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Old 08-12-2012, 03:12 AM   #1
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Default On a budget. All grain equipment needed.

Hey everyone. Its been a while since I've been on this forum. Its also been a while since I have made any beer. I tried malting my own barley with decent success. Unfortunately, the amount of work needed for a 1gal batch scared me away and unfortunately have taken a 8 month break. I simply love making all grain beer but have only made BIAB in 1 gal quantities. Its my birthday on the 14th and my girlfriend gave me money to spend ONLY on brewing equipment. I need to find a brew kettle, propane boiler and a mash tun and any other little helpful knick knacks. And by find, I mean, looking for all your wisdom. I live in a small town and don't have access to the same stores as some of you and being in Canada, shipping costs more than university classes. I know I can make a mash tun from a cooler. I can also buy a 6gal pot at walmart but no false bottom or spigot (how important are these things when doing my research?). I am working with a minimal budget and I make almost no money in the winter so now is the time to invest. I hate not having the right tool for the job so for me its worth going the extra mile to save some headache down the road. Lets hear all your advice. I know the search tool works so that advice is noted. I just thought I'd post my individual situation and save myself the contradicting information often posted.

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Old 08-12-2012, 03:26 AM   #2
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First off, your girlfriend is totally awesome. Second, you can save some money by not investing in anything that chills your beer. Check out the thread on No Chill brewing (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/expl...rewing-117111/). In Canada, especially winter, your beer will chill pretty fast on its own. You can leave it in the kettle (with the lid on) or dump it into your fermenter (assuming its type 2 hdpe plastic) and put the lid on it to chill overnight.

An alternative to the false bottom mash tun is to do BIAB (brew in a bag). You'd need a very large paint straining bag (maybe you can find one at walmart?) Basically this is no-sparge brewing. Low efficiency, but hey if you're mashing your own grain, that part will be cheap at least right? I'm not sure how to build a mash tun without any kind of spigot/ball-valve shenanigans... maybe someone will chime in with another idea? Do you have a plumbing supply/accessory place by you? You could probably find everything you need at a decently stocked plumbing place...

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Old 08-12-2012, 03:32 AM   #3
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I've also read that walmart's bakery section can be a good source of free food safe 5 gallon plastic buckets. Apparently that's what icing comes in, and they throw them away when they're empty. I've seen plans for a mash tun using two of those (one inside the other) with the inner one used as the 'false bottom' by poking small holes in the bottom of it (I think the plans were in Joy of Homebrewing by C. Papazian). You'd still need a valve of some kind to drain out of the outer one, but you could probably get by with the cheaper plastic kind. With that kind of setup you could batch sparge easily enough.

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Old 08-12-2012, 04:04 AM   #4
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You can buy a stainless braided water heater hose at cheapo depot for about $10.....strip out the plastic hose and voila bazooka screen for your cooler mash tun

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Old 08-12-2012, 05:11 AM   #5
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I'm in Ontario and same kind of situation. Trying to keep it cheap but also do it pretty much right. I use a cooler mash tub with braided hose that I had at home already so that set me back about 60 bucks with the fittings and all. I also use the 6 gallon walmart turkey fryer to boil and that does okay you just have to watch for boil overs. The start of the boil there isn't much room at the top. The best thing to do is watch kijiji I'd say, find the best deals on there. And ya I also do no chill other than a cool water bath, do a 90 min boil for pale malts and your good to go that way.
Cheers
Alex

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Old 08-12-2012, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fpweeks View Post
You can buy a stainless braided water heater hose at cheapo depot for about $10.....strip out the plastic hose and voila bazooka screen for your cooler mash tun
This is the start for sure. Check out http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/ for batch sparging, which combined with no chill (full disclosure- I've not no chilled an AG batch.... Yet) makes for quite a cheap brewing setup.
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Old 08-12-2012, 01:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scone View Post
First off, your girlfriend is totally awesome. Second, you can save some money by not investing in anything that chills your beer. Check out the thread on No Chill brewing (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/expl...rewing-117111/). In Canada, especially winter, your beer will chill pretty fast on its own. You can leave it in the kettle (with the lid on) or dump it into your fermenter (assuming its type 2 hdpe plastic) and put the lid on it to chill overnight.

An alternative to the false bottom mash tun is to do BIAB (brew in a bag). You'd need a very large paint straining bag (maybe you can find one at walmart?) Basically this is no-sparge brewing. Low efficiency, but hey if you're mashing your own grain, that part will be cheap at least right? I'm not sure how to build a mash tun without any kind of spigot/ball-valve shenanigans... maybe someone will chime in with another idea? Do you have a plumbing supply/accessory place by you? You could probably find everything you need at a decently stocked plumbing place...
The highlighted part is not true. I regularly get 80% efficiency with BIAB no sparge and 85% if I dunk sparge. The key to this efficiency is a fine crush of the grain which is possible with the BIAB since you don't have to rely on a grain bed for filtering as the bag becomes a huge filter.

I bought a turkey fryer (7 1/2 gallon pot and propane burner), a cheap Corona style mill off Ebay, and a pair of paint strainer bags from Home Depot and was set to brew. I can mash and boil in the same pot so I only need one and I chill by setting that same pot in a tub of cold water. Winter is easy to get cold water as I add snow to the tub until I can keep unmelted snow in there. In summer I have to keep adding cold water to the tub and let the warmed water overflow onto my lawn.
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Old 08-12-2012, 05:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
The highlighted part is not true. I regularly get 80% efficiency with BIAB no sparge and 85% if I dunk sparge. The key to this efficiency is a fine crush of the grain which is possible with the BIAB since you don't have to rely on a grain bed for filtering as the bag becomes a huge filter.
I stand corrected. Even better for the OP too.
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:22 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. This is everything I wanted to know. I do have access to a hardware store in town and a walmart and home depot half an hour drive in Cranbrook. I will have to go through all of this info and sort out what I'll have to buy/watch for on kijiji. This site is amazing for the help because of people like you.

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