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Old 02-09-2014, 10:22 PM   #1
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Default Starting out All Grain

Well along with a ton of help from HBT and a lotta youtubing/bookreading I'm making the decision to jump right into All Grain right off the bat. Have a question tho:

Was going the route of dual cooler system and fly sparging. Question is, how are we keeping the temps exactly where we want them over the long haul that it takes to sparge like this? I have to assume the temps keep dropping over the hour so is it common to start out with a higher temp and end at or just below 168 or are you guys using something to keep the water heated in the HLT?

I haven't seen any threads discussing how to keep the temps constant at the spigot.

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Old 02-09-2014, 10:30 PM   #2
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You'd be surprised at how well those coolers will hold heat. Sure the temperature will drop some but you'll be fine. Heat it to 175F if it makes you feel better, sometimes, in the winter I do just that.

For the most part, I've always fly sparged. I used to use a 2nd cooler to hold the sparge water but I gave it up. It's just easier to heat it directly then throw it in. If your cooler is big enough, this won't even be an issue because it will hold all of your sparge water in one whack. Then you can crack the valve open and go watch tv, (while the batch spargers stay outside and mix and vorlof hehe).

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Old 02-09-2014, 10:44 PM   #3
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I do it in my kitchen, but I have never had a problem keeping temp. Put the tun on a chair, and wrap it in 3-4 blankets. Never drops a degree. Props for going all grain off the bat. I did the same thing and never looked back. It's not that hard and way cheaper than extract. You can save even more money by buying grain in bulk ( I get it for 80 cents a lb if I buy a 55 lb bag, compared to a pound at a time for 1.48) and I wash my yeast ( another 6 bucks savings)

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Old 02-09-2014, 11:06 PM   #4
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I do it in my kitchen, but I have never had a problem keeping temp. Put the tun on a chair, and wrap it in 3-4 blankets. Never drops a degree. Props for going all grain off the bat. I did the same thing and never looked back. It's not that hard and way cheaper than extract. You can save even more money by buying grain in bulk ( I get it for 80 cents a lb if I buy a 55 lb bag, compared to a pound at a time for 1.48) and I wash my yeast ( another 6 bucks savings)
Very good advice.

Took me too long to start buying grain and hops in bulk, it's WAY cheaper though. Hops are a few bucks for 1 oz, or you can get a lb for 15-20.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:24 AM   #5
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I've already got a bin for a 50# 2 row, picking up some smaller bins to keep a couple others later on. Still havn't decided on a first batch yet anyway but the 2 row is obviously a staple for a ton.

I'm gonna pick up the dual 10 gallon cooler system, starting out doing 5 gallon batch.

I'll be doing it in the garage which is under the house and heated so I can go year round.

So I can pick it up to 175 and be good with a decent bed then.... good to know and thanks.

I tend to dive in all the way with things like this and AG seems like where I'd be headed anyway, that and it seems like there's more recipes out there for AG.

A side question, is doing something like a Stella Artois clone recommended as a first batch? I'd like something light, crisp and clear for the wife and neighbor to get into. Was gonna do the stella clone out of beersmith.... as far as I can tell that particular recipe doesn't require lagering....

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Old 02-10-2014, 01:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titleist View Post
I've already got a bin for a 50# 2 row, picking up some smaller bins to keep a couple others later on. Still havn't decided on a first batch yet anyway but the 2 row is obviously a staple for a ton.

I'm gonna pick up the dual 10 gallon cooler system, starting out doing 5 gallon batch.

I'll be doing it in the garage which is under the house and heated so I can go year round.

So I can pick it up to 175 and be good with a decent bed then.... good to know and thanks.

I tend to dive in all the way with things like this and AG seems like where I'd be headed anyway, that and it seems like there's more recipes out there for AG.

A side question, is doing something like a Stella Artois clone recommended as a first batch? I'd like something light, crisp and clear for the wife and neighbor to get into. Was gonna do the stella clone out of beersmith.... as far as I can tell that particular recipe doesn't require lagering....
If you can hold a cooler fermentation temp (low to mid 50's instead of low to mid 60's for an ale) and you can make a starter (which you probably should for an ale anyway), you can do a lager without a problem. If you don't have a fermentation chamber or constant temp root cellar, garage, etc. you should skip lagers.





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Old 02-10-2014, 01:38 AM   #7
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I'm sure you'd probably want to lager it, I mean it is brewed with a lager yeast correct? Anyway if you don't want to lager it, just skip it, probably won't be quite as smooth but still a good beer. At least cold crash it for a few days if you have the ability. I've also brewed a lot of lagers at ale temperatures and had good luck.

Sounds like you've got a good fix on things, I started out much more hap-hazard in my brewing. Made a lot of mistakes and ended up replacing equipment due to upgrades. Kinda wish I would have started all grain but getting the extract and partials under my belt helped me, I think anyway.

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Old 02-10-2014, 01:43 AM   #8
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A side question, is doing something like a Stella Artois clone recommended as a first batch? I'd like something light, crisp and clear for the wife and neighbor to get into. Was gonna do the stella clone out of beersmith.... as far as I can tell that particular recipe doesn't require lagering....
Haven't made that one myself, but it's probably a good idea to pick a fairly straightforward recipe for an ale style you like. It's also a good idea to make it a couple times in a row, both so you can work on your technique and timing, and so you can taste the results of any changes you've made.

Kudos to you for the commitment to jump right in, but the old KISS (Keep it simple sweetie) is the best course of action for your first few brews.

Cheers!
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:05 AM   #9
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I used to fly spare but now batch. I'm getting more consistent efficiency and it cut my brew day by a half hour. That said, I had a pretty good system when I did and used to sparge right from my boil kettle that was fitted w a ball valve. Even that didn't drop more than a few degrees unless it was really cold out. And if it did drop too much just stop for a min and toss it back on the burner. One less cooler you need.

Props for going all grain. I'm like u... Usually dive head first into a hobby. I did start off w a couple extract batches before making the switch to ag... And another before I started kegging.

Definitely start off with a good kettle. Preferable one with two welds. One for a therm and one for a valve. I got a nice but fairly cheap one from homebrewing.org. Mine's 9 gallons and I wouldn't want one smaller.

Good luck.

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Old 02-12-2014, 08:16 PM   #10
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Definitely start off with a good kettle. Preferable one with two welds. One for a therm and one for a valve. I got a nice but fairly cheap one from homebrewing.org. Mine's 9 gallons and I wouldn't want one smaller.

Good luck.
Ok, now I'm off a bit. Not that I'm looking to completely cheap out here, but I thought doing AG in a 2 cooler system alleviated the need for a therm on the brew kettle? I have a great digital thermo and probe I was gonna use to get the water up to mash and sparge temps, after that I thought all the kettle was good for was the boil?

If that's correct I should be able to just get a decent SS kettle and put a spigot on it correct? I'm not going to be trying to temp control an hour long burner this way.... yes?

If I was going the other way I'd put the cash into a Blich and be done, but I thought I could skate on paying that kinda cash for a kettle if I was going to be controlling heat through the cooler?

Part of my thinking of doing it this way was to eliminate a possibility of overheating the grain on the bottom, messing with fluctuating temps on the burner constantly...
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