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Old 10-15-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
Anubis
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Default Help me graduate to AG.

I am taking the plung after reading as much as I can about the process. I am starting small with 1/2 batches until I get my keggle and burner so what I have so far is:

5 gal brew pot
2 gal pot for HLT
5 gall Igloo cooler (buying today)
All items I need to convert to MLT
Sparge Jug 1/2 gal
Mash paddle

And I have all the equip to brew extract and ferment.

Am I missing anything?

Would it be better to use a bag in the mlt or a single SS braid?

Should I just shell out for PH5 for no worry mashing?

Good reecipe to start with?

For the most part I know what I am doing but want to make sure I don't overlook anything.

Thanks for any help or pointers!

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Old 10-15-2010, 10:59 PM   #2
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I have a 7 gallon igloo cooler and sometimes wish it was bigger so I would reccomend getting a larger cooler if you ever plan to graduate from half batches...If not that cooler will work great!

I would either use a braid or a manifold for your mash tun. If you plan to batch sparge the braid will work great, but if you plan to fly sparge I would look into building a manifold!

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Old 10-15-2010, 11:19 PM   #3
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I would recommend trying it out with just the things you already have. Just pull off one little mash to get your feet wet... it doesn't even have to come out good.
The only thing you may need is something to sparge in, but this could be a pasta strainer if you size the batch right.
I would suggest a 1 to 3 gal batch. Once you pull this off, you'll never want to spend that much time to make so little beer, but you'll know more about how to do things, and how you would like to do things. This is how I started (and I haven't improved much... but I now have big plans).
Oh, a tip for mashing; pre-heat your oven to a low temp (close to your mash hold temp, but + or - 20 degrees will work fine). Heat the mash on the stove top slowly, while heavily stirring, once you hit your temp; put a lid on and put it in the oven. Pull it every 20 min or so to mix it up and check the temp. This isn't the best way to mash, and may take some time for full conversion, but it works, and will only cost you for a few lbs of grain.

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Old 10-15-2010, 11:44 PM   #4
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My plan is that eventually I'll step up to a 10 gal MLT and use the 5 gal for a HLT. This way I can get a feel for it with the 5 and still get use out of it after the upgrade.

Good idea, Bad idea?

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Old 10-16-2010, 07:24 AM   #5
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I'd recommend checking out Deathbrewer or DRoyLenz's Stovetop AG methods. It's what I tried when going extract to AG. I already had all the equipment, so there was no initial investment to start doing 1/2 batch AG brews. The threads even have a recipe in it so you know what to try and what the #s should come out to be. It's a good spring board into the world of AG.

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:23 PM   #6
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I've done only one 10 gal. batch. I've got a 15.5 keggle BK, 10 gal. Rubbermaid Bev cooler and a 30 qt HLT. I found that between the Cooler,the HLT and the grain bill (26.5 lbs) I barely had enough room for water. My MLT was topped right off, ditto my HLT and I drained it all drip dry. I figure that I'll need more HLT capacity unless I switch to batch sparge and heat Sparge water twice. I guess that would be normal.

My point is that 5 gal. may be on the small side for an HLT.

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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Wait, don't put your igloo in the oven.

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:34 PM   #8
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For your MLT, I'd recommend a stainless braid and batch sparging. It's simpler to construct and if you stir and vorlauf you'll get great efficiency.

The manifold is great but if it's not designed properly you'll get channeling and your extraction will suffer.

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Old 10-16-2010, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubis View Post
My plan is that eventually I'll step up to a 10 gal MLT and use the 5 gal for a HLT. This way I can get a feel for it with the 5 and still get use out of it after the upgrade.

Good idea, Bad idea?
I'd suggest getting the 10 gallon cooler to start with. When you're ready to upgrade that 5 gallon cooler later on, you'll find that you also will want a HLT bigger than 5 gallons.

Building AG gear is fun, and you should go into it with an open mind to try different methods. Get a setup to get you started, then when you have time and $$ experiment with other methods/tools. I've used stainless braid, copper manifolds, batch sparge, fly sparge....I landed on copper manifold and fly sparge because I personally like it and it gives me great results. You should try it all at some point and figure out what works for you.
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:38 PM   #10
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Id go bigger on the MLT. That's one of those purchases you`ll beat yourself up over when you want to do a bigger batch. I had a 5 gallon, then figured with all the work I'm doing I may as well make bigger batches, and the 5 gallon couldn't cut it. So I went with a 52 qt coleman extreme. Now I'm able to do 15 gallons or more...but I also went bigger with a 60 qt BK.

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