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Old 08-23-2012, 09:38 PM   #1
jonnyp1980
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Default Making the swich to AG. Need help.

Ok so I've been brewing extract with steeping grains for awhile now. Made my own recipes yadda yadda. I've made some pretty damn good beer. I've recently started getting a lot of requests from my area to purchase my brews which is a great compliment also getting the nod of a local brew master saying I made a damn good beer ( head swelling ). So I'd like to take the next step and make my beer from scratch also cutting my costs considering extract is a bit pricy. I've done a fair amount of research and have a few questions from people who have the experience.

Question 1. The mash ton. Is all Coleman or igloo coolers safe for high temp fluids?

Question 2. The filter, is copper tubing manifold better than say a washing machine hookup I've seen both and was just curious. Also I've heard only to use stainless steel, PVC, or copper for any attachment inside the mash ton?

Question 3. Initial mashing temps the water I first put in and leave with the grain should be a hot enough temp so that after mixing with the grain the ten should be around 150 ish for ales? Also the lower the temp the dryer the beer and higher for sweeter? Just making sure I understand.

That's it for right now. I plan on buying a 50 plus quart Coleman cooler this weekend and a bigger boil kettle. If anyone can recommend a good filter to spigot set up that would be much appreciated. Thank you all and to this site. ~Jonathon.

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Old 08-23-2012, 09:46 PM   #2
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Question 1. The mash ton. Is all Coleman or igloo coolers safe for high temp fluids?
myeah, just don't put boiling water in it over and over with nothing else in it...they can warp over time. I put 180-185* water in mine all the time and they're fine.

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Question 2. The filter, is copper tubing manifold better than say a washing machine hookup I've seen both and was just curious. Also I've heard only to use stainless steel, PVC, or copper for any attachment inside the mash ton?
there isn't a huge difference other than you'll need a well-placed manifold if you want to fly sparge. Us batch-spargers routinely get high efficiency though and many of us use a braid.

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Question 3. Initial mashing temps the water I first put in and leave with the grain should be a hot enough temp so that after mixing with the grain the ten should be around 150 ish for ales? Also the lower the temp the dryer the beer and higher for sweeter? Just making sure I understand.
Yes. You should invest in a $20 piece of software (BeerSmith or ProMash) and start getting used to it. It will be necessary for recipes and water temp calculations. Of course, I have a spreadsheet that I use for the entire process and it's served me well. Came from a brewer who got it from a brewer and so on...it's evolved.

Generally you will add water that's ~20d higher than your desired mash temp and then slowly add the crushed grain while stirring like crazy. Once the temperature of the grist reaches where you want to be (yes, lower is drier, higher is more body)...you close the lid and wait an hour.

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That's it for right now. I plan on buying a 50 plus quart Coleman cooler this weekend and a bigger boil kettle. If anyone can recommend a good filter to spigot set up that would be much appreciated. Thank you all and to this site. ~Jonathon.
Get fittings for the kettle from bargainfittings.com He has a weldless bulkhead kit that's great. I have 3 of them and the cooler bulkhead kit as well.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:09 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tre9er

myeah, just don't put boiling water in it over and over with nothing else in it...they can warp over time. I put 180-185* water in mine all the time and they're fine.

there isn't a huge difference other than you'll need a well-placed manifold if you want to fly sparge. Us batch-spargers routinely get high efficiency though and many of us use a braid.

Yes. You should invest in a $20 piece of software (BeerSmith or ProMash) and start getting used to it. It will be necessary for recipes and water temp calculations. Of course, I have a spreadsheet that I use for the entire process and it's served me well. Came from a brewer who got it from a brewer and so on...it's evolved.

Generally you will add water that's ~20d higher than your desired mash temp and then slowly add the crushed grain while stirring like crazy. Once the temperature of the grist reaches where you want to be (yes, lower is drier, higher is more body)...you close the lid and wait an hour.

Get fittings for the kettle from bargainfittings.com He has a weldless bulkhead kit that's great. I have 3 of them and the cooler bulkhead kit as well.
Beer Smith is def on the list of things needed I do have many questions about recipe, grains and water calculations but for now just sticking with the basics.

Good on the cooler then awesome. I think I might use a braid start off cheap. Do you have a T connection and loop it or does it lay straight on the bottom of the cooler?

Also I will look into the kettle you speak of and get a pricing. Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:19 AM   #4
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I have all stainless tee and barbs with reinforced vinyl tubing connecting the tee to bulk head so loop is more centered in cooler. I use a very large square cooler, a 70qt xtreme

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:54 AM   #5
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Johnny, i just went AG in the last two years and couldnt be happier with my setup. Granted, i did spend a little more money up front, but the quality and the overall ease of this equipment was worth it IMO. Also, it has the capacity and has allowed me to brew bigger and more complex beers along the way. Here it is: Start with a 10 gallon rubbermaid (orange) round cooler. You can get it at Home D for about 50 bucks. It holds the temps perfectly without fail. Next, get the SS false bottom (I got mine from NB; I think it was a 12 inch). Quick tip, when you fit the FB in the cooler, use a small diameter piece of tubing (split on the side) to go around the edge of the sharp/jagged edgeof the FB. It will fitperfectly and not scratch up the cooler. Second, buy the proprietary valve and nipple (again I got mine from NB) and a piece of hightemp safe tubing (to coonect nipple to FB). Ther you go, a bit more expensive, BUT I HAVE NEVER HAD ISSUES WITH EFFICIENCY OR STUCK SPARGES. My average effiency (batch sparge) is around 75%. Higher if you go decoction.
Also, i would geta 10 gallon pot and a 50 ft wort chiller. Ihave A 8 gallon pot that works, but i always have to be careful in the beginning of the boil as i am about 2 inches from a boil over. I guess my overall recommendation is to "buy it right" the first time, and it will continue to serve you well as you progress.

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:00 AM   #6
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I agree, buy bigger now so you don't have to buy again later

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:51 AM   #7
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I have a NB mash tun, 5 gal, and a 7.5 gal turkey fryer, 25 ft immersion chiller, 9in ss false bottom, For my connection between my false bottom and the mash tun barbed nipple I use about 1 or 2 inch long 3/4in tube I believe.

I just brewed my first AG batch the other day, and it was so much more enjoyable than extract w/ grains hands down.

I wish I started on AG, because I have more gear than I need because I bought for my setup instead of buying a little bigger to start. But it's all good! I can't wait to buy beer smith and star formulating my own recipes!

Prost, and brew on!

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Old 08-24-2012, 06:14 AM   #8
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Its spelled "Mash Tun", and it rhymes with fun.

Jk, anyways I started off with a Rubbermaid 10 gallon cooler using a stainless braid. It was pretty simple, and cost effective. Also yes, higher mash temps equals sweeter yet less fermentable wort, while low mash temps indicate dryer, more fermentable wort.

If I were you, I'd start off by reading bobby's AG primer here:
http://www.suebob.com/brew/Bobby_Mallgrainprimer.pdf

Goodluck, cheers!

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“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jonnyp1980 View Post
Question 1. The mash ton. Is all Coleman or igloo coolers safe for high temp fluids?

.
officially no.
but there are so many in service, for so long, with no issues, ignore it and use a cooler.

question 2:
batch spargers, love braids
fly spargers love false bottoms
manifold users love manifolds
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:09 AM   #10
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Just to give you more to consider, read up a bit on BIAB. Less equipment, less likely to have trouble with filtering, same results.

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