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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Norther Brewer All Grain Kit
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:14 AM   #1
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Default Norther Brewer All Grain Kit

Has anyone here tried this kit from Northern Brewer:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/pics/f...deluxe-ags.jpg

It's a bit expensive-- $159.95-- but it looks like it would work well. Apparently it comes assembled.

Basically, I don't like building things. Actually, I take that back. I don't mind putting things together. I just don't want to have to go around and try to find a whole bunch of different parts in order to build my setup.

If I could buy everything in that setup, or something like it, in a kit with all the parts supplied, I'm sure I would be fine.

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Old 01-23-2007, 04:25 AM   #2
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It looks nice, but it all depends on what you're comfortable spending on this hobby. Remember, you still need a big pot or converted keg, plus a burner. $100 at least for a pot if you want stainless, or you can save some money by getting an aluminum pot with a turkey fryer. You also need a wort chiller, and some kind of O2 or other aeration system is a nice addition.

So, if you're going to buy all that stuff, and you're comfortable doing so - bully for you, you'll be making great beer in no time. But really, like I tried to convince Lorena, making a cooler into a mash tun is about as easy a project as you'll ever find. $30 for a cooler, about the same for a weldless coupler with the hose barb and everything else you need, plus a couple bucks for a stainless steel braid. You're batch sparging for $70, less if you buy some of the parts individually at Depot.

Some of it, too, comes down to a question of if you want to fly sparge (in which case you need the second cooler and the sparge arm), or if you want to try batch sparging to start. If you're set on fly sparging, ignore everything I say, because I'm biased by the ease and cheapness of batch sparging.

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Old 01-23-2007, 04:43 AM   #3
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I've already got the turkey fryer and aluminum pot that came with it. When the weather is nice I use it for doing full boil extract brews.

Batch sparging does look a lot easier than fly sparging.

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Old 01-23-2007, 04:46 AM   #4
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It really couldn't be easier. You *might* lose a couple points in efficiency, but I hit 79% last time - which I'll take any time. No real worries about stuck sparges. PH concerns are nowhere near as big a deal. It takes probably half the time.

So, make that decision before buying any gear, but half of that kit does you no good if you batch sparge.

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Old 01-23-2007, 06:25 AM   #5
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I bought that kit. Some think they are over priced and you can build them cheaper. I wasn't interested in building or fabricating a kit. I consider the price of the kit as part of the cost of homebrewing. I couldnt be happier and would recommend it.

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Old 01-23-2007, 06:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
I bought that kit. Some think they are over priced and you can build them cheaper. I wasn't interested in building or fabricating a kit. I consider the price of the kit as part of the cost of homebrewing. I couldnt be happier and would recommend it.
I would tend to agree with you. I think my time is worth more in th fact that I have no fabricating skills and would rather the time to brew. I started with extract kits and just built a 10gal cooler with a worthog and purchased a huge 15gal pot already welded and ready to go with a ss ball valve and love it. It is all what you want to spend on a hobby. Go for it and enjoy it.
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Old 01-23-2007, 12:28 PM   #7
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This kit looks pretty good and you won't have regrets about its capabilities. Sure, you could buy and assemble the parts yourself, and there's really not much to it, but there's something to be said about the convenience of getting everything from the same place, and at the same time, knowing that everything just "goes together". So if you don't mind spending a little extra money for the convenience, then I think it's a good idea. I put together a similar system, and I brew with a friend that has a much more elaborate setup, and I think the beers are quite comparable.

As for batch sparging vs fly sparging... I've never batch sparged because fly sparging is very easy. If you have three levels to set this stuff up on, it will make fly sparging ultra simple. The Phil's sparge arm works beautifully, and with the ball valve on the HLT cooler, you have complete control over the flow through the arm, and that thing sprays the water about as evenly and as gently as possible. With a little practice, you can just match the sparge flow with the outflow into your boil kettle, and voila! Pretty much hands-free sparging.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

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Old 01-23-2007, 12:58 PM   #8
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Well, like the_bird said, he tried to convince me that it would be easier to build my own, but I just went ahead and bought my MLT. Like bird said, though, if you're going to batch sparge, you don't need the Lauter tun. And they encouraged me to get the 10 gallon, not the 5 gallon. You can get by with the 5 gallon, but the 10 gallon gives you the ability to make bigger beers and/or more beer. I don't think I'll ever do 10 gallon batches, but I can if I want to!. So, I bought just the one 10 gallon cooler set up, and I think it was around $114 or so.

It's true that you could build it for 1/2 the price, but you actually have to DO it. I knew that would never happen at my house, so I just bought it. Then, a week later, I bought an aeration system. It really never ends.......

Lorena

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Old 01-23-2007, 02:09 PM   #9
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I just upgraded to this kit after brewing for many years with the Williams all-grain starter kit, which is similar but consists of 7.5 gallon buckets and an insulated jacket rather than the coolers. For me it was just a matter of convenience--if it cost a little more but saved me a couple hours of my life then that is a trade off I'm willing to make at this point. Not to mention I fully expect to have this stuff twenty years from now so in the long run it is a cheap investment. i also figured i've been doing this long enough now to treat myself an equipment upgrade (I also got new ten gallon kettle with spigot,bazooka tube and thermostat )

I've only used it once but I'd strongly suggest getting a couple of stainless steel hoseclamps to secure the tube from the false bottom to the spigot. mine popped off the first time I used it when doughing in and I was not too happy about it. Be sure to get teflon tape too.

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Old 01-23-2007, 11:40 PM   #10
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If you don't want to build the system that's fine, but I did and in the ten gallon variety. Saved a bunch of money. I like fly sparging so this system suites my needs. I've done two five gallon batches using the system and the efficency was great on my second try. All I need is a fifteen gallon boil pot and I will move to larger batches. Next month I suppose.

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