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Old 05-26-2010, 03:58 AM   #1
dummkauf
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Default 2 vessel All Grain Brewing

Ok, I'm a new, but pretty successful, extract brewer with 5 batches under my belt and soon to be 6 this coming weekend. Anyway, after spending a whole bunch of money on DME for this coming weekends batch, it has seriously got me thinking about all grain, as well as the other benefits of going all grain. I've been doing my research and am looking for an economic way to jump into all grain and I think I've got it figured out but am looking for some input before i start buying stuff.

All the all grain setups I see usually involve 3 vessels for holding liquid, what I am proposing is trying to get away with using just 2. I currently have a 7 gallon stainless steel brew pot I am using for my extract brews with a spiggot installed to drain to my CFC for cooling. I also have a large coleman cooler sitting in the garage that I'm thinking of cleaning out and using(or maybe just buy a new one depending on how funky the garage one looks) and either doing the stainless steel mesh filter or the PVC frame on the bottom of the cooler. Which if I've done my research right, my brew day would look like this:
1.) Heat up water to the right temp for mashing(or a couple degrees higher since my cooler will instantly suck up some of the heat) in my 7 gallon brew pot. I am doing full boils already and have a propane burner for heating the water.
2.) Add grains and water to the cooler, and let sit until conversion is complete.
3.) Warm up additional sparge water in my 7 gallon brew pot for sparging while I'm waiting for conversion to complete from step 2
4.) Drain "wort" out of cooler into my bottling bucket(guess this would be vessel #3 huh).
5.) Sparge with the water heated up in step 3. This is basically just pouring hot water over the remaining grain bed left after I drained the cooler right?
6.) Dump all of the wort out of the bottling bucket and back into my 7 gallon brew pot.
7.) Boil wort and add hops as dictated by whatever recipe I'm brewing.(This is basically where I start today with my extract)
8.) Cool, pitch yeast, put in closet.

So, am I missing anything? Or would I really be able to move to all grain by simply converting a cooler into a mash tun and using the existing equipment I already have.

And as for coolers, would cleaning out an old used one be a good idea, or would I be better off just buying a new one(I'm looking to be cheap but could swing a new cooler if really needed)?

Are all plastic coolers made out of food grade plastic? I would imagine they are, but just want to check if there's something specific to be looking for.

Thank you!!!

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Old 05-26-2010, 04:06 AM   #2
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I do all grain in a two container system all the time.
All water for mash and sparge is heated in my liquor tun/boil kettle. This has a spigot to let water get to the mash tun (cooler ). Once the mash is underway I continue to heat remaining water up to sparge temp (or for multi infushion, to the next temp required) - all heat calculations are done using software (beer smith).
Once the final water has entered the MLT for the sparge then the liquor tun becomes the boil kettle (you will need some assorted buckets to transfer your runoff wort back "up" to your kettle - don't do it all in one batch unless you like hot sticky wort everywhere.

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Old 05-26-2010, 04:19 AM   #3
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Search for "Brutus 20". It's the most popular 2 vessel setup and there's been many builds documented here.

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Old 05-26-2010, 04:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkarp View Post
Search for "Brutus 20". It's the most popular 2 vessel setup and there's been many builds documented here.
Those all look like they involve a pump and extra equipment that I am trying to avoid spending money on. What am I missing here?
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:40 AM   #5
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Actually, I think what I am proposing is a 2 vessel system with sparge. A BRUTUS 20 is a 2 vessel no sparge that just recirculates rather than sparging isn't it? I think what I am missing here is a sparge arm to spray water over the grain bed after I drain the initial mash off the grain bed(hope that makes sense).

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Old 05-26-2010, 10:59 AM   #6
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The moment you sparge, you're into 3 vessels, just as you said in step 4. It is possible to do 2 vessel no-sparge w/o a pump but the MLT must be big enough to hold all grain and FULL water volume:

1. Heat strike water in kettle and transfer to MLT.
2. Standard dough-in and mash.
3. Heat balance of water in kettle (desired pre-boil volume less grain absorption and existing strike water in MLT) and transfer to MLT for mashout.
4. Mix and vorlauf the mash.
6. Drain MLT to kettle via gravity.
7. Boil / hop additions as usual.

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Old 05-26-2010, 12:26 PM   #7
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My method uses the boil kettle 7.5g, cooler mash tun, and spare /old brew pot 3g.
1. Heat strike water in kettle and transfer to MLT.
2. Standard dough-in and mash.
3. Heat balance of water in spare kettle
4. Mix and vorlauf mash
5. Drain first runnings into boil kettle and start boil
6. 2 batch sparges into spare kettle and add to boil after each sparge
7. Boil wort as usual

This allows me to get my wort boiling quicker and I can usually go from start to cleanup/yeast pitch in 4 hours.

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Old 05-26-2010, 08:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkarp View Post
The moment you sparge, you're into 3 vessels, just as you said in step 4.
Single batch sparge + BIAB is sort of the intermediary.

Kettle #1 heats your water to strike temp, then becomes the mash tun (grain added in bag)
During mash, Kettle #2 heats sparge water.
After mash, grain is drained and moved to sparge kettle; kettle#1 is now the brew kettle, and you start heating it toward boiling.
After sparge, drain the bag and set aside; add second runnings to brew kettle.

(Some people cold sparge, using a bucket in place of kettle #2)
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dummkauf View Post
So, am I missing anything? Or would I really be able to move to all grain by simply converting a cooler into a mash tun and using the existing equipment I already have.

And as for coolers, would cleaning out an old used one be a good idea, or would I be better off just buying a new one(I'm looking to be cheap but could swing a new cooler if really needed)?

Are all plastic coolers made out of food grade plastic? I would imagine they are, but just want to check if there's something specific to be looking for.

Thank you!!!
You pretty much hit it. That is just about exactly how I handle it. I have a keggle, a single burner and a 10 gallon cooler that I use for 10 gallon batches. I use two bottling buckets to drain the first runnings and first sparge round, then drain everything back into the freshly drained kettle for boiling. Works like a charm.

As far as I know all coolers use food grade plastic on the inside but I'm not sure of that. Give your existing cooler a thorough cleaning. If you can smell anything but freshly cleaned plastic when you are done cleaning it would probably be best to suck it up and buy a new cooler.
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:38 PM   #10
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+12345 for one burner, one HLT/boiler, one MLT, and several buckets.

OP's method is almost exactly what I do.

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