREE TIMES).

I get that you're attempting to do me a favor by outlining the dangers of glass. It's appreciated. But it isn't as if I had no idea glass could break and suddenly came to see the light after seeing your posts. And you're still ignoring all of the other dangerous or unsafe conditions outlined in this thread, and instead latching on to this glass thing.

I see no evidence of anyone thinking that way, except you.
Read the post after yours. At least one other.
 

ncbrewer

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fendersrule

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I don't know if this refers to this type of handle: https://www.morebeer.com/products/carboy-handle-smooth-neck-carboys.html?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ECI - Google Shopping - All Products&utm_term=1100311770639&utm_content=Ad Group #1
If so, I'll point out that it is to be used for lifting empty carboys, in case anybody isn't aware.
I would agree with that! I have one carboy that has one of those. My others have straps which equalize the pressure.
 

CascadesBrewer

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No one is pointing out the shortcomings of glass in isolation, glass is being compared to the other fermenter options. In the comparison, PET gives the advantages of a transparent fermenter without having the fragility and injury potential of glass that can be seen in this thread.
Kinda my thoughts as well. Back when I started brewing Corona Mills and Glass Carboys were common upgrades. These days there are just better options available. I still use my glass carboys once and awhile (have a stout aging in my 5 gal one), but I would not recommend them to a new brewer. They break often enough with repeated usage that you risk injury or the loss of 5 gals of beer all over your floor. Honestly, the wide mouth, lighter weight, and spigot on the Fermonster are the things that push me to use those, with safety being a bonus.
 

Kaz15

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1. Going from extract to all grain BIAB. I made this change very early on in my homebrew career and never looked back.

2. Switching from carbon filtered tap water to an RO system and building the water profile to style. I made this switch about 6 months ago and the results have been astounding. Our tap water here in the Denver area isn't bad for homebrewing, but it's not perfect for most styles. Before the switch, I noticed that all of my beers were starting to taste alike and bit "meh". Getting an inexpensive RO filter has been a game changer. Hard to explain, but the flavors just pop more for each style. I'm still experimenting with profiles for certain styles, but I'm convinced that this one change has taken my brews to the next level.
 
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danielthemaniel

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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.
It never crossed my mind to add priming sugar to a keg but it makes sense. It would save on co2 costs. I'm sure a good portion of the co2 used in a typical tank is used in force carbonation. Also, reducing DO makes sense. You are recreating fermentation by adding consumable sugars to the beer. The yeast, of course, consumes sugar and oxygen and creates ethanol and carbon dioxide. My only small aversion to this is that I would be adding around 0.2% ABV to the beer. However, it seems the pros far ok outweigh the cons. Thanks for the idea!
 

KookyBrewsky

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I am leaving extract behind after 5 brews, I can see where I'm headed and might as well jump in, I've got my Wilser BIAB setup ready. All I'm waiting on is a replacement Spike+ brew kettle for the one that arrived in poor condition.

I have a question for those who keg : many say you can go from grain to glass in 10 days. What changes outside of carbonation? How do the "green" flavors commonly present in a fully carbonated glass of beer disappear so quickly in a carbonated keg of beer?

I'm looking to keg myself, but I'll always be a hybrid, I love having bottles of beer.

Second question, is a DIY kegerator worth it? Or is it worth it to get a well-made prebuilt one? Mini-fridges are very uncommon used around here, it's got an elderly population, they don't seem to use them that much :|
 

KookyBrewsky

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FWIW I bottle and I go from grain to glass in less than 10 days.
Do you bottle and keg, or solely bottle? Is all-grain quicker to become enjoyable than the extracts I've brewed?

I have the first bottle of my third batch in the fridge now, I did 3 weeks primary, and it's been bottle conditioning for 2.5 weeks. Right at the 3 week mark I'm going to try it because I'm so excited to try my first non stout/porter homebrew. My chocolate stout extract is quite a bit less flavorful than most stouts I've had :( Oh well, I'll be drinking all of them knowing I made it and that's still enjoyable.
 

dnr

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Stopped stressing it.

I know that in the end, the worst thing that will happen is I don't have a great beer.
Have you ever had a Rolling Rock?
 

deuce40

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Kegging was the single best thing that I noticed that made the largest improvement to my beer. idk what about it made a difference but while I was bottling I noticed that after fermentation my beer would taste great. I would get excited for a batch then after bottling and letting condition for the necessary time to condition my beer in the bottles the flavor would change drastically. I never had the ability to control the temps of the bottles while they were conditioning so I think that's where my problem was. I was initially brewing in Florida so temp in my house would swing some times in the house. I moved to Colorado and had the same issues but I feel like my brews were better during the winter months when average temps in my apartment were cooler.

Now that I'm kegging I found that my beers are what I'm expecting after tasting the sample when packaging. Added bonus I get to drink my beer much sooner with burst carbonation.
 

RPh_Guy

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Probably but I always heard that bottle conditioning would scavenge the oxygen that would be introduced during bottling.
Only with a good process, otherwise (e.g. most home brewers' processes), not.

Whats your process looks like that's a crazy turnover for a bottled beer!
I use a low-oxygen brewing process, which is good brewing practices combined with oxygen avoidance and active oxygen scavenging.
RO water with a custom mineral profile.
Proper mash and kettle pH adjustments.
Good wort clarity from recirculation and kettle fining.
Fast chilling, and subsequent settling.
Proper wort aeration/oxygenation.
Yeast nutrient (zinc) direct to fermenter.
Pitch fresh healthy yeast at high kraüsen from a continuously stirred starter.
Active temperature control.
Spunding (yes, in the bottle), or fermenter priming and botting directly from there.
Rouse the yeast during carbonation and it carbs in 1-3 days.

Ales should be not only drinkable, but delicious in about a week or less. Additional cold conditioning is helpful for lagers (after packaging).
 
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deuce40

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Only with a good process, otherwise (e.g. most home brewers' processes), not.


I use a low-oxygen brewing process, which is good brewing practices combined with oxygen avoidance and active oxygen scavenging.
RO water with a custom mineral profile.
Proper mash and kettle pH adjustments.
Good wort clarity from recirculation and kettle fining.
Fast chilling, and subsequent settling.
Proper wort aeration/oxygenation.
Yeast nutrient (zinc) direct to fermenter.
Pitch fresh healthy yeast at high kraüsen from a continuously stirred starter.
Active temperature control.
Spunding (yes, in the bottle), or fermenter priming and botting directly from there.
Rouse the yeast during carbonation and it carbs in 1-3 days.

Ales should be not only drinkable, but delicious in about a week or less. Additional settling time is helpful for lagers.

That's awesome, glad your getting good results that quickly! One of my issues with bottling was the fact it takes so long. With that being said I'll never bottle again ahaha. :mug:
 

KookyBrewsky

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Only with a good process, otherwise (e.g. most home brewers' processes), not.


I use a low-oxygen brewing process, which is good brewing practices combined with oxygen avoidance and active oxygen scavenging.
RO water with a custom mineral profile.
Proper mash and kettle pH adjustments.
Good wort clarity from recirculation and kettle fining.
Fast chilling, and subsequent settling.
Proper wort aeration/oxygenation.
Yeast nutrient (zinc) direct to fermenter.
Pitch fresh healthy yeast at high kraüsen from a continuously stirred starter.
Active temperature control.
Spunding (yes, in the bottle), or fermenter priming and botting directly from there.
Rouse the yeast during carbonation and it carbs in 1-3 days.

Ales should be not only drinkable, but delicious in about a week or less. Additional cold conditioning is helpful for lagers (after packaging).
Any big pieces of advice you have for us bottlers? Going to brew my 6th batch soon, first all-grain... I'll be transferring to a fermentation bucket post boil via my Spike+ kettle, sealing it as usual after pitching yeast, then transferring from the fermentation bucket to my bottling bucket and to bottles via a spring-loaded bottle filer. Any way I could further reduce oxygen issues besides being careful?
 
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danielthemaniel

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I am leaving extract behind after 5 brews, I can see where I'm headed and might as well jump in, I've got my Wilser BIAB setup ready. All I'm waiting on is a replacement Spike+ brew kettle for the one that arrived in poor condition.

I have a question for those who keg : many say you can go from grain to glass in 10 days. What changes outside of carbonation? How do the "green" flavors commonly present in a fully carbonated glass of beer disappear so quickly in a carbonated keg of beer?

I'm looking to keg myself, but I'll always be a hybrid, I love having bottles of beer.

Second question, is a DIY kegerator worth it? Or is it worth it to get a well-made prebuilt one? Mini-fridges are very uncommon used around here, it's got an elderly population, they don't seem to use them that much :|
I think you will really enjoy kegging! It's made things much simpler for me and honestly it's pretty cool to have beer on tap at home. I dont go grain to glass in 10 days, personally. I suppose you could but like you said the beer is likely to be a little green. To me, that means the flavor profile is under developed. Also you can have a strong yeast like flavor as there is still a lot of yeast in suspension. Cold crashing can help but there will still be a lot of yeast that take time to drop out. I notice the under developed flavors are more noticable when the malt bill is using higher lovibond malts. The dark the malt the more time it takes to mature in the beer for me. Hops on the other hand are typically more lively in a green beer as they have less flavors to compete with. You can get hop burn from concentrated oils that have sunk to the bottom of the keg during the first few pours.
As far as DIY kegging units, I strongly recommend going that route. You save a LOT of money putting it together yourself. You can easily teach yourself by doing some quick and readily available research on the internet. I'd be happy to help if you have questions. Also, you learn how the different pieces of equipment work which is invaluable experience as you will certainly have issues that you will have to troubleshoot from time to time.
 

KookyBrewsky

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Perhaps I am using the wrong verbiage. I was referring to beer that has not developed it's full flavor profile because it is too young.
If it's done fermenting, what does being young encompass?

As in, what changes occur from green beer to peak beer?
 
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danielthemaniel

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If it's done fermenting, what does being young encompass?

As in, what changes occur from green beer to peak beer?
I've noticed with just about any better, whether its homebrew or commercial that the flavor profile will develop over time. Some styles more than others, of course. I like to take annual releases and keep them for multiple years so I can compare different years. Just in my own homebrew I can definitely tell a difference between a fully fermented beer that is 14 days old and that same beer once it is 30 or 60 or 90 days old. The flavor definitely develops. Especially in darker styles. Just my experience anyway.
 

RPh_Guy

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I've noticed with just about any better, whether its homebrew or commercial that the flavor profile will develop over time. Some styles more than others, of course. I like to take annual releases and keep them for multiple years so I can compare different years. Just in my own homebrew I can definitely tell a difference between a fully fermented beer that is 14 days old and that same beer once it is 30 or 60 or 90 days old. The flavor definitely develops. Especially in darker styles. Just my experience anyway.
What you're tasting is the effect of oxidation.
George Fix refers to 4 stages of oxidation. Stage A is "brewery fresh", stage B exhibits muted flavors. Stage C tastes papery and kind of disgusting, grassy, cat piss, etc. In stage D almost all that flavor is gone and it's mainly just sweet and smooth.

Most brewers are shooting for keeping the beer in stage A or B all through the time it's consumed. However if you don't have a really solid cold side process, then your beer is starting at stage C when you start drinking it. In that case it may not taste great starting out and it becomes a waiting game while the oxidation progresses and the flavor improves over time.
 

KookyBrewsky

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I've noticed with just about any better, whether its homebrew or commercial that the flavor profile will develop over time. Some styles more than others, of course. I like to take annual releases and keep them for multiple years so I can compare different years. Just in my own homebrew I can definitely tell a difference between a fully fermented beer that is 14 days old and that same beer once it is 30 or 60 or 90 days old. The flavor definitely develops. Especially in darker styles. Just my experience anyway.
Interesting. I’m just wondering how beer changes chemically over time... I have no way to find out D:
 

Brewbuzzard

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I agree with VTX. But sense you asked for one I'll go with paying more attention to the water. We've been using RO for two years and although we both won in competition using Dallas water the wins have increased as well as the level of placing. I just installed my new RO system today so no more buying and carrying water.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I have a question for those who keg : many say you can go from grain to glass in 10 days. What changes outside of carbonation? How do the "green" flavors commonly present in a fully carbonated glass of beer disappear so quickly in a carbonated keg of beer?
I keg. I don't go from grain to glass in 10 days. Most of my non-dry-hopped beers are probably about ready to keg in 10 days, but my brew and keg days usually fall on the weekends. I moved to "set and forget" carbonation, mostly because I found my beers were usually better at 4 weeks so I don't see a reason to rush the carbonation process (maybe if I had a dual regulator I would be more temped, but I have had to deal with overcarbed beers in the past).
 

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