I went pretty budget on my AG setup, but it's been serving me well so far.
I used this cooler:
And I made a steel braid using this tutorial:
The only downside of that cooler is, the spigot points down and with the longer fitting it hits the ground. I sit it up on some bricks (ok, some old speakers) to keep it from hitting the ground.
I use this as my boil kettle and to heat water:
I added on a thermometer as well for convenience
I use the Bayou Classic burner above to heat it....I have a gas stove, but it could never keep a rolling boil with 5G, and it also added over an hour to the cook time.
My basic process is this:
- Set up Bayou Classic on the back porch. Toss on brew pot and fill with correct amount of water (I got a filter I can hook to my hose water, I don't use the sink for anything anymore since I moved out of the kitchen)
- Heat water up to temp, move pot up to counter (repurposed old "bookshelf" entertainment center) and use a transfer tube to start draining the water into the cooler w/ grain. If it's a small enough amount of water, I just dump it, but usually it's too heavy for me to risk it.
- Put the cooler back on the bayou classic and wait....
- After an hour or so, I move the cooler up onto the counter, and drain into a bucket
- Heat up sparge water, while this is happening move the grain back down to ground level
- Put sparge water on cabinet, drain through transfer tube....pot goes back to the burner
- drain rest of sparge water into the bucket until I have the right amount
- haul that bucket over to the pot and dump it in
It's a bit ghetto rigged and resource intensive, but it got me into AG for minimal extra $$. It would just be too much to get a full on 3 tier system, as awesome as that would be. Plus my situation wouldn't allow me to easily move between inside and outside, and I don't particularly want to use that burner inside my back room.