Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sometimes, I even have to remind myself... Hot Brew Gear Photos Inside!

Sure I like cool brewing systems,  I just don't like
the price tag or the lower efficiency.
Part of the "coolness" that is homebrewing, is looking at all of the cool gear, and cool methods of making beer.  Recently, I have been dreaming and designing my dream brewing system.  I have researched 3 vessel systems with pumps, herms coils and with gravity sparging equipment.  I have designed system after system on paper. I have watched countless hours of videos on you tube. I have considered electric systems, gas systems, and hybrid systems.  I have considered what systems would allow me to still decoct, but also make step mashing easier.  I have looked at fully automated systems, and more rudimentary systems.

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.
  1. BIAB is more efficient than 3 vessel, this is a fact. A well established fact.
  2. Pumps, Valves, and electric control panels are useful only to the extent with which they make brewing easier. 
  3. "This is a hobby, this a hobby..." there is no justification for spending thousands and thousands of dollars. Kids need to eat.    
  4. 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). 
  5. Anything hard to clean is a waste of money.  
  6. 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.
And for what it is worth,  I've been wasting time. I already know what my dream rig is, and it isn't some $7,500.00 3 vessel behemoth.  No, it's not that at all,  my dream rig (s) are the relatively straight forward and simple systems by BrauSupply and High Gravity. and Colorado Brewing Systems

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
BTU Burner.
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. 
So there it is.  We have a lot of cool gear as a team.  And I have plenty of cool gear for the time being.  Some day I'll get my dream rig.  But for now.  I'll just shut up and brew!

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