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Old 10-03-2010, 09:31 PM   #1
eppo
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Default looking to fine tune my process.

i've been brewing all grain for about 4 batches now, brewing for about 2 years.
i've been wanting to improve my process a bit... possibly make it easier.
hopefully you can read through my process and let me know if i'm doing anything wrong, or could just do something different to make it easier.
for my equipment i have a bayou burner, a 5 gallon brew pot, a keggle, and a 10 gallon Home Depot cooler with manifold for my mash tun.
first i usually heat up my mash water in the 5 gallon brew pot, when it hits the proper temp, i dump it in my cooler, which is on the ground, then add the grains, make sure the temp is where it belongs and screw on the top and left it up where it sits on the top of a stool. i let it sit for the recommended time. i then vorlauf and then drain the wort into my keggle. i bring my mash tun onto the ground and then add my sparge water. screw on the top and then put it back on the stool where i let it sit for 10 minutes.
i Vourlof again, and then drain the liquid into my keggle. i put my keggle on to my burner and then start the boil. (add ingredients during boil). about 10 minutes before the end of the boil i drop my immersion chillier into the keggle. when the boil is over i turn on my water, and i stir the wort as it cools. (as a side note, i plan to turn my immersion chiller into a whirlpool chiller when i get the cash for a pump)
once its cool, i open the valve and drain the keggle into my bucket, airrating with a whisk. next i dump my starter into the bucket, slide in my airlock and set it in my fermentation chamber.
part of the reason for this post was a review of my process, which i hope that i can get some comments on. also, i would like to make this process easier, possibly by getting another keggle to use as a HLT. would like to add some pumps to make my adding of water easier. i'm just wondering what you guys do and how i could streamline my process.
thank you for reading my lengthy post and any opinions you could give.
Joe

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Old 10-03-2010, 09:48 PM   #2
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Without a pump, you're stuck using either gravity or brute strength. Until I got my currect set up, I used gravity. I used a combination of my picnic table, a coffee table, and the keggle and burner to "build" a three tier stand. That wasn't great, until I started using a cooler (the smaller Igloo 5 gallon cooler) for the HLT. Lifting a pot of 190 degree water high ranks up there with some of the dumb things I've done. But, pouring it into the cooler, and THEN lifting it up high was ok until I got my current system.

It was still pretty rinky-dink, but saved my back and kept me from pouring hot water around.

My "new" system is a two tier. The HLT and MLT are on one level, with the BK down a level. This can be done with one pump, and it works quite well.

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Old 10-04-2010, 03:51 AM   #3
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i'm thinking of putting my system on a level surface.
do you refill your HLT for strike/sparge, so you can pour in the exact amount of water, or is there a better way where you can just fill the HLT up once and somehow measure the water leaving the tank?

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Old 10-04-2010, 04:13 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Yooper_Brew View Post
Without a pump, you're stuck using either gravity or brute strength. Until I got my currect set up, I used gravity. I used a combination of my picnic table, a coffee table, and the keggle and burner to "build" a three tier stand. That wasn't great, until I started using a cooler (the smaller Igloo 5 gallon cooler) for the HLT. Lifting a pot of 190 degree water high ranks up there with some of the dumb things I've done. But, pouring it into the cooler, and THEN lifting it up high was ok until I got my current system.

It was still pretty rinky-dink, but saved my back and kept me from pouring hot water around.

My "new" system is a two tier. The HLT and MLT are on one level, with the BK down a level. This can be done with one pump, and it works quite well.
This is EXACTLY where I am! If I were you I wuld invest is a brew pot that is at least 8 gal. You are somewhat limited with the cooler you are using but if it suits you and YOUR style than don't change it. I started out just like you; now I have two Bayou Lassic SQ14 burners, 2 keggles, a 62 qt cooler, and I am eagerly awaiting to afford a pump. Its a little over kill for just 5 gallon batches but I have flexibility when it comes to 10 gal batches. Gravity can work but is a PITA and can be slow. Here is a tip I learned today: it is easier to get to your target mash temp when you overshoot your temp than when you undershoot (adding strike water).

I have a bad back. In fact I have a herniated disc and going into surgery tomarrow. Unless you are fit, young, and/or have a strong back; do yourself a favor and invest in a pump.
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by eppo View Post
i'm thinking of putting my system on a level surface.
do you refill your HLT for strike/sparge, so you can pour in the exact amount of water, or is there a better way where you can just fill the HLT up once and somehow measure the water leaving the tank?
I have a sight gauge on my HLT- that makes it easy to subtract the water volume when you add to your MLT. Then, refill it again for the sparge. (That's when I had only a 5 gallon HLT- now I have a 10 gallon HLT which is big enough for 5 gallon batches without a refill!)
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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When I was brewing indoors I used a puur water filter. So now that im doing now, I have my hose hooked up to a filter. I pour water into a 2 quart container, and dump that into my hlt.
Shouldn't that water be accurate? It would be nice to have a hose dump right into the hlt.

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