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Old 01-08-2013, 06:13 PM   #11
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I would try BIAB first. The investment is really small. And get yourself a mill. Too many problems occur depending on others to mill your grain for you, and you can't store any unused milled grain for very long.

Then later on, if you would like to try your hand at all-grain brewing without the BIAB method, and after you've read up on batch sparging vs. fly sparging, then you should pick up either a rectangular cooler for batch sparging or a cylindrical cooler for fly sparging. And be sure to make yourself a manifold (rectangular cooler) or false bottom (cylindrical cooler) instead of wasting time and money using a stainless steel braided tube. Trust me on this one.

But seriously. Go with the batch sparging over the fly sparging. Unless you really want to waste an extra hour of your life on brew day and would like to concern yourself with dropping pH rates and all that jazz, just to save yourself 2 bucks on grain.

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:20 PM   #12
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I'm just going to toss it out there that the BIAB route doesn't need to be an intermediate step. It's becoming increasingly accepted and there are plenty of brewers out there that use this setup exclusively. It's easy. It's cheap. It's more space efficient. There are a lot of benefits. I guess it comes down to how you want to do it. I know a brewer who would never do BIAB because they like all their fancy, shiny Blichmann kettles that they paid a ton of money for and like showing off their setup filled with gadgets and processes. I do BIAB because it's easy and simple which is the opposite route I guess and my beer is pretty dang good.

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:27 PM   #13
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Your probably going to go All grain anyway, so go for it. I did extract for my first year, but looking back I should've started with AG. I don't know what your budget is, but it's not really that much more money. My beer was actually much better when I started AG IMHO. Good luck.

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:57 PM   #14
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I like it! Thanks!

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Old 01-08-2013, 07:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inhousebrew View Post
I'm just going to toss it out there that the BIAB route doesn't need to be an intermediate step. It's becoming increasingly accepted and there are plenty of brewers out there that use this setup exclusively. It's easy. It's cheap. It's more space efficient. There are a lot of benefits. I guess it comes down to how you want to do it. I know a brewer who would never do BIAB because they like all their fancy, shiny Blichmann kettles that they paid a ton of money for and like showing off their setup filled with gadgets and processes. I do BIAB because it's easy and simple which is the opposite route I guess and my beer is pretty dang good.
Yeah I agree. I immediately made a mash tun from a cooler and prefer doing it that way for the most part. On some lower gravity beers I'll do BIAB but overall I find the mash tun to be more preferable.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:03 PM   #16
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I went all grain and converted an old Coleman cooler into a mash tun, I think I spent 20$, mostly for the ball valve. Later I tried out biab and found it extremely annoying. So I will never do it again. I guess its a matter of preference

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Old 01-08-2013, 07:27 PM   #17
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I started doing BIAB as the intermediate step to all grain and never stopped as well. It makes AG brewing in cramped apartments possible. But even if I had more space I would probably stay BIAB because it's as simple and as messless (assuming you don't drip the bag everywhere) as it gets.

+1 on getting a mill though. Even though I do a mock sparge my efficiency was AWFUL (like ~55%) for my first few batches. With BIAB you can mill finer because stuck sparges aren't an issue to boost efficiency.

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Old 01-08-2013, 07:29 PM   #18
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Default Details please!

Question for those who are pushing for the cooler mash tun technique, or anyone who is interested in chiming in. I'd like to move to the next "step" without breaking the bank. I currently am working with an 8 gallon kettle (and would like to avoid buying a new one), am I able to go either route with that size? I understand a boil size may be in 7.5 or higher range.... Also, I generally use a gas stove top, and though I realize it may take longer to get to my desired temps, the stovetop should be fine for either method, correct?

Thanks again

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Old 01-08-2013, 07:29 PM   #19
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Yeah I agree. I immediately made a mash tun from a cooler and prefer doing it that way for the most part. On some lower gravity beers I'll do BIAB but overall I find the mash tun to be more preferable.
I started with the mashtun cooler and just because of space constraints we have the two coolers (HLT adn MLT) in the basement along with the burner and propane tanks in the garage with some other assorted small pieces upstairs. That and we live in MN so I've actually downgraded to 3 gallon BIAB batches because it is just easier to store not to mention warmer to do in the winter.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:53 PM   #20
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Best thing to do is find someone who brews and watch them do a batch and then decide what is best for you.

For me a rectangular and I think 5 gallon cooler works just fine for me with a modified batch sparge. Some folks will fly/batch sparge and others will BIAB. They are all good and very different from each other.

Honestly I think trial and error will serve you best in deciding what works best for you. I will say welcome to the addiction

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