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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Particulars of my brew setup

I am a full boil extract brewer who recently just started brewing again after 15 years. I am sticking to extract for now because I need to get my brew process down and I have a lot to learn still. I also have family considerations and spending time with my wife and daughter are my priority.
My process is somewhat of a "power user" of extract brewing because I have gone almost as far as I can hardware-wise. I have a 7.5 gallon stainless brew pot, outdoor burner, Immersion chiller and pump for brew day. For fermentation, I have a variety of glass carboys along with a Ranco temp controller and fermwrap heater for winter. For summer, I will put together a temp control system to regulate the heat. Yeast starters are very important, so I have some flasks and a stir plate in order to build up my yeast numbers prior to brew.

Here is the brewpot in action. I have just finished steeping grains and now am bringing up the temperature to boil.

Here we are post boil. Extract and hops have been added and boiled for an hour. I do an initial chill down using constant running tap water from the garden hose. Once I get down to about 100 degrees, I switch to the pump and recirculated ice water. This gets me down to 70 degress quicker that the tap water would.

Wort has been transferred to the carboy. The heater wrap and temp controller have been attached and turned on so that wort temp can get fine tuned (68 degrees in this case). The carboy is sitting on top of a piece of styrofoam to keep it off of the cold ground. The carboy is then wrapped in a couple of blankets and yeast is pitched once the wort gets to the proper pitching temperature.
Note that all the foam in the carboy is star san sanitizer. The foam is OK since and will be food and nutrient for the yeast.

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