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Old 01-30-2009, 06:41 PM   #1
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Default My Score and a few questions

So Im making the transition to AG brewing. I actually just bought ingrediets to make my first mini-mash. I wish I had waited so I can just do the all grain version of the recipe, but oh well the partial should help me prepare for AG transition.

So I found a deal on some equipment: I think I have everything I need for AG!

1. Stainless steel boil kettle (8 gallon). Do full 5-gallon boils! Stainless ball valve allows easy connection of brewers hose to move wort without lifting pot. Additional threaded coupler welded in for thermometer. This is a high quality kettle that will last a lifetime.

2. Converted cooler mash tun. (5 gallon). Mash tun includes a Fermentap thermometer for getting accurate reads of mash temperature, stainless ball valve and nipple for transfering mash to boil kettle, and stainless false bottom to keep grain bed above wort during transfer.

3. Converted cooler hot water tank. (5 gallon). HLT includes a Fermentap thermometer, stainless ball valve and nipple, and a sparge arm that will gently sprinkle hot water over your grain bed during sparging.



First question: are 5 gallon mash tuns big enough for most AG batches? Meaning am I really set up for AG?

I bought ingredients for a partial mash here is the recipe:

In one and half gallons water:
2lb pale malt
1lb medium crystal malt
8oz malted wheat

Sparge with two and half gallons water

4 1/4 lb pale LME

...hops (no question pertaining to this part)

So the question is this: Can I even use my new equipment with this recipe? seems like 3.5 lbs and a gallon and half of water is too small an amount to use with the MLT. Also, If I want to do a full boil which I can now do; Is there any changes I need to do to the recipe? Or do I just add an amount of water with my runnings (taking evap into consideration) to finish at 5 gallons?

Thanks for all the help guys!

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Old 01-30-2009, 07:09 PM   #2
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I just went to AG and I was using a 5 gallon Mash tun, but will be upgrading to a 10 gallon on my next batch. I'm hitting just over 70% eff. and I can pull off about 1.060 for my max starting gravity. If you want to make big beers you may have to upgrade at some point. My first beer was a Dubbel to which I added 1 pound of candi sugar. My OG was 1.064 but my equipment was maxed out. Maybe someone else can give you tips to increase your efficiency so you can make them a bit bigger.

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Old 01-30-2009, 07:19 PM   #3
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Thanks bbrim.

By the way I still have not purchased this equipment. Let me know if you think Im getting a bad deal. Im getting everything for under $250.

thanks again!

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Old 01-30-2009, 07:31 PM   #4
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doesn't say what you're paying for it, so hard to eval. if you searc HLT on ebay you'll see the one that I got that uses a manifold as opposed to a false bottom. I have done a 14lb grain bill in it successfully.

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by VTBrewer View Post
doesn't say what you're paying for it, so hard to eval. if you searc HLT on ebay you'll see the one that I got that uses a manifold as opposed to a false bottom. I have done a 14lb grain bill in it successfully.
Im paying $230 for the MLT, the HLT and the 8 gallon brew pot with ball valve
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:17 PM   #6
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See what haggle room you have available. Seems a bit high for two coolers and 8 gallon pot. If you have the DIY skills you could make the mash tuns yourself.

The big question is, will you be happy with it if you do purchase. Lots of folks mash in 5 gal coolers. Looks like a great way to start into AG.

I waited and watched craigslist for months and almost did a couple of buys. Then a 15 gal Polarware pot with spigot, false bottom, burner & stand and Schirron chiller showed up. Got them for $240.

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:38 PM   #7
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an 8 gallon pot with no couplers at the LHBS is like $95, the coolers alone are $65 before conversion. Conversion kits are what $20? plus the value of thelabor, false bottom and sparge arm. Also, I am not very handy and really dont have the time to mess around with converting coolers. The way I see it ....its not the best deal in world, but it is ideal for my situation.

Any other thoughts on the size? Five gallons big enough? I am only doing five gallon batches...

thanks!

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:40 PM   #8
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you are going to be doind a partial mash, so yes you can use all you new equipment. Like the false bottom, interested in knowing how accurate those thermo's will read during a mash

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:55 PM   #9
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I recently converted to all grain myself. I went with the 10 gallon coolers and had them delivered for about $40 each to my local ACE hardware. Free ship to store if you have one close. I thought the price was a little higher than if I had waited to summer, but wanted to get started. I have seen some members report they have bought the 10 gallon for $20- $30 each. With the conversions, I still came in under $65 each, which allowed more money for a bigger brewpot. Did a little DYI and online shopping and came out ahead.

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Old 01-31-2009, 12:16 AM   #10
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This is my first post but just thought I would chime in here...

I think you definetely have some haggle room here. The kettle looks like it is a nice piece of equipment but you can do better with the coolers. I was just browsing Home Depot and saw 10 gal. coolers for less than $40. I'm not sure what they wanted for the 5 gal. but $65 for one is way overpriced.

As far as not being handy, if you can hold an adjustable wrench you can convert a cooler. That being said, if you can get it for around $150-175 range that would be much better.

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