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Old 03-20-2009, 10:15 PM   #1
SeanGC
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Default Brewstand Construction Help!

Ok, so I have been extract brewing for a while now and I feel as though it's time for me to move on into all grain brewing. I have the finances and resources to build my own brewstand. However, I noticed different all grain brewing techniques using different brew systems like HERMS and RIMS.

Also, since there are different methods of all grain brewing, I was wondering if someone could help suggest what the best method was to start off with? I noticed a lot of single infusion brew setups, but I wanted to pick the brains of some of the more experienced all grain brewers on these forums just to make sure I take the best approach.

Thank you.

P.S. I noticed that in some brewstand designs, the mash tuns were suited with an insulation jacket to help retain the heat necessary for mashing. Some of the jackets look like black foam rubber. Any idea on where I can find something like that?

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Old 03-20-2009, 11:22 PM   #2
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Also, since there are different methods of all grain brewing, I was wondering if someone could help suggest what the best method was to start off with?
Here ya go...My advice would be to develop some technique prior to building stand or sculpture. Do a few batches using simple methods than you will have a better idea which direction you want to go. Kinda sorta like you gotta walk before ya run.

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Old 03-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #3
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Why not start slow? Buy some good pots a burner and a cooler, and get your process down. All of it can be used in a brewstand/sculpture. I started going balls out, buying a cfc and march pump and ending up hating them (and selling them). I adapted my garage to how I brew and now have a setup that's perfect for my needs. Although I wish I never sold that pump.

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Old 03-21-2009, 12:18 AM   #4
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Most of us have tried different ways of brewing and have settled on what works for us and what we want from a brewrig. Some go multi tier and use gravity to move the water or wort. Some use single tier rigs that require at least 1 pump, 2 if you plan on flysparging with a single tier. I think we all started small and made changes as we went. A full out single tier flysparging rig with automated controls can get pretty expensive. I dont think very many of us use multi infusion or decoction much. Most brews can be done with single infusion. There are pros and cons to both single tier and multi tier. It really depends on what you want and how much work you are willing to put in to it. What I wanted when I built my first stand was a single tier so that no ladders would be involved thus reducing the chance of serious burns or falls. this of course required the use of a pump. I batch sparged for over a year. During this time the research continued and my process altered trying different things like recircing the mash, different approaches to mixing the mash, mash temps and ph, water treatments, sparging times, etc. When I built my last rig I knew what I wanted and was able to transfer alot of the gear to the new setup, reducing cost of rebuilds. Although the current build is still a work in progress it is usable and makes great beer. By the way equipment does not make the beer, the brewer does, so dont think that a killer rig will be the answer to great beer. I guess what I'm saying is decide what you want first then begin planning it. Start small and try different things, study every build thread and see what you like that you can incorporate into your current rig. Then start collecting the parts for your dream rig. I hope I didn't answer your question. Building what we have won't make you happy. Building what you want will. Ask specific questions about others rigs and reasons like in your PS. I cant help with that I have never needed a MLT jacket in Phoenix

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Old 03-21-2009, 03:45 AM   #5
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Yeah I was thinking gravity for the most part, and one pump to fly sparge on two tiers, only because I don't have the space to comfortably work 3 tiers. It's well ventilated, just ceilings are low.

I definitely appreciate the help. I needed that sort of confidence boost lol.

The only major expense I'm really looking at here is the pump, which isn't too expensive in comparison to what some of the others systems consist of.

I'll post up some pictures within a couple of days on what I plan on putting together.

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Old 03-21-2009, 12:33 PM   #6
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Hey man, not trying to hijack your thread or anything ...

I notice that a lot of people with single tier stands have burners on the boil kettle, mash tun and hlt. Why do you need a burner on the mash tun? I thought that direct fire on the mash can scorch the grain? Is this just to bring the mash up to temp if you miss it?

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Old 03-21-2009, 02:24 PM   #7
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Sean I wasn't trying to burst your bubble. Just wanted to point out that the more complex rigs have a lot of thought and heart put into them. For your rig it needs to be your thought and heart. this is a hobby and hobbies are best when they are all about you.
JrZy, The burner on the mash tun rarely fires and when it does its very low. Its there only to maintain mash temp more accurately. With recirculation and low flame there is little chance of scorching.

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Old 03-21-2009, 03:56 PM   #8
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Sean I wasn't trying to burst your bubble. Just wanted to point out that the more complex rigs have a lot of thought and heart put into them. For your rig it needs to be your thought and heart. this is a hobby and hobbies are best when they are all about you.
Well said! It's a lot like what kind of a car you choose to drive. A lot depends on your personal style and your budget. Brewing can be a gadget lovers dream or a non-gadget guy's nightmare. It all depends. IMO, probably the easiest and most straightforward approach would be to do single infusion mashes with a cooler and batch sparging methods. OTOH, that's not the way I do it. I have a direct fired RIMS setup with a pump and all that stuff. It's not a fully automated HERMS by a long shot, but it does have a lot of the gadget appeal that I like. I would suggest not jumping in with both feet. Instead, acquire the basic equipment that will allow your system to evolve as you get a better feel for what is right for you personally. Try not to buy anything that you will have to abandon or replace later with an upgrade. That will save you a ton of money. Naturally, that is sometimes easier said than done. You can do a lot of virtual brewing by simply reading these forums and asking a lot of questions. One word of caution though. What looks good on paper sometimes doesn't work out so well in practice. Most of us learn that very early on. The fundamentals of brewing are rather simple. Implementing them to produce outstanding beer is quite another story. Almost anyone can make mediocre beer.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:00 PM   #9
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Sean I wasn't trying to burst your bubble. Just wanted to point out that the more complex rigs have a lot of thought and heart put into them. For your rig it needs to be your thought and heart. this is a hobby and hobbies are best when they are all about you.
JrZy, The burner on the mash tun rarely fires and when it does its very low. Its there only to maintain mash temp more accurately. With recirculation and low flame there is little chance of scorching.
You didn't burst my bubble at all. On the contrary, you actually helped me figure out what I should start with. I feel more confident starting out with a 2 tier fly sparging set up, and I'll build on it as time goes on. I won't lie, I do want to weld a brewstand, but that's only because I'm confident I can put together one with the resources I am exposed to. It's pretty basic after that.

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I would suggest not jumping in with both feet. Instead, acquire the basic equipment that will allow your system to evolve as you get a better feel for what is right for you personally.
You're right. I think I feel most comfortable starting out with the basics, and then building up on my set up.
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