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Old 06-29-2009, 04:41 AM   #1
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Default Thinking about making the jump to all grain - several questions

I've been considering jumping to all grain brewing but not sure if I'll be able to with my current set up(or with some reasonable upgrades; gotta keep the SWMBO happy!). I found a cheap 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler to convert into a MLT but I wasn't sure if I would be able to do all grain brewing on my little electric stovetop in my kitchen.

If I heat the MLT with steam like I've seen in the DIY forum, would I need another vessel or would my brewpot and the MLT be sufficient?

Also, if I don't have a wort chiller, would it be feasible to chill the wort in a mini fridge?

Thanks so much, this forum has been very helpful in getting me started down the path of brewing!



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Old 06-29-2009, 04:45 AM   #2
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The most important upgrades for moving from extract to AG are the MLT, kettle, burner and chiller. You look set for the MLT, not sure about your kettle. The chiller and burner are pretty big musts, though. I doubt you would be able to do it on an electric range. The chiller is fairly important, too, although you could go without it if you are careful. Have you tried partial mashes yet? You could do that with what you have now to test it out a little until you can ramp up to AG



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Old 06-29-2009, 04:54 AM   #3
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The two brews I've made so far were partial mashes and I'm dying to do all grain. I do have an extra propane tank in my garage and I've heard burners are pretty cheap($30ish sound about right?).

It just seems like a ton of gear to pick up plus I'm not sure if I'm confident enough to brew outdoors.

Since I've got the MLT covered, all I need is a bigger brewpot, a burner, and a way to chill the wort, right?

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Old 06-29-2009, 05:28 AM   #4
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Since I've got the MLT covered, all I need is a bigger brewpot, a burner, and a way to chill the wort, right?
Yup, look into turkey fryers. They come with the pot and burner
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:37 AM   #5
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The two brews I've made so far were partial mashes and I'm dying to do all grain. I do have an extra propane tank in my garage and I've heard burners are pretty cheap($30ish sound about right?).
I picked my jet burner up from acehardwareoutlet.com for $39.99 with free shipping. It has 165,000 BTU's and does a good job.
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:39 AM   #6
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You're on the right track. However, simply heating the mash with steam and transferring the results to the boil kettle will result in very poor efficiency. You need a means by which to sparge. Another kettle similar in size to the mash tun will work well. Heat another 5-7 gallons of water in that kettle (which is known as the hot liquor tank, or HLT) to the desired sparge temp (often around 170-180° F). Drain the mash tun to the boil kettle, then add the sparge water from the HLT to the mash, and stir. Vorlauf until the runnings are clear. Drain the mash tun a second time until you achieve your desired boil volume.

You'll find mixed opinions when it comes to chilling the wort. Traditionally, the wort is chilled quickly with an immersion or counterflow chiller. Recently, some homebrewers have had success with an extended (90 minute+) boil followed by chilling as you mention.

If the terms I used are unclear, read How to Brew - By John Palmer.

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Old 06-29-2009, 06:02 AM   #7
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My last batch I did an all grain partial boil on my electric kitchen stove with no chiller. It's possible, but it didn't work well. Basically, I started boiling the wort and as the water boiled off I added water from the sparge. I think it took about 8 hours before I could fit all the wort in the brew pot. Keep in mind that every time I topped up, I had to wait for the water to start boiling again. The nice thing is that with an 8 hour boil DMS isn't an issue anymore.

A more practical alternative, would be just to get a second brew pot and split the boil between the two. This saves you the cost of the burner and you can keep your operation inside. You may still have to boil it longer then normal to boil off excess water, as electric stoves may not put out the BTUs of a propane burner. Also, an ice bath is an alternative to a chiller. Two smaller brew pots make this a more practical then one large one. One of the reasons for cooling the wart quickly is to reduce DMS. You can compensate for this by boiling longer.

Just some ideas. I'm trying to make do on limited equipment as well.

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Old 06-30-2009, 02:28 AM   #8
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Alright, I reread the mash section in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing since I previously had skimmed through it since I never thought I'd want to or be able to handle all grain brewing and I've got a few questions.

First of all, this is the way I understand the process of step mashing: I'd put let's say 6 lbs of grains into my HLT with 1.5 gallons of water at 130F for 30 minutes. Then I'd raise the temp to 150-158F by adding 3 quarts of 200F water to the HLT and hold for another 30 minutes. Then I sparge with 3 gallons of 170F water and put that into the brew kettle along with another 5 1/2 quarts to make a full 5 gallon batch. Does that all sound correct?

Would it be possible to simply top off the fermenter with the 5 1/2 quarts? If I'm doing a larger grain bill than that would it be possible to split the wort into two brewpots like brian_g suggests? Am I causing myself more work by trying to keep my operation indoors instead of just getting a turkey burner and doing it outside?

The book suggests using the HLT as a hopback and pouring the wort from the kettle back into that and attaching a chiller to the spigot and draining the wort into my fermenter. I'm immediately thinking of a counterflow chiller(?) that has a smaller copper hose inside a garden hose or something to chill the wort, would that be correct?

Thanks again, I almost feel overwhelmed with so many potential options here. It's incredibly exciting!

P.S. I'm looking into getting a small fridge to put my primary in so I can use bottom fermenting yeasts to make some true lagers; what extra equipment if any will I need to keep it at a suitable temperature?

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Old 06-30-2009, 05:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspice View Post
Alright, I reread the mash section in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing since I previously had skimmed through it since I never thought I'd want to or be able to handle all grain brewing and I've got a few questions.

First of all, this is the way I understand the process of step mashing: I'd put let's say 6 lbs of grains into my HLT with 1.5 gallons of water at 130F for 30 minutes. Then I'd raise the temp to 150-158F by adding 3 quarts of 200F water to the HLT and hold for another 30 minutes. Then I sparge with 3 gallons of 170F water and put that into the brew kettle along with another 5 1/2 quarts to make a full 5 gallon batch. Does that all sound correct?

Would it be possible to simply top off the fermenter with the 5 1/2 quarts? If I'm doing a larger grain bill than that would it be possible to split the wort into two brewpots like brian_g suggests? Am I causing myself more work by trying to keep my operation indoors instead of just getting a turkey burner and doing it outside?

The book suggests using the HLT as a hopback and pouring the wort from the kettle back into that and attaching a chiller to the spigot and draining the wort into my fermenter. I'm immediately thinking of a counterflow chiller(?) that has a smaller copper hose inside a garden hose or something to chill the wort, would that be correct?

Thanks again, I almost feel overwhelmed with so many potential options here. It's incredibly exciting!

P.S. I'm looking into getting a small fridge to put my primary in so I can use bottom fermenting yeasts to make some true lagers; what extra equipment if any will I need to keep it at a suitable temperature?

First, keep it simple. Mash at one temperature. Mash the grains at 153F for 60-90min. Then sparge with 170F water. Don't add plain water to your brew pot. Keep adding sparge water until you reach your final volume. I think a lot of people end up with 6-7 gals. in their brew pot after the sparge. You then have to boil off some of the extra water. This takes a little longer on a stove top because it's hard to get a vigorous boil. I think if you split the boil between two pots you should be able to boil the water off faster then with one.

I've only done one all grain batch, but my limited experience was that the biggest problem with doing it on a stove top was boiling off the extra water. The nice part about indoor brewing is that it makes your house smell nice.
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Old 06-30-2009, 05:49 AM   #10
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The nice part about indoor brewing is that it makes your house smell nice.
I wish my wife agreed with that sentiment. I think it smells fantastic, but she doesn't like it.


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