|Sure I like cool brewing systems, I just don't like|
the price tag or the lower efficiency.
|Jake checking gravity with a refractometer. You can see the|
Jaded hydra chiller in the box on the table.
I have come to the inevitable, inalienable conclusion that... I need to stop. Stop looking at other brewing systems. I need to Stop designing and re designing system. I already have 3 (kinda 4 if you include stove top small batch) great brewing systems. I can brew 10 gallons no sparge, heck I can do 20 gallons if I sparge. I have amazing wort chillers and all of the cool toys that everyone wants (Refractometers, pH meters, digital instant read thermometers) The only thing I don't have is mash re circulation. And that is something I can add in the future. I am now convinced that it makes controlling mash temperatures easier, and gives a consistent temperature throughout the mash.
So here is what I am reminding myself tonight, as I fight the urge to do more research.
- BIAB is more efficient than 3 vessel, this is a fact. A well established fact.
- Pumps, Valves, and electric control panels are useful only to the extent with which they make brewing easier.
- "This is a hobby, this a hobby..." there is no justification for spending thousands and thousands of dollars. Kids need to eat.
- The goal is great beer, not cool brewing systems. (although I have to wonder how many of you would look at our 10-20 gallon system and think is was pretty darn cool).
- Anything hard to clean is a waste of money.
- And finally, mash doesn't know it is being mashed, recirculated, or stirred. And brewing systems are essentially mashing or wort production systems.
|This countertop eRIMS system is|
my dream 5 gallon rig.
So for the time being, the brew team is pretty well set up. We have a 100 quart mash tun, a bag that fits it, a keggle, a 150000 btu burner, a jaded hydra chiller, all kinds of fermenters, and all the cool sciency gadgets. We may add a pump for the purpose of transferring sparge water, whirl-pooling, and recirculating mash at the end of the mash cycle. We may add a HERMS coil, because we have an extra turkey fryer, and if we can source a pump for cheap, that might make some sense, still BIAB in a cooler of course. So were not complete, but were in good shape. For me personally, I will keep dreaming about a system by BrauSupply or High Gravity, and looking forward to the day when I can buy one. For now, unless I win the lottery, I plan to live by the mantra if it doesn't make better beer easier, I don't need it. "This is a hobby, this is a hobby". So if you hear some nut case in the LHBS mumbling "this is a hobby", say hello. And if that nut case is buying all kinds of gear kick him in his nut case and remind him "this is a hobby".
Pictures of some of our gear.
|We have a submersible digital thermometer. We always know|
our mash temperature.
|a pH meter is really indispensable if you are doing all grain.|
|In this photo, from left to right, The 48 quart mash tun, wort|
chillers, fermenters, a dog, the stand and burner for the keggel
the small 7.5 gallon turkey fryer.
|an automatic temperature adjusting refractometer is a huge|
benefit on brew day.
|We have a legally sourced Keggel|
for big batches. with a 150,000
|We have loads of brew bags, and one|
big enough for a 100 quart mash tun.
It is in the 48 quart tun here!
|Our grain mill is basic, but it is|
drill powered and does a great job!
|Not sure how many pots the team has, a lot. I have 3 stainless|
steel pots, and one enamel pot for brewing.
|We use an aquarium pump and a|
stainless steel stone for aeration.
|We use thiefs to check gravity. When carefully sanitized,|
you can drain the beer back into the fermenter.
|And of course the Cajun Injector|
which gets duty as a BIAB rig, and
as a Hot Liquor Tank, when we sparge
10 gallons, which isn't often because
we can do full volume mash of 10 gallons.
|We have a 100 quart cooler mash tun, this looks just like it. Love the door on top|
it does double duty as a bottle cleaning and label removing station. I holds
hundreds of bottles. It has a built in bulk head.