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Old 04-04-2013, 01:46 PM   #1
doornumber3
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Default Want vs. Need for all grain

So i've decided a few more extract batches and i'm going to make the switch to all grain. I have some pretty nice stuff for extract brewing - 10 gallon pot with spigot etc..... The question is i'm going to be buying some new equipment like a mashtun and wondering thoughts on this. I don't mind spending the money on something that i'll use for awhile, so what are some things you'd invest in and what type of mashtun? I know northern brewer has a deluxe all grain system.



Is it worth it? Should i invest and go bigger? Thanks in advance.

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:59 PM   #2
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You're going to get a ton of different responses. You can go all grain with just a big mesh bag and do BIAB with your current setup.

But, if you want a mash tun, I would suggest converting a 10gal igloo cooler to a mash tun. Heck, you can probably do two yourself for about the price of the NB setup in the link. The advantage is the ability to make larger beers. Sure, mashing 14lbs is enough room for a large number of styles, but the BDSA I just made used 24lbs of grain. Now, I don't brew that way every weekend, but it's nice to have the capacity.

I guess it comes down to what you want. For me, a converted 10gal mash tun with ss braid works great. If I had the space and cash, I'd love to do a three-tier system.

Let the varied reccommendations begin

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:17 PM   #3
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Thanks, i was thinking the 10 gallon too but was worried if i do mostly 5 gallon batches would I lose much heat. They sell the 2 tier for 249 in 10 gallons which i might go for.....whats the benefit of the mashtun and then 2 or 3 tier mashtun?

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:26 PM   #4
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From a minimalist standpoint and understanding its going to mean more work and lifting, you will need a mash tun, 7-10 gal (bigger the better) kettle, chiller and hydrometer. Buy your grain crushed. You can collect your first runnings in a bucket and heat sparge water in your kettle. Dump your first runnings from the bucket in the kettle after your sparge.

When I started I had what I had been using: a 10 gal kettle, my old partial boil 4 gal kettle for sparge water, my DIY chiller and the rest of my extract stuff. I DIYed my mash tun and went from there. Its not really as big of an investment as some people think to switch over.

If you stick with AG thats when you start dropping more money.

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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Tiers have to do with positioning not the type of tun. I would recommend buying a nice cooler from Lowe's or Home Depot (Or wherever you go), and converting it yourself. You can literally save 100 bucks by making your own mash tun, and if you take your time, it will last just as long as the pre-made ones. It's all personal preference, but I made my mash-tun and immersion chiller for less than the cost of the mash tun alone.

As far as size, you need to consider what beers you want to make. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/how-...-needs-123585/ Check out this chart.

If you don't already have some sort of chilling element (immersion, counterflow, etc.) get that. Next would be fermentation control. Letting your yeast work in the optimal environment will greatly improve the quality of your beer.

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:58 PM   #6
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I'm thinking about switching from a cooler to one of these. Seems pretty good for the price, and you can get a little more grain in them.

http://www.homebrewing.org/MiniMash-...ns_p_2669.html

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Old 04-04-2013, 04:02 PM   #7
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I have a 10 gallon and building a 70 qt now. Why? My 10 gallon doesn't work with 10 gallon brews and higher grain bills for some 6 gallon batches. Do you see yourself making 10 gallon high gravity brews down the road? If yes, go big now.

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Old 04-04-2013, 04:03 PM   #8
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Definitely build your own 10 gallon mash tun. You can always brew bigger beers with it easier than a 5 gallon. I use a false bottom in mine and absolutely love it, never a stuck sparge.

Personally, I would get another 10 gallon pot with a spigot, add a sight glass, and make it my HLT. I did this and it makes having proper measures of water easily ready. You might want to add a sight glass to your brew pot too so you can get your pre and post boil volumes right.

You didn't think you were going to save money with all-grain....did you???

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Old 04-04-2013, 04:04 PM   #9
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If you want to fly sparge, a tall round 10 gal cooler with a false bottom is a good choice. If you batch sparge I would just get a massive rectangular cooler. Either way you will need a second pot to either heat sparge water or store it after heating in the boil kettle. I got a good deal on two 5 gallon Home Depot coolers so I heat strike water in my 10 gal kettle, transfer and mash in, then during the last 20 minutes of the mash add more heat and dump the remaining water from the BK to the second cooler which acts as a HLT. Then the BK is empty and ready to accept the wort. Sometimes i have to temporarily store a but of extra water in a second pot then add it to the HLT when there is room With this setup I can batch or fly sparge but am very limited on how strong a beer I can make with a 5 gal batch. When I am ready to upgrade I will skip the bigger sized cooler and go straight to an insulated keggle for an MLT, but if I had gone with a big cooler I would probably stick with it for years.

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Old 04-04-2013, 04:12 PM   #10
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You didn't think you were going to save money with all-grain....did you???

I like that! I thought I was going to save some money doing all grain. I think eventually I will when I'm washing my yeast, and buying more specialty grains in bulk. So far its about the same price. Still damn fun though.

Definitely go bigger with your mash tun. 10 gal all the way!

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