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Old 11-29-2012, 03:42 AM   #31
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Thanks for the info on the burner. I will look into it. And yes, it would seem like the best idea to just give him a budget and tell him to buy what he wants/needs but if I know my husband, he will become overwhelmed with guilt and buy nothing or, since he is not sure of what he needs either, he will become overwhelmed with stress and that would take all the fun out of it. So really its a lose-lose situation for me That's why I would like to just get him some nice basics that will allow him to start brewing and he can tweak his system as he sees fit as his process develops.
If you already have a pot at/over 5 gallons, then get a kettle that only has a ball valve installed and the large nylon mesh grain bags (get two in case one rips on him). Look at the all grain Brew in a Bag thread (print out parts of it) for the method used there. He can use the bag, mash in the kettle, then sparge, or use the full size, no sparge method.

Look at the directory here: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/directories/find-a-supply-shop for a LHBS near you to visit. That would probably be your better bet. Rather than get someone elses (used/old) kettle get him something new and shiny. Even if it doesn't have all the fittings installed (to stay within your budget). Hopefully the LHBS will be a good one that will give you sound advise on what to get him.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:45 AM   #32
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Well he already bought a cooler 6 mo ago in hopes of doing all grain so at this point I would only need to pay for the parts to convert it which shouldn't be too bad. Perhaps I could just buy him the parts and let him do it so he can enjoy that process. And in the mean time he can try the BIAB.
You can install just a ball valve in the cooler and use that to hold the bag for BIAB. If it's one of the round coolers, you have plenty of options. You don't need to make a manifold in there, you can use a simple 'bazooka screen' in the bottom, connected to the ball valve. I did that for a mash tun (my brew-buddy still uses it). Won't cost much AND is easy to do (IMO, easier than making a manifold).

PM me and I'll send you links for the parts you can get to do the cooler conversion.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:03 AM   #33
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I suggest:

Buy one of those Bayou Classic SS pots from Amazon--the 44 quart one is good.

Track down the guys who make BIAB bags and buy one of those.

Buy a turkey-fryer burner--look for one that can connect to your grill line. If you can't find one, buy one that uses a propane tank. It's a minor inconvenience to have propane tanks around, nothing compared to trying full boils on a stovetop.

Take the money you have left over (there should be some) and get him a gift card at Northern Brewer or Midwest and let him decide how to fill out his setup. If he's gone this long without a chiller, he can make-do without one or use the gift card toward it if that's what he really wants.

If it turns out he really wanted a mash tun, tell him the jerks on HomebrewTalk steered you wrong, and he at least has the start of a decent setup that can be added onto as he grows into all-grain. Point him here to get full-on schooling on BIAB brewing, which is all-grain and every bit as good as using a mash tun.

Just don't over-think this. Unless he's told you exactly what he wants, you can't expect yourself to be perfect on this. You've already put a lot of effort into this, and he should be touched by how much you care.

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:05 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
You can install just a ball valve in the cooler and use that to hold the bag for BIAB. If it's one of the round coolers, you have plenty of options. You don't need to make a manifold in there, you can use a simple 'bazooka screen' in the bottom, connected to the ball valve. I did that for a mash tun (my brew-buddy still uses it). Won't cost much AND is easy to do (IMO, easier than making a manifold).

PM me and I'll send you links for the parts you can get to do the cooler conversion.
Thanks! It is a round cooler, the kind from Home Depot. I read a tutorial using a mesh water supply line with the rubber tubing removed. Is your set up different? I will send you a PM. Thanks!
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:15 AM   #35
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rickert76, I have never regretted the money spent for quality tools.

If you have the cash and the Blichman is available, then get it. It will be a pinch, but it will just feel right every time it is used. No fiddle-farting around with almost good equip, that tool will do the job dependably and conveniently. The integral thermometer, depressed bottom, bazooka screen, and quality valve are little bits that really make a difference. The sight glass is handy for instantly checking volume.

Sometimes I simply do not have the cash, or the tool will be a one-time and done, then I get Harbor Freight quality. Right now I do not have the cash for a Blichmann, so I am using less expensive tools.

Next tool is a cooler (get it) and a mash tun. The tun can be a rectangular picnic cooler or a tall Gatorade type. Pick one that has space for a drain or spigot. Some commercial ones add a metal valve and charge $100 plus shipping. You can get a cooler for $30 locally and a valve for $30.

--edit--
as stated, if you do brew in a bag, it is simpler. Forget the mash tun. Get a $5 voile window panel from Walmart and sew a bag large enough to fit outside the pot, then use it inside the pot. The big bag gives the mash lots of room to wander around and increases efficiency.

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:16 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milan37 View Post
I suggest:

Buy one of those Bayou Classic SS pots from Amazon--the 44 quart one is good.

Track down the guys who make BIAB bags and buy one of those.

Buy a turkey-fryer burner--look for one that can connect to your grill line. If you can't find one, buy one that uses a propane tank. It's a minor inconvenience to have propane tanks around, nothing compared to trying full boils on a stovetop.

Take the money you have left over (there should be some) and get him a gift card at Northern Brewer or Midwest and let him decide how to fill out his setup. If he's gone this long without a chiller, he can make-do without one or use the gift card toward it if that's what he really wants.

If it turns out he really wanted a mash tun, tell him the jerks on HomebrewTalk steered you wrong, and he at least has the start of a decent setup that can be added onto as he grows into all-grain. Point him here to get full-on schooling on BIAB brewing, which is all-grain and every bit as good as using a mash tun.

Just don't over-think this. Unless he's told you exactly what he wants, you can't expect yourself to be perfect on this. You've already put a lot of effort into this, and he should be touched by how much you care.
Wow! Thanks! That makes me feel a lot better about this. I am usually guilty of over thinking things, especially when it comes to spending money! I will definately be hooking him up with this site once I give him his present. He may already be on it...in that case, this won't be much of a surprise anymore. And I think your idea of letting him fill in what he needs is a great one. I really have no idea..I am totally winging it. You are all so very helpful
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:23 AM   #37
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And the copper coil immersion Chiller, I beleive the one I can buy used is a 20' copper coil. Is the 50' better or does it make much difference on a 5 gal batch? Thanks for all your help!
In my small experience, one 20 ft coil is not quite enough for 5 gal unless you have a pre-cooler coil in an ice bath.

Instead of 1 50 ft coil, consider 2 20 ft coils.
two 20 ft coils are more efficient and faster than one 50 ft coil.
The water gets hotter as it moves through the tubes.
The hotter it gets, the less temp diff between the water and wort, and the less heat removed.
The water in each 20 ft coil does not heat up as much as the longer 50 ft tube
Two tubes doubles the flow.
They carry away more than 2x the heat of a 50 ft coil.

Also, search the forums for "no-chill" brewing. Some people report success just covering the wort and letting it cool down for 24 hours. i do not have experience in this, I am suggesting another possibility.
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:32 PM   #38
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I can't believe that this gal wants to buy her man an awesome Blichmann kettle, and 9 out of every 10 posters in this thread are trying to talk her out of it!

If she has the money, and wants her man to have an awesome pot, she should get the pot! This is a present, not her own personal brewing investment!

Let's me honest, if your rich uncle buys you a Blichmann kettle for Xmas, are you going to return it and get a Bayou Classic and drill a weldless bulkhead/ball valve? F that. Enjoy the Blichmann!!

GET THE MAN THE BLICHMANN!!! HE'LL APPRECIATE THE S**T OUT OF IT!!!

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:26 PM   #39
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If SWMBO was choosing between spending $250 on a Blichmann and spending $250 on a regular SS kettle plus other equipt, I'd much rather she did that--I'd take the extra $$ and buy a plate chiller or something else that I didn't have. (Just in case you're reading this, honey!)

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Old 11-29-2012, 04:58 PM   #40
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(Just in case you're reading this, honey!)
She's not. Remember, they only use telepathy to read our minds. I mean, at least that's what I assume since they expect the same from us.

*hides from any women in the area*
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