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Old 11-10-2013, 06:35 PM   #1
jimmarshall
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Default Proper equipment to do it right from the beginning - 5 gallon batches

Currently have brewed a couple of batches of extract kits, wanting to move into all grain. WHat equipment should I buy? The kits I am brewing now are just partial boil, so my kettle is no where near big enough. How big of a kettle should I be looking for? How big of a mash tun? Liqour pot?

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Old 11-10-2013, 06:40 PM   #2
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I have a partial boil system I use, due to the fact my stove top doesn't boil a larger volume. I use a 5 gallon mash tun(max about 12 lbs of grain), 5 gallon SS pot(4 gallon boils). I batch sparge(usually a 2 gallon sparge). Top off into a 6.5 gallon bucket to 5 gallons of fermentable). Most people use a 10 gallon tun and liquor tank, at least an 8 gallon pot.

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Old 11-10-2013, 06:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jimmarshall View Post
Currently have brewed a couple of batches of extract kits, wanting to move into all grain. WHat equipment should I buy? The kits I am brewing now are just partial boil, so my kettle is no where near big enough. How big of a kettle should I be looking for? How big of a mash tun? Liqour pot?
I upgraded from 5 gallon extract kits to all grain by buying a $2 paint strainer bag from Home Depot - nothing more.

Look in to BIAB brewing. There's a forum for it here. If your kettle is small, you can just upgrade that to a nice 8-10 gallon pot, and you're good to go.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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If you decide to avoid BIAB, you'll need a new brew kettle. I would advise to go around 7 gallons or more on the brew kettle. Do you already have the burner and stand, or a good stove? You'll also need a mash tun...many of us just converted a 10 gallon cooler. You really don't need a HLT. Many of us batch sparge and heat a second batch of sparge water in a second pot. A good, accurate thermometer is also a must.

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Old 11-10-2013, 06:56 PM   #5
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If you decide to avoid BIAB, you'll need a new brew kettle. I would advise to go around 7 gallons or more on the brew kettle. Do you already have the burner and stand, or a good stove? You'll also need a mash tun...many of us just converted a 10 gallon cooler. You really don't need a HLT. Many of us batch sparge and heat a second batch of sparge water in a second pot. A good, accurate thermometer is also a must.
Batch Sparge? Please define.

I have been brewing on the stove, but I also have a good propane turkey fryer burner
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:04 PM   #6
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I would get a 10 gallon kettle minimum if I were you. You may need to start with 8 gallons or more depending on your boil off rate, so even then you will only have 2 gallons space left to avoid boil overs. I would also get at the minimum a 10 gallon cooler, and even then you may not have enough room for some bigger beers, because you will lose some mash efficiency when you get up around 18 LBS of grain or somewhere thereabout. you will need some kind of burner / turkey fryer style setup to bring 8 gallons to a boil. I think most people need to start with around 7.5 gallons in order to end up with 5 full gallons at the end of fermentation. I personally need to start with 8.5. Also some beers may require you to boil for 90 minutes or more, which will cause you to have to start with a bigger boil volume. A 10 gallon pot will be able to handle all those scenarios.

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Old 11-10-2013, 07:08 PM   #7
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Personally I think your pot size needs to be the biggest you can afford, when I started BIAB AG I used a 32qt pot and turkey fryer and after I realized it will only take a little bit more time to make 10 gallons and I realized I wanted to make 10 gallon batches and I put the planning in motion. I think you need to have an idea of what you want to do and execute a plan based on that.

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Old 11-10-2013, 07:39 PM   #8
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I agree with going as big as you can at first so you don't have to rebuy when you decide to go bigger. I have a 17.5 gallon Coleman Xtreme which allows me to do both 5 and 10 gallon batches. I also converted a keg to a keggle to boil in. I have no urge to go bigger any time soon, so buying all of this at the start has worked for me. Also a chiller is a must. You can build one though.

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Old 11-10-2013, 07:58 PM   #9
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I agree with going as big as you can at first so you don't have to rebuy when you decide to go bigger. I have a 17.5 gallon Coleman Xtreme which allows me to do both 5 and 10 gallon batches. I also converted a keg to a keggle to boil in. I have no urge to go bigger any time soon, so buying all of this at the start has worked for me. Also a chiller is a must. You can build one though.
Should I buy/make a CFC or immersion chiller?
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:55 PM   #10
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I personally think a ten gallon boil kettle is one of the worst size kettles (unless it's perfect for BIAB. I have no idea about BIAB). You need to size your kettle for whatever size batch you'll be doing. 5, 6, 10, or 12 gallons are the common sizes.

To calculate your bk size, first consider how much break and trub you leave in the kettle. If your batch size is 5gal and you leave a half gallon in the bk, you need 5.5gal post boil. You then need to consider your boil off rate. Wider pots typically have a higher boil off rate. Northern Brewer now carries kettles with an "optimized" height to width ratio. If you boil off a gallon per hour, your pre boil volume would then need to be 6.5gal for a 1 hour boil, 7gal for a 90 minute boil. You probably want some head space to allow for some foaming.

If you're only ever going to brew 5 gallon batches, I'd recommend an 8gal pot. If you think you'll ever be doing 10 gallon batches, go for a 15 gal pot or a decommissioned keg (15.5gal). I had a 10gal bk and had to upgrade when I went to 10gal batches.

As for mash tuns, I have a 48qt cooler can do a 6gal batch of really any gravity I want. I can easily do 10gal batches up to about 1.065 and have done an 11 gal batch of about 1.075. If you want to do large batches of high OG beers and don't want to supplement with extract (no problem doing that), then you'll want at least a 70qt cooler or kettle.

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