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Old 09-19-2011, 06:40 PM   #1
mcmillb1
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Default Moving to All Grain!

I've made three partial mash batches of beer so far this year, and I want to move to all grain.

I've VERY analytical when it comes to multiple options, but I think I've decided on building my own cooler system for the mash, but was unsure about the hot liquor tank. Half of me wants to build everything I need right away, while the other half wants to just build out the mash tun and "cheat" on the hot liquor tank and just use an additional kettle for the sparging water and improvising that process (perhaps with a simple colander to distribute the water for my first batch?).

I'm also getting TONS of information from John Palmer's "How to Brew" - there's so much "little" detail to many things, but, I kind of just want to jump in and give it a shot, make notes, and see how it goes. The overall process doesn't seem overly difficult, however, the devil is in the details, right?

Anyway, any advice for a all grain noob?

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Old 09-19-2011, 08:00 PM   #2
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stop thinking about it and start doin' it!! If you've done a PM... all grain is really pretty similar imho.

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Old 09-19-2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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i finalized my setup few weeks ago, got 10gal of beer in one batch last weekend, worked like a charm, building it took me a while but actual hands on time was several hours, finding cheap stuff on CL took much longer.
Brewing all grain is more fun and give you enormous flexibility, i did extract for years, real brewing is AG, now i see it that extract vs AG is like microwave meal vs real cooking with quality ingredients and spices

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Old 09-19-2011, 08:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mcmillb1 View Post
Half of me wants to build everything I need right away, while the other half wants to just build out the mash tun and "cheat" on the hot liquor tank and just use an additional kettle for the sparging water and improvising that process (perhaps with a simple colander to distribute the water for my first batch?).
You're overthinking it. Batch sparge -- it's way faster, anyway. You don't need a dedicated HLT as long as you have something to put the sweet wort in while using your kettle to heat water. I used my bottling bucket in this photo:
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 944play View Post
You're overthinking it. Batch sparge -- it's way faster, anyway. You don't need a dedicated HLT as long as you have something to put the sweet wort in while using your kettle to heat water. I used my bottling bucket in this photo:
+1

It's not "cheating" it's just another perfectly acceptable way of doing things.

My ghetto brew-rig, featuring the 15 dollar harbor freight folding workbench and milk crate.

Been doing it this way for 5 years.



I just mash out into a bucket to get my pre-boil volume, then transfer it to my kettle after I've collected all my runnings.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:58 PM   #6
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Nothing to it, but to do it.

10gallon_setup-.jpg

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Old 09-19-2011, 09:03 PM   #7
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Nothing to it, but to do it.

Attachment 33930
I have the same KAB4 burner, I cut off some of the metal stand so that the keggle sits closer to the flame. It uses a lot less fuel.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:14 PM   #8
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+1 for batch sparging and not using a HLT. Don't get me wrong, I love equipment but what I love even more is simplicity. I hate cleaning as it is and don't want more more thing to clean. I have a second smaller pot to hit the sparge water in and it is great because I can make sure it is at just the right temp when I am ready. I heat it up to about 5 degrees below my target, turn the heat way down to hold it there and then kick it up again right before I need it to hit my temp right on.

One thing I would recommend is getting the 10 gallon cooler. It is great to do large gravity brews or smaller 10 gallon batches in the future if you want. Oh, and preheat your tun to prevent cracking. I usually start with a pot of 130 degree water and then add another of 160 degree in a few minutes. I may be overdoing it but I don't want to shock the tun and crack it.

Once you go all grain you never go back.

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Old 09-19-2011, 11:55 PM   #9
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LOVE this board already! Just do it, baby!

I'm totally ready to take the plunge, thanks for the "push" out of the nest!

The only other quick thing I wonder is all the "extra" stuff I'm seeing about pH calculations, efficiency calculations, etc...

I know a ton of that stuff isn't necessary right out of the gate, just curious about what I should really really do, though, on the first go around, and then continue to improve in the future...

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Old 09-19-2011, 11:59 PM   #10
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invest in a brew software like BeerSmith. Well worth the $20.

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