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Old 08-03-2009, 01:01 AM   #1
LordHedgie
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Default Minimum AG investment?

Hey ya'll,

I've been brewing extract (and one sorta partial, using 2 lbs of grain), but I'd like to step up to AG brewing. I'm looking to minimize the financial hit, or at least keep my wife from attacking me. Logging onto various brewing supply sites, I see AG setups costing between several hundred and over a thousand dollars, but it seems like most of the equipment is unnecessary.

It seems like I should be able to buy a burner ($75), a larger kettle (not sure what size is required, but should be about $100), and build a Zapap lauter tun for $30 or so.

With that equipment, I should be able to heat water in the kettle, mash in the kettle using a bag, then transfer to the Zapap. I could heat water in my current smaller kettle for sparging, then brew in the large kettle and ferment as usual. Total cost would be $200 plus whatever a propane tank costs... Am I missing something, or is AG brewing much cheaper than the LHBS implies? Is there anything else I want or need?



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Old 08-03-2009, 01:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHedgie View Post
Hey ya'll,

I've been brewing extract (and one sorta partial, using 2 lbs of grain), but I'd like to step up to AG brewing. I'm looking to minimize the financial hit, or at least keep my wife from attacking me. Logging onto various brewing supply sites, I see AG setups costing between several hundred and over a thousand dollars, but it seems like most of the equipment is unnecessary.

It seems like I should be able to buy a burner ($75), a larger kettle (not sure what size is required, but should be about $100), and build a Zapap lauter tun for $30 or so.

With that equipment, I should be able to heat water in the kettle, mash in the kettle using a bag, then transfer to the Zapap. I could heat water in my current smaller kettle for sparging, then brew in the large kettle and ferment as usual. Total cost would be $200 plus whatever a propane tank costs... Am I missing something, or is AG brewing much cheaper than the LHBS implies? Is there anything else I want or need?
Watch Amazon for Bayou Classic burners. I got mine for $30, there was free shipping on that item. It has the high pressure reg and really takes off! I bought a heavy gauge AL 15 gallon pot on Amazon as well. I think it was $70 shipped, although you could probably do better. Another option is a turkey fryer on sale. The pot capacity may lead to boilovers, however.


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Old 08-03-2009, 01:18 AM   #3
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I used a 7.5 gal Turkey Fryer for heating/boiling, and a cooler for a mush/lauter tun. It was cheap and it worked great for years.
I made my mash-lauter tun like this:

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Old 08-03-2009, 02:10 AM   #4
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+1 on the cooler and braid set up above over a zap pap lauter tun. You can brew all grain on the cheap if that is your gaol.

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Old 08-03-2009, 02:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHedgie View Post
It seems like I should be able to buy a burner ($75), a larger kettle (not sure what size is required, but should be about $100), and build a Zapap lauter tun for $30 or so.
Is there anything else I want or need?
As Pete08 said, $75.00 is excessive for a burner. Mine cost me < $40 fro Home depot.

I brewed 5g batches with a 7.5g kettle for many years. I had to be very careful about boil-overs, but now you can get anti-foam. An enamel coated preserving pan if you can find one should cast you way less than $100. (Mine cost me less than $20, but that was a few years ago.)
I started AG with something similar to the Zapap, and got reasonable results, but got much better results using a 5g Gott cooler. This could be because I was fly sparging, and lost a lot of heat over the duration of the sparge with the plastic bucket. This may not be such an issue with batch sparging.
One of the two things I think you are missing is a wort chiller. I know that there have been some threads about no chill brewing recently, but I haven't read any of them because I know they are wrong (and I am a bigot).
The other thing is a grain mill. Mine paid for itself the day I bought it (along with 6 months supply of grain), but YMMV.

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Old 08-03-2009, 02:46 AM   #6
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I would check the local Craigs List for a second-hand, but unused 30 qrts. turkey fryer:
classifieds - craigslist

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Old 08-03-2009, 03:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby_Brew View Post
I used a 7.5 gal Turkey Fryer for heating/boiling, and a cooler for a mush/lauter tun. It was cheap and it worked great for years.
I made my mash-lauter tun like this:
Quick question -- you haven't got any sort of false bottom. How does the system filter the mash? I see the toilet supply line, but isn't that just a flexible steel pipe? How does that work?
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Old 08-03-2009, 03:27 AM   #8
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Quick question -- you haven't got any sort of false bottom. How does the system filter the mash? I see the toilet supply line, but isn't that just a flexible steel pipe? How does that work?
You might want to read this thread. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/cheap-easy-10-gallon-rubbermaid-mlt-conversion-23008/

It helped me understand how to convert my cooler.
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Old 08-03-2009, 03:34 AM   #9
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Thanks, great link. I didn't catch that you've removed the hose from the braid to create a filter, got it now. Thanks!



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