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Old 12-16-2012, 03:02 AM   #1
GeorgiaTiger
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Default Want to go AG...

Not sure how many of you guys read the Beginner forum, but I started in November with a Mr. Beer kit. Brewed the beer in that kit then went to a partial mash Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout. I brewed a Hefe last week with just an extract, but have been wanting to go AG. Just wondering exactly what I would need to do so. Im assuming I would need at least a propane burner (turkey fryer, probably, right?), Larger brew kettle and a mash tun of some sort. I have been looking at builds for mash tuns and most people are using the rubbermaid coolers (round ones) for a mash tun. What else, other than the equipment that I already have for brewing kits, would I need?

I have really fallen in love with the whole brewing process and the science of it. I think that AG would enhance that.

Any thoughts?

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Old 12-16-2012, 03:25 AM   #2
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propane burner + larger brew kettle are used for a larger boil. 8 gallon BK can do full boil for a 5 gallon batch. or you can do a partial boil; that same 8 gallon BK for a 10 gallon batch, topping off as needed into the fermenter.

without the separate mash tun, you can still do all extract in the larger BK; the kettle just has to do with the boil.

or full or partial mash BIAB (brew in a bag), which uses your BK as the mash tun. once you pull your grains, you're back to full or partial boil, depending on your volume into the fermenter

you can stop there and never have to deal with a separate mash tun.

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Old 12-16-2012, 03:28 AM   #3
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So would you recommend BIAB to start in AG? Especially since I dont have a mash tun ATM.

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Old 12-16-2012, 04:27 AM   #4
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I began my all grain adventure doing BIAB with two relatively cheap bayou classic aluminum 5 gallon pots, which worked great. I could do two mashes if i wanted to do a really strong beer, or just use one pot to mash in and the other for sparging. When I felt like it was time to go beyond BIAB, I simply modified one of my 5 gallon pots to turn it into a nice mash tun. I bought the weldless brewmometer, a weldless spigot, a bazooka screen, and drilled a couple holes, and presto! I even slightly increased the size of the steam hole on the lid so that I can stick my long probed thermometer into the mash to get another temperature reading from a different spot. It's a pretty sweet mash tun. I then just bought a used 7.5 gallon pot to do my full boil in.

Just think about how you may want to upgrade your setup in the future and see if you can buy something that can be upgraded. Also, you don't necessarily need a turkey fryer. I still use my stove top and manage to get a full boil, it just takes a while to get it rolling.

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Old 12-16-2012, 06:03 AM   #5
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You can manage stovetop, but a decent 20 psi propane burner will shave hours off the brew process and is a must for 10 gallon batches. With the burner I would get a rubbermaid cooler and fit it with either a false bottom or some type of stainless mesh screen. What I like about mashing in a cooler is you load it up and forget about it for an hour which allows you lots of time to set up the brew equipment, heat some sparge water and enjoy some brews.

If you stay in 5 gallon batches, an 8 gallon BK is fine. You will need at least a 4 gallon pot to heat your sparge water. For me I add roughly 3.5 gallons heated water for the initial mash and again for the sparge on 10 pounds of grain to get 6.5 gallons of wort for the boil. On a stovetop you won't be able to get as strong a boil and will have less ability to reduce the wort volume. If you don't have one already, some sort of chiller is really a must if you do a full boil.

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Old 12-16-2012, 07:08 AM   #6
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As far as your mash tun goes I converted a 48qt rectangular cooler. It was $20 from Wal-Mart. The drain plug was the same diameter as the ball valve I installed (another $20) so no drilling required. Lastly I bought a stainless steel mesh/boil screen ($15) instead of getting a manifold. I've never lost more than 2 degrees with my mash temps. I mash and bulk sparge out of the same cooler and consistently get 65-70% efficiency.

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Old 12-16-2012, 09:45 AM   #7
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Do you want to go minimal just to see how the process works and then decide if you want to continue? Get a paint strainer bag and make a small batch in the pot you have (BIAB). That's all it takes. Really! I had a 5 gallon pot so I used this method and did a 2 1/2 gallon batch (half size batch). That worked well so I did another, then I bought a turkey fryer and started doing 5 gallon batches.

I don't have a LHBS so I bought a cheap Corona style grain mill and mill my own grains. I think that I have it paid for just in the savings from all grain as opposed to extract kits and it didn't take long.

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