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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Brewing Forum --> Gear/Equipment --> Most Useful Early Home Brew Purchase

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Charter Member
Birmingham, AL
2480 Posts

Regarding off flavors, OP - if you aren't using them now, go buy a packet of campden tablets.  It's like $4 for a baggie that will treat something like 2000 gallons of water.  They work like magic - 1/4 tablet in five gallons of water, take effect almost instantly, all chlorine and chloramines are gone.

These NOTICEABLY improved the flavor of my beer.

Of course, I'm making assumptions, here - and we all know what assuming will do.

The two biggest ways to improve the flavor of your beer are to control fermentation temps (most ale yeasts perform best in the mid sixties F), and to be sure to pitch enough healthy yeast (either via enough dry yeast or by making starters for liquid yeast).

Posted 34 days ago.

Madison, WI
17 Posts

Any recommendations for insulating the carboy during fermentation to try and maintain a constant fermentation temp?

Posted 34 days ago.

Charter Member
Appleton, WI
66 Posts

Here in WI, it's tricky. Because we keep our house nice and cool, which is great, but it gets *too* cold when we're not home. And I don't like that variance anyways.

I have a chest freezer that I added a temp controller to. A freezer is maybe $100 or less on craigslist, and "The Black Box" temp controller sells for 30.

Otherwise, in a basement or somewhere cool (around 60f) would be great. As far as insulating... I'm not really sure how much that helps, since it'll still fluctuate over *hours.*

If you have an area too warm, like in the summer, then a swamp cooler works great. Keep it in a big tub of water and exchange out frozen bottles of water every 12 hours or so to maintain the temp.

Posted 34 days ago.

Houston, Tx
161 Posts

@EdTomBell - I've tried the ice bath with 5 gallon batches and I just have had better luck with immersion chilling.. I can get it low enough in about 15-20 min to transfer into a carboy.. then I'll leave it in my chest freezer to let it do the work.. I'll pitch once it reaches the correct temperature..

I always have issues with the reddit search function, sorry I couldn't find it.. but its definitely something I've seen, and I wouldn't think its too difficult to DIY.. just lurk around long enough and somebody else will post about it I'm sure..

Posted 34 days ago.

Austin, Tx
4 Posts

@EdTomBell I use carboy caps to transfer my beer to secondaries or the bottling bucket. Here is a quick video to demonstrating it.  If you go that route don't follow his lead and blow into the hole without an inline HEPA filter as you could risk infecting the beer with cesool that is our mouths. I use quick blast of CO2 to get it going, but the 3 dollar filter is more than satisfactory. 

Posted 34 days ago.

Oklahoma City, OK
66 Posts

I just bought this wort chiller from my LHBS. This is actually my store's site and the price was cheaper than ordering copper from the cheapest site I found after I factored in shipping costs. 

I would highly recommend this one as it will support larger cooling needs as your brewing expands. It got us down to pitching temps in about 10-15 min using tap water. 

Posted 34 days ago.

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