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Old 10-29-2010, 12:51 AM   #11
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depends how much cheaper are we looking at? i'm sure i could manage to build one myself if the price was significantly cheaper
Sometimes those coolers are on sale for $25, if you can find one at Home Depot.

A manifold can be as complex and a hand-sawed copper piece with multiple connections, or as simple as a toilet braid from the plumbing aisle.

A ball valve is pretty cheap, as are the fittings. Tubing is ultra cheap. You could probably make one for $50 if you could find a cooler at this time of year.

To be ultra cheap, take a look at Charlie Papazians zapapap or whatever it's called. It's a bucket-in-a-bucket set up with holes drilled for lautering. Two buckets- that's it.

I bought my first MLT ready made here: http://morebeer.com/view_product/175...Gal_-_Mash_Tun about 5 years ago or so when it was $115 or so. But you can see how simple it is, and you don't need a false bottom like that. Or, you could make the cooler MLT yourself, but buy a false bottom if that's your preference.
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Old 10-29-2010, 12:53 AM   #12
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so the only real hard part is hitting the right water temperature and the right water to grain ratio?

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Old 10-29-2010, 12:57 AM   #13
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so the only real hard part is hitting the right water temperature and the right water to grain ratio?
Well, there are some other things that are probably more challenging. Chilling is a big consideration. It's almost impossible to chill 5 gallons in a water bath, so you may need an immersion chiller.

but just like with extract brewing, most of the "hard" stuff is fermentation temperature control, and other brewing techniques.

All grain brewing isn't hard at all- heck, even I can do it. As long as you pay attention to details, and have good equipment (like a very accurate thermometer, a good burner for boiling wort, a big enough kettle to boil 6.5 gallons or more), it's pretty matter-of-fact.
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Old 10-29-2010, 01:29 AM   #14
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so do you need to boil 6.5 gallons to get down to a 5 gallon batch because of evaporation?

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Old 10-29-2010, 01:54 AM   #15
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so do you need to boil 6.5 gallons to get down to a 5 gallon batch because of evaporation?
Generally, yes. In my "new" system, I start with 7 gallons to end up with 5.25 gallons into the fermenter. Your boil off will vary, but usually 1 gallon per hour is a good guestimate. You'll also have some losses to hops/trub/deadspace but each system is different. A good rule of thumb is to start with 6.25-6.5 gallons of wort.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:05 AM   #16
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so the only real hard part is hitting the right water temperature and the right water to grain ratio?
Hey, I didn't mean to put you off this.
The right water to grain ratio is anything between 1 and 2 qt per lb. If you pick 1.25 - 1.5 qt per lb you will be fine.
For calculating the temperature of the strike water, google strike water temperature calculator. You will get 992,000 results in 0.24 seconds.
My previous post didn't mean to suggest that this is difficult, just that your original post ignored these considerations.

-a.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:12 AM   #17
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so the only real hard part is hitting the right water temperature and the right water to grain ratio?
The amount of water is an easy calculation, ~1.2 gallons of water per pound of grain. Heat the water to 10-15 degrees higher than your target temp, so heat to 160-165, add the grain to the water and stir really well. Then take the temp and adjust with either boiling water or cold water until you're where you want to be (you can go up to 3 gallons per pound if you have to). There are a few things to remember and get straight but it's not hard and it's REALLY f'ing satisfying once you do it.
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:11 PM   #18
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The amount of water is an easy calculation, ~1.2 gallons of water per pound of grain. Heat the water to 10-15 degrees higher than your target temp, so heat to 160-165, add the grain to the water and stir really well. Then take the temp and adjust with either boiling water or cold water until you're where you want to be (you can go up to 3 gallons per pound if you have to). There are a few things to remember and get straight but it's not hard and it's REALLY f'ing satisfying once you do it.
I think that was meant to read 1.2 qts per pound of grain.
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:28 PM   #19
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I just switched to all grain after doing a few extract brews. Everything you need to know is in here somewhere. I did some research and decided to jump in. Everything is working out just fine. I built my own mash tun for around $20. Definetly need a larger pot though. Seems to be fairly easy. Brews are tasting good with good reveiws even from non beer drinkers.

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Old 10-29-2010, 06:15 PM   #20
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If you've ever been in the kitchen for more than 10 minutes, you can brew AG. The biggest mechanical/technical hurdles I feel, are:
a) Boiling the wort: if you have a turkey fryer, disregard.
b) Chilling the wort: if you have an immersion chiller, disregard.

If your tap water is crappy, you can also run into some problems on that front. I don't have an immersion chiller, so I just calculate for lower efficiency and sparge less, so that when I finish boiling, I can add a gallon or so of ice (clean tap water ice, not the disgusting gas station ice) to bring me to my final volume.

Or you can just no-chill.

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