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Old 10-31-2010, 06:49 PM   #1
tronnyjenkins
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Default All-Grain Startup Tips Please...

I have been researching a bit, and after I tried a stove-top all grain method with a grain bag, I have been considering trying to up-the-ante* and get some better conversion numbers.

How does this sound to start:

48 qt cooler mash tun (as instructed by Denny Conn, and Don Osborn)
http://www.donosborn.com/homebrew/mashtun.htm

Academy turkey burner for $19 like the one below, but shows $19 in store so I will argue the price. I can find a propane bottle somewhere for cheap.
http://www.academy.com/index.php?pag...267-02367-2518

I do need to locate or assemble an immersion wort chiller.

From there, I just want to use my trusty ol' 5 gallon stainless brew kettle and my 5 gallon plastic fermenter for primary. I plan to follow Don's guide here for tips that I might not already know.
http://www.donosborn.com/homebrew/all_grain_how_to.htm

Anyone have any opinions here?

I would also love some feedback to my recipe thread posted below:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/feed...0-10-a-203428/

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:14 PM   #2
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You'll need a bigger stainless pot than 5 gallons. 7 is a minimum. Most turkey fryers come with an aluminum pot that will work fine. But...make sure you watch your boils so it doesn't boil over.

Also...it's "up the ante".

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:16 PM   #3
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For the brew kettle, if you plan on doing full 5 gallon batches you'll want to step up the volume a little bit. Plan on a 32qt kettle at minimum because your preboil volume should be anywhere from 6 gallons upwards. If you plan on doing 3.5 gallon batches you'll be alright.

The tun looks good....I'm sure the vinyl tubing will work fine but I'm using a brass ball valve and some barbed connectors that are nice and sturdy...I'd probably splurge with an extra $15 or so to step up to that. The vinyl tubing will become much more malleable with the high heat of the mash, so while I'm sure the design as is *works*, I'd feel safer stepping up the durability.

like this one:
http://lancasterhomebrew.com/how-to-...ashlauter-tun/

you're on the right track though

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:23 PM   #4
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Do NOT get a burner less than 50k BTU, I don't care how cheap it is. Plus check the weight capacity.
If your fermentor is really only 5 gallons you might run into some trouble with blow off, so get a tube not an airlock.

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:32 PM   #5
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Touche on "ante", whoops.

Good call on the extra brew kettle space. Right now I am mostly doing 2.5 gallon batches, but I will be buying a larger kettle when I move out of this apartment and have more room for all this stuff. I plan to start doing 5 gal batches at the same time I move to kegging.

I'll check into the brass fittings and valve. Would you still be using vinyl to go from the valve?
The version he made on that link looks nice.

And thank you for the tip on the 50k BTU, I wouldn't have thought of that!

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:40 PM   #6
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How high are you trying to get your overall brewhouse efficiency to when doing the BIAB Stovetop variants? I can consistently get ~75% with the "stock" instructions.

Are you not even achieving 70-75%? Or are you trying to push it up to the 80%+ range?

The reason I ask that is becuase changing equipment will likely result in taking a few brews to learn and tweak your new system. If you already have all the gear for the stovetop, why not tweak that system? Same end result, except with new gear you had to spend more $.

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:44 PM   #7
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Well, maybe I will try a couple more brews with the stove top method. Honestly I have only done one, but it came out kind of weak. That was a while back and I miscalculated the efficiency, but it couldn't have been very high. I thought maybe the method was just not all it was hyped-up to be. For mine I tried the most straight forward method possible, that is "no sparge"... when you are getting 75% are you doing a sparge?

I might see if adding one steps up my efficiency.

Also, my biggest gripe with that method was that the fine mesh bag seems to quickly develop a flow-stopping film of sticky grain residue. Any similar problems?

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Old 10-31-2010, 11:13 PM   #8
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I'm batch sparging. I do Deathbrewer's Stovetop All Grain Method. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy...ng-pics-90132/

I haven't had any issues with a flow stopping film of grain reside.

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Old 10-31-2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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OK. I am going to try a batch sparge then with my next brew and see if that improves it.
I wonder if the LHBS is crushing my grain too much? Would that cause my layer of flow-stopping grain powder?

I still plan to get this mash tun and turkey fryer setup going when I move out of my apartment though, so I am grateful for the suggestions so far. Any others, feel free to add!

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Old 11-01-2010, 12:09 AM   #10
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get a decent software beersmith or alike. when planning your first brew, make sure to lower planned efficiency to some 65% - allowing for some mistakes/errors - if you en up on the high end, you will have "more beer" - easy to adjust hop additions on the fly.

carve some markings on your stirring spoon accordingly to your boil kettle volume - this way it will make easy to get your sparge water/etc volume filled up easy and will give you bit more control over the volume of the water.

when mashing and sparging and preparing water for this, make extra water - comes in handy if you for some reason cant get temp/etc.

have a homebrew while you are at it and enjoy. its really fun.

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