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Old 10-24-2005, 06:41 PM   #1
drengel
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Default small batch AG question

I'm wanting to start all garin brewing, but unfortanately dont have enough money to buy all the equipment, in particular a large enough stainless steel pot. I'm wondering if this setup could work: I want to do more 2.5 gallon batches so i can get more styles and experiment more. Can i mash the grains in my pot with grain bags, i can keep the temperature stable i think because i have a griddle on my stove that allows me to set it to a specific temperature and with a little experimentation i think i can find the setting that will keep the mash at the right temp. My main concern is if i use grain bags will i be able to get all the sugars off the grains when sparging, or will i still need to supplement with extract? My pot can handle all the liquid for a 2.5 gallon batch easily, but im concerned about the grainbags. Would a large kitchen strainer work better for sparging?
Please help...I really want to start AG brewing but just don't have the 50-60 bucks for a huge pot.

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Old 10-24-2005, 09:37 PM   #2
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The first thing you need is a mash tun. If you have that, I don't see why you couldn't collect your wort in something of a 6-7g capacity and then do two boils, recombining them in the fermenter. You'll lose the advantages of a full boil, but you'll be doing AG. You'll also probably find a way to buy a 30qt pot pretty soon...

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Old 10-25-2005, 04:35 AM   #3
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i'm thinking of doing the mash in the pot. i'll go through my plan and someone tell me if it sounds reasonable. I mash the grains either in a grain bag or in the pot. the pot will be on a heated griddle, which will keep it at the right temp. Once the conversion is complete i dump the pot in to another pot or bucket, collecting the grains in a strainer or just getting the grain bag out. Then i sparge the grains in strainer or bag, put the wort back in the pot and begin the boil. I should be able to fit all the grains and water in my pot for a 2.5 gallon batch, and the method seems reasonable to me, but i've never tried AG before, so i dont know. My main concern is if i can get all the sugars off the grains, and which method (grain bag vs. strainer) would do that better.

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Old 10-25-2005, 04:52 AM   #4
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Go with the strainer method. My concern with the grain bag is that the grains won't be free within the liquid - or the otherway, insufficient room for the water. The strainer method just seems closer to a larger scale AG batch.

What you may want to do is try approximating batch sparging by doing your mash, straining, putting the grains back in your mash pot, adding your sparge water, let it rest a bit, stir, and then strain that in with the rest. Then again it might not may make a difference (vs just leaving the grains in the strainer and pouring water over them to sparge.)

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Old 10-25-2005, 02:51 PM   #5
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See if you can find a grain bag about the size of your pot. An old cotton pillow cover would work. (I use a wine sack, but they're about $15) That way the grain is loose in the wort, but easily removed. Plan on three soaks total, the first for an hour at 155F and the other two about 30 minutes, at 168F. This is a lot like batch sparging, which is the method I use. Increase your pale by about 10% to compensate for the reduced efficiency of sparging.

If there is extra wort from the last soak, keep it hot to top off the pot during the boil. You could even boil it down.

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Old 10-26-2005, 03:19 AM   #6
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First, fabricate a lauter tun. You can do so at a minimal cost and simplify your mashing delima. If you know someone in a restaurant, there is a good chance they can get you a couple reclaimed 2.5 buckets to turn into a small lauter tun. All your left with is spending a few dollars at your local big box home improvement center for a plastic spigot to mount to one of the buckets and drilling holes in the bottom of the other. Now you can mash in a pot of your choice and transfer it into the bucket rig for sparging.

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Old 10-26-2005, 03:42 AM   #7
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Here's a link to a post I did last Summer when I did my 1st AG. You might find some useful (inexpensive) stuff there. Take a look at the rectangular cooler mash tun. They (rectangular coolers) are very affordable now that the season is over and the stores want to clear their inventories out.

Take a look!

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