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Old 09-17-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
dochockin
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Default AG setup: Anything missing?

I'm starting down the road of AG brewing, partly due to the fact that extract ingredients are rare and expensive in my area, but grain supplies seem to be abundant. As a newbie to both brewing, and where I now live, I don't really know anyone to 'mentor' with. I'm hoping I can post my AG setup plan and get any critiques or tips you'd like to offer (before I get half way through brew day and realize "DOH! I forgot to build a whatzit!!")

Crush: I have a Country Living grain mill for 'crushing'. As far as I can tell it's much like a Corona, and I already have it so it'll do for now. It's made to grind flour, but it can be adjusted it so wide that the barley falls right through untouched.

Mash Tun: I'm going to build a cooler mash tun, with a SS braid strainer. This seems to be the cheapest way to go for me (I have a cooler, barely used) and I have the impression that the SS braid will cancel out the 'poor' crush of my mill.

Wort Boil: I'm planning on picking up a Turkey Fryer kit from Canadian Tire for heating water and boiling the wort. Temperature monitoring via a floating thermometer.

Wort Chill: I'm going to build an immersion chiller out of copper pipe and run nice cold well water through it.

Primary Fermentation: Big old 10 gallon plastic bucket fermentor. As I plan on starting with 5 gallon brews, I anticipate being safe not using an airlock or blow-off tube for the primary.

Secondary Fermentation: 23 liter glass carboy with an airlock. Dry hopping in secondary.

Bottling: Rack into a bottling bucket for priming, bench capper and voila!

So, am I missing anything major? Are there any major red flags here?


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Old 09-17-2012, 04:39 PM   #2
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You ALWAYS need an airlock or blow off tube on your primary. Not sure what you mean by being safe and not using one but slap one on that sucker.

Also, what do you plan on using to heat your sparge water? You'll want to Sparge your grain to increase efficiency.


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Old 09-17-2012, 04:46 PM   #3
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Sooo, I don't know if you wanted a full checklist or not. There are a few things that you didn't mention:

Mash paddle
Thermometer
A jug for your vorlauf
Hydrometer
Test tube
Plastic tubing
Scale

Brew Pal (Mine's the iPhone version, $1.99) will really help, too

You probably have a lot of those, but I would make sure you have all of those. A scale was my latest addition, and I'm glad I bought it for measuring priming sugar out. Don't want exploding bottles!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:01 PM   #4
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MR: I figured since I was fermenting 5 gal of wort in a 10 gal bucket I would have plenty of head space for foaming and CO2 build up without an airlock/blow-off tube. Is this wrong? I've so far brewed one "wort-in-a-bag" kit last month, and a couple of distantly remembered kits back in the early 90s, so I'm still trying to integrate the various things I've read.

As for heating the sparge water, I will use the Turkey Fryer burner and a stock pot from the kitchen. I figure this will slow things down a bit as I'll have to wait for the mashing to fully finish before boiling the wort, but I can't afford to get two burners right now.

JT: Thanks for the list. I do have most of that stuff already. Mash paddle... I hadn't even thought of that... time to research. As for a scale, I have a cheapy 500 gram kitchen spring scale. That should suffice for weighing priming sugar, shouldn't it? I have a couple of the android apps on my phone. I'll evaluate which one to keep as I gain experience.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dochockin View Post

JT: Thanks for the list. I do have most of that stuff already. Mash paddle... I hadn't even thought of that... time to research. As for a scale, I have a cheapy 500 gram kitchen spring scale. That should suffice for weighing priming sugar, shouldn't it? I have a couple of the android apps on my phone. I'll evaluate which one to keep as I gain experience.
I just bought the plastic one that they sell at my LHBS. I know some people use SS and some use wood. Plastic works fine. I also have a cheap ($5) kitchen scale. That will suffice

I was in pretty much the same boat as you when I started, only I had some people who were willing to at least help on brew days and pitch in with ideas for new brews. Your LHBS is your best friend, I promise. If you don't have one, this forum is equally as good. Between this forum and my LHBS, I successfully completed my first batch and it is delicious. Good luck with yours!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:41 PM   #6
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You'll need a bucket to drain your mash into since you'll need your turkey fryer for heating the sparge water. They sell food grade buckets at the home depot for a couple of bucks. If you don't use an airlock or blowoff tube, which you should, make sure the lid is loose to allow co2 to escape.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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It is unclear from your equipment list whether you have 2 vessels for heating water vs the actual boil.

If you're dead set on the traditional 3 vessel all-grain brewing, you should have both a hot liquor tank (HLT) as well as a brew kettle (BK).

The reason being, after your mash is complete, you will vorlauf and collect your wort into the BK. At that point, you will need to add sparge water - if you only have a single kettle, you wouldn't have a way to do so... because there's wort in it now. It's not clear from your OP whether this is covered.

You may also want to look at BIAB which is a single-vessel all-grain brewing method, that does not require as much equipment.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDeadAsh View Post
It is unclear from your equipment list whether you have 2 vessels for heating water vs the actual boil.

If you're dead set on the traditional 3 vessel all-grain brewing, you should have both a hot liquor tank (HLT) as well as a brew kettle (BK).

The reason being, after your mash is complete, you will vorlauf and collect your wort into the BK. At that point, you will need to add sparge water - if you only have a single kettle, you wouldn't have a way to do so... because there's wort in it now. It's not clear from your OP whether this is covered.

You may also want to look at BIAB which is a single-vessel all-grain brewing method, that does not require as much equipment.
He has his bottling bucket. That can be used to hold first runnings while he is heating sparge water. It's also a good thing to use because they typically have the volume lines on the side. Then you'll know your exact preboil volume so you can calculate your boiloff rate
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dochockin
MR: I figured since I was fermenting 5 gal of wort in a 10 gal bucket I would have plenty of head space for foaming and CO2 build up without an airlock/blow-off tube. Is this wrong? I've so far brewed one "wort-in-a-bag" kit last month, and a couple of distantly remembered kits back in the early 90s, so I'm still trying to integrate the various things I've read
Without an airlock that bucket will blow its lid off I'm sure. It doesn't take much. And its easy to put an airlock on. You're right, with that large of a bucket you won't need a blow off tube but an airlock will definitely work. I wouldn't chance a potential explosion when it takes 2 seconds to put an airlock on.

I think I also read somewhere that big pressure in the fermenter can suppress yeast activity.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:14 PM   #10
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Regarding crush, close that mill down to 1mm and you won't have a quality crush issue, about the width of a credit card,+1 to all the previous posts!


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