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Old 07-15-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
dkziemann
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Default Making the switch, equipment question!

Hey everyone,

I apologize ahead of time for the abundance of these posts I'm sure you all get. I did use the search function, but there were SO many things to sift through that it all gets a little overwhelming

I'm taking the plunge, and I'm moving to AG from extract brewing. I've been brewing about 7 months, have 5 brews under my belt (one that was AG with a long-time home brewer) and want more flexibility and control in my brewing. I've got the space (brother's huge basement), a decent amount of money, and the time to do it. I have a basic starter kit, but my neighbor also has some brewing goodies too. I've got a couple carboys, a brew kettle I can borrow (although I'll have to invest in my own soon), I'll potentially a keggle. I'll need all the basics-- propane burner, all tubing, the mash tun, sparging equipment, etc.

I've been looking at kits like this: http://www.homebrewing.org/Beginning...-6_p_1709.html

Is that everything I'd need to get going? I'd be able to brew with other people that do AG, so in terms of making sure I actually use it all correctly, that's no problem. I just need the equipment itself.

I know it's a huge question to tackle, so any bits and pieces of advice would be VERY helpful and greatly appreciated. Cheers!

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Old 07-15-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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That will get you going for 5 gallon batches with up to 13 ish lbs of grain

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Old 07-15-2012, 04:16 PM   #3
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If you have already been doing extract then you should already have a lot of the things you need like racking canes, tubing, thermometers, hydrometers, buckets, etc. Really all you should need is a bigger kettle, say 15 gallon and a 10 gallon cooler to mash. For sparging you can batch sparge which is easier and quicker with really no discernible efficiency change (IMO).

The bigger kettle and bigger cooler will give you the ability to brew bigger beers with larger grain bills and even larger batches of beer. There are various propane burners out there depending on your price point. They all do the same thing but some operate more efficiently and quieter, hence, more expensive but they range from $50-150.00. As for the tubing and such you can usually find it at Home Depot or local hardware stores, it's really nothing fancy.

Your thermometer will be more important so be sure you get a good one and calibrate it as temperatures of the mash become very important. There are obviously a lot more things you can buy but none of them are really necessary, just toys...............cheers!

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Old 07-15-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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That is a great starter kit and will get you going just fine. The problems I see with it and maybe its not just in the pictures? None of the kettles have valves on them. You can of course move liquid without the valves, but is is move of a pain.

Also, I would echo the statement above that you will only be good for about 13lbs of grain in the mash. I am doing a 5 gallon batch of IRA today that has 17lbs of grain. Too small of a mash tun can limit your possibility if you want to do a really big beer.

I went the keggle route and am so happy with it. the Keg's 15.5 gallon size give the versatility to do just about anything you want

Other things you want to get:

Refractometer you can find them on ebay for like 20 bucks. Worth every Penny

Digital Cooking Thermometer. Amazon for 15 bucks These are great for mashing because you can set a temperature alarm. Need to heat your water to 163, just set the thing and walk away to do other jobs sanitising etc... it will beep when you are ready to go.

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Old 07-15-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Nothing wrong with that kit, but for the money you can do better, if you're willing to do a little shopping\scrounging. Start with the very basics; LP Burner (brewing outside, electric heat source if you're brewing indoors), brew kettle big enough to do full boil (36 quart minimum, 60+ quart even better if your heat source can handle it), and a cooler (or two) for HLT\Mashtun(s) and a wort chiller(copper tubing from Lowe's\Home Depot and some garden hose repair kits). There are plenty of do it yourself tutorials here to show you the way, with lots of lessons learn\jump to the head of the learning curve so you don't make too many mistakes. That and many trips for hardware bits and you'll end up with a better (more functional\greater capacity) system for the same money or perhaps even less.

Keyth

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Old 07-16-2012, 12:23 PM   #6
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IMHO, I would not buy the kit. How handy are you? A little or a lot? Do you have room to store a keggel? How much do you think you'll want to brew in a day? For joe brewer (most people) kits are the way to go. For real brewers, making the rig is half the fun and you save money making better stuff than you could buy. again IMHO

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Old 07-17-2012, 03:03 PM   #7
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My brother is very handy and could easily help me make all this stuff. With that said, what exactly what I need to piece together in order to make a rig that is fully functional? Are there tutorials available too? Thanks!

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Old 07-17-2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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Do you want the bare minimum to get into AG or do you want a expensive setup?

You could get 2 kettles, a 10 gallon cooler for a mashtun, a chair, and some high temp hose and be set. Or you could have pumps, herms coils, and electronics.

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Old 07-17-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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I wouldn't necessarily mind having some of the pumps and whatnot. I'll be brewing in his basement which is close to a number of water lines (next to the washer and dryer) and close to outside spigots, so at the very least I'd LOVE a Wort Chiller in addition to an aerator (and any other gadgets that would make brewing that much easier). Lets say my budget is around $400 bucks-- can I make a decent (non-mobile) AG brewing rig for that much money? I can make my own equipment too, so that's no issue. I definitely want the capacity to be able to do 10 gallon brews if need be, or HG 5 gallon brews. So I don't want bare bones, but I don't want to leave with bank account with dust! Thanks again for all the help HBT!

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Old 07-17-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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I went this route:

X2 (Mash & HLT) = http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...&storeId=10051

(Replacing the valve is very easy on the coolers)

X2 = http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...&product_id=85
X2 = http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...product_id=128
X2 = http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...&product_id=61

X1 (I batch sparge) = http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...&product_id=96

X1 = http://www.homebrewstuff.com/15-gall...ermometer.html

x1 = http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-.../dp/B0009JXYPU

That puts you about $450 (minus shipping) I have to lift the Mash Tun back & forth since I don't have a stand but it works and I get 70% effeciency consistently with this set up.

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