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Old 04-18-2013, 02:37 PM   #1
fayderek14
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Default Going all grain.

So the guys that I brew with as well as myself have decided to go all grain by October. We have been brewing some pretty decent extract brews so far but feel that all grain will give us more control over our recipes.

Basically what I want to know is what type of equipment we will need to make the switch and the most affordable way to do so. Also any othet information at all would be great.

Thanks!

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Old 04-18-2013, 02:54 PM   #2
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I think probably the most common practice is to go to batch sparging in a converted cooler. That's what I did. There are tons of guides here and elsewhere. Here's a pretty good summary of what you need to buy, with links to online sources for the pieces of equipment you'll need: http://www.homebrewfinds.com/2012/05...all-grain.html (I'm not sure about the 9" false bottom. I got the largest one that would fit in my Igloo cooler, which I think was 12")

I found the best prices for my bulkhead conversion hardware here: http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...&product_id=85

You will probably need two boil pots so you can drain the first runnings into your brew pot while you are heating the sparge water in a second pot. It can be done with one pot, but it takes a bit of dancing around. The second pot you use to heat water can be a cheapo aluminum pot, somewhat smaller, because you're only using it to heat water.

There's a ton of info here and elsewhere - just dig around a bit.

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:07 PM   #3
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Why wait for October? April is a fine month to do all grain.

Look for posts on BIAB as it is the most economical way to go all grain. When I switched I had a 5 gallon boil pot. To that I added a pair of paint strainer bags (under $4 and they come two in a package) and since my LHBS doesn't have a crusher, I bought a cheap "Corona style" mill (under $30 shipped to my door) and I was able to do a 2 1/2 gallon batch. Add a bigger pot and you can do 5 gallon batches. I bought a turkey fryer (about $60) and with some care and a little modifying the process I do 5 gallon batches in that.

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
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We are waiting so we can get the money for the equipment and get a few more brews under our belt. We also want to have a good understanding of the all grain process before we start.

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:39 PM   #5
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Can you spare the $4 now for the paint strainer bags? Have you read "How to Brew". All grain by way of BIAB isn't very difficult nor is it very expensive if you don't have to buy a mill. If you have been doing extract kits that contain steeping grains you have been doing almost all you would need to learn. Your major challenge is being able to bring a specific quantity of water to 160 degrees. Not 158 or 165, 160 (that exact number may be slightly different depending on the quantity of water and the quantity and temperature of your grains). If you can heat the water to the precise temperature, it will make beer.

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:47 PM   #6
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I could buy the bags now thats no issue. But what about the mash tun or the lauter tun. Those are pretty pricey.

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fayderek14 View Post
I could buy the bags now thats no issue. But what about the mash tun or the lauter tun. Those are pretty pricey.
You haven't read about BIAB. There is no mash tun nor lauter tun, its all done in the boil pot. I bring water to the "strike temperature", stir in the grains and put the lid on the pot. When the mash is done, I lift the bag of grains, let it drain for a few seconds, slip a bowl under it with a colander inside the bowl and move it to the counter where I can let it continue to drain. Then I start heating the wort collected and while that is coming to a boil I dump the wort collected in the bowl into the boil pot, usually dumping several times as the bag drains/gets squeezed out. Yes you can squeeze the bag of grains to get more wort out.

When I have all the wort squeezed out that I can, I check the level in the pot. If I don't have enough wort to get the volume I want at the end of the boil, I pour a little water into the bag of grains and squeeze it out again, collecting more of the sugars. That can be repeated if you still don't have enough wort. From this point on it's like doing extract because you have extracted the wort from the grains.
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:00 PM   #8
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I started with a 5 gallon boil pot because I already had one and did a 2 1/2 gallon batch. That makes a case of bottles. After I was sure enough about the process I moved to doing some 5 gallon batches but I still like doing the little batches too. If something goes wrong and I totally mess up the process, I haven't lost much. It also lets me brew more often and make many different beers. At this point I have 17 different beers on hand in bottles. I like the choices of what I would like to drink each day.

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Old 04-18-2013, 05:46 PM   #9
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I'm not knocking BIAB by any stretch, but if you have the capacity to brew outdoors with slightly larger equipment and you decide to go that route instead, I'd advise a 10 gallon boil kettle minumum. There are several 11-12 gallon options out there that are IMO the ideal size for 5 or 5.5 gallon batches. I like to add a temp gauge and a ball valve. You can do it yourself to save money, just need a step bit (aka unibit).

Also need a burner (turkey fryer sytle, nothing fancy needed) and you'll want a wort chiller. If you're looking at staying on a smaller budget, go with an immersion chiller...the bigger the tubing, the better.

And then for the mash tun, you can go with a converted cooler on the cheap and they work great. All sorts of how to build a cooler mash tun threads here and elsewhere if you have questions.

Optional but great to have: grain mill.

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Old 04-18-2013, 07:58 PM   #10
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You need a good mash paddle

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