Author Topic: What comes first AG or kegging?  (Read 8388 times)

Offline BigBry68

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2014, 01:55:20 PM »
I would get a temperature controller for the garage fridge first.  It will drastically improve your beer, ag or extract.  Of course you will need another used fridge from craigslist to store and dispense.  Measure your carboys and take a tape with you when you go to buy. A 25 cu ft fridge I think I got for 50 bucks holds 6 cornies or 4 X 6-1/2 gallon carboys.  an inexpensive temp controller is the stc-1000, if you can do some wiring. They are less than 20$ at amazon.  Not sure if you are doing full wort boils but that will improve your extract beer and you can move to ag when your ready

I ordered it yesterday after racking my "Raspberry Beret" to secondary and noticed it had become a raspberry / banana beret.

Thanks for this insight, I love a cheap fix, found it under $20.

Don't want anymore banana batches!!!!! :P
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KernelCrush

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2014, 03:14:12 PM »
Your beer will thank you.

You want the sensor in direct contact with the outside of your carboy so your measuring beer and nothing else.  If you get a piece of Styrofoam packing , hollow out a cavity on one side just the size of your sensor and tape or bungee cord that to your carboy.  You'll need several wraps of painters tape to keep it in place.  Instead of Styrofoam you can use a blob of plumbers putty, but you only get a few uses per blob as it tends to dry out.

Offline durrettd

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2014, 01:20:12 PM »
I hear a lot of brewers say the temp control sensor needs to measure beer temp, not ambient. I'm concerned that if I measure beer temp the temp will continuously fluctuate the full range of the temp controller, which for me is 3 degrees F. I let the sensor measure the air temp. The temperature of the beer will change slower than the air temp, so the beer is "chasing" but never catching up to the air temp and will therefore fluctuate over a smaller range. Tom Hampton says the fluctuation of the liquid will be about half the fluctuation of the ambient air.

Tom says he gets better results measuring beer temps, but he has a much better - more sensitive and more expensive - temperature control system. If I were willing to invest in a system such as Tom uses I'd probably measure beer temp.

I'd recommend considering the temperature range you can control before attaching the temp sensor to the fermenter.

Am I missing something?

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2014, 01:45:14 PM »
I hear a lot of brewers say the temp control sensor needs to measure beer temp, not ambient. I'm concerned that if I measure beer temp the temp will continuously fluctuate the full range of the temp controller, which for me is 3 degrees F. I let the sensor measure the air temp. The temperature of the beer will change slower than the air temp, so the beer is "chasing" but never catching up to the air temp and will therefore fluctuate over a smaller range. Tom Hampton says the fluctuation of the liquid will be about half the fluctuation of the ambient air.

Tom says he gets better results measuring beer temps, but he has a much better - more sensitive and more expensive - temperature control system. If I were willing to invest in a system such as Tom uses I'd probably measure beer temp.

I'd recommend considering the temperature range you can control before attaching the temp sensor to the fermenter.

Am I missing something?

Maybe.  Think about it this way.  You open the door to your fermentation chamber and the temperature rises 15F in 30 seconds.  Your beer is still at your desired temperature.  If you're monitoring your beer temperature, your temperature controller won't come on, unless the beer starts to change temp.  If you were monitoring your air temp, your controller will kick the fridge on and start cooling and overworking your fridge.

Also, your beer won't change temperature very rapidly, so your controller won't kick your fridge on and off very often, but only when necessary.  If you're monitoring the air temperature, it will kick on and off way more often, because the air temperature in a fridge swings up and down a lot, even when the door is kept closed.

If you monitor air temperature, you're likely to work your fridge to death, reducing it's life and causing you to replace refrigerators much more often.
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KernelCrush

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2014, 02:25:13 PM »
Fermenting beer is at a higher temp than ambient. Ive seen 10F more.  You are controlling the fermentation temp, not the air temp outside the fermenter or inside your fridge or out side by the pool.  They are all pretty irrelevant.  Toms system is a 20$ controller and a 12$ heating blanket and some reflectix too I think.   And it works.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 02:47:32 PM by KernelCrush »

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2014, 03:37:36 PM »
Quote
Fermenting beer is at a higher temp than ambient. Ive seen 10F more.

Wow! I generally expect 2F above ambient, and the most I've seen was 4F.  That's comparing a fermometer stuck to a glass carboy with another fermometer stuck to another glass carboy, one being in full fermentation while the neighbor is a clear secondary.

I have little control over my fermentation temperature other than heating the basement in the winter. That's when I do lagers by holding ambient in the low 50s. Spring and fall I do a string of ales, and summer is too warm to brew.

My last ale of the season is ready to rack. That's five kegs for the summer. That should get me through.  ;)
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Offline Brewmex41

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2014, 04:05:00 PM »
Quote
Fermenting beer is at a higher temp than ambient. Ive seen 10F more.

Wow! I generally expect 2F above ambient, and the most I've seen was 4F.  That's comparing a fermometer stuck to a glass carboy with another fermometer stuck to another glass carboy, one being in full fermentation while the neighbor is a clear secondary.

I have little control over my fermentation temperature other than heating the basement in the winter. That's when I do lagers by holding ambient in the low 50s. Spring and fall I do a string of ales, and summer is too warm to brew.

My last ale of the season is ready to rack. That's five kegs for the summer. That should get me through.  ;)


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Offline durrettd

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2014, 11:58:10 AM »
My process has been to chill my wort to 40 -45F, pitch my yeast, then put it into my ferm fridge, set for 48 F. I close the door, allow the yeast to work unsupervised for a couple of days, then I raise the setting to 50F. After a week, I open the door to see if the beer is still there. While I have the door open I check the fermometer; the beer is always still been there and the temperature has always been the same as the controller setting. Years ago I would open the door daily starting about a day after pitching and typically found the beer about 2F above the set point for a couple of days. I think the absence of supervision (door opening) and my low pitching temperature has prevented temperature swings in the beer itself.

In other words, my process works for me. However, I have been confusing Tom's entire fermentation chamber with the actual beer temperature controller. The link to Tom's actual temp control system explains a lot. Being able to control temp to within half a degree F with a $20 device is way better than my old analog controller; I may have to pull the sofa cushions and see if I can come up with the cash to replace that old dinosaur.

Thanks for the information, especially the link to Tom's temp control page.

Offline Freak

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2014, 11:18:36 PM »
Without a doubt get your keg set up going first. You will never run out of desire to brew better beer. There is always time for that and, you will always be trying to improve your product. That never ends. Take it from a 23 year home brew nerd. Stop wasting your time cleaning and filling bottles. Use that extra time to learn how to brew AG. You will always need to keg your beer but, you don't have to go AG if you want beer. I did both at the same time roughly but if I had to pick one it would be kegging first.
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Offline brewark

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Re: What comes first AG or kegging?
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2014, 01:55:10 PM »
Both were important for me.  I went with all grain first because I got a deal on a 70qt cooler.  If I'd been offered a keg at a rock bottom price, I think I'd go with that first.

To me, spend your money wisely & you will have both in short order.

(For better beer, go with temperature control.)
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