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Old 05-27-2007, 06:08 PM   #1
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Default What is the Minimum Equipment for AG Brewing?

Hey All,

I've been progressing in my beer brewing pretty steadily for 6 months. Now i have 5 batches under my belt with a few extract and PM's in there. I'm interested in doing AG brewing because i want more control over the finished product. With extract, to some extent all of my batches have a similar taste.

What is the minimum equipment i would need to purchase to do AG brewing? I think that i'm a brewer for life, so eventually i'll buy all of the equipment my heart desires.

Here is what i'm working with:

24 qt aluminum brew kettle
6.5 gallon primary carboy
5 gallon secondary carboy
7.75 gallon plastic bottle bucket w/no lid

I just got an upright fridge/freezer from my future father-in-law and a temp regulator, so soon i'll be lagering away as well!



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Old 05-27-2007, 06:13 PM   #2
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You'll need a mash tun and hot liquor tank.

The mash tun can be made from a cooler (a 10 gallon cooler works well for 5 gallon batches), a piece of braided stainless hose with the rubber lining removed, and a bulkhead fitting with a valve.

The hot liquor tank is nothing more than another kettle big enough to hold your sparge water (typically 3-5 gallons for a 5 gallon batch).

A wort chiller is highly recommended. You should consider a slightly larger boil kettle as well (7.5 - 10 gallons). A grain mill is optional, as you can order your grains pre-crushed.



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Old 05-27-2007, 06:17 PM   #3
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If you can fit your pot in the oven, you can heat up your mash in the pot on the stove-top, then use your oven as an insulator (preheat it to 150 or so then turn it off). You can make a lauter tun out of two nested buckets, one with holes for a false bottom. This method works with the least amount of additional equipment, but it's a little bit of a pain.

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Old 05-27-2007, 07:26 PM   #4
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I think you'll be struggling with your kettle.
I'd use that as a HLT and gett a largr kettle.

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Old 05-27-2007, 07:51 PM   #5
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The other thing you're going to need (unless you already have one) is some sort of higher-powered burner. I use cheap turkey fryer sets from WalMart, but you can spend a little more money and get a nice Bayou Classic with a higher BTU rating than the turkey fryers. But take it from me: once you're doing full 5+ gallon boils, your kitchen stove (unless you have a really powerful gas range) is not going to cut it anymore.

As for the MLT, you can buy a cylindrical Gott picnic cooler and buy a false bottom from a brewing supply shop (they make them in sizes specifically for certain coolers); then you just need to replace the cooler dispenser with a plastic spigot or faucet.

I concur about the bigger kettle. I have a 32-qt kettle, and it's a little small for high-gravity batches. I usually have to split up my wort and boil it down until it'll all fit into one. I'd go for a 10-gallon pot if you can afford one. You'll thank yourself later.

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Old 05-27-2007, 08:03 PM   #6
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I use an 8 gallon pot and it's almost too small. It's boiled over during the last two batches.

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Old 05-28-2007, 03:07 AM   #7
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I know this is going to be a while off, but eventually i want to get into 10 gallon batches. I was inspired to do this after my honey brown and cheesefood CCA batches were drunk before the following batches were even drinkable. I guess i just need more beer!

So i'll probably need a larger brew kettle than even 32 qt. There's a restaurant supply store near my apartment with a wide range of pots. They even have one that's over 150 qts!! I'll see what i can dredge up.

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Old 05-28-2007, 03:26 AM   #8
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Don't forget that you will need a good, quality thermometer. I think digital is best. Easily under $15. You may already have one for steeping grains but worth mentioning.

If you aren't ready to dive right into all grain you could try a mini mash. All you need there is a course large nylon bag (and thermometer). You can do the mash in you bottling bucket. I did this once, it was great, I am on my way to all grain.

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Old 05-28-2007, 05:53 AM   #9
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I strongly recomend just morgage the house and buy a ready made brewery!!!!!JUST KIDDING dont hesitate to talk to your local brewery about "out of service kegs" you can make just about anything for your brewery with them. But PLEASE get "out of service ones" and respect the companys that brew for a living
JJ

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Old 05-28-2007, 11:37 AM   #10
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DIY Keggles seem like the easy and cheapest way to do 10gal batches.



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