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Old 09-06-2007, 10:09 PM   #1
Aug 2007
East Lansing, Mi
Posts: 187
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I would like to do a basic amber AG, but I might have to stick with PM until I can get a lot more equipment. But I am wondering if I can tackle an AG with the equipment I have now.

First, what size cooler would I need for mashing, minimally? I have a 5 gallon upright bevarage cooler, but is that enough room for both the grains and the water? It sounds to me like it would be since I will be going with about 1-1.5 quarts per pound, but I thought I'd ask the experts.

Second, before converting a cooler to a mash/lauter tun, can I mash by putting the barley in grain bags in the cooler? Would that also work for sparging?

Third, my stove is not powerful enough to boil five gallons in one pot. Would it work okay if I evenly boiled 2.5 in two seperate pots? That will be tricky.


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Old 09-06-2007, 10:14 PM   #2
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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Answers to all the questions are a qualified yes. If you make a beer with a low og, then you should have enough room in the cooler, no problem. If you don't have a false bottom, you might be able to do it with huge grainbags that line the whole cooler. Not separate bags, because you want free movement of water to get all the sugars out. If it's in separate grain bags just laying there, I don't think you'll extract much.

I did 2 separate boils before I got a bigger pot- you can boil 3.25 gallons in each pot and end up with around 5 gallons total. Make sure you have two sinks ready for the ice bath (or enough ice in the bathtub) to cool them, since you're not topping up with water. Unless you have a wort chiller, that is. Just divide the hops evenly.
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:37 PM   #3
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Jun 2007
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agreed. before I got my big brew pot and propane burner, I used two 12qt pots (which still doesn't get you 5gallons of wort after evaporation, but its better to boil 4 gallons than 2 gallons)
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Old 09-07-2007, 05:17 AM   #4
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Apr 2007
Belleville, just across the river from St. Louis, Illinois
Posts: 81

Originally Posted by newell456

Second, before converting a cooler to a mash/lauter tun, can I mash by putting the barley in grain bags in the cooler? Would that also work for sparging?

I still do this I have a big ol' grain bag that I use, just put the grains in their close the top of the bag and start mashing.
That's what she said.

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Old 09-07-2007, 04:29 PM   #5
Feb 2007
Posts: 326
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I also use the mash in a grain bag method, works great for me. Thought about building a mashtun with a false bottom, but never got around to it. Might someday b/c I'm sure its easier, but might not b/c this method is working fine. I used to use the 2 pot boil method until I bought a turkey fryer, and actually used that method about a month ago for half of my boil b/c a storm came from nowhere. These methods might be a little more difficult, but they still produce just as good of beer as the other methods.

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Old 09-07-2007, 04:42 PM   #6
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Aug 2007
Omaha, Nebraska
Posts: 290
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Another option is to brew slightly smaller batches. Iím in a similar situation as you, and am extremely happy doing 3 gallon batches. I usually donít have any problems, and can do full boils.

And if I want to do a 5.5 gallon or 6 gallon batch, I can always just split the batch between two 3gal carboys.

Just a thought!

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