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-   -   $1000 Budget, from scratch, is it possible? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/1000-budget-scratch-possible-270941/)

GarrettMD 09-26-2011 02:09 AM

$1000 Budget, from scratch, is it possible?
Title pretty much says it all. I currently use an all-grain system with cooler mash tun and stock pots on a stove. Would I be able to build an all electric system from that starting point for under $1000? I would prefer up to 1/2 bbl capacity, but if a 10 gal system can be made under $1000 that would work too.

Feel free to point me to another thread that might answer this, I must admit I haven't done too much searching for this.

mavrick1903 09-26-2011 02:12 AM

BIAB, HERMS, or RIMS? single tier, or two, or three?

Flomaster 09-26-2011 02:15 AM

depends on how many bells and whistles you want, might be doable might not.


Yuri_Rage 09-26-2011 02:19 AM

It's entirely possible. 20 gallon kettles and a pump will likely be your biggest expenses. Everything else can be had rather cheaply, as long as you're ready to get your hands dirty.

GarrettMD 09-26-2011 02:33 AM


Originally Posted by mavrick1903 (Post 3328818)
BIAB, HERMS, or RIMS? single tier, or two, or three?

Either HERMS or RIMS, which is generally accepted as "better"? Also, single tier would be preferable.


Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage (Post 3328837)
It's entirely possible. 20 gallon kettles and a pump will likely be your biggest expenses. Everything else can be had rather cheaply, as long as you're ready to get your hands dirty.

I'm a pretty big DIY-er, and it helps I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Getting my hands dirty isn't a problem.

bullywee 09-26-2011 09:58 AM

I think $1000 would be tight for 1/2 bbl.

If you were to go with 15g keggles, I think you could do it. Good quality/big volume pots get expensive so if you can sacrifice some volume, then keggles are a cheaper alternative, and they still make great pots.

Elements, relays, controllers, and electric parts in general are cheap - as stated above pumps and pots not so much

I put about 50% of my budget into pots but, they are quality and pretty much lifetime, because of volume requirements(4 people) keggles weren't an option for me, but I used them for years on my old system.

There are a ton of resources on this site and especially this forum. I build a great system on a budget so let me know if I can help.

Yooper 09-26-2011 12:05 PM

As was mentioned, keggles are cheap so if you are content with kegs for an HLT and a BK instead of nice shiny new kettles, then you can do it for $1000.

I didn't make my stand, I purchased it from a fellow HBT'er but it was just some shelving from a place like Office Max. So that was cheap. The elements are cheap. The pumps are about $150 each (you need two for a single tier- if you make a two tier, you can go with one pump).

The biggest expense was the control panel.

Sometimes you can use stuff you already have- like using an older immersion chiller for the HERMS by using it for the HEX. I originally had coolers for the HLT and MLT, but now just use the cooler for the MLT. This is the original orange cooler and false bottom I've had since 2006, so I got my money's worth out of it!

Yuri_Rage 09-26-2011 02:16 PM

I swear by these: http://www.northernbrewer.com/default/20-gallon-megapot.html

Using a handful of stainless nuts and bolts as standoffs, you can have a false bottom made of this perforated sheet for around $69.

You can get away with one pump even on a single tier stand if you batch sparge.

www.bargainfittings.com has the best prices I've found on stainless hardware (valves, cam-locks, fittings, etc).

I recommend 1/2" translucent silicone tubing. I get mine from Austin Homebrew at around $2 per foot.

You won't find a cheaper brew stand than what Yooper mentioned above. Even the materials to weld one (or build one out of wood) yourself will likely cost as much as a Gorilla Rack or similar shelving system. If you have a bunch of scrap steel tubing or angle iron laying around, the price of a self-made stand will significantly drop.

You can split a single Gorilla Rack like the one I mentioned into two workbench-height units that would be more than wide enough to hold three kettles. Costco and Sam's Club usually have good prices on similar shelving.

To keep your project under budget, the amount of automation will have to be minimal. I don't have much experience with PID controllers, but they aren't usually cheap. This site has great prices on PID controllers, SSRs, and thermocouples. I haven't ordered from them or used any of their products, but the prices are outstanding.

frankstoneline 09-27-2011 06:29 AM

As a thought, using keggles for HLT and Mash Tun, and then buying a larger (20ish gallons) pot as a boil kettle could work. Also: 2 tier with a single pump and a RIMS tube could keep your costs down and probably allow you to use your cooler mash tun until a larger one could be built. Off the top of my head figure...2x PID $100, 2x SSR and sinks $50, various fittings, project box, wire etc, ~$100, 240v 25A GFCI ~$120, 120v extension cord $15 maybe? that puts your control box to about $400. this allows for a 240v loop for a 4500w element pid controlled for the boil kettle/hlt, then a PID 120v loop for the rims tube. $60 for stainless rims parts. a keg, $40? plus maybe $50 in fittings for the hlt, plus an element ($25). puts you up to...$575 total. Then pump $150 total $725, 80 qt pot $160, $75 for fittings puts you to $960 plus 40 bucks for random fittings and screw ups. Thats a tight budget and relies on a previously available mash tun.
thats a general estimate for how I might go about constructing, however others here are much more experienced than I.

jfkriege 09-27-2011 07:20 PM

$1000 is very possible when using keggles. The system in my signature was less than that, and I am happily using it for every brew I do. What is more, I wouldnt change it a bit.

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