Author Topic: Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain  (Read 307 times)

Offline EricWQC

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Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain
« on: November 12, 2019, 02:03:40 PM »
I've been using kits from cans to full-bag wort for many years; usually with 3 friends so we each get ~20 litres of a variety each time. We're up to batch #439, so you can see that I'm pretty familiar with kit brewing.

After finally renovating my beer kitchen, I picked up some boiling gear to let me do a test of all-grain brewing. My first try was a journey through unfamiliar methods, but the results were very gratifying ? and inspired me to get BeerSmith to get better organized. Batch #2 was significantly better even though I didn't make full use of the tools (and neglected to take several measurements). It also made me realize I needed to upgrade the size of my kettle to give me sufficient head room for the boil stage: 7.5 gal is definitely not enough to end up with 5 gal of wort.

Anyway, after tasting both results, the other guys are eager for us all to move from kits so I figured I better join this forum so I can tap into some expertise rather than just rely on software tools!

Offline BOB357

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Re: Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 03:24:18 PM »
Welcome, and congrats on you move to all grain. I upgraded to a 14 gallon kettle so I could brew high gravity beers using the BIAB method. Did that for a year or so and switched to an electric all in one system. I would recommend at least a 10 gallon ported kettle for 5 gallon batches. The price isn't much different than that of an 8 gallon. Fourteen or 15 will give you much more flexibility if it fits your budget.
Bob

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2019, 07:29:30 AM »
Second on the the minimum 10 gallon kettle for 5 gallon batches. The first thing you should do whichever kettle you use is create a customized equipment profile to match your system. Go to Youtube and search "Beersmith Equipment Profile" and look for these two results... one from Short Circuited Brewing and the other from Brulosophy. Without an exact measurement of your volumes and weights you won't get accurate results from BS. Good luck.
If you?re stressing over homebrewing, you?re doing something wrong.
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Offline EricWQC

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Re: Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2019, 07:48:06 AM »
Yes, I discovered that as soon as I started using BeerSmith Kevin. I do have my equipment profile set up now, and it makes it obvious that I'll need a larger boil kettle. I've been looking at 15 gal ones since the price difference for the extra 5 gal is minimal. Since I'm using a propane burner (HellFire), I need a triclad bottom: of two 15 gal kettles, one didn't have triclad; the other has a hole for an electric element. (A local shop said they could weld in a SS plug for it for $20 though, so that might be an option.)

For now, I'll settle for 18 litres in a batch.

Offline Kevin58

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Re: Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 03:29:49 PM »
15 gallons is a good choice and if you can go electric you won't regret it.
If you?re stressing over homebrewing, you?re doing something wrong.
- Denny Conn

Offline Brew Bama

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Re: Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2019, 08:17:49 PM »
Depending how big the hole is. You can get plugs that can get you started with what you have then remove it to go electric later on if you want. https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/plugwl12.htm

I went electric a while back and it is 10x nicer to brew inside, precisely control the heat, and super low cost. Cpl that with never having to get propane and I?ll never go back.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 08:25:47 PM by Brew Bama »

Offline EricWQC

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Re: Long-time kit brewer new to Beersmith & all-grain
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2019, 07:39:23 AM »
Electric would certainly be nice, but where I brew probably couldn't handle the power load. The building only has 60A service. The floor heat system has a 30A hot water tank as backup for solar collectors and there is a 20A circuit for a small domestic hot water heater plumbed inline with the main solar-heated tank. With other circuits for lighting and plugs, running a 30A 240V electric kettle could easily exceed the service feed.

I suppose I could manage it by shutting off the backup HW circuit while brewing, but I'm not sure I'd want to risk that in our -30C winter weather since the electric tank is the only backup to prevent 1200 ft? of heated floors from freezing if there's a run of cloudy winter days. Upgrading to 100A would involve replacing the underground service ? but for what that would cost, I'd be better off buying beer for the rest of my life!

 

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