A New Year For Better Beer 2017's Goals for the No Ragrets Brewatorium

As a home brewer, 2016 was a big year for me. I have been helping friends brew for a long time now and learning along the way. In 2016, I finally started brewing on my own. I had been slowly gathering and building equipment for a few years and decided that it was time to stop planning to brew and to actually make some beer. The Brooligans, and myself, have made alot of good beer, 2 sub-par beers, and 2 incredible beers. We learned alot and it's time to examine the future of the home brewery.

Goal #1: Control Fermentation Temperatures

My fermentation temperature control system is very crude. I control the temperature of a spare room but cannot achieve specific temperatures. I will built a fermentation chamber that is able to precisely control fermentation temperatures of multiple batches through the primary fermentation stage. I believe that this step is the most critical in regards to improving the quality and consistency of my home brewed beer.

Goal #2: Start Kegging

I am impatient and bottle conditioning time is torture. It is time to build out my kegerator. I have already secured a refrigerator to start with and will but installing two taps with individual regulators on each line. The end-goal is to expand my two tap system to a four tap system with a fifth gas line dedicated to carbonation.

Goal #3: Begin Using Yeast Starters

I only have one recipe that I use liquid yeast for. I purposely under pitch yeast for that particular beer. The rest of my beers use dry yeast but I am ready to take the next step and develop a yeast program. I have an interest in biology and yeast. Yeast starters will not only improve my beers but will same me money. The idea of reusing yeast through multiple generations intrigues me from a scientific and a cost standpoint. Ultimately, I want a small yeast bank at my home brewery.

Goal #4: Use Bulk Ingredients

Reduce the cost of each batch and brew more; it's what we all want to do. Buying bulk grains is a great way to save money, especially through group buys. Hops are also much less expensive by the pound. The benefits of fresh grains cannot be overlooked either. I will be buying a grain mill and motorizing it. I already have a vacuum sealer to keep those lovely hops fresh.

Goal #5: Get Water Usage and Chemistry Under Control

I waste too much water on brew days. Most of the waste comes from the immersion chiller. I will be building a system that recirculates ice water through the chiller. Not only will drastically reduce my water usage but it will chill my wort much faster.

My tap water tastes fine. Good tasting water makes good tasting beer. There is always room for improvement and my final goal for 2017 is to standardize my brewing water with some basic water chemistry.

Bonus Goal: Enter a homebrew competition

Credits:

Created with images by barockschloss - "Fermentation" • Didriks - "Kegs" • adambarhan - "The birth of a starter" • klaber - "food grains bread wheat" • Romi - "hop leaf hops foliage"

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