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Old 07-18-2012, 08:29 AM   #11
mikescooling
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You gotta find a keg and install a 1/2"valve at the bottom. Now you can do brew in a bag!! You also need a burner to heat the sucker. From then on in life you will keep looking for stuff to add to make it better.

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Old 07-18-2012, 12:48 PM   #12
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I wish I would have come across a kit like that when I started brewing.....Go for it!

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Old 07-18-2012, 04:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkziemann View Post
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!
Going AG is well within your stated budget. Based on your posts (wanting to brew inside, willingness to invest sweat equity, DIY, interest in automation, pumps) you should read up on some of the electic keggles that have been built by members here (they use the heating elements out of hot water heaters, available from Lowe's\Home Depot, etc). Start watching Craig's list in your area for kegs...I just got three for $25ea (a week after I upgraded my brew kettle to 62 quarts ). I strongly recommend taking your time, just get the basic system up and running and figure out how\why things work before you advance to automation. You need to be able to heat water to mash, transfer the wort to a brewing vessel and bring that vessel to a boil, then cool your unfermented beer and transfer it to your fermentation vessel...that's it to start with. All the "stuff" we add to this is to make it easier, faster, or more consistent.

If I were starting from scratch (you've already got some stuff, carboys for fermentation vessels, etc) I'd find a keg for my brew kettle ($25~$50) and add a ball valve with screen\false bottom($30~$40). I would get a 62 quart Colman extreme cooler for $39 from Wal-mart for my primary mashtun and a 5 gallon round cooler from Lowe's\home depot for $20 for smaller batches or HLT for fly sparging (I have a 5 and a 10 and they trade rolls depending on what I'm brewing). there are plenty of walk through tutorials on how to convert the coolers to mash tuns\HLTs. I brew outside so I like the burners from Bayou Classic as my heat source ($50~$100)...since you want to brew indoors, again I'd investigate a hot water tank element electric setup. I posted earlier on how easy it is to make an immersion cooler(~$60) , which I highly recommend. Thats it.

Have fun,

Keyth
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies everybody! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you all. I've been doing more research and think I MAY have figured out what I'm going to buy. Here's what I'm thinking (with some questions of course). Also, I just received a 15 gallon keg with the top cut off already.

• Keg, converted into a keggle with this fitting http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...product_id=178, the ball valve and a false bottom.
http://www.nthomebrew.com/store/prod...auter-Tun.html
http://www.nthomebrew.com/store/prod...parge-Kit.html
Propane burner, immersion style wort chiller, more tubing, grain mill, refractometer, and that should be it. I've got carboys and some other odds and ends.

I can mash and sparge in the same container, correct? I've been told there's no need to buy 2 coolers when you can do everything in the one. Does this look like an okay place to start?

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Old 07-31-2012, 03:39 PM   #15
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You should definitely build your own mashtun... you can do it for really cheap. Check out this site: www.donosborn.com/homebrew/mashtun.htm

This is what I used to build my own and it has worked great.

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Old 07-31-2012, 04:29 PM   #16
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I'd second the build your own mash tun, but if you got the money to spare... the pre-fab ones are nice.

Only comment about not needing 2 coolers is where do you plan on putting your sparge water? I see a keggle which will collect the running from the Mash / Lauter Tun (yes you can sparge and mash in the same vessel) but where is that water coming from? Hence the need for 2 coolers (or another keggle you can put on a burner).

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Old 07-31-2012, 04:55 PM   #17
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I like that sparge gadget (I like all gadgets), but for the cost of that one 10 gallon pre-made mash tun, you could have a 62 quart and a 10 gallon round (for use as a HLT). If you're brewing in a keggle, you're going to try making a double batch at some point and the 10 gallon mash tun might not be big enough (while you'd be hard pressed to exceed the capacity of the 62 quart cooler on a double batch).

Keyth

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Old 07-31-2012, 06:33 PM   #18
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Ahh okay thanks for clearing up some misconceptions. So I could mash in the 62 quart cooler, transfer the wort to the keggle (and grains into the 10 gallon round cooler) and sparge in the 10 gallon cooler?

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:07 PM   #19
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Nope, you mash in the 62 (unless you were making a small beer, then I'd use the 10...less air space...better temp control). You heat up your sparge water in the keggle and put that in your second cooler (whichever one that is based on what you're brewing) then you sparge from that into your mashtun, while you drain it into the keggle (which is now empty because your sparge water is in the second cooler). Here's a couple pictures of my gravity system when lautering a small beer and another while lautering a larger beer...

http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/a...g/IMAG0121.jpg

http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/a...g/IMAG0082.jpg

and finally my high tec fly sparge setup...

http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/a...g/IMAG0125.jpg

HTH,

Keyth

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Old 07-31-2012, 11:14 PM   #20
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So much to mull over! I think I got it-- sorry for all the questions, but you guys are an AWESOME resource! Here's my last bit and I think I'll have narrowed down what I need (not completely, but I'm on the right path).

For sparging water, I don't need a huge cooler, correct? I'd only need something around 5g? In addition, it does NOT need to be fitted with any special valve accessories--it can be just a plain igloo/rubbermaid round cooler?

For my mash tun: I'm planning on doing mostly 5g batches, but higher gravity beers (I LOVE IPA's and higher ABV belgians). I may do the occasional 10g batch as well, and chances are I'd be shooting for a higher alcohol percentage as well. Mostly, though, it's going to be 5g batches. Would it make more sense for me to get the 62qt cooler, or the 10 gallon igloo? I feel like the 10 gallon may be more convenient but offer less flexibility?

And just to make sure I'm on the same page, I only need TWO coolers, correct? One for mashing/sparging, and one to hold the sparge water? As I understand it, I heat up water in the keggle to mash with. While the conversion is happening, I heat up more water in the keggle for the sparging water and transfer that. After I drain the wort from the mash tun into the keggle, I sparge with both coolers and that ultimately gets transferred into the keggle. Is that correct?

Thank you all very much!

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