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I'm officially dedicating this thread to ferment everything (and his lovely fianceé, Michelle), who began it almost eight years ago.

Lately I've been brewing mostly sour beers...when real breweries make them, they have to increase their prices to account for all the aging time (most sours require at least 6-12mo to mature).  At the homebrew scale, it's easier to just fill a carboy and forget about it and then have delicious sour beer, plus it's easier to experiment with fruit that might be cost-prohibitive at a real brewery's scale.  On top of that, Cellarmaker Brewing opened last year and they're producing the best hoppy beers I've ever tasted, in a location that's easy for me to get to/from on transit.  This basically means that it doesn't make sense for me to make clean beers anymore, especially when the excellent American Sour Beers book (written by DC's own Mad Fermentationist) has given me a bunch of inspiration and techniques to try.
 
I'm still using my same brewing setup: 14gal kettle, 12gal conical, and 10gal mash/sparge coolers.  The mash tun is due for a replacement but the rest of it is still performing excellently.  A few new additions, though:
  • Keg/Carboy Washer - The extended maturation times on sour beers means carboys are a must, and this washer has made my life so much easier: put the carboy/keg on top, turn it on, and come back 20 minutes later to a totally clean carboy.  One more round with sanitizer and you're done.
  • Whirlpool Arm and Pump - Haven't fully installed this yet, but the idea is to get a real whirlpool in the kettle after the boil is done.  This should consolidate the sediment in a pile on the bottom, which means I can more easily keep it from coming over to the fermenter.  But more importantly, it'll mean quicker cooling times (the wort will be flowing past the immersion chiller coils more quickly) which should save me a ton of water in draught-stricken CA.
  • BrewJacket - Mine is supposed to arrive in the next few weeks.  Very excited about having fermentation temperature control in my conical.
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