New Gear Acquisitions and their impact on your brew

Post #1 made 4 weeks ago
So I think it would be fun to discuss the success (or failure) of newly added elements to our brew process. For if not here where else can we geek out about our brewing toys?
I recently acquired a chest freezer that I converted to a fermentation fridge with an inkbird temp controller. I live in Florida so this has long been my #1 priority gear acquisition to improve my beer quality. The COOLEST room temperature one can reasonably afford to keep in their house in these parts is 75°F and it's far too humid for effective swamp coolers so my brews have always fermented quite warm and suffered for it.
My first batch with the new chamber has been happily bubbling away for 4 days now. My previous uncontrolled fermentations always fully attenuated in less than 36 hours and were flavored by esters and phenols. I'm super excited and anticipating my best batch yet. I will soon be racking to secondary to dry hop and add Grapefruit peel (this is a Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin clone) and my new setup will allow a cold crash for unprecedented clarity in my beer as well.
I did learn some valuable lessons in my first run. I chilled to around 70°F before pitching and sticking the fermenter in the cooler with the intention of coming back to tape the thermostat probe to the side of the bucket and insulate it from the open air but I had a short lag and 3 hours later fermentation had started and my bucket had raised to 78°F, my high temp alarm beeping at me.. My heart sank as I rigged the probe to the bucket the compressor kicked on and the 5 gallons of fermenting wort slowly dropped to my desired 65°F, hoping the temperature drop and hot start didnt stress the US-05 too badly... next time I will allow my temp to stabilize in the cooler and then pitch.
I know what they say about the best laid plans and all that. Perhaps I'm jinxing myself but for now I will be giddy that the plan is working so far...
Thanks for indulging me if you've read this far. Now let's hear your stories!
Last edited by Dreadpiratewes on 15 Oct 2018, 00:17, edited 1 time in total.
    • BME Brewer With Over 5 Brews From United States of America

Re: New Gear Acquisitions and their impact on your brew

Post #2 made 4 weeks ago
That sounds like an excellent piece of equipment to add, especially with living in Florida! :thumbs: I have one where I live in Oregon and it enables me to brew lagers at cold fermentation temperature in summer. I have a large rubber band that fits around my fermentation and a small piece of bubble wrap that sandwiches the temperature probe next to the fermenter. It works well for me. A pro brewer once told me the #1 thing I could do to improve quality of my beer was to control fermentation temperatures and keep them consistent. (More important than using whole grain vs, using liquid malt extract, for example). There are some simples one can do on a low budget, and one I did early on was get a garbage can and put fermenter with water inside...and when cold use a fish tank heater when brewing ales. That’s what I did before getting better equipment and still have for emergencies or rare double batch occasions. So good job with your equipment addition!

I think most of us would incline to try and keep less components rather than more. Probably some exceptions... @PistolPatch has written about many of his things he’s tried and room filled up with failed brew inventions or things for improvements. He will be out of the net for at least a month if not more so probably won’t be able to chime in, at least no time soon.

Okay, here is one I use and love, in addition to a temperature controller. I have 2 ea Speidel 8.5 gallon fermenters along with 1 ea Speidel 3 gallon fermenter for test batches. Each has a plastic ball valve. When racking to Cornelius Keg (or occasional, some bottles) I love using the ball valve with short section of tubing that fits over the ball valve nozzle and goes to the vessel being filled. I feel this is easier than siphoning. Regardless of what you use, everything has to be meticulously cleaned...
Last edited by Scott on 15 Oct 2018, 12:56, edited 2 times in total.
    • SVA Brewer With Over 50 Brews From United States of America
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