Cheap(er) way to go from extract to AG 3 tier - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Cheap(er) way to go from extract to AG 3 tier

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-23-2012, 08:31 PM   #1
bkorver
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
bkorver's Avatar
Recipes 
 
May 2011
Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 116
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts



Hi all. I am looking for a cheap way to go from extracts in the kitchen to all grain in the garage. I already have a decent burner and a great 7 gallon stainless boil pot. I was thinking of just getting 2 7 gallon rubber maid coolers with ball valves and rigging a shower head for fly sparging. I know one of these coolers can be used for a MLT, but is it a good idea to use one as a HLT as well and save a boatload of money?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #2
cfonnes
Recipes 
 
Jun 2010
Utah
Posts: 929
Liked 64 Times on 49 Posts


If you used a rubber cooler as a HLT how would you heat the water?

Using wood I built a gravity feed system. It utilizes two burners, one for the HLT and one for the brew kettle. The brew kettle and the HLT are keggles, the MLT is a round cooler that I built following the instructions on this site.

If I fly sparge I just put a piece of aluminum foil on top of the MLT water and trickle sparge water out of the HLT on to it, seems to work great. However I found little difference between fly sparging and batch sparging so I usually batch sparge.

In Utah kegs are hard to find so Keggle creation is difficult. If you have any trips out of state soon you may want to check craigslist before you go.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 08:46 PM   #3
cfonnes
Recipes 
 
Jun 2010
Utah
Posts: 929
Liked 64 Times on 49 Posts


Go with 10 gallon cooler for MLT, you will not be disappointed.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 08:47 PM   #4
SauceBoss
Recipes 
 
Jul 2010
Orlando, FL
Posts: 179

I actually did this myself. I have a 42 qt pot and a nice burner outside. I converted a 10 gal rubbermaid cooler into my MLT using the techniques that can be found here in the forums. As cfonnes presents, you cannot heat up the water in the mash tun directly but heating it up and then putting it in the cooler worked fine for me. I just took a bit longer to make sure my temp was where I wanted but but once I added grains and got everything normalized it only fluctuated a degree or two for the hour I was mashing. I'll be converting a 5 gal cooler into a HLT and just stick to batch sparging for now. All in all I went from doing partial mash to AG for less than $150
__________________
Primary -
Secondary - Sadie's Deuce Chocolate Stout
Bottled - Raspberry Tart Ale, Oaked IPA, Butternut Squash Porter, APA
Kegged -

Upcoming - Mint Chocolate Stout, Imperial Milk Stout

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 08:55 PM   #5
bkorver
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
bkorver's Avatar
Recipes 
 
May 2011
Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 116
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts


My thinking was I could get the water up to temp in my boil pot, and transfer to the cooler I would set up as a HLT. Connect the "shower head" fly sparge contraption and open the ball valve and wait for gravity to do her thing. I know it would be tedious to transfer the hot water and hurry up and get it going, but once I get the lid on I don't expect to have any severe temperature drops while the water is in the HLT...

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 09:10 PM   #6
Lennie
Recipes 
 
Dec 2008
Hannibal, MO
Posts: 584
Liked 13 Times on 12 Posts


Your idea is sound as long as you don't mind transferring the water by hand.

I prefer batch sparging for its simplicity. I have a cooler MLT, and I bought a 3gal cheapie pot for my sparge water. I'll mash with around 5gal, then run that in my kettle and sparge with the 3gal of water. You could darned near put your sparge water in a HDPE bucket if you're batch sparging since you'll be adding it fairly quickly anyway.

You'd better have Fermcap S (or AT) if you are going to do a full boil on wort for a 5gal batch. You'll be starting with 6-6.5gal and that won't leave much room in that 7gal pot. You could also go with a higher gravity and smaller volume and then dilute into the fermentor, you'll lose a little efficiency and need a touch more hops but it can be done.

I really like brewing AG, it adds another dimension to the hobby and you can save some money if you find the right supplier.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #7
Revvy
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
Revvy's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,921
Liked 3183 Times on 1883 Posts


Why do you wanna go three tier, why do you wanna fly sparge?

If you want cheap, don't go with a two cooler setup and batch sparge instead of fly.

My ghetto brew-rig, featuring the 15 dollar harbor freight folding workbench and milk crate. This and a half gallon pitcher is all I use.



Been doing AG with it for 5 years. And it was a pretty cheap setup.
__________________
Like my snazzy new avatar? Get Sons of Zymurgy swag, here, and brew with the best.

Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman

I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 09:26 PM   #8
Lennie
Recipes 
 
Dec 2008
Hannibal, MO
Posts: 584
Liked 13 Times on 12 Posts


Lower middle class rig at best Revvy. You'd need to use car parts as tables for it to qualify as ghetto. Plus you'd want a pit bull in the pic somewhere.

I have the same cooler, but without the ball valve. I just installed a rubber grommet from a minikeg and shoved plastic hose through that. You put the end of the hose up through the handle to prevent it from running. Lowering hose below liquid level to drain.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 09:31 PM   #9
scottland
Recipes 
 
May 2010
Chandler, AZ
Posts: 2,116
Liked 155 Times on 113 Posts


I brewed 20+ batches on a setup just like Revvy's. I've since built a more complicated system which makes my brew days more consistent, but the beer is necessarily better. I had a rectangular cooler, rather than the tall-water cooler style, but that was the only difference.

To go from Extract to All-Grain you need:
-A pot large enough for full-batch boil (sounds like you have that)
-A burner that can heat said pot (sounds like you have that)
-A wort chiller because ice baths and top-off water don't really work with full-batch boils.

That's it for the must haves. You can do a BIAB with that setup. For just $50 more you can build a mash tun out of a cooler. Either the water cooler style like Revvy's picture shows, or the rectangular style. I personally highly recommend building a mash tun. It makes life easier.
__________________
http://www.bertusbrewery.com/

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2012, 09:36 PM   #10
bkorver
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
bkorver's Avatar
Recipes 
 
May 2011
Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 116
Liked 8 Times on 6 Posts


I think you're right, Revvy. I guess I wasn't looking for cheap per se, but cheaper than a stainless HLT and a dual burner stand. The three tiers would mean no pump. As for the fly sparging i don't have a good answer as I have no experience to compare the two. The coolers themselves are only about $50 or so. I think I will just get a 10 gallon Igloo for a MLT, try it out, and see what shakes loose...

 
Reply With Quote


Reply
Thread Tools



Forum Jump