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Old 09-20-2011, 12:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mcmillb1 View Post
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?
Advice? First, if you're really reading Palmer's book and understanding what you need to do, then you're already way ahead of the game. Get into it. Just do it. When I went to AG, the first thing I thought was "man, this is easy, and tons more fun". It takes longer. But nothing worthwhile is quick.

Second, note in your head or your notepad what mistakes you think you're making. Being too anal about PH levels? Note it in your head and compare it to the final product in a couple months. Pay attention to what water additions you might want to make in the future.

Third -- on that subject -- get a water report from your city. If you're in a metro area with city-treated water, then they're subject to a FOIA request, which you should be able to make online. Trust me, you're not the first brewer who wants to know how much MG is in the water.

But most importantly -- JUST DO IT. AG brewing is SOOOOO much more rewarding than extract brewing. It gives you the freedom to really make your own beer.
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:19 AM   #12
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invest in a brew software like beersmith. Well worth the $20.
+1
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:32 AM   #13
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Get a thermapen. Nice to have confidence in your mash temps.

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Old 09-20-2011, 01:34 AM   #14
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Get your own grain mill when you can afford it.

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Old 09-20-2011, 09:53 PM   #15
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+1

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


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.
+1.

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Old 09-20-2011, 10:02 PM   #16
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This is a bit of an echo of what a several others have already told you, but you don't need lots of fancy equipment to move to all-grain. I have a blog entry that goes into great detail of how to setup and use a basic all-grain kit. It may really help if you're unsure about how to realistically proceed.

http://brewityourself-beer.blogspot....uction-to.html

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Old 09-20-2011, 10:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mcmillb1 View Post

...I've VERY analytical when it comes to multiple options, but I think I've decided on building my own...

Anyway, any advice for a all grain noob?
You were built for this hobby. Build your brewery step by step. Plan it out and do not purchase anything twice. You will have many hours of planning, and building if you are so inclined to make it yourself.

Myself? Like you I am a planner. I have an extra CO2 tank and a friend is giving me a mini fridge. When I piece together that two tap tower I will have a complete brewery from building starters to serving from bottles or kegs.

Of course, there are parts to that brewery that need to be upgraded mind you. Shhhhh, don't tell SWMBO
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:41 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the help, everyone, I really appreciate it!

I purchased the hardware & cooler for my Mash Tun today!

The only remaining to-do's are getting a new Brew Kettle (looking at stainless steel - some prices online are obscene, though!) and possibly a Wort Chiller.

Though, I'm thinking for my first batch that I'll use my sink as an ice water bath - we've used it before for chilling our partial mash brews - if that's horrible, I'll just make note of it and re-adjust the plan next time...

Now, which beer to chose for a first attempt....I'm feeling something like a Porter, however, with Christmas soon approaching, perhaps a Christmas Ale of some sort? Hmmmmm....

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Old 09-21-2011, 05:53 PM   #19
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The only remaining to-do's are getting a new Brew Kettle (looking at stainless steel - some prices online are obscene, though!) and possibly a Wort Chiller.
After a TON of research I went with the Penrose kettle by Brewhemoth. Approx 16 gal with a stainless ball valve shipped to my door for $190. I use a bazooka screen inside that bad boy.

Also purchased a stainless 50' IC off of Amazon, shipped for about 85.
http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Stee...627567&sr=8-35

Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:09 PM   #20
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I would definitely get a wort chiller. I prefer copper. it has a better heat transfer rate and cools quicker. If you haven't already, invest in some kind of fermentation chamber and temperature control device. All the equipment in the world won't help you make better beer if you can't keep your fermentation temps where you want them. Good luck!

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