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Old 03-17-2008, 01:46 PM   #1
Homercidal
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Default Going to AG, what am I missing?

I plan on going to AG this spring (or sooner), and so far I have:

A HD turkey fryer Aluminum Pot with burner
a 48 qt. Cooler for mash tun
a 5 G stainless pot left over from my extract days
several 5 gallon carboys
Working on building a grain crusher

I feel like I am missing something...

Also, should I do a batch sparge, or fly sparge? Which one is better or easier. Time saving is not a concern to me at this point.

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Old 03-17-2008, 02:03 PM   #2
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Some kind of false bottom or manifold (copper tubing or braided) and subsequent fittings & spigot for the cooler would be required. I also like having an extra kettle and burner, but it's not required. Batch sparging is easier and quicker and requires no extra equipment, and I get 80%+ efficiency with that method.

I'm guessing your aluminum pot from Home Depot is the 30 quart model that comes with the bayou classic turkey fryer set. This would be my greatest concern if I were in your shoes. 10 gallons is the minimum size I would go with for your kettle. I have a 15 gallon aluminum kettle that I got from Instawares for $70 shipped, and it's one of the greatest upgrades I've made to the brewery. You can do AG with the 30 qt kettle, but you either have to lower your sparge amounts to keep your boil volume low enough, which means lower efficiency, which means increasing your grain bill to reach the desired OG---or, you can split off some of your runnings into your 5g pot and boil that one down on the stove while your main boil is going. Just make sure to split up some of the hops as well, then combine them in the bigger kettle once they've boiled down enough.

The greatest thing about the 15 gallon kettle, though, is that once you reach your hot break and it calms down to a rolling boil, you don't have to pay attention to it. You can go about your business, cleaning up, getting ready for the fermenter, etc., and just come back to the kettle when your hop/adjunct additions need to be added. IIWY, I'd invest in a larger kettle now. I kick myself that I waited so long with the 8 gallon kettle.

Also, what are your plans for building a grain crusher?

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Old 03-17-2008, 02:05 PM   #3
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I assume the turkey fryer pot is large enough for full boils (~7.5 gal)?

You'll probably want a wort chiller of some kind.

Do you have a collection manifold or S/S braid hose for the cooler MLT?

I've never fly sparged and only done two AG batches, but my uderstanding is that batch is slightly easier while fly is more likely to get higher efficiency.

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Old 03-17-2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonpile
I assume the turkey fryer pot is large enough for full boils (~7.5 gal)?

You'll probably want a wort chiller of some kind.

Do you have a collection manifold or S/S braid hose for the cooler MLT?

I've never fly sparged and only done two AG batches, but my uderstanding is that batch is slightly easier while fly is more likely to get higher efficiency.
Oh, yeah---a wort chiller is a must!

I think crush has a bigger effect on efficiency that sparging techniques...and I'd venture to say that batch sparging is more than "slightly" easier than fly...you heat up water and dump it in, you don't have to worry as much about stuck sparges, it takes much less time, you don't have to purchase or construct a sparge arm, you don't need a special HLT if you don't want it...
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:30 PM   #5
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The equipment you have is going to set you up to batch sparge pretty well. If you want to fly sparge, you are going to need to add some additional gear, so just stick with batch sparging for now. There isn't much difference at the end of the day anyways.

If you are going to use that turkey fryer pot for your boils, I am guessing it is either 30 or 32 quarts. If so, you will be filling it almost to the brim to do your boils. Get some Fermcap/Foam Control drops -- otherwise you are going to wish you had a 10 gal pot like Evan! said above.

A wort chiller is a must. A copper immersion chiller is very simple to construct from 25' x 3/8" copper tubing and some high temp hose. Just google this site or others -- there are tons of examples out there.

If you are looking to put a valve and SS braid in your cooler, check out the link in my signature for one solution.

A critical piece of equipment that can't be overlooked is a good thermometer for heating water and monitoring your mash. You need something that is accurate to within a degree (two at most).

Best of luck!

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Old 03-17-2008, 04:27 PM   #6
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I'm in a similar spot, so I'll ask a follow-up to the thermometer question. I have three thermometers:

Small $8 analog probe with a reasonable range for boiling (i.e. not too big);
The long frying thermometer that came w/ my turkey fryer; and
A Craftsman multimeter with a temperature probe.

Are any of these good enough for mashing?

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Old 03-17-2008, 06:14 PM   #7
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Here's my $0.02, having just brewed my first batch on my new Frankenbrew system:

- I also bought the HD turkey fryer kit for my HLT. I thought the kettle was sort of a joke, being so thin and flimsy, but works fine for heating water. I even added a weldless ball valve that does not leak.

- Mine is a 3-tier gravity system. I've got the HD turkey fryer kit for my dedicated HLT, feeding into a 10-gallon Igloo cooler with a ss braid, in turn feeding into my second burner with an 8-gallon kettle.

- I like having two dedicated burners, so that I can begin boiling immediately after collecting the firs runnings. That step saves some time on the brew day.

The 8-gallon kettle is my tried-and-true extract gear. My boil-off is about a gallon per hour, so I can start with 6.5 gallons and have 5+ gallons for the fermenter. It's true that an 8-gallon kettle is about the bare minimum for a 5-gallon all-grain batch; I can easily have the 6.5 gallons at a rolling boil, but I really have to watch the hot break.

It's true that if I had it to do over again, I'd get a bigger kettle. But mine is a nice one, a stainless steel number from More Beer, so I'm not gonna make that upgrade for a while yet.

I'd say an immersion chiller is almost a necessity. There are ways to chill 5+ gallons of wort in a reasonable amount of time, but none of them are pretty. There's enough heavy lifting on brew day, I love being able to siphon from the brew kettle straight into a carboy without having to lug around a hot kettle.

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Old 03-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #8
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I guess I forgot to add that I have built an (untested) Couterflow chiller, and hope to try it out this Thursday evening (reminds me to clean it up and run a flow through it tonight).

I did realize that the kettle was going to be a bit small, and will have to adjust accordingly. (remind me to get a pray bottle to help knock down the bubbles).

Yes, I did also forget to add in the manifold, which brings me to my next question: Which style is the best? I am not intimidated by building either system, tube or braid. I intend to start with batch sparging. We'll see how it goes.

I had planned on purchasing a better thermometer than the candy thermometer I'm using now. I just realized, after reading InkPouchMan's post, that my fryer came with a thermomemter. Is it good enough? I was planning on buying a digital.

I'll post models of the crusher in a little bit.

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Old 03-18-2008, 01:34 PM   #9
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Per another active thread...you could use fermcap anti foam tabs in your boil to minimize boilovers in that small kettle until you find a bigger one.

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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:43 PM   #10
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I like the idea of splitting up the boil. I'm not sure about fermi caps. Doesn't that change th ewater chemistry a bit? I've not read up on them.

Here's an image of my grain crusher so far. And HERE is a link to a Solidworks eDrawings browser file. You can rotate, zoom, etc. with modern browsers (Internet Explorer is easiest, although they say you can use the better browsers if a bit of fiddling).



It's mostly a stolen idea. I find it easy to take a really good idea and modify it if need be. The second roller is mounted on an eccentric, which is locked in place by a set screw once the crush is determined. I hav enot settled on a hopper style yet. I have designed one, but I'm leaning toward a simple "rig" job to accomplish this.

The crusher is driven by a drill. I'm thinking about building a hand crank, and I have not decided on a mounting system yet either. That can be added later.

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