Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Upgrades To My Home Brewery

Though I am new to brewing, I have really taken a liken to it (hence the blog). I recently have received some bonus money and what else should I spend it on besides brewing supplies. Of course, I am saving a good part of it, but this is bonus money. It was a little extra for working hard. Therefore, it is time to play hard. Here are the major additions to my home brewery.

15 Gallon Brew pot fitted with Spigot and Blichmann Weldless Brewmometer
I wanted to do full 5-gallon boils, so I needed a big pot. Then I thought to myself, if I am going to invest this money in to a big brewing pot, why limit myself to 5-gallons. I want equipment I can grow into. So, I went with the 15-gallon pot. Now I can brew 10 gallons comfortably. Why not?

Bayou Classic Cast Iron Burner
Well, having a 15-gallon brew pot does no good if you can’t heat it up. I purchased this Bayou 185,000-BTU 20-PSI propane burner. I don’t have a natural gas line in the house, I can always upgrade the regulator and get up to 220,000-BTU out of this thing. This burner is massive and will bring my wort to a boil in no time flat.

Copper Immersion Chiller
Again, having a 15-gallon pot has some obstacles. One is chilling the wort. With my 4-gallon pot, I would fill the sink with ice and soak burry the pot in ice. This new pot is almost twice as big as my sink and may have trouble in my bathtub. Plus, who can lift and carry all that wort. For that reason, I got a chiller made out of 50 foot of copper tubing. This Chiller should chill the wort down quickly.

Digital Temperature Controller
I feel that my beers haven’t been as good as they can be and I have read that maintaining a proper temperature throughout fermentation could be even more important than going all-grain. I plan to try all-grain soon, but I want to get a hold of my fermentation first. I coupled the temp controller with some fermawrap since it is winter here, and I have a fridge in the garage for when the temperatures get hot out in the summer.

I can’t wait to set this stuff up and get brewing. This weekend will be fun for sure.


Keith Brainard said...

That's some good stuff you got there. I went with the bargain basement Home Depot special turkey fryer gas burner. It came with a 30-quart aluminum kettle, and that's what I use. I can't quite stuff enough wort in there to get 5 gallons of finished product, but it does the trick and the price was right. But I keep eyeing those nice big stainless kettles.

The immersion chiller is essential. 'Nuff said.

The temperature controller is really nice, too. I think a stable temperature helps the yeast complete the job as fermentation wanes. Plus, you don't have to constantly babysit the fermenter - there's a microchip doing that for you!

You're setting yourself up well for all-grain. All you'll need is a mash setup. Denny can tell you how to make a mash tun (though I don't batch sparge) or John Palmer is pretty smart, too.

Jeff Louella said...

I really plan to go all-grain sometime by the end of the year, but I think I am going to try kegging first. Bottling is a chore and to add cleaning the mash tun, I think kegging would be easier and faster. Plus the ability to tune in CO2 levels should help getting the brew just right.

I see used systems on CraigsList, so I am just trying to learn enough not to buy some junk.