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Old 01-30-2009, 07:48 PM   #1
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Default Considering All Grain, but is it realistic on a stovetop?

Hey guys,

I'm an extract/partial-mash brewer who is considering the jump to all-grain, but I'm not sure if it's realistic for me or not. I live in an apartment in Brooklyn without any outdoor space so the turkey fryer method is not a possibility. Given that the burner on my stove struggles to get partial mashes to a boil I'm not sure if I can get an all-grain up to a boil at all.

If I got a wide 7 1/2 gallon pot I could stretch it over two burners, do you think that would get a single all-grain batch up to boil?

Any informed advice is appreciated - thanks in advance.



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Old 01-30-2009, 07:53 PM   #2
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Check it out: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy-stovetop-all-grain-brewing-pics-90132/



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Old 01-30-2009, 08:06 PM   #3
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My stove can't really handle full boils too well. In a pinch I split into two 3.5-4 gallon pots and put each one across two burners. It works but not particularly well.

I'd give the stovetop method a try, if you can get a solid boil going then stick with it, if not you're only out the cost of a grain bag and not an MLT. For what it's worth, in my experience with a crap stove, if I can't brew outside I either don't brew or do an extract batch.

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:13 PM   #4
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Yep, you can do it. I've done around 27 AG batches in my kitchen. You just need a stove that can pump out enough juice to heat the volumes needed, or augment it with a heatstick in the boil.

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback Kilgore, the two pot thing is what I really want to avoid - I feel like I typically have enough on my hands monitoring one boil at a time without juggling two. I don't think my stove is crap, as stoves go it seems to be pretty solid - I just think it's just well short of turkey-burner's btu's.

flyangler I'd actually seen Deathbrewers thread on stove-top brewing before, but was really just looking more for real world experience with one pot - two burner experiences. If I do this I plan on following Papazian's joy of homebrewing zapap lauter-tun method since I'm already doing that for partial mash brews and am familiar with the procedure.

Anyone else have experience with two burner-one pot boils on a gas stove?

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:32 PM   #6
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Brewtopia has no issues brewing 5G all grain batches in his 400 sq ft condo using a split pot method. It can be done.

A decent gas stove running two burners will work wonders for bringing larger volumes to a boil. I heat my sparge water in the house all the time. Never tried a 7G boil on the house stove, but I have no doubts it would do it.

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispykid View Post
Hey guys,

I'm an extract/partial-mash brewer who is considering the jump to all-grain, but I'm not sure if it's realistic for me or not. I live in an apartment in Brooklyn without any outdoor space so the turkey fryer method is not a possibility. Given that the burner on my stove struggles to get partial mashes to a boil I'm not sure if I can get an all-grain up to a boil at all.

If I got a wide 7 1/2 gallon pot I could stretch it over two burners, do you think that would get a single all-grain batch up to boil?

Any informed advice is appreciated - thanks in advance.
If the pot fits completely over the two burners, it should work. It sticks out on mine and the surface area is about the same as my own big burner, so it doesn't really work.

It sounds like some 5 gallon coolers for mashing and sparging would really help you out if you can only use one pot at a time.
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:52 PM   #8
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I don't have any experience with brewing with a gas stove, I'm all electric. I can't comment on gas, but if your stove has 8" 2kW+ electric burners or a high-power canning element you can most likely do it. Some folks use insulation on their brewpot, some use heatsticks, and if you're lucky the stove itself is good enough.

Best answer - put a pot on the stove with 7 gallons of water in it and see if you can get that sucker to boil, or at least see where it maxes out. There's nothing like trial and error to see what your gear is capable of, and it'll give you a concrete answer. At some point you'll be losing heat as rapidly as the stove can supply it, you just need to find that point so it's a known value.

If your stove just can't do it, consider making a heatstick to help it out. Just go for a low-watt-density element (basically longer is better, as long as it'll fit in the pot and stay under the surface of the liquid), or you can get scorching - personal experience here with a high-density element and the WORST BREWDAY EVAR. If you've never made one before, it's not hard, just be careful. You're dealing with electricity and water, so that thing needs to be sealed up nice and good with epoxy and on a GFCI circuit so you don't electrocute yourself.

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Old 01-30-2009, 10:44 PM   #9
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Just to add to the discussion, remember it is not only the stove that determines your boiling capacity but the pot as well. For an electric stove you need to have a pot with a flat bottom made of highly conductive material to get a good boil. I am a big fan of aluminum pots (switching to one made all the difference in the world to me), but tri-clad SS pots are good too (just more expensive).

See my http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/improved-boiling-stovetop-53683/ thread for some more tips.

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Old 01-31-2009, 12:16 AM   #10
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I currently do All grain indoors on the stove. I have a 32qt stainless steel brewpot that is wide enough to straddle 2 burners and i have no problem bringing 7 gallons of wort up to a boil. It probably takes a little longer then on a propane burner, but its definitely doable.



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