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Old 12-31-2012, 09:26 AM   #11
bvn
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I have never heard of fly, batch nor continuous sparging and I have been brewing regularly for about 10 years (at least twice per month). I use a separate lautering tun - foundation water, plus mash, keep adding water, so that in the end, the sweet liquor covers the top handle rivet of my 32 qt boil pot (about 7.5 gallons, 3/4" from the top). The pot & contents weigh 65 lbs. I stop here because the pot is full and weighs plenty. The lautering outflow usually, but not always, runs transparent at the end.

The water I add to the lautering tun is called sparge water in my books. So am I lautering or am I sparging?

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Old 12-31-2012, 09:50 AM   #12
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One last thought. I've been retired for about 15 years. Budget limitations I understand. My biggest brewing investments are:
- my fluvarium (rain room), it was supposed to be a solarium, but I live in Seattle. It has NG quick disconnect and one wall completely opens to the outdoors. This is where I boil.
- my basement (20 cu ft) refrigerator which holds 3 Corney kegs, CO2, milk, eggs, etc.
- for cooling the wort, I use a sump pump, plastic hoses, copper coil, and a rain water cistern.
Notice the multi-use nature of the investment. My pots (boil, sparge, & decoction) are from our kitchen. The only expensive dedicated equipment is the Christmas tree (regulator) on my CO2 bottle.

Space is also at a premium. Everything is as knock down as I can get. Example: mash tun is a beer gear storage device. Stored gear shares space in our laundry/utility room (which also has the furnace and HW tank).

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Last edited by bvn; 12-31-2012 at 09:52 AM. Reason: word choice
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:54 PM   #13
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Thank you all so much.

Due to my personal comfort and familiarity, I opted for and just placed an order for a 10-gallon Industrial Igloo ($51 with tax and shipping - never see it for less than $50 on CL in the SF Bay Area unfortunately). I have family members who work in shops and can likely build me a false bottom at no costs. I will also either rebuild my current one or build a new fly sparge - again because I am familiar with it and hit 80% efficiency with my system. This is going to be my first investment. Next I will invest in a 10 gallon pot and add a ball valve and let gravity do the work.

With regards to the smelly yeast starter . . . I think I was wrong. It just smelled bad, but taste was more like a cider sour, which I have read is not uncommon and not infected. The beer is fermenting and smells delightful.

I also have reused my pitched yeast (never more than 3 times to play it safe) and I like the benefits of saving $8 for liquid yeast and the fact that fermentation almost starts instantaneous. I love watching beer ferment and smelling it. That never gets old for me.

Again, thank you all as you are helping me with my long-term planning.

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Old 01-02-2013, 04:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concho View Post
Oh, switch over to a picnic cooler with manifold to get the bigger grain bill. You can get a bigger cooler for the buck and keep the rest of the equipment the same, unless you want to upgrade those.
I second this. I was able to buy a sixty quart picnic, and build the manifold for less than the cost of a ten gallon water cooler. I batch sparge right now, but my original design was a second manifold on the lid for fly sparging.

Also, I regularly hit 85% EFF with my set up.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyjsutton View Post
Thank you all so much.

Due to my personal comfort and familiarity, I opted for and just placed an order for a 10-gallon Industrial Igloo ($51 with tax and shipping - never see it for less than $50 on CL in the SF Bay Area unfortunately). I have family members who work in shops and can likely build me a false bottom at no costs. I will also either rebuild my current one or build a new fly sparge - again because I am familiar with it and hit 80% efficiency with my system. This is going to be my first investment. Next I will invest in a 10 gallon pot and add a ball valve and let gravity do the work.

With regards to the smelly yeast starter . . . I think I was wrong. It just smelled bad, but taste was more like a cider sour, which I have read is not uncommon and not infected. The beer is fermenting and smells delightful.

I also have reused my pitched yeast (never more than 3 times to play it safe) and I like the benefits of saving $8 for liquid yeast and the fact that fermentation almost starts instantaneous. I love watching beer ferment and smelling it. That never gets old for me.

Again, thank you all as you are helping me with my long-term planning.
You may want to go with a 60quart kettle. With a 7.5 gallon hlt and a 10 gallon mash tun you'd be able to brew a 10 gallon batch for only a few dollars more. I picked up a 3mm win ware aluminum 60 quart pot for only $55 from a restaurant supply house. Even if you don't do a 10 gallon batch it's nice having the extra head space when boiling down 9 gallons of wort (big Belgian golden) as you can let the hot break do its thing instead of babysitting the regulator.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:42 AM   #16
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Default try separating the mash tun from the lautering tun

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Originally Posted by jeremyjsutton View Post
Hi all. I am a 5-gallon all-grain home brewer who enjoys BIG beers. It seems as though I have outgrown my current home brewing configuration.

Here's the caveat before I proceed, I am also a public school teacher so I brew on a budget. I am a DIY, scavenger, and a thrift seeker, ie flea markets and hand-me-downs for parts.

My current equipment:

* 5-gallon Igloo Mash Tun with false bottom and swing-arm sparge
* high pressure propane stove
* 7.5 gallon stainless steel pot
* crap load of carboys and bottles

* I also have a new triple gravity sculpture my father-in-law welded and built for me, which I plan to begin using.

With my current set-up I have hit 80-85% efficiency from time-to-time. I have been very happy with myself in this regard and have become comfortable/confident with my set-up.

Here's where I am at.

*** What mash tun set-up do I go with? ***
My immediate thought is to jump to a 10-gallon Igloo (yes a bit more spendy than Home Depot's but more efficient at heat retention) and to re-use my plumbing from my current mash tun. I am a fan of fly sparging and the circular coolers are great for that, but I also worry about grain weight and drain off clogging.

*** Fly sparge life? ***
My fly sparge was bought in 1994 or so and does not consistently spin, but I have heard with smaller amounts of water, ie 5 gallons or so it will not always spin. Thoughts?

*** Stainless steel pot and gravity ***
I have a friend who welds and said he would weld a ball valve tap set-up to my 7.5 gallon pot. For the DIY approach, any recommendations on instructions?

Today my mash tun could not hold the 17.5 lbs of grain and water. Furthermore, the run-off from the cooler was a slow drip. It should have been much faster. The fly sparge arm moved intermittently. I feel quite discouraged and hope the magic of the homebrew Gods will save my imperial stout.

**** What I would love ****
Is for pictures of your budget set-up ands and recommendations on how to improve my current set=up.

Many thanks,

Jeremy
I have no problems with 5 gal brewing and 17+ lbs of grain. I do as another member recommended, and use a 36 qt picnic cooler (see my intro for description). No sparging here. I have a separate lautering tun with a much smaller footprint. Thus making the mash column 4 times higher (> 10"). No need for pumps, sprinkler heads, nor spinning things. We just ladle in the sparge water in, with no danger of disturbing the grain bed. We have done over 200 batches and have had yet to encounter a sparging problem.
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