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Old 10-11-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
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Default Ready to Upgrade: Money Saving Options

I'm looking to upgrade my mash capabilities and I'd love to purchase an all-grain kit similar to the Blichmann kits on Midwestsupplies.com, but I just can't bring myself to pay $850. Austin Supplies has some less expensive pots with fittings for $229; still a little more than what I want to spend on my hobby.
What are some of the ways you've saved money on upgrading your boiling pots without breaking the bank? Restaurant supply stores? Ebay? Stealing from the culinary arts school?

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Old 10-11-2012, 03:44 PM   #2
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Check these kettles out.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:02 PM   #3
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That is definitely more in my range of affordable equipment. Are there any significant cost savings of finding a non-drilled pot similar to that one and just buying and installing everything separately (such as this guy)? I know that cheaper pots do not heat as well as nicer Blichmann pots, but overall would there be a significant difference in the end product?

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15 Gallons of New England Hard Cider - Four yeasts: Ale yeast, two cider yeasts, and a champagne yeast.

Kegged:
Helliday Ale and Chocolate Nitro Stout

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Old 10-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #4
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That ebay kettle is only about 10.5 gallons. It depends on how you build the kettles, but by the time you factor in shipping, bits, labor, and weldless fittings, the cost will be about the same. There is no real difference in heating. I have had both and now use a Blichmann as my boil kettle. The morebeer kettle is a great value.

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Old 10-11-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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Have you considered a keggle?

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Old 10-11-2012, 04:46 PM   #6
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Depending on your batch size, and how you heat/boil, consider making keggles. You only need a decent drill and a right angle grinder to convert a 1/2 bbl keg into a keggle/mash tun. You don't even need to have those tools, if you know someone with them. DO get a decent step bit to drill the holes for the 1/2" NPT fittings (needs to go to 7/8" hole size) though. The main item there is simply locating decent kegs at a fair rate. There's actually a guy in Chelmsford, MA that sells 100% legal kegs at a decent rate. I even have a couple of 'spare' kegs from him in my basement right now.

If you want to check out how I've set mine up sometime, shoot me a message. I'm in Nashua, NH now (even though it shows me still in Natick, MA).

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Old 10-11-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info, Golddiggie. I've definitely considered going the keggle route; I have most equipment to get it done but I'll need to get my hands on a decent step bit and cutter to take off the top of the keg.

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15 Gallons of New England Hard Cider - Four yeasts: Ale yeast, two cider yeasts, and a champagne yeast.

Kegged:
Helliday Ale and Chocolate Nitro Stout

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Old 10-11-2012, 07:06 PM   #8
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I have both the step bit and grinder to cut the top. If you don't mind driving from Waltham to Nashua, we could do it up here. That way you don't need to purchase, or hunt for someone else with, those items. I can also show you my sight tube design that's all stainless steel and borosilicate glass.

I might be polishing up a keg this Saturday, if you want to head up this way.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:50 PM   #9
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You want to do HERMS or direct fired mashes? If not, consider going the DIY cooler route. The coolers themselves are usually $40 (the 10G round rubbermaid and 70qt coleman xtreme are both $40). You would heat the strike water in a different pot, add to cooler and then add grain.

For a kettle, you can't go wrong with keggles for the price.

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Old 10-12-2012, 07:54 PM   #10
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Also check out forum vendor Spike Brewing:

http://spikebrewing.com/collections/...inless-kettles

Couplers matter, personally. You'll want a sight gauge and possibly a thermometer in addition to your valve. I have weldless fittings but it's not the easiest thing to drill the holes and file them down. Depends on your level of comfort with DIY stuff. If I had the money, I'd get the 3 coupler kettle every time. As it was though I got a 8g aluminum pot and put in elements and a valve (HLT) and a 12.25G euro keg that I made into an eBK. All very cheap, but required some work.

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