Kegs on kegs! So this past month I decided to double-down on my favorite hobby and upgrade my whole homebrew system. The four kegs you see at the top are going to be put into my chest freezer (soon to be converted to a keezer) and used to dispense my beer on draft, as opposed to bottles. The two larger kegs you see on the bottom just arrived today and they will be my new mash-lauter tun (MLT) and brew kettle respectively. The one with red markings on it is from Yuengling, so it’s nice to know it’ll be housing better beer than in its previous life.
I’m going to try to brew my first batch with this new set up this week so I can get an idea of what my (in)efficiencies are going to be with the new system. What’s not pictured here are the therometers and ball valves that I have installed. The MLT also has a stainless steel braid to keep some of the solids from transferring and the kettle has a sight glass so I can have an idea of how much I have in the kettle at any given time. I’m also thinking of using my old false bottom in the brew kettle to keep trub and solids out of the beer when it’s transferred to fermentation.
So why did I decide to upgrade my system? Well there’s a few reasons, but the first of which is: more beer! I can now brew 10 gallons of beer as a time, instead of just 5. In addition to having more beer to drink, it also allows me to do some experimentation. Let me give you an example: say I brew 10 gallons of an IPA and I decide to dry hop it. Well if I split the 10 gallons into two 5 gallon batches, I can dry hop with different hops and try both. Likewise, I could ferment with two different yeast strains, or I could oak-age half a stout and add vanilla beans to the other half. These are all things I could’ve theoretically done with a 5 gallon system but it becomes a lot easier with this set up.
Another reason is that my old set up seemed to have a lot of inconsistencies with efficiency and with final output. I’m hoping a new system (and careful attention to detail on my part) will help me dial in this system so that I can get more repeatable results. Having a MLT that can be directly heated (unlike the old Igloo cooler) will also allow me to hit my mash numbers, as well as to do step mashes when/if necessary.
And finally, my old set up consisted of a beat-up cooler and a really beat up kettle. I don’t really have a lot of remaining confidence in that gear so it made sense to make upgrades.
I still have a few more purchases I need to make. I need:
- an adapter to get my false bottom to fit my kettle
- new tubing for transferring wort
- a pump to move wort from one vessel to another, and to create whirpools
- a larger, more efficient wort chiller
- keezer equipment
- kegging equipment
So there’s a long way to go still.