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Old 11-17-2009, 09:09 PM   #1
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Default All-Grain Brewing Starter Equipment?

I am looking to begin all-grain brewing after my next two batches. Ideally, i would like to get some of the equipment for Christmas this year. Anybody have any suggestions of what to put on the list? (I have a basic idea of what I will need, but I am looking for a list in order of importance)

Thanks

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Old 11-17-2009, 09:21 PM   #2
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Assuming you are planning on a ghetto set up, not a sculpture...

  • Mash tun - converted 10 gallon cooler works fine
  • Boil Kettle - at least 7.5 gallon if you plan on 5 gallon batches.
  • propane burner - you probably won't be able to bring it all to a boil inside
  • Wort chiller - 25' of 3/8 inch copper at least.
  • Good thermometer
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:47 PM   #3
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I have an immersion wort chiller already and yes, I will be making 5 gallon batches. Would you advise starting off with a "ghetto" set up or will I most likely want to upgrade shortly after that? Is there anything else that would make my job easier, even though it may not be essential? The reason I ask is that I don't want to get the equipment and quickly find out that I have "outgrown" it or need more.

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Old 11-17-2009, 09:54 PM   #4
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I do not believe in cobbled together systems, but that is just how I am. Here is one idea:

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Boerde...G_Starter_Rig/

It will really help you to decide a few things before you start buying...

1. What is your budget? Short term budget/long term budget?
2. How big of batches do you want to brew?

Those are two biggies to start with.

This is a brewery I am building with my friend who is just getting into brewing:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/simp...-build-147021/

My blog has several systems detailed, look around this site until you get an idea of what you want.

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Old 11-17-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
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Before you start asking about a system why not look at what you can afford and what kind of space you have to work in. If you don't have a large area, a Brutus Clone might be out of the question, but a 3 tier system might fit. Also, money is a big factor too, unless it's limitless, which for most isn't the case.

Do you live in an apartment or have a house where the smell and propane burners might not be a cause of concern?

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Old 11-17-2009, 10:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
I do not believe in cobbled together systems, but that is just how I am. Here is one idea:

http://blogs.homebrewtalk.com/Boerde...G_Starter_Rig/

It will really help you to decide a few things before you start buying...

1. What is your budget? Short term budget/long term budget?
2. How big of batches do you want to brew?

Those are two biggies to start with.

This is a brewery I am building with my friend who is just getting into brewing:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/simp...-build-147021/

My blog has several systems detailed, look around this site until you get an idea of what you want.
Hey, thanks Boerderi.

I'm not really sure how much this stuff typically costs, but I would say right now I could spend about $300, which is considerably less than what you said your systems would cost. I am also looking to brew 5 gallon batches since that is the size that the rest of my equipment will handle.

Do you have any suggestions for those constraints?
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:35 PM   #7
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there are 4 things that you have to have

-mash tun
-boiling kettle
-wort chiller
-good thermometer

there is no order of importance, only which one you decide to spend money on.

you can make everything for around $200 ( a "ghetto" system, with which you can make some pretty NOT ghetto beer ) or you can spend thousands for someone else to make it.

if you want to know what to spend the most money on, i would say the thermometer. get a good digital one for around $80.

the rest is just convenience.

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Old 11-17-2009, 10:49 PM   #8
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My ghetto system works for me.

My mash tun was about $40, plus $20 for the fittings. I got a 10 gallon igloo cooler, which holds enough grain for high OG 5 gallon batch, or a reasonably high OG (about 1.070, IIRC) 10 gallon batch, which is all I usually want: my Dogfish Head 60 has about 30lb of grain. I mash at 1 qt/lb, and get 2 buckets each with about 5.5 gallons of 1.071 wort.

I got my 15 gallon pot for about $60 from a restaurant supply store. I do 10 gallon batches - takes just as much time as 5, and all you need extra is another bucket. I do recommend doing this!

Propane burner I got on CL for $30 (the pot it came with I use for heating the sparge water).

I have been using it for most of this year, and have no immediate plans to upgrade. A sculpture would be nice, but I cannot justify the cost/time to make it right now.

I brew outside, and have room in the garage to store all the crap. Keeps the kitchen clean, which is a big plus for the wife!

If you are on a budget, this is a good way to go, I think. You might want to add a barley crusher, but I have my LHBS crush my grain. I routinely get around 75% efficiency.

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Old 11-17-2009, 11:12 PM   #9
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I'll drop by 2 cents in. Within the kind of budget you're looking at I think the most important thing not to "underbuy" is the mash ton. Depending on what kind of beer you make, particularly if you make big beer, you may find yourself quickly frustrated by limitations of the size of your mash ton and the resultant impact on your efficiency if your mash ton is maxed out.

I don't know if you're handy, but there are plenty of directions on line for making your own manifold. If you're not handy (like me) I would recommend the wort hog http://www.freewebs.com/candcinnovations which just screws into the pre-drilled port in the cooler and works like a champ. I think they run about $80-90 and are good in coolers up to 60 quarts.

56 quarts = 14 gallons (or about the same mash capacity as a converted keggel). At a ration of 1.5 quarts per lb of grain, you've got a mash capacity of about 26 lbs of grain for your 5 gallon batch. Point being, I would suggest really taking a look at what kind of beers you brew and what kind of beers you may want to brew and get a big enough mash ton that you don't find that piece of equipment maxed out too soon.

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:27 PM   #10
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I'm reading How to Brew right now, and he states that one should not use a mash tun that is too big. He stated that is beneficial to have relatively deep tun (not a big ol cooler that your #10 of grain is only 4" deep in). He implied that for 5 gallon batches, the 10 gallon cooler is best (efficient).

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