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Old 04-12-2013, 01:53 PM   #1
radiodome21
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Default All grain equipment

Hello brewers. I currently have done extract and partial mash brewing and am considering jumping to AG simply because there are more recipes available and it sounds like it is cheaper. DME in Chicago is $5 a lb and liquid is not much cheaper when you factor in shipping. Local LHBS sells canned extract.

I can't really find what the consensus is about basic AG equipment. What do you need? Tanks.

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Old 04-12-2013, 02:34 PM   #2
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All-grain uses more water than extract brewing so you will need a larger AND an additional kettle.
Search BIAB (brew in a bag) on this sight or google, lots of info. OR
You could buy or make a mash tun with a cooler (5 gallon minimum imo).
A sturdy long spoon/mash paddle.
A 1/2 gallon pitcher for vorlauf (if you use a mash tun).
Definitely your own mill.
I may be missing something, so hopefully someone else will pick up my slack.

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Old 04-13-2013, 04:20 AM   #3
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I have a method I have not seen in any video or talked about on any forum. I have 2 size able pots (got one as a lobster steaming pot at the grocery store for 14 bucks!) I mash in one and then put a biab bag in the other and pour into the bag. Then my bag becomes my 'false bottom' of a mash tun and I strain the grains with that. While the grains are draining ( I've got a home made rig to help with that) I am heating sparge in pot 1. Or I might have already heated it in my pasta pot. I usually double batch sparge to really get all of it out. I combine each sparge with the first runnings and everything else is exactly the same as brewing extract.

I have not done the math but I feel like my system is pretty efficient. My first batch was a 2.5 gal kolsch with 5 lbs of German pils and less than 1lb of other grains. Came out to a 1.075 og. I had halved a recipe I found on the Internet and it was shooting for about 1.055. Big difference

The reason I do it this way was because I did biab one time. One time only. I constantly felt like I was going to drag the bag all the way into the pot with stirring. And temp control was really hard when you are trying to add a little heat but keep the bag off the bottom of the pot so it does not scorch

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Old 04-13-2013, 06:08 PM   #4
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I was doing extract up until about 3 months ago. I had your basic kit, 5 gallons, pot, pales, etc. I could have prob kept my 5 gallon to use as my HLT but I didn't want to drill holes and what not so I got 2 of the 9 gallon economy pots from Brew & Grow(http://www.brewandgrow.com/brew/econ...-fittings.html). I made my MLT from the DIY section here( http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...version-23008/). The pots were $90 each, the MLT costed about $65(everything is at Home Depot). I also purchased 2 ball valves and 1 probe thermometer, again got these from Brew & Grow for about $60. I don't have any pumps, I just use gravity to transfer from device to device. I did buy about 10 feet of the high temp tubing. Your means of heating might need to change, I had an electric stove which I couldn't use for full boils so I bought the banjo burner for $100. So in the end to switch over I prob spent $300-$400 but I've made 2 batches already and I'm glad I made the switch.

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Old 04-13-2013, 06:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiodome21 View Post
Hello brewers. I currently have done extract and partial mash brewing and am considering jumping to AG simply because there are more recipes available and it sounds like it is cheaper. DME in Chicago is $5 a lb and liquid is not much cheaper when you factor in shipping. Local LHBS sells canned extract.

I can't really find what the consensus is about basic AG equipment. What do you need? Tanks.
See www.dennybrew.com for the Cheap'n'Easy system. I've used it for 436 batches. The AHA has made a video based on my system that should be available soon.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:37 PM   #6
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I only have an 8 gallon pot with a ball valve, a converted 10 gallon round cooler for a mash tun, and a bucket. I just brewed my second AG batch last night with this equipment. So it can be done. Depends on your method.

I've seen the AG BIAB first hand through a friend, and it seems like a complete waste of time and efficiency. But that's just me...

Gary

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Old 04-13-2013, 08:49 PM   #7
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Just out of curiosity, what makes biab a waste of time and efficiency? I've DONE and read about systems that get just as good efficiancies as traditional MLT. And biab is usually reported to SAVE time. I'm about to build a single vessel recirculating biab system so i'm just curious as to what your thoughts and observstions are.

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Old 04-13-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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I am a believer in a used keg for a mashtun. Cut the top off, use the piece for a false bottom (drill a bunch of small holes and a stainless scrubber in the top hole). Drill for a 1/2" ball valve and add a copper tube for the dip tube. A second keg or a large kettle from a private party or resturant supply for a boil kettle.
In many cases you can buy a thousand bucks or more worth of stuff, like a complete brewing setup, for a few hundred dollars online or on a local ad service.
I have invested about $500 and have 3 kegs (mashtun, boil kettle, fermenter) 5 carboys, 2 outdoor cookers w tanks, 2 wort chillers, 2 large kettles, scale, hydrometers, thermometers, tubing, spoon, cleaning supplies, sanitizer and a tray, racking canes, carboy brushes, and misc. small parts. I use a plastic bottling bucket and a capper. I still need a mill.

I buy my 2 row malt from a commercial brewer by the sack, save my yeast, buy hops in quantity online (some people grow theirs). I get my specialty malts and hops from the beer store. My beers are costing about 30 cents a pint (never mind my labor, that is for love). I get at least 10-12 gal batches and I could do 2 batches in a day with two cookers and 5 carboys.
Drinking- Organic double chocolate stout, Founder's rye clone, and a pale ale. Bottle conditioning- Mirror Pond clone. In the fermenters- a variant of the rye; it is so good, I have to do another.

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Old 04-13-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mikeysab View Post
Just out of curiosity, what makes biab a waste of time and efficiency? I've DONE and read about systems that get just as good efficiancies as traditional MLT. And biab is usually reported to SAVE time. I'm about to build a single vessel recirculating biab system so i'm just curious as to what your thoughts and observstions are.
I just don't think its easier or a time saver once you move out of the kitchen.
people get great efficiency with it. 5-10 gallon BIAB setups seem to get just as complicated as a mashtun setup.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:47 PM   #10
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Everybody is going to have a different take on this. So here's mine!

I had a turkey fryer setup borrowed from my neighbor, and I've mostly replaced it with my own gear since I started a year and a half ago.

My brew process goes something like this: Measure my strike water and start heating it, mill the grain, combine in the cooler and start the mash, measure my sparge water, heat that and transfer to the HLT (or just heat it in a separate pot), drain the mash and batch sparge it, boil the wort, chill the wort, drain to the bucket, rehydrate my yeast, pitch it, wait 3 weeks, bottle it, wait 2 weeks, drink it. There are plenty of science-y steps along the way like checking gravity and temperature and cleaning the gear, but those aren't actually required to make beer.

My main equipment is this:

  • Propane burner and tank - can't do much without this!
  • 15 gallon aluminum pot - I got it at a kitchen supply store for $60 and added a ball valve from BargainFittings.com. It's fantastic.
  • 54 quart picnic cooler - I added a CPVC manifold instead of the toilet braid.
  • Copper coil immersion chiller - You could let your brew chill overnight with no help (I know a LHBS owner who does just that), but if you want to get it done quickly you need a chiller of some sort.
  • 8 gallon fermenting/bottling buckets.
  • Thermometer, hydrometer, big spoon, etc.

I also have a 5 gallon water cooler I use as a hot liquor tank, but recently I've just been using one of the turkey fryer pots I still have on hand so I can keep my brew kettle available for collecting wort. I make use of my neighbor's grain mill to double-crush the grains I get from the LHBS, but that's not necessarily required, I just feel like I get better efficiency, and it's there so I use it. And until I throw out my back lifting the mash tun, HLT, or full buckets up to my workbench, I don't have any need for pumps.

When I think of brewing essentials, I think big burner, brew kettle, cooler (mash tun), and a HLT so I can free up my brew kettle when it's time to collect the mash runnings. Boil it, chill it (or wait), drain it into the bucket, pitch the yeast and let it ferment. I also use an auto-siphon that I truly hate and am about to ditch, and I just started using a Johnson temp controller to keep my brew from getting too cold in the garage. Also, one of the best mods I've made to my brew setup is adding a hose bib to the incoming water line on my water heater. I connect an RV drinking water hose to that and I use it to collect my brew water and to run through my immersion chiller. It's as direct from the ground water as you can get, and it's got great flow! So much easier than lugging water from the kitchen sink or running hoses from the side of the house.

What'd I miss?
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