New equipment and/or upgrades discussion

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Joined
Apr 11, 2013
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What have you purchased lately as an upgrade to your setup or what are you considering upgrading but havent pulled the trigger on yet?

I like to keep it simple. My mash tun is a 140 qt coffin cooler with a cpvc manifold. My boil kettles are modified kegs. I love keeping it rustic and hands on but I think its time to finally buy a march pump and start fly sparging.
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2013
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3,937
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San Miguel, CA
I went a little crazy recently. I haven't been kegging because I made a rootbeer that I kegged and of course once you go root beer you never go back. So I bought 2 more 5 Gallon kegs and a counter pressure filler. I also got 2 March pumps to help move some wort around without hurting my back. I have been using different levels of my garage to use gravity for many of these things so this should be a huge help. My next upgrade would be some way to whirlpool. Not sure if I will have a stainless steel welder angle a tube into my existing kettle or just get a keggle that has one already in it. I would also like a sight glass to have better ideas of water levels than my untrusty stick method.
 
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I have also been delaying my grain milling station project...i really need to finish it.

Several brews ago, a friend was running the mill for me with a corded drill like always. He tried to balance it on the edge of my cooler to add more grain and it tumbled to the ground. In the process, it bent the shaft going in to the mill. It is still useable and the rollers are not effected but it got me thinkin that i need a better way to do this. So...

I have a spare rotary motor and want to build a small table that I can affix the mill to. Add a power switch and add a gear and chain. Also, increasing the hopper size is a must.

Maybe ill get the stuff this week and make that my weekend project.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
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4,313
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The Misty Mountains
Finally upgraded to a 10 gal cylindrical mash tun with SS braid. Kegerator is just a mini-fridge from craigslist. Next project is to figure out if I can fit two kegs in there and then build a tap tower on the top.

What are folks suggestions on tap towers, I haven't really looked into it yet but when I just browse what is out there I get really confused.
 
Joined
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I'll be building a keezer over the next month or two. Slowly collecting parts (CO2 tank, 4 way manifold, dual primary regulator, perlick faucets w/ shanks, kegs, quick disconnect keg fittings bought so far).

Need to build a collar and buy another freezer for fermentation. Wife probably won't understand the need for two chest freezers. Better to ask forgiveness type of deal...lol.
 
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Found a chest freezer yesterday near the community dumpster. Looks like someone threw away a perfectly functioning (so far, anyway) 5.0 CF GE Freezer. Probably a few years old, but its been running without issue for over 24 hours now. Keezer build begins as soon as my new Dewalt circular saw shows up. Wonderful timing. The homebrew gods are smiling down on me.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
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Methlehem, WA
To answer your OP, I have been working on a homemade stir plate. I just need to finalize the parameters for depth from magnet and I should be good to go.

Next DIY is an O2 set up. Should be able to score some legitimate regulators and such from my friends in the medical community.

Finally, my mash tun (igloo water cooler) is in severe disrepair in needs to be replaced. I have the money, but I'm a cheap ass and want a 10G cooler for $30 or less. Craigslist is not helpful lately.
 
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Why? Fly sparging sucks.
The main reason is safety. I cant feasibly create a gravity fed system without having to move my excessively heavy mash tun multiple times in a brew day. Getting a pump eliminates the moving of equipment and the risks associated.

I am pretty thick headed when it comes to trying things out for myself. When people say "fly sparging sucks" it makes me want to do it even more just to say I did it. See also: decoction mashing and why it is unnecessary with todays malts but I do it for some styles of beer anyway. I honestly love brewing as much if not more than actually drinking. So when the opportunity presents itself to try something new or different I dont hesitate in trying it at least once.

Keep in mind, the cost of creating a sparge arm is going to be around $5 for me considering I have nearly all the spare parts laying around.

Edit: so i just went back and reread the context of my posts. I didnt mean for it to come across like fly sparging is the next step in my brewing advancement...it was more about getting a pump and that providing me with the chance to try fly sparging.
 
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Joined
Apr 10, 2013
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The Misty Mountains
See also: decoction mashing and why it is unnecessary with todays malts but I do it for some styles of beer anyway. I honestly love brewing as much if not more than actually drinking. So when the opportunity presents itself to try something new or different I dont hesitate in trying it at least once.
So much this. If you are only about drinking the beer, there is really no point in homebrewing in the end the cost savings are minimal, especially if you factor in the time it takes to get proficient enough to brew beer at the level of most commercially available beers.

I myself love to geek out about brewing, the process, the experimentation...
 
Joined
Apr 16, 2013
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3,937
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San Miguel, CA
I love making sour beers. The processes the different ways you can do it. I hate drinking sour beers. I love messing around and doing different things.
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2013
Messages
6,267
Location
Methlehem, WA
The main reason is safety. I cant feasibly create a gravity fed system without having to move my excessively heavy mash tun multiple times in a brew day. Getting a pump eliminates the moving of equipment and the risks associated.

I am pretty thick headed when it comes to trying things out for myself. When people say "fly sparging sucks" it makes me want to do it even more just to say I did it. See also: decoction mashing and why it is unnecessary with todays malts but I do it for some styles of beer anyway. I honestly love brewing as much if not more than actually drinking. So when the opportunity presents itself to try something new or different I dont hesitate in trying it at least once.

Keep in mind, the cost of creating a sparge arm is going to be around $5 for me considering I have nearly all the spare parts laying around.

Edit: so i just went back and reread the context of my posts. I didnt mean for it to come across like fly sparging is the next step in my brewing advancement...it was more about getting a pump and that providing me with the chance to try fly sparging.
All of this is reasonable.

Endorsement approved.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
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92040
I pretty much only brew sour beers and meads these days, but the best things that helped my system efficiency and taste of my beer were (in order of importance):

1. temp-controlled fermentation area (deep chest freezer with external temp control)
2. Yeast starter
3. O2 kit with 0.5 micron SS diffusing stone

The best things that made my brewday easier:
1. Immersion wort chiller
2. A flower-pot dolly from Home Despot to move carboys/MT/kettle around when they're full (pic below)
3. A friend burly enough to help me lift my HLT and dump hot water from my kettle into my MT and HLT.

 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
Messages
2,129
Location
Villa Park, CA
After building my keezer and a stir plate I am currently working on building my new Brewhouse

Here is the to scale concept


The layout for the control panel


The control panel box


The hole layout blueprints


The Asco valves that control the gas


I've procured about 85% of the electronic and about 50% of the hardware. The stand is being built by Brewers Hardware which is also where I am getting the remaining hardware and my new boil kettle

I'll be creating several posts for my site about the project and updating the "Brewery's" Facebook Page
 

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