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Old 11-28-2012, 10:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rickert76 View Post
My husband has been brewing with extracts for 10 years and I want to get him a set up for all grain brewing for Christmas. I have read through many threads and it looks like there are lots of people for the 10 gal Blichmann pots and lots against. I have the opportunity to buy a used 10 gal blichmann for $250 and I'm wondering if it is worth the price or should I just get a less expensive SS pot? Keep in mind that I don't weld and do not know how to "build" one or even what is neccessary to have on a brew pot. I would appreciate any advice on this one. Thanks!
Well, let's think about this. If the Blichmann comes with the following:

* lid
* sight glass
* thermometer
* valve
* dip tube
* false bottom

Then yeah, that would be a pretty darn good deal and I would seriously consider pulling the trigger on that.

You can definitely get a simple 10 gallon SS pot for less than $250, but if you have to go out and get all of the extras anyway, then it will cost you more than $250.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by LandoLincoln View Post
Well, let's think about this. If the Blichmann comes with the following:

* lid
* sight glass
* thermometer
* valve
* dip tube
* false bottom

Then yeah, that would be a pretty darn good deal and I would seriously consider pulling the trigger on that.

You can definitely get a simple 10 gallon SS pot for less than $250, but if you have to go out and get all of the extras anyway, then it will cost you more than $250.
Blichmann kettles don't [normally] come with a false bottom. They offer the FB at an additional charge (not cheap either). Also, IMO/IME, a thermometer on a kettle is almost useless. Same with a mash tun and HLT. I don't have them installed (anymore) in my keggle, mash tun, and won't be installing it in my new HLT I'm making.

If you're handy, you might want to consider making the kettle for him. It's pretty easy to do (if you have tools and know how to use them) and it also gives you the freedom to expand on it later. There are plenty of threads in the DIY and equipment sections from people who have done just that.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:20 PM   #13
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Blichmann = high quality bling at a price on the high side.
The Apple of brew pots.

So why do you say that thermometers on a kettle are near useless? I'd love to know for future reference when I eventually get a few nicer kettles. Thanks.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:28 PM   #14
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The Apple of brew pots.
OUCH!!! That's HARSH!!!

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So why do you say that thermometers on a kettle are near useless? I'd love to know for future reference when I eventually get a few nicer kettles. Thanks.
For one thing, you have to adjust them whenever you turn the faces (or change the angle they're set to for those that you can). For another, they're slow to react. Plus, they're reading <4" into the kettle/mash tun/etc. The middle can be a different temperature, plus at different depth it can be different temperatures. It's ok to see when you're approaching a boil, but (IMO/IME) not much else.

I use a high-end digital thermometer with type K probes. The thermometer/base unit is a Fluke 52II, which can have two probes connected to it, displaying the reading from both. You can also have it remember the readings, for referencing later. It also has a back light on the display, so reading where it's not so bright is no issue. I have enough sensors, that can be dropped into boiling hot (actually far above that) liquids safely. So, I can use either one, or two, probes in the mash tun, to get a better idea of what's going on inside it. The probes have long enough wires on them (wrapped in glass, then stainless braid, so high temp safe) that I can position it away from the kettles/etc. While the Fluke 52II wasn't cheap, I'm not blowing through instant read thermometers (steam damaged) or getting a reading from a fixed point.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:30 PM   #15
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Certainly great points. Thanks for sharing.

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Old 11-28-2012, 11:34 PM   #16
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The Apple of brew pots.
the iPot?
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:37 PM   #17
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Ipot....that's funny!
So again I am confused. I would like to save money but don't think I have the time or ability to figure out how to make a Brew pot. Is it better to buy the Blichmann for $250 and save money by making a mash tun ( I think I can do that one). He brews in his spare time usually only in the fall and winter months, maybe 10 batches a year. He takes it pretty seriously though. So I would like him to have a nice pot and I want to have it all set up for him so that he doesn't have to spend his Winter break (he's a teacher) trying to figure it out. So are there other options that are ready to use when you buy them? And can anyone direct me on what to do for a wort chiller? Are they difficult to make, worth buying new or is $50 for a used homemade one too much?

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Old 11-29-2012, 12:02 AM   #18
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I went to all grain after 8 years and spent maybe $200-$250 for everything. I, like many others, would love to have high-priced stuff with lots of gadgets, but realize that you can make the same great beer on way less expensive equipment.

I would recommend, if possible and within your budget, to afford him the option to make 5-10 gallon batches. I quickly started making 10 gallon batches when I went all grain for 2 reasons 1) You can make double the beer in the same amount of time, 2) I keg all my beer, therefore making it easier to store that quantity.

Here is my setup that I upgraded to:
-15 Gal Bayou Classic (bought ball valve and attachments at hardware store)
-55qt Igloo rectangular cooler (same as above, but I did build a cpvc manifold, still cheap)
-Sanke half-barrel keg (got free from friend and bought sight glass online and ball valve from hardware store.

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Old 11-29-2012, 12:33 AM   #19
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I would either get the kettle, or (if you have a drill and right angle grinder) make a keggle. I would also look into going with BIAB before investing in a mash tun. The nylon mesh bags you use are cheap, plus you don't need to worry about setting up the cooler, and getting it to work right. If he already has a decent size pot, you should be set for heating up the sparge water.

I would also advise looking at propane burners, unless your stove can get 7-8 gallons of wort to a boil (and hold it there).

One thing to keep in mind, with the Blichmann kettle, the thermometer will be an issue with BIAB. I believe you can get a plug to go where it normally sits, to eliminate that.

If there are any homebrew clubs, or if he/you are members of one, I would ask to check out how a few of the members do all grain brewing. That should give you a better idea of what to do/get.

As for the used chiller... Depends on what kind it is. I started of with an immersion chiller, but then upgraded to a plate chiller (on my second one now, that's larger than the first). Depending on where you are located, you could have issues using different kinds. I recirculate my boiling hot wort through the chiller, back into the keggle at first. That sanitizes it, then I turn on the chill water (wort still flowing back into the keggle) until it gets to a temperature I'm happy with. Then I simply send the wort through into the fermenting vessel (one last pass through the chiller to hit my pitch temp).

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Old 11-29-2012, 02:44 AM   #20
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Nothing wrong with this

http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-1044-44-Quart-Stainless-Steel/dp/B000VXHKMC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354160039&sr=8-1&keywords=Bayou+classic+pot

http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-SQ14-Single-Outdoor/dp/B0009JXYQ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354160477&sr=8-1&keywords=Sq14

http://www.amazon.com/Copper-Coil-Immersion-Chiller-Length/dp/B002NZPE88/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354160255&sr=8-5&keywords=Copper+immersion+chiller

http://www.amazon.com/Igloo-Gallon-Beverage-dispenser-Dispenser/dp/B000F6SHTK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354160364&sr=8-1&keywords=10+gallon+cooler

Add about $20 in parts to the cooler and you will have a great mash tun. Shop around a bit and you may be able to shave a little off the prices. This would get you a lot further for your $250.

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