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Old 11-29-2009, 04:30 AM   #1
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Default What to do with my brewpot?

I just discovered the wonderful world of homebrewing a few weeks ago, and I'm already hooked lined and sinker

I have a few problems/questions though...

1. I bought a 20qt SS brewpot from my LHBS, and it's been meeting my needs so far. I think I'm going to need a spigot and ball valve on the front though, especially once I get a counterflow chiller (more on that later).
Is there a way to go about adding one to my pot, or do I need to buy a whole new one with it already installed? I've seen kits with all the parts you'll need, I just don't have the resources (or skill) to cut the hole myself.

2. I recently bought a converted Igloo mash-tun so I could start all-grain brewing (hasn't arrived yet). Are the Igloo mash-tuns fine, or did I mess up and should've gotten a SS one?
What is a Hot Liquor Tank used for anyway? Is it critical to have one?

3. What kind of chiller would you guys suggest for me? I've seen immersion, counterflow, and plate types, but I'm really not sure which is better. I'm on a bit of a budget, but I also don't want to skimp too much on something as important as a chiller. If I end up getting the counterflow of plate, I'll need the brewpot spigot right? I brew 5gal batches by the way.

I've become endlessly fascinated with homebrewing and I'm loving it, I just want to make sure I don't screw up.

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Old 11-29-2009, 11:45 AM   #2
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"What to do with my brewpot?" ....Sell it and get a bigger one.

Val,

1. Sorry to say, but a 20 qt brew kettle is way to small for a five gallon batch. Look for a 40 qt at a minimum before you even think about a valve.

2. That looks like a nice MT, but at only 5 gal you will likely not have enough room for high gravity batches.

3. All the chillers you refer to will work great if sized and used properly. Just preference IMO.

Last edited by wilserbrewer; 11-29-2009 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:06 PM   #3
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Yeah that kettle is too small. Sell it and either buy a larger pot or convert a keg.

The 5 gallon cooler is small, but I have been using one for 5 years now. I make normal gravity beer 1040 to 1050 in 6 gallon batches, but if I ever needed to make a larger gravity, all I need to do is cut my volume to 3 gallons instead of 5 gallons.

I use a IC and find it a lot easier to keep clean than I see what brewers who have CFC have to do. KISS is a nice moto.

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Old 11-29-2009, 12:21 PM   #4
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Hi. The reason folks are saying that your brew pot is too small is that with all grain brewing you need to be able to boil 6 1/2 to 7 gallons at a time in order to brew a 5 gallon batch. To avoid boilovers, you need some room in the pot, hence the suggestion above of a 10 gallon pot.

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Old 11-29-2009, 12:58 PM   #5
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You may be able to use that brew pot as an HLT, or, Hot Liquor Tank. The HLT is what we use to heat our water to temperature before adding it to the Mash Tun for conversion.

Sometimes it is a good idea to take a deep breath and think really hard before making a purchase. This will give you an opportunity to focus on an aspect of this hobby that is only discussed around the edges. Planning.

Read a bit more and talk to other brewers and begin to figure out where you might want to go in this hobby. With planning you should get to the point where you are not buying equipment twice.

Good luck and welcome to this hobby.

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Old 11-29-2009, 01:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gammon N Beer View Post
You may be able to use that brew pot as an HLT, or, Hot Liquor Tank. The HLT is what we use to heat our water to temperature before adding it to the Mash Tun for conversion.
I use two pots, also, as Gammon suggests - 5 and 12 gallons.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gammon N Beer View Post
Sometimes it is a good idea to take a deep breath and think really hard before making a purchase.

Good luck and welcome to this hobby.
Good advice above. Perhaps go ahead and do a 3 gal batch w/ the equipment you have while looking to the future. No spigot or chiller really needed for small batch brewing.

Even w/ a large kettle, it's not a huge deal to syphon the wort out for a batch or two, or even forever for that matter, some brewers are happy that way.

With experience the type of system YOU want and need will be much clearer and you just might make better decisions.

If you want to brew 5 gal AG ASAP, you will need a bigger kettle and a chiller, I would reccomend an IC for someone starting out, say 50' X 3/8 ". Oh, also a burner as you will likely not be able to boil 7 gal on your stove.

check out these links

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

http://www.suebob.com/brew/Bobby_M%2...n%20primer.pdf
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Last edited by wilserbrewer; 11-29-2009 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 11-29-2009, 06:59 PM   #8
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Thanks guys,

When I originally starter kit from my LHBS, I asked the guy if they had any big pots I could buy (didn't have one). He told me they had one left, and it would be all I'd ever need *sighs*
He also said, when asked about AG, that I just need to get a mash-tun and I'd be set....

So....any suggestions on a decently inexpensive brewpot for AG? Those Polarware ones looked good...
I do plan on sticking with 5gal batches for a long while still.

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Old 11-29-2009, 11:15 PM   #9
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I think I'm going to bite the bullet and get a Boilermaker

Couple questions though...
1. Which add-ons should I get? The Boil Screen seems nice, but how necessary is it? If I already bought an Igloo mash-tun, is there any benefit to getting a false bottom or auto-sparge? Is it possible, with a false bottom, to use the BoilerMaker as a mash-tun AND brewpot in the same recipe? (fill both roles at once)

2. I'm still slightly confused on just what an autosparger does. Can anyone help shed light on this?

3. Anything else I need for AG? I can just use my old 5gal for an HLT right?

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Old 11-29-2009, 11:30 PM   #10
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Among other things, one issue you will have using the Boilermaker as a Mash Tun is maintaining temperature during the mash. With no insulation, you will have to apply heat to the mash and that can be challenging without automated control of some kind.

You can certainly use your other pot as an HLT for 5ga batches.

During sparge, you will need something to drain your wort into. That could maybe be a foodgrade bucket. Then you'd have to clean out the mash tun, move the wort back and start the boil.

Just some things to think about...

Ed

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