What should be my first upgrade?

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mrniaboc

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Hey there! I'm extremely new to all of this. I have only brewed 4 times so far. I brew using my kitchen hob and the largest pot I have (~5L) and a couple of colanders and sieves, and have a one gallon glass fermenter that I keep in my wardrobe when fermenting. I live in a small flat with almost no spare space. The only more technical equipment I have is a refractometer, thermometer, and bottle capper. So my question is this; In your opinion, what should my next upgrade be to take things to the next level?
 

mrniaboc

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Thanks for the advice! Can you bring a 15L pot to boil ok on a standard kitchen hob? When I'm doing the sparge I have to move the wort between two pots, so I guess I'd need to buy two 15L pots?
 

MyQul

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My hob is gas and boils fine.

You dont need two pots to sparge in. I use a bucket to 'dunk sparge' in. I use a second smaller pot to heat the sparge water up (you could even use a kettle, I have before)
 

mrniaboc

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Nice one! Yeah, I've been using my kettle to heat my sparge water and it's been ideal. Thanks again for the tips!
 

NPi

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You could BIAB and then you wouldn't need another pot to sparge or mash? Only upgrade would be the bag.

Cheers, Nick
 

Buffers brewery

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You mentioned you had refractometer but not a hydrometer. Refractometers do not work with beer without using correction tools and applying fiddle factors. Hydrometer and flask(optional) easier.
 

Mrhandsome

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+1 on the hydrometer

I've been using a 10l pot for 5l batches for about a year now so I'd definitely recommend one of those for your brews. A fermentation vessel with a tap would also be useful for bottling, plus you want more than one so you can brew more often thumb
 

mrniaboc

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You could BIAB and then you wouldn't need another pot to sparge or mash? Only upgrade would be the bag.

Cheers, Nick
Thanks. I've been reading into that because I didn't really know what it was before, but it sounds like it might make things a little easier.
 
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mrniaboc

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You mentioned you had refractometer but not a hydrometer. Refractometers do not work with beer without using correction tools and applying fiddle factors. Hydrometer and flask(optional) easier.
Cheers. I don't might doing the corrections, but I would like to get a hydrometer to compare techniques. I was initially worried that it would take too much of my wort from my 1 gallon batch if I measured a few times, but if I get a largerFV I'll definitely try it out.
 

mrniaboc

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+1 on the hydrometer

I've been using a 10l pot for 5l batches for about a year now so I'd definitely recommend one of those for your brews. A fermentation vessel with a tap would also be useful for bottling, plus you want more than one so you can brew more often thumb
An FV with a tap sounds ideal, thanks for the tip!
 

Horners

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Cheers. I don't might doing the corrections, but I would like to get a hydrometer to compare techniques. I was initially worried that it would take too much of my wort from my 1 gallon batch if I measured a few times, but if I get a largerFV I'll definitely try it out.
Provided you sanitise trial jar and hydrometer you can tip it back in.
 

NPi

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Depending how tall you FV is, with the volume in it, you may be able to float your hydrometer in the FV. This saves you needing to remove it from the FV. I would be careful about returning samples to a FV, it's a recipe for cross contamination.
 

An Ankoù

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Thanks for the advice! Can you bring a 15L pot to boil ok on a standard kitchen hob? When I'm doing the sparge I have to move the wort between two pots, so I guess I'd need to buy two 15L pots?
I've got a 12 litre pot which I fill to within an inch of the brim and then top up as the liquid evaporates. It comes to the boil in less than half an hour and I then slide it over to the smallest gas ring which stays on at about ¾ flame to keep it simmering. It makes a massive difference if you keep the lid on with just a wooden spoon under one side to prevent boil-overs. Trying to boil without a lid is a waste of energy.
 
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terrym

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@mrniaboc
My brewing equipment is centred around an 11 litre pot in which I do BIAB, with a working volume of about 9 litres. The pot size is the largest that will fit on my electric hob since my brewdays are held in the kitchen, although I can comfortably get a boil going. I use a cheap plastic mixing bowl with holes drilled in it for the sparge, although I do need an extra smaller pot to help with the sparge liquors. My grain limit with this method is about 1.7/1.8kg. I use sinkfuls of water for cooling the pot, although no chill, where you allow the wort to cool naturally, would be an option. I have a 15 litre FV in which I can brew 10+ litre AG beers by diluting the wort from the boil, or, by using partial mash where I use DME to up the 'grain bill', I can brew 20 litres or so in my 25 litre FV. And brewing this way means the grain bills dictate the volume I brew not the other way round, but since I brew beers <5%ABV that isn't really a problem.
And I siphon. Always have.
@An Ankoù
That's basically what I do. However, like me, I am sure you have recognised the importance of not allowing the lid to slip back over the top of the pot itself, because if that happens with a pot that is nearly full, boil-over will occur, as I have had in the past. So I have settled on three wooden clothes pegs clipped around the rim of the pot which allows the lid to be slightly raised and no opportunity for the lid to move.
 
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An Ankoù

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And I siphon. Always have.
I would syphon, but I have a 10 inch diameter veg steamer and I peg a muslin hop bag inside the perforated section and pour the beer through that with a jug. This serves to oxygenate the wort and filter out most of the hops and trub. I know modern dried yeasts don't need oxygenated wort, but I tend to harvest them and use them over and over again.
Good advice about the pegs on the boiler. I'll try that. Sometimes the lid slips a bit and instead of getting a reflux back into pot, I get distilled water all around the gas ring.
 

terrym

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I would syphon, but I have a 10 inch diameter veg steamer and I peg a muslin hop bag inside the perforated section and pour the beer through that with a jug. This serves to oxygenate the wort and filter out most of the hops and trub. I know modern dried yeasts don't need oxygenated wort, but I tend to harvest them and use them over and over again.
Good advice about the pegs on the boiler. I'll try that. Sometimes the lid slips a bit and instead of getting a reflux back into pot, I get distilled water all around the gas ring.
Sorry, I meant from the FV at bottling time. I wouldn't want to siphon hot wort ashock1
 
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