Upgrading Your Brewhouse

You've been brewing for a while now, and maybe some of your equipment is a bit run down or well used. Maybe your brewhouse is behind on the times, and you're looking for an upgrade... But where do you begin?

Upgrading your brewhouse is actually as easy as pie. That being, the brew-day, and fermentation. Let's go over some great upgrades to your brewhouse from mash-in to the end of fermentation.

Brew Day Upgrades

Aluminum kettles are great. But that twinkle of the shiny, ported, stainless steel kettle always leaves you drooling when you walk into the homebrew store or browse online. It's like going to the TV section of a certain big box store and watching football highlights on a 70 inch ultra HD TV. Yes... Please...However, you always come crashing back down to earth when you peer at the price tag. While stainless equipment is always more expensive than aluminum, there is a lot more competition in the stainless game, which is helping lower the price.

Anvil Kettle for your brewhouseFor example ANVIL brewing equipment (A sister company of Blichmann) , offers some of the most affordable stainless kettles around. And they come with all the works (ball valve and thermometer).

What to do with your old aluminum kettle: Now that you've upgraded your kettle(s), you have an old boil kettle without a home. If you don't already, you can convert it to an HLT for a gravity fed brew-stand. All you need is another burner (which ANVIL also produces, with optional leg stands which makes a 3 tier system just a stones throw away).Kettle_Upgrade

Fermenter Upgrades

Brew day is a lot more fun, but there's also a way to make waiting for your beer to ferment more fun too! Well... Kind of.

It's time to ditch ole' Bessy, the 15 year old fermentation bucket. There are a couple newer options out there available to homebrewers.

The Affordable Option: Speidal tanks of course! These goofy fermenters are an affordable option to ferment more than 5-6 gallons. They come in all sizes up to 30 gallons, which is great if you upgraded your kettle to boil more volume! They also have an attached spigot for easy oxygen-reduced transfer.

Speidal Tank bannerThe Pricy Option: SS Brewtech's stainless steel fermenters are a great option if you have bit of spending flexibility in your upgrade. They make concical bottomed buckets as well as traditional concical fermenters.

What To Do With Your Bucket: Clean it out and dry it well. Then replace the lid with a solid lid, and use the bucket as grain storage for bulk grains. You could also convert it to a bottling bucket if you don't already have one. You can also start fermenting sours, as you now have a free bucket that you may otherwise dispose of.

Fermentation Upgrades

If you decide that your fermenters are well enough on their own, there are two tools you should know about.

brewhouse upgrades brewjacket Use the BrewJacket Immersion to manage fermentation temps outside of a chamber!

BrewJacket Immersion: The Brewjacket Immersion is a temperature controller that affixes to your carboy with a custom bung. It can warm or cool your batch within 35 degrees of ambient temperature. It can also warm a batch within the same parameters (35 degrees), which is great for icy nights in the garage, or you want to make a saison.

The Beer bug: If you already have fermentation control for your batches, the beer bug is what you'll want to acquire. The beer bug is also attached via a modified bung, but the device monitors fermentation progress instead of actively changing the temperature. The Beer Bug sends fermentation information (density, temperature, and ABV) to your mobile device. This way you know exactly what's going on with your batch all without having to remove the bung or move the carboy at all.

There are a lot of brewhouse upgrades that you can make that aren't even on this short list. For more inspiration, check out the brewing equipment section of the shop.

written by David Doucette

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