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Old 10-17-2009, 10:29 PM   #1
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Default Suggestions for upgrading my rig

With Christmas coming up, I'm looking to make a major upgrade of my brewing rig. Right now I make 5-gallon extract and partial mash (brew-in-a-bag) brews. For temperature control, all I have is a jury-rigged swamp cooler-ish set-up. My brew pot is 5 gallons, so I can't quite do a full boil. I'm looking to spend about $300-600 to maximize the quality of my brewing. Here's what I've been looking at:

1. Brew-pot. I need something big enough for all-grain, and I may want to eventually move up to 10-gallon batches.

2. Propane burner. I might be able to get enough of a boil using two burners on my stove. However, it may be better to just move to a propane system.

3. Mash tun. I've thought about a DIY project with a cooler. I've also considered going all out and getting something like this with a false bottom. Could it also double as my brew-pot?{245}36{246}37

4. Wort chiller. How important is this? How much would I save building it myself?

5. Refrigeration system. It would be nice to be able to do lagers. What would I need to buy?

So, considering all of the above and my price range, what will get me the maximum bang for my buck? Any advice? Thanks.

"Das Wort hat, ... als ich Wittenbergisch Bier mit meinem Philipp und Amsdorf getrunken hab, also viel getan..." - Martin Luther

On Deck: American IPA, Märzen
Fermenting: None
In Bottles: Prime Abbey Singel, Vespers Abbey Dubbel, Terce Abbey Tripel, Compline Abbey Quad, Dragon's Tail Barleywine, Boyne Mead
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:44 PM   #2
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Start here
Look at what people are doing and take what you like of their systems and start building toward it. You've got a lot of wants, but only you know your limitations on space, time, DIY capability.



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Old 10-18-2009, 07:38 AM   #3
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That Blichmann is a top quality unit, no doubt...but for me it's not bang for the buck. It is for someone who has the dough, wants "the best" and is willing to pay dearly.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:10 AM   #4
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i think if you are willing to spend that kind of money you will be able to get something very nice. if you are looking to go all grain the bigger brewpot, propane burner, mash tun and chiller are the main peices of equipment. how much you want to spend depends also on how much you want to do it yourself also

A DYI mash tun: you will need a cooler (i would go with one large enough for ten gallon batches because you will eventually want the ability to do them even if it is a while down the road) a manifold and a ball valve fitting. the cooler is easy enough t come by, you might even have one now, and there are many optons for manifolds; copper, stainless braid etc. look around this site and pick what you think will work best. the ball valve fitting you can do yourself but lots of brew shops will sell some so that will make it easier also.

Brewpot and propane burner: you can look for a turkey fryer that comes with a pot already in a set, you can usually find these relativly cheap and could kill two birds with one stone, or since you are looking to spend that kind of money i would look into a keggle and a larger burner(ie: banjo burner KAB or something similar) you would not have to upgrade then if you are looking into larger batches later on then.

Chiller: you will need it for full boils otherwise you will be waiting a long time for your wort to cool to pitching temps, once again ther are options, a simple copper immersion chiller would most likely be the cheapest, a DYI one will allow you to make any size one you want for probably the cheapest but i have seen a site that sells a 50 ft chiller for about 30$$ which is rediculously cheap. there are other options then such as counterflow chillers and plate chillers which will depend on what suits your needs

All these things depend on what you want and these are just my opinions, the one thing i will stress is get something that you can grow on/will allow larger batches, i built my all grain eqipment so that it would store easily but i sacrificed being able to do larger batches or batches with large grain bills. Have fun looking for the things to suit you and good luck with what ever you end up choosing. i hope this was helpful - CD
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