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Old 01-30-2008, 02:09 PM   #1
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Default All grain equipment for new brewer- pots, mash tun, etc

I've only been brewing for a few months, but its quickly becoming an obsession. A couple months ago I only had a primary bucket, now I have 5 carboys and am concerned I may need more soon. I was going to make the transition to partial mash brewing, but I realized that since I know I'll be doing all-grain eventually, I might as well just get on with it and skip that transition step. I'd like to dive head-long and get equipment that will allow me to make 10 gallon batches. I'll start out with 5 gallon batches until I'm comfortable with the process, but from what I've read it seems like if I'm going to spend the time to brew a 5 gallon batch, I might as well invest the extra time to make a 10 gallon one. So, for those of you experienced all grain brewers, if you were starting out today, what equipment would you buy (with quality taking priority over cost-cutting, but obviously you don't have a blank check -[i.e. no conical fermenters])?

Keep in mind I'm not much of a DIY guy. I was thinking of getting this http://www.northernbrewer.com/allgrain.html kit along with a 15 gallon Megapot with ball valve and thermometer (http://www.northernbrewer.com/kettles.html). From what I've read, it sounds like the Bayou Classic Cast Iron Burner is a good size for 10 gallon batches. And a standard 10-20 gallon immersion chiller. Recommended grain mill? Other "must haves" (aeration, refractometer, etc)? I've been reading lots of other threads, but it seems like most people are upgrading or building their own all-grain systems, so I've had trouble finding out what would be ideal for my situation. There is probably a thread very similar to this one somewhere. If so, a link to it would be helpful. Thanks in advance for any feedback.



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Old 01-30-2008, 02:34 PM   #2
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The NB setup you pointed to will work fine for low-medium gravity 10 gal batches, but will be to small if you want to do a big beer (although you could still do a 5 gal batch). My 15.5 gal MLT was maxed out doing 10 gals of the 08-08-08 RIS.

A 15 gal pot is right on the limit of being too small IMO for 10 gal batches. I usually shoot for 11 gals post-boil, which means 13-13.5 gals pre-boil, and usually at least a little boil-over. The Megapots are nice, but really 'spensive. If you can find a 1/2 BBL keg on craigslist, scrapyard, etc. and willing to convert that yourself, you can save quite a bit of cash. You can also buy completely converted keggles online but that may not save you much.

And most turkey fryers will be adequate for boiling 10 gal batches. My stand has the same burners and I've never had a problem.

Any grain mill will do fine (love my Barley Crusher), but I wouldn't call that a necessity. You can buy your grains pre-crushed, unless you want to buy bulk grain and save some $$. I'd put this on your future want list.

And it's not a necessity, but once you go this route, you may find yourself wanting a ready-to-go setup/stand rather than trying to southern engineer something where you can drain from one vessel to the next. My brew day has become considerable easier and more relaxing since I built mine.



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Old 01-30-2008, 03:18 PM   #3
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You are in a great position and are going about this the right way. You will save a lot of money by purchasing nice equipment up front (IMHO).

I think direct fir is the way to go. This is what I would purchase:

3 - 15g megapots with thermometers and ball valves
1 - bayou burner
2 - 35,000 BTU more adjustable burners (I got mine from LHBS)
1 - false bottom for mash tun
1 - trub screen for BK
1 - at least 50' immersion chiller
8 - feet of silicon tubing
1 - aeration setup (air or O2)

This is what I would start with. All of these items will fit into a "dream system" when you decide what that means for you and you likely will not have to upgrade from these items. If you are not capable of setting up a brew stand of some sort, I would just get the cheap 3 tier system from Morebeer.com. If you outgrow that you could sell or trade it.

Good luck!

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Old 01-30-2008, 03:21 PM   #4
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I'd add corny kegs to your wish list. Bottling is a PITA. Also cornies make great secondary fermenters.

A Banjo burner from bayou classics.

I'm real happy with my Keggle but like Sparky sez it's tight for 10 gal.

A digital thermometer and a calibration themometer.

I made my brew stand out of 2 each ($89) folding scaffolds but 1 could be modified to work. But having 2 will allow me enough room to have 2 each 10 gal. brews going at the same time and have 4 tiers so that I can gravity feed all the way into the fermenter.

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Old 01-30-2008, 04:34 PM   #5
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I just took a look at the Morebeer.com brewing scuptures, man do those things look cool! I'll have to put one of those on my wishlist.

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Originally Posted by Boerderij Kabouter
I think direct fir is the way to go. This is what I would purchase:
I couldn't tell if that is a reference to a company I haven't heard of, or just a typo. I think if I bought everything on that list I'd be in damn good shape for some serious brewing, although if that all arrived at the house on the same day SWMBO might freak a bit. I'll have to space out my orders... . Thanks guys for all your input!
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:10 PM   #6
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Oh yeah, that is "direct fire". Good catch.

Oh and don't worry, my wife freaks out and my stuff is always spaced out. The key is to brew good beer, so you can at least claim that all the toys are worth it. At least that works for me. Although if my wife was not a fan of beer this would be more difficult!

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Old 01-30-2008, 05:12 PM   #7
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My only real suggestion is to fully plan out a great system and start buying toward that system from the beginning. I wasted a lot of cash while figuring out I liked brewing. If I would have started buying quality equipment earlier it would have been much better.

Cheers

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Old 02-07-2008, 08:07 PM   #8
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Alright, I'm back on this thread again after more than a week. I was going to order this all-grain set up (https://morebeer.com/view_product/16773/102321) for $1450, but then I realized they ship from California and it would cost me over $450 to get the equipment to New Hampshire. Its 9-10 weeks to build, and who knows how long to ship across the country by freight. So I have two questions; first, is there a company closer to the east cost that makes similar all-grain brewing set ups? And second, is there any reason I should reconsider purchasing a unit like the one on morebeer.com? Thanks again.

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Old 02-07-2008, 08:38 PM   #9
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The stand is the part that's making it really expensive to ship. You could easily have any metal fabrication shop bang it out for you. However, if you commit to go this far, you might want to consider a single tier setup with a pump to move liquids. I just can't get my head around climbing up a ladder to dough into a mash tun that's nearly over your head.

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Old 02-07-2008, 09:39 PM   #10
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I agree with Bobby, a local fab shop could do it for you. Or you could go talk to your local technical college and have the work done for free as a project in a welding class. You will likely need to supply the metal though.

Free is always worth a try.



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