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Old 09-06-2011, 03:22 PM   #1
bigirishape
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Default Planned AG Build...

I'm looking to do my first all-grain batch soon, but first, I wanted to get my estimated build critiqued. I usually tend to overkill things, so if I'm doing so, please call me on it and any advice on how to better do a part of the build, or a location for parts, or a cheaper alternative would be most welcome.

Also, I am a complete AG newbie. Still learning all of the terminology and requirements and calculations, so please bear with me.

HLT = 15.5g keggle w/ weldless fittings for spigot, sight gauge and thermometer
Already have keg and top cut, holes predrilled in bottom rim. Just need to determine if I need weldless fittings for the spigot, gauge and thermo...and if so, where to get them from.
Plan is to have this on a makeshift tower setup, using gravity to feed the juice to where it needs to go. This will be on top w/ a propane burner.

MT = large rectangular cooler w/ weldless spigot and copper manifold or steel-braided pipe
I've been reading about the differences in batch and fly sparging, and which ones yield greater efficiency and which technique is best for which hardware...and I have yet to see a true winner. This may just be due to my inexperience in AG brewing, and not having made my mind up to method yet.
The "DIY Overkiller" in me wants to get a 62qt cooler with a large latticed copper manifold, drilled and filtered. Would be set below and to the side of the HLT.

BK = 15.5g keggle w/ weldless fittings for spigot, sight gauge and thermometer
Much the same as the HLT, just lower.

Chiller = immersion copper coil w/ hose fittings
I'm sure the Therminator is the way to go, but I don't know about dropping $200 on it yet. That luxury may wait for Christmas or something...

I have a picture of a stepped rack in my head. HLT on top, step down to MT ledge, step down to BK.

I'm really open to any suggestions, but please try to keep the "you're an idiot" comments to a minimum even if they're relevant, my fragile ego can't take much abuse

(Yes, I do have a habit of aiming for mid-to-high range setups rather than starting low and building piece by piece. However, if anybody has suggestions for how to do an AG batch with a very minimal setup (not really looking to do BIAB) I'm all ears!)


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Old 09-06-2011, 03:36 PM   #2
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I know kegcowboy has a sell on a 40 plate chiller right now super cheap and probably just as good as a thermenator http://kegcowboy.com/index.php?dispa...product_id=310 if you want to go that route.


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Old 09-06-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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If you want to have a go with your first AG run, get one large pot and a sparge bag and you can do BIAB. Very cost efficient, makes good brew. Search for BIAB on here to dig it up. I did three batches like that then said,... time to commit. Luckily my buddy bought a Blichmann MT - which is an unreal piece of equipment that I would have been too cheap to buy.

If you are vested in doing the pots (I would be ):

1. I would rec. batch sparging over fly. Very efficient, very easy and very quick. No need to mess with the fly sparging unless you want to.
2. IC - I use 50ft of 1/2 inch copper for an immersion chiller. You can build and solder it for about $90. Works great, cools 11g batches of brew to 75 in 12 minutes and 65 in 15 minutes.
3. I was considering a three tiered setup and recently I have decided to omit it and do a two or a single tier. I didn't want to get a pump, but getting on a ladder to fill my HLT is just gonna get old quick. Currently I am debating a raised HLT, then a pump for the MT to BK. Just something to consider... Elevating the HLT adds gravity simplicity from HLT to MT by the height won't be unrealistic.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerGuy1000 View Post
I know kegcowboy has a sell on a 40 plate chiller right now super cheap and probably just as good as a thermenator http://kegcowboy.com/index.php?dispa...product_id=310 if you want to go that route.
Anybody from KegCowboy care to comment on this, or anybody else own this already and able to speak to its effectiveness?
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CidahMastah View Post
If you want to have a go with your first AG run, get one large pot and a sparge bag and you can do BIAB. Very cost efficient, makes good brew. Search for BIAB on here to dig it up. I did three batches like that then said,... time to commit. Luckily my buddy bought a Blichmann MT - which is an unreal piece of equipment that I would have been too cheap to buy.

If you are vested in doing the pots (I would be ):

1. I would rec. batch sparging over fly. Very efficient, very easy and very quick. No need to mess with the fly sparging unless you want to.
2. IC - I use 50ft of 1/2 inch copper for an immersion chiller. You can build and solder it for about $90. Works great, cools 11g batches of brew to 75 in 12 minutes and 65 in 15 minutes.
3. I was considering a three tiered setup and recently I have decided to omit it and do a two or a single tier. I didn't want to get a pump, but getting on a ladder to fill my HLT is just gonna get old quick. Currently I am debating a raised HLT, then a pump for the MT to BK. Just something to consider... Elevating the HLT adds gravity simplicity from HLT to MT by the height won't be unrealistic.
Thanks Cidah, pretty interested in doing keggles over BIAB. I'm sure it works for some folks, and would probably work for me, just not the route I'm interested in taking at this time.

Thanks for the batch-vs-fly recommendation, will definitely look into it.

If the thermal chiller doesn't pan out, definitely looking into doing the copper tubing route. I just need to make sure I have something I can spiral it around small enough to fit in the mouth of the keggle when I finish cutting it.

As far as the tiered setup, I was worried about the 3 tiers being to tall as well, but then I decided that I could easily run a hose to the top tier, potentially using one of those gutter cleaner attachments (they're like 3' long and have a hook on the end). The three tier height is also a reason I'm really interested in having the sight gauges on the keggles.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigirishape View Post
Thanks Cidah, pretty interested in doing keggles over BIAB. I'm sure it works for some folks, and would probably work for me, just not the route I'm interested in taking at this time.

Thanks for the batch-vs-fly recommendation, will definitely look into it.

If the thermal chiller doesn't pan out, definitely looking into doing the copper tubing route. I just need to make sure I have something I can spiral it around small enough to fit in the mouth of the keggle when I finish cutting it.

As far as the tiered setup, I was worried about the 3 tiers being to tall as well, but then I decided that I could easily run a hose to the top tier, potentially using one of those gutter cleaner attachments (they're like 3' long and have a hook on the end). The three tier height is also a reason I'm really interested in having the sight gauges on the keggles.
I am totally with you on the keggle vs. BIAB. While good on a budget, I much prefer the convenience of the 3 pot system vs. BIAB. I am actually grabbing a 100qt megapot (should get here wednesday) and converting it to electric. This will give me a 15g HLT (megapot), 15G MT (blichmann) and a 25G BK (megapot). I have been using the HLT as a HLT/BK and it is electric - love it. Next will be electrifying my MT with an eherms coils (my chiller will double as the coil and the chiller).

That was a heck of a lot to say - go for the three pot set up.

The site gauges will be key on the three tiered set up. For me, I told the wife about the design, and my concern for hot water up that far. Once I told her that I was immediately vetted for a pump and a single tier design! Not to mention... with that rack design I will be able to brew in my basement in the winter
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:48 PM   #7
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I think you could do without the thermometer on the BK. It's either boiling or it's not. Everything else looks good to me. Don't forget to not use a regular garden hose to put water in the HLT. Get one of the blue RV hoses.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:32 PM   #8
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I think you could do without the thermometer on the BK. It's either boiling or it's not. Everything else looks good to me. Don't forget to not use a regular garden hose to put water in the HLT. Get one of the blue RV hoses.
Not necessary, but to me the thermometer is well worth it there.

I like being able to glance up at my PID and see how close I am to a boil. It won't be as visible with a thermometer, but just the same you will know when you should start hanging around the kettle in anticipation of hot break and first hop additions.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jww9618 View Post
I think you could do without the thermometer on the BK. It's either boiling or it's not. Everything else looks good to me. Don't forget to not use a regular garden hose to put water in the HLT. Get one of the blue RV hoses.
True, thermo on BK is optional, but I figure if I'm already going to town on the setup I may as well. That way if the HLT has any issues, I can just swap BK up to HLT and use another keggle as a temp BK w/o thermo. I'm an IT person, I like easy redundancy :P

As far as the hose, I didn't know about this blue RV hose. Any further info regarding what it is, why not the regular hose, and where I may be able to find one?
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:08 AM   #10
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bargainfittings.com for the best deal/selection on fittings from my own personal experience


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