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Old 03-07-2014, 04:10 AM   #1
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Default New Guy Looking For Suggestions

Well, this is my first post here. I've been reading off this forum for at least a few hours an evening for the past 2-3 weeks and figured it's about time I start asking questions!

I've wanted to try my hand at home brewing for a couple years now and I think I'm at the point I'm ready to spend some money and give it a try, but before I pull the trigger and risk spending money on the wrong equipment, I'm here to ask of your advise and suggestions.

So, my beers of choice are, Imperial Stouts, Porters and my cheap and light go to beer has always been a Hefeweizen, so those are my brews of interest.

I'm wanting to do a full all grain brew setup. I'm trying to keep equipment costs to a minimum since I'm new to this and I've got a baby on the way. Kinda figured, since I'm not drinking (since the wife can't drink) I'd brew instead!

Here's my equipment list, if anyone has suggestions this is where I need the help and/or advice, as well.

30qt Turkey Fryer setup for step mash
Fermtech 1/2" auto siphon
spring loaded bottle filler
3 piece airlock+carboy bung x2
triple scale hydrometer w/ 10" glass test "jar"
12" stainless thermometer
bottles
bottle capper+caps
8oz star-san

That totals up to $130 shipped.
I've got two plastic 5g water jugs in the style of carboys at my disposal.

I'll need a few odds and ends, need to build a sparge manifold or false bottom, need all the necessary tubing, copper tubing for a chiller and a fly sparge setup

I was planning on going with 5 gallon HDPE buckets from Home Depot or similar, spigot on one to use for Sparge water source and fly sparge. Using a 5 gallon bucket for primary fermentation or the plastic 5g carboys, however it plays out and maybe a smaller bucket for secondary fermentation, if need be?

I know typical is 6.5 buckets for 5 gallons, so I'll have to downsize my brew and ingredients, which is fine, smaller batches mean I can brew more frequently, giving me more of a tinkering/learning curve and also should enable me to brew multiple styles of brew, at least I hope.

So, thoughts? Suggestions? What am I missing?

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Old 03-07-2014, 04:18 AM   #2
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I would go ahead and get a 10 gallon boiler. I've gone through 3 of them getting up to the 10 not thinking I needed one that big.

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Old 03-07-2014, 04:20 AM   #3
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You plan on fly sparging but I don't see mention of a mash tun. If you want to keep costs down maybe consider BIAB, although I'd go with a bigger pot in that case.

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Old 03-07-2014, 04:25 AM   #4
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I would go ahead and get a 10 gallon boiler. I've gone through 3 of them getting up to the 10 not thinking I needed one that big.
Jumping up that big in size is gonna kill the wallet, the 30qt should be enough for my small batch brews to start out though, no?


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You plan on fly sparging but I don't see mention of a mash tun. If you want to keep costs down maybe consider BIAB, although I'd go with a bigger pot in that case.
I was planning on using the turkey fryer to step mash, then pour into a 5g bucket with spigot, to a fly sparge setup over another 5g bucket.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:36 AM   #5
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So there will be a false bottom in your pot, you will drain everything to buckets, dump the grain and clean the pot, then pour the cooling wort back in for the boil? I have to say that sounds like a PITA and would extend your brew day. If you're doing smaller batches I think you could BIAB a 4 gal batch in that pot. I do 3 gal in my 5 gal pot and can't quite fit a full volume mash so I think you would be fine. I get about the same efficiency BIAB or fly sparging.

Edit: How are you heating the sparge water? If your HLT is a bucket that's not going to hold heat very long and you've only got the one pot.

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Old 03-07-2014, 04:38 AM   #6
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While a larger kettle will make things easier you can do a BIAB with a 30 quart kettle. My buddy Don gets by using a 5 gallon kettle using that method. Seeing as how you have a baby on the way and need to control costs that would be your best method. You will just be making smaller batches.
If you have a 2nd kettle (say an old pressure cooker) you can sparge by dunking the bag in that 2nd kettle and soaking out some sugars. In this way you can get to 5 gallon batches. Your boil will not be terribly vigorous, but it works for Don. Just up your bittering hops. I am not sure if the home depot buckets are food safe; a better idea might be to scrounge some buckets from a restaurant (be sure to get the lid). If you can afford the plastic bucket from your LBHS (brewers best or whatever) those work very well. I presume that you are saving up though for the forthcoming offspring. The BIAB method does require a bag that will run you around $20 dollars. You might also try 2nd hand stores for large pots, pressure cookers etc… Another possibility is something like United Cash And Carry and a 40 quart Aluminium pot. Those run around $55 here in WA. If you go with Aluminium, read up on the oxidation layer you will need to protect your beer.

Cheers

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Old 03-07-2014, 04:44 AM   #7
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You will always need a solid boil kettle. It's a pretty solid investment. Just make sure you don't go too small- you might end up upgrading later

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Old 03-07-2014, 04:55 AM   #8
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Go BIAB, especially for smaller batches until you can afford a proper 3-vessel system. Then again, you may never switch from BIAB.
Buy a bigger pot now than you think you need. It will be cheaper than buying it twice. Which is what WILL happen if you go 5 gallon. Go at least 8 gallon. Check out Concord pots on ebay for a decent pot at a reasonable price.
5 gallon paint strainer bags from Lowes or Home Depot make adequate grain bags for BIAB and they are cheap! Less than $5 for a couple of them.

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Old 03-07-2014, 05:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickypad View Post
So there will be a false bottom in your pot, you will drain everything to buckets, dump the grain and clean the pot, then pour the cooling wort back in for the boil? I have to say that sounds like a PITA and would extend your brew day. If you're doing smaller batches I think you could BIAB a 4 gal batch in that pot. I do 3 gal in my 5 gal pot and can't quite fit a full volume mash so I think you would be fine. I get about the same efficiency BIAB or fly sparging.

Edit: How are you heating the sparge water? If your HLT is a bucket that's not going to hold heat very long and you've only got the one pot.
I watched the basic brewing-stepping into all grain dvd. From what I gathered, I could use a turkey fryer, boil my grains, closely monitor temps and apply heat as needed for step mashing. Once finished, pour into bucket with a spigot on it and internal filter/false bottom, verlauf and sparge from that into primary fermenter either 5g bucket or 5g plastic carboy I have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aonghus View Post
While a larger kettle will make things easier you can do a BIAB with a 30 quart kettle. My buddy Don gets by using a 5 gallon kettle using that method. Seeing as how you have a baby on the way and need to control costs that would be your best method. You will just be making smaller batches.
If you have a 2nd kettle (say an old pressure cooker) you can sparge by dunking the bag in that 2nd kettle and soaking out some sugars. In this way you can get to 5 gallon batches. Your boil will not be terribly vigorous, but it works for Don. Just up your bittering hops. I am not sure if the home depot buckets are food safe; a better idea might be to scrounge some buckets from a restaurant (be sure to get the lid). If you can afford the plastic bucket from your LBHS (brewers best or whatever) those work very well. I presume that you are saving up though for the forthcoming offspring. The BIAB method does require a bag that will run you around $20 dollars. You might also try 2nd hand stores for large pots, pressure cookers etc… Another possibility is something like United Cash And Carry and a 40 quart Aluminium pot. Those run around $55 here in WA. If you go with Aluminium, read up on the oxidation layer you will need to protect your beer.

Cheers
I checked cash and carry, kinda leary of aluminum, and I read online that Home depot buckets were HDPE, not sure, I'll have to shop and see in person, I did think of checking local restaurants too.
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nihil View Post
I watched the basic brewing-stepping into all grain dvd. From what I gathered, I could use a turkey fryer, boil my grains, closely monitor temps and apply heat as needed for step mashing. Once finished, pour into bucket with a spigot on it and internal filter/false bottom, verlauf and sparge from that into primary fermenter either 5g bucket or 5g plastic carboy I have?
So you've collected your wort in the bucket or carboy, then you have to clean out your kettle with all the grain before you pour the wort back in to boil (you don't boil the grain, BTW, you're holding it at mash temps). That's the part that sounds like a PITA. With a bag, you can just lift the grains out and start your boil straight away.
In addition, if you were going to sparge from a bucket you would need to heat up that water so it's ready at the end of the mash. Typically you would heat that up in your kettle while your mash was being conducted, but you won't have the kettle available. If you try to heat the water up before the mash and store it in the bucket it's going to cool off by the end of the mash I would think.
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