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Old 01-08-2013, 08:05 PM   #21
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I've done partial mash/BIAB, and can tell you that if I'd had the choice, I'd have gone all grain to start with.

Why? You do all of the work for all grain with the mash, but you also add in the hassle of extract (don't scorch it, damnit will it ever dissolve, wait till the end to keep the beer from being dark, etc).

I've now moved to a cooler mashtun, and wish I'd been able to do so sooner. But that's my opinion.

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Old 01-08-2013, 08:14 PM   #22
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I won't try to convince you to go in any direction, but, after a few extract batches, I built a mash tun from a cylindrical gatorade cooler with SS braided hose - built it for somewhere around $40, I get great efficiency, and never once had any issue with it. I batch sparge and it is ridiculously simple. If you use brewing software and have a reliable thermometer, you're off to the races. You'll make good, all-grain beer.

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Old 01-08-2013, 08:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wags13 View Post
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
I heat my mash and sparge water on the stove top. No problem there because I'm heating a few gallons at a time. My mash tun is a 10 gallon water cooler with a stainless steel braided hose and stainless valve. I think the cost of it all was around $65-$70. The problem I see is the brew kettle. I have a 10 gallon brew pot and get pretty close to boiling over with 5.5 gallon batches. You can get away with smaller batches, but I think you may eventually want a bigger brew pot. Also, getting the full volume of wort to good rolling boil will take a long time on a stove top. I've done it, but it took a long time. Your stove may be different and may be able to handle it better than mine. I mash indoors on the stove but boil outside on a propane burner.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:04 PM   #24
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either way, plan on a longer brew day! I enjoy it, but i need to schedule my brewing a little more carefully w/ the wife/kids.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:01 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by trumpetbeard View Post
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.
AG worked fine in my 700 sq ft apartment (with a roommate) with a 10gal round cooler too. It does take up some space but you can stack/hang stuff from walls and ceilings to save space pretty easily. It's a pain cleaning both the mash tun and the mesh bag if you ask me, and I personally hate lifting and holding the hot bag of grains for long enough to drain all the wort properly with BIAB.

BIAB is simpler and you don't have to worry about moving the liquid around which is a big plus, and the cost of entry is just the cost of a bag. Using a cooler means you have to transfer the hot water into the cooler which can be a pain without a ball valve on your pot.

I do like having the bag around in case I have some sort of mash disaster, plus I'll occasionally do a low gravity BIAB/no chill beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wags13 View Post
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
You can do both ways with an 8gal pot, I did AG with my cooler with just that size pot for a year or so. If spending the least amount of money possible is your goal, you should try out BIAB. Otherwise, there's advantages to both methods and it's more or less a matter of preference. It's something like a few bucks for a bag vs buying a 10gal cooler plus some fittings (like this http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...&product_id=85)

A gas stove will work fine with both but might have issues getting 6.5-7gal boiling properly. You should test it out with some water. I recently moved to a place with gas and couldn't get a boil so picked up one of these to add heat to the boil - http://www.amazon.com/MARSHALLTOWN-P.../dp/B000BDB4UG

Works like a charm.

Also you might want to consider getting some fermcap-S to ensure you don't have a boil over, otherwise you'll have to watch the boil like a hawk and even then you might get boilovers. You can fill it almost to the brim if you use a few drops of fermcap.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:32 PM   #26
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It doesn't cost anything to go BIAB. Why not do that first? I did it once and have never felt the need to pay any more money. I totally get the gadget-side of the hobby, but just as a matter of preference, I don't need to get into that. I can do exactly the same tweaking to my beers that any other brewer can, and I see the cost savings as an added bonus. More beer ingredients!

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:41 PM   #27
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I have a igloo 15 gallon ice cube. After figuing out the manifold its a great tun. And its typically cheaper than the round style of coolers.

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:44 PM   #28
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You can build a mash tun for $30 google don Osborn cheap mash tun

Go to you local paint store and pick up a paint strainer for $5

Try out both and figure out which one you like best

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Old 01-08-2013, 11:47 PM   #29
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Yes you should. Read up on the process, then decide. You're asking, so you're interested. Figure out if you have a couple of extra hours on a brew day and whether you want to add a bit of new equipment.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:22 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daksin View Post
It doesn't cost anything to go BIAB. Why not do that first? I did it once and have never felt the need to pay any more money. I totally get the gadget-side of the hobby, but just as a matter of preference, I don't need to get into that. I can do exactly the same tweaking to my beers that any other brewer can, and I see the cost savings as an added bonus. More beer ingredients!
+1

Agree - you could start with BIAB on the cheap. Probably not free unless you rip your voile curtains down. Don't do that

For what it's worth, BIAB is All Grain! BIAB vs traditional 3 tier set-up do have differences, but no one is by default a better system. Like others have said, it's all up to the brewer and what works in your situation and equipment.

With a small apartment, I think BIAB would fit nicely. The concept is using 1 vessel, so there is less equipment. Though with an 8 Gallon kettle, you will have to modify the BIAB method since you won't be able to fit all the required water + Grain for a 5 gallon batch. No problem, you could either use another vessel to sparge (a bucket work fine - NOT the bottling bucket), or scale down the recipe so it all fits. I've done both of these methods many times.

So to your original question, yes go all grain! Hope this helps.
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