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Old 11-17-2010, 01:57 PM   #1
EricFarewell
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Default Advice For A Unique Situation (large batch and all grain transition)

Heya Homebrewers...

I've been brewing for a few years, principally using partial mash recipes and building my
own little list of favorites. As my brewing style has matured, I've begun the quest to switch to all grain.

As I've started to shop around for all grain equipment however, I've also decided that it
simply won't be worth it to me to make small batches any more... So I'll be going to 50
gallons minimum as things commence (I have access to large steam kettles etc).

What I'd love from you guys is a cheat sheet per se... A list of all the things you see that I
could / should need to set up my "giant brew" project.

I TRULY appreciate the help!

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Old 11-17-2010, 02:10 PM   #2
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any reason why small batches arent worth it and why you want to make 50 gallons???? you are getting out of homebrew status at that point..........

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Old 11-17-2010, 02:21 PM   #3
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50 gallon batches are outside the reasonable realm of hobby home brewing. I know local brewpubs that don't brew at that scale. At that scale there are a ton more factors. CIP/SIP becomes critical ect..

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Old 11-17-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostboysbrew View Post
any reason why small batches arent worth it and why you want to make 50 gallons???? you are getting out of homebrew status at that point..........
It's just a question of timeline for me... I'm only able to brew once ever couple of months and to spend 6-10 hours on a batch of 5 gallons is a pain... Especially as I have an 500 gallon steam jacketed self mixing system waiting to be converted to beer use

I understand that it's a large batch and that a lot of things will come into play, was just hoping to get some constructive help and direction from those of you who know vastly more than I do.
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #5
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I'd say go for it. But... I think you should get your feet wet with a few 5 gallon AG batches before you make the jump up to 50 gallons. Having some real experience will help you work out the logistics for the bigger setup. Besides, screwing up 5 gallons is no big deal. Screwing up 50 gallons is not so cool.

This is gonna be expensive. You need a brew kettle, a MLT and a HLT. You will also need some giant fermenters. You should probably tackle the fermenter problem first as that will probably the most difficult and expensive part. You'd need either glycol or a walk in fridge to temp control a 50 gallon fermenter. You will need a good pump. Moving 50 gallons of liquid is not easy.

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:01 PM   #6
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I think the fermentor and chilling it is the biggest challenge as typical homebrewing methods will not suffice.

As to the batch size, thats 1.7ish barrels, does anyone actually know multiple brewpubs with a smaller system? 3 barrels is pretty tiny for a brewpub, most are 5-10.

I think if you only want to make a couple kinds of beer, this kinda of batch size makes some sense.

The little giant pump people are buying should be more than sufficient for 50 gallons as plenty of people us the march with half the flow rate for 10-15 gallon batches and never have the output all the way open.

I think that size batch is still in the range that a counterflow or homebrew plate chiller is fine too. Basically the fermentor is the only area where its not going to be just like homebrewing but bigger.

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:19 PM   #7
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A 50 gal batch will need a lot of yeast but if you're using dry it's not that big of a deal (just use more packets).

How will you carbonate/serve it? Bottling 50 gal at a time just seems like ginormous PITA.

EDIT: and a giant mash paddle.

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Old 11-17-2010, 09:51 PM   #8
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Sure, 50gal may be smaller than a brewpub system, but they also SELL their beer. Your hobby fund must be doing pretty well if you can drop a few hundred bucks at a time on a batch. I barely made 50 gallons of beer in 2009, and even giving away a fair amount and doing my best to drink it I still have some bottles left over. Have you thought about how you are going to consume that much beer in a few months?

Not peeing in your parade, I say go for it. I just hate to think of delicious homebrew going to waste...

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Old 11-18-2010, 01:36 AM   #9
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PM to 50 gal batches

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Old 11-18-2010, 01:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post
I think the fermentor and chilling it is the biggest challenge as typical homebrewing methods will not suffice.
I agree- if you have a huge fermentation room (temperature controlled) it's not an issue. But I dont' even have a 14 gallon conical because I dont' have a room to keep it at 66 degrees. Bigger fermenters would require glycol jackets if not in a walk-in cooler. To me, that would be the biggest challenge.

I suppose a CFC could chill a 50 gallon batch, as it chills a 12 gallon batch. There would be a lot more water usage, but it could work.
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