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Old 11-08-2007, 06:34 PM   #1
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Default Advice on the most economical way to start all grain brewing

Hello, Ive been brewing from extract kits but want to switch to all grain. Theres no rush on my end I probably won't begin for a couple of months but I wanted to begin assembling the things ill need ( of course as cheaply as possible ). Now I have 3 plastic pales ,1 glass carboy , boiling pot, and all the effects i.e.,siphon tubes and what not. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-08-2007, 06:44 PM   #2
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Assuming a 5 gallon batch:


You'll need a kettle large enough to do a full boil, preferably with a lid (not for the boil but I put one on during chilling)

You'll need a mashtun. On the cheap I'd just make a zaptun like in Charlie Papazian's book. Below is a picture of my first mastun. Keep in mind you can make others on the cheap as well, the variations are limited to your imagination. I fly sparge but you may want to consider batch sparging with a cooler. Slightly (ever so slightly) more money than the zaptun but not much. Folks here will help you if you go that route.

You'll need a kettle large enough to heat your sparge water as well, nothing fancy.

A wort chiller is not mandatory but I'd highly recommend one. Make your own from copper tubing and some hose. Below is a picture of mine.

There are other things that will make brewing easier/more efficient but take it as it comes. This will start you on the cheap.

My very first mashtun:




My wort chiller:


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Old 11-08-2007, 06:50 PM   #3
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http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

A quick and easy overview of what you'll need.
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Old 11-08-2007, 06:51 PM   #4
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Thanks that will get me started.

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Old 11-08-2007, 07:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niquejim
http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

A quick and easy overview of what you'll need.
A great link. It is what I used the first time.

I also happened to invent out of necessity a few el cheapo methods for my first AG, take a look.
http://homebrewtalk.com/showthread.p...ht=kiddie+pool
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Old 11-08-2007, 07:30 PM   #6
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While I applauded the cheap and easy Mash tun Craig photo'd.

In My humble Opinion you'd be much better off using a cooler even if you have to wait until you can afford one. Because you want to hold your temperture steady during your Mash, 2 plastic buckets just won't do a good job. And eventually you'll more than likely want a cooler for a Mash / Lauter tun. So I recommend you wait and do it right the first time.

Cooler aren't that expensive and the modifications you'd need aren't either. I think you'd be better off sticking with extract than making a poor AG.

Check out the Salvation Army or Goodwill stores for cheap coolers.

A large heavy duty piece of aluminum foil with holes punched in it makes a perfectly exceptable sparge arm replacement.

The boil pot and HLT can be one in the same so you don't really need 2 pots.

And if push comes to shove an Ice Bath will cool your wort although an immersion chiller is definately better.

Last but not least have some kind of paddle or long spoon just in case you get a stuck sparge.

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Old 11-08-2007, 07:51 PM   #7
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Ahem!! Well it was 97 degrees out, that is why my bottleing bucket held the temp so well, but with a little ingenuity, you'll be alright. I also did the route 66 IPA which only called for holding the temp for 30 minutes. Most grains would be Ok for just 20(or so I have been told). But that beer turned out incredibly well. Bottling bucket and all.

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Old 11-08-2007, 07:59 PM   #8
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Everyone has blankets in their house (I think that is a safe assumption) covering my mashtun with blankets is what I started out with for holding my mash temperature. I would not let holding temperature put off going all grain.

The main thing I'd consider is what style of sparging do you want to do and what size batches do you plan on? If people could mash grains and make beer thousands of years ago you can do it with limited resources too. I made great all grain beer with that mashtun and a kettle when I first started, nothing more. I was not sorry I made the switch from extract on my very first all grain batch and I have not looked back since.

Good luck and always remember this is easy stuff to do.

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Old 11-08-2007, 08:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craiger_ny
Everyone has blankets in their house (I think that is a safe assumption) covering my mashtun with blankets is what I started out with for holding my mash temperature. I would not let holding temperature put off going all grain.

The main thing I'd consider is what style of sparging do you want to do and what size batches do you plan on? If people could mash grains and make beer thousands of years ago you can do it with limited resources too. I made great all grain beer with that mashtun and a kettle when I first started, nothing more. I was not sorry I made the switch from extract on my very first all grain batch and I have not looked back since.

Good luck and always remember this is easy stuff to do.
Which would be a better insulator to wrap the bucket in, the flag or the constitution?(Lol, sorry, no dis-respect, I just couldn't help it)

Of course, if you have any flags lying around, you could burn them for warmth too.
But seriously I like the sentiment in your sig and I agree with the blanket thing. Sitting the tub by a lit fireplace may help in the winter if it is available. Where there is a will there is a way.
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Last edited by cheezydemon; 11-08-2007 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezydemon
Which would be a better insulator to wrap the bucket in, the flag or the constitution?(Lol, sorry, no dis-respect, I just couldn't help it)
The flag bro, keep your mits off that constitution. It might take a couple though unless you have one of those car dealer ones.

Actually I use this. I still use my little mashtun for 5 gal batches when I am throwing something together after work and don't have a long day to dedicate. I am not the most efficient because I rush the sparge but I can do a 5 gal batch in 3.5 hours including cleanup with both a 60 minute mash and a 60 minute boil.

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