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5 gal system ideas


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#1 SchwanzBrewer

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 09:45 PM

I'm gonna put together a 5 gallon system to brew on. I'm torn in my choices... electric or gas; carboys or conical; gravity or pumps, HLT or on demand water heater.

 

I really don't want to deal with pumps so I'm leaning towards gravity fed, but that's harder to do if I use a conical.

 

Carboys are a pain in the butt to clean and I like using a conical and have an easier ability to harvest yeast. 

 

I like the idea of automation with electric and I need to learn how to do some of those things, but gas is so simple and easy.

 

I'm not sure what my budget is yet, i'm more likely to spend money on a conical and controlling fermentation than I am the brew house. Push comes to shove I could put together a nice simple brewhouse for under $200.

 

I need to start brewing more styles and keep my skills up, especially in the IPA and Belgian realm. I feel like I can brew delicate beers like lagers and german ales really well, but I really haven't brewed a ton of IPA's besides DCRIPA. I want to try and focus on old school IPA using cascade and some other more readily available hops and see how it really compares with all the new fangled crazy hops out there all the younungs seem to like.

 

And push comes to shove I want to be able to drink my fecking beer on my taps at home for a change.

 

Make an argument for the direction I take this.

 

GO!


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#2 Patrick C.

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 09:48 PM

Electric, so you can brew in the AC. 

 

More than $200, but you'll make it back in propane costs.  :)


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#3 drez77

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:24 AM

I would also go electric for ultimate control and being very quiet. I could never go back to a propane burner. I would do an all electric biab system. I like pumps and find no real issues using them but I can understand not wanting to mess with them.

As for fermentation, I personally would skip a conical and go with something like this https://www.homebrew...lon_p_7616.html
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#4 pickle_rick

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:04 AM

def BIAB with a big kettle.  if electric is an option what drez suggested sounds pretty good.  if propane is what happens I think I'd just direct fire it and try to insulate the kettle with blankets or something while mashing.

 

I def like the idea of the SS fermentor.  I keep considering going in a similar direction for my 10 gal batches.  then I'd just need a SS mash tun and I could be mostly free of plastic.


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#5 drez77

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:42 AM

def BIAB with a big kettle.  if electric is an option what drez suggested sounds pretty good.  if propane is what happens I think I'd just direct fire it and try to insulate the kettle with blankets or something while mashing.

 

I def like the idea of the SS fermentor.  I keep considering going in a similar direction for my 10 gal batches.  then I'd just need a SS mash tun and I could be mostly free of plastic.

 

I have a nice 10g SS fermetner I am looking to sell:)


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#6 neddles

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:02 AM

As for fermentation, I personally would skip a conical and go with something like this https://www.homebrew...lon_p_7616.html

 

Those look nice.

 

 

I have a nice 10g SS fermetner I am looking to sell:)

 

Why? What are you switching to?


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#7 drez77

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:04 AM

Those look nice.

 

 

 

Why? What are you switching to?

I do not brew 10g batches anymore so it just sits around.  If I do brew a large batch I split it between fermenters and treat both differently so I end up with 2 different beers.


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#8 neddles

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:25 AM

I do not brew 10g batches anymore so it just sits around.  If I do brew a large batch I split it between fermenters and treat both differently so I end up with 2 different beers.

 

So are you picking up one of those Anvils you linked?


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#9 ER Pemberton

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:44 AM

I agree the anvils look very cool.

All of that said, I probably have the most ghetto brewing system around. 10g Rubbermaid cooler with a spigot and stainless braid, 10g Polarware kettle with NO extras except a lid. 6.5g plastic buckets for fermentation. Bayou Classic in the garage and a LP tank. But I have 4 fridges dedicated to brewing (5 if you include the fridge in my bar that's filled with commercial beer). 25' stainless immersion chiller. No pumps, no CFCs, no conical, no electronics. A Thermapen and an Omega meter for accurate temp and pH control and a mill that I'm starting to like again. :D

#10 SchwanzBrewer

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:55 AM

I would also go electric for ultimate control and being very quiet. I could never go back to a propane burner. I would do an all electric biab system. I like pumps and find no real issues using them but I can understand not wanting to mess with them.

As for fermentation, I personally would skip a conical and go with something like this https://www.homebrew...lon_p_7616.html

 

The big drawbacks of that fermentor are the dip tube and ball valve. You have to disassemble that thing every time including the valve to make sure you aren't creating a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Ball valves are notorious for harboring such things. I like the idea, but I'd rather use a siphon, maybe a stainless pressurized version, than that dip tube.


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#11 Steppedonapoptop

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 07:16 AM

KISS method economy:

Wide mouth plastic fermenters, propane burner, IC, cooler tun and you know the rest. Just don't get an orange cylindrical cooler :)
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#12 ER Pemberton

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 07:20 AM

KISS method economy:

Wide mouth plastic fermenters, propane burner, IC, cooler tun and you know the rest. Just don't get an orange cylindrical cooler :)

My neighbor!

Wait, I have a yellow cylinder cooler. Whatchoo talkin' about Willis? :D

#13 Steppedonapoptop

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 07:21 AM

My neighbor!

Wait, I have a yellow cylinder cooler. Whatchoo talkin' about Willis? :D


You know I'm only teasing... everyone knows yellow has a higher efficiency than orange ;)
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#14 drez77

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 07:40 AM

The big drawbacks of that fermentor are the dip tube and ball valve. You have to disassemble that thing every time including the valve to make sure you aren't creating a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Ball valves are notorious for harboring such things. I like the idea, but I'd rather use a siphon, maybe a stainless pressurized version, than that dip tube.

Would you not be doing that with a conical as well?

 

I personally do not use a ball valve on my fermenters just for that reason but every conical I have seen has valves you need to deal with in one way or another.


So are you picking up one of those Anvils you linked?

I would most likely get a third Chapman Steel Tank so mine are all the same.


KISS method economy:

Wide mouth plastic fermenters, propane burner, IC, cooler tun and you know the rest. Just don't get an orange cylindrical cooler :)

 

Nope!! :)


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#15 pickle_rick

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:26 PM

I have a nice 10g SS fermetner I am looking to sell:)

 

really?  I must have missed this.


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#16 SchwanzBrewer

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:28 PM

Would you not be doing that with a conical as well?

 

I personally do not use a ball valve on my fermenters just for that reason but every conical I have seen has valves you need to deal with in one way or another.


I would most likely get a third Chapman Steel Tank so mine are all the same.


 

Nope!! :)

 

The butterfly valves I use on the conicals are made to be broken down. They wipe the gasket when they open and close. Some of them are really good at staying clean. Ball valves can be broken down, but replacing parts and resealing them properly is a pain in the butt. Mainly this is because all the parts are cheap and chinese and the tolerances aren't as good or you can't get replacement parts that are from the same manufacturer so they don't fit well. I've had to retire a couple ball valves because I couldn't get them to stop leaking with replacement parts.

 

The main reason for why I want a conical is to capture yeast easier in a trap. I'm gonna brew more and I got a microscope so I can practice counting yeast and all that good stuff.

 

If I don't get a conical I'll get one of those stainless fermenters without a port. I'll modify the lid so I can use 4-5lb of pressure from CO2 to do transfers.

 

Other than that I want to do it without a ferm chamber and do a glycol like chilling system to control fermentation temps. I don't want to use my old chamber. I was getting an off flavor a bunch of years ago and I think it might have been related to air with wild yeast that was circulating in the chamber. I was constantly cleaning out mold and stuff and I don't want to risk contaminating my beer by using old equipment.


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#17 drez77

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:43 PM

Back when I had conicals they didn't come with the valves design to be broken down. Maybe that is one reason I have no desire to go that way again.

My modified steel tanks hold 5psi and that makes transfers nice and easy. I would love a glycol cooler for them but for now the modified wine fridge is doing the trick.
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