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Old 04-06-2011, 08:35 PM   #1
Armen_Tamzarian
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Default Making vs. Buying Equipment

About to make the jump to All Grain. The LHBS told me a 10 gallon mash/lauter tun (igloo Circular Cooler) with a false bottom would be around 180. The false bottom looked like one of the official ones, very well made.

Would it be cheaper to buy my own cooler and make my own CPVC manifold for a 10 gallon cooler?

For a max of a 10 gallon brewpot, what kind of burner do i need. I hear good things about the banjo burners but am wondering what specific type is best. Northern Brewer has a low profile burner, stand, and 30lb regulator for $78. My LHBS had a Banjo Burner with this stuff for about $140. I'm wondering if this is a better model or something, and also if the low profile one I'm mentioning would be good enough for what I'm trying to do. Once again thinking 10 gallon brew pot at the max.

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated and please help me make the jump!!! Thanks!

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Old 04-06-2011, 08:55 PM   #2
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Make your own. Definitely.

You can make a great MLT for about, oh, $50. Cooler:$20 (if you look around a bit. If you're going to batch sparge, a rectangular cooler is totally fine). Instead of a false bottom use a SS braid. Make a bulkhead ala FlyGuy. (Or any of the other methods floating around here. I used one thought up by Bobby M. and it works great.) That's it!!

Burner-wise, that Northern Brewer one looks like a good price. I wouldn't pay any more than that. But if you look around you might find a cheaper one. Also check craigslist.

Good luck!

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Old 04-06-2011, 08:56 PM   #3
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Cheaper? Definitely. Easier? Debatable. You can build a mash tun from a 10 gallon beverage cooler for about $75; even cheaper if you can get a good deal on the cooler (try craigslist, etc). There are tons and tons of posts about this, but here are a couple links I had on hand:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Converting_a_cooler_to_a_mash_tun
http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/2010/12/screwys-5-gallon-mash-tun.html

As for the burner, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Any of the Banjo burners will be fine. I use the generic burner that comes in the turkey fryer kit. Works perfectly. If you were going with a bigger brewpot, you might need to pay a little more attention, but for 10 gallons, most things will be okay.

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Old 04-06-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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I'll second the cheap turkey fryer. Picked mine up brand new off CL for 30 bucks when I first started out, the 7.5 gallon pot worked perfectly for my first few brews and now serves to heat up my strike and sparge water. The el cheapo burner currently has no issues boiling 13 gallons in the keggle I upgraded to.

As far as the mash tun, I found making mine was pretty easy converting a 70 quart cooler with some parts from home depot and a braid (total cost of about 50 bucks). I'd imagine making a manifold would be quite easy and cost effective too, I'll probably switch to that if my braid ever craps out on me.

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Old 04-07-2011, 02:59 AM   #5
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I got the sq 14 burner on Amazon for 50 bucks, which is a decent price.....free shipping. Also scored a 52 qt coleman xtreme from Sears for 20, built a copper manifold and splurged on a SS ball valve. Whole MLT cost me around 75. Craigslist has cheap coolers all the time. Within reason, I'd do it myself for any piece of brewery equipment. So far I DIY'ed my MLT, stir plate, and fermentation chamber. The fermentation chamber I plan on turning into a dual use ferm chamber/kegerator. There's enough threads about all this stuff on HBT, that you can't go wrong doing it yourself. Unless of course you get a deal that can't possibly be passed up.

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Old 04-07-2011, 04:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice! About to head to the hardware store and put together my MLT.

I'm wondering though, what are the pros vs. cons for using SS or Copper pieces. I've heard to avoid Brass for possible lead issues. I'm going to do the SS Braid Method but was wondering for the valve and other pieces if I should use SS or Copper.

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Old 04-07-2011, 05:59 PM   #7
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Before you head off the 3 or 4 hardware stores that you're about to go to get all the parts you need. Do yourself a favor and head over to bargain fittings and buy their cooler bulkhead kit. Save yourself the headache and gas money.

If you still want to go out, either SS or copper will work. The only thing you're going to want to do with the copper is soak it in star san to build up an oxide layer on it (should be a dull copper color). SS should be ready to go right out of the box, unless it has some sort of machine oil on it.

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Old 04-07-2011, 06:38 PM   #8
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+1 on bargain fittings.

Some of the parts you need for a manifold are hard to come by. Went to a bunch of stores before I found all stainless washers and all stainless hose clamps. Only saved a few bucks.

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Old 04-07-2011, 07:38 PM   #9
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Nice thanks for the heads up

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