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Old 11-05-2013, 10:13 PM   #1
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Preparing to make the jump to all grain. Piecemealing gear together as I find it on Craigslist. My inital plan was to make the tried and true 2 10gal cooler (HLT/MT) with a 15gal keggle. Today I bought 3 stainless steel kegs and was thinking of the two routes I could go....

1) Convert all 3 into keggles with thermometers, keep one as my boil kettle and sell the other two to finance my cooler/hardware purchase. (my welding will be free... only thing that makes this a viable option)

2) Convert the 3 kegs into a false bottom mash tun, hot liquor tank and boil kettle with all the whizbang sight glass, valves and gadgets then use them to brew and forgo the coolers.

I plan on doing 5-10 gallon batches. A 3 tier gravity fed setup will be used, no pumps. I only have one Bayou Burner. I'm worried about the insulating properties of the bare or even wrapped keggles as I will not be directly firing the MT/HLT.

Thoughts?


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Old 11-05-2013, 10:18 PM   #2
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Question: If you've only got 1 burner I'd assume it's on your BK which would be used for heating water and boiling. Are you planning on walking all that hot water up a ladder to your HLT at the top tear in a bucket? PLEASE GET A PUMP!!!

If your worried about heat loss, go with the coolers. Just know, you'll only be able to close the session ABV beers in 10 gallon batches and as big as you want mostly in 5 gallon batches.


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Old 11-05-2013, 10:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgauthier20420 View Post
Question: If you've only got 1 burner I'd assume it's on your BK which would be used for heating water and boiling. Are you planning on walking all that hot water up a ladder to your HLT at the top tear in a bucket? PLEASE GET A PUMP!!!

If your worried about heat loss, go with the coolers. Just know, you'll only be able to close the session ABV beers in 10 gallon batches and as big as you want mostly in 5 gallon batches.
Yea I'm a burley water carrying beast! I wasn't planning on making the height excessive for the HLT.... is it advantageous to be super high? I get the whole 9.8 m/s thing.... but faster water from your liquor tank is better?

10 gal session beers and 5 gal high gravity with coolers, got it.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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I love my 10 gallon cooler! But- (and this is a big but), it maxes out at about 23 pounds of grain. That means I can do a 10 gallon batch, up to only about 1.063.

For a 10 gallon batch of 1.063 OG or higher, I need to use my keg mashtun. Even with a false bottom in it, I can easily get 35 pounds of grain into that and get an OG of 1.095. I never make beers that big, at least not often, but I do use 23+ pounds routinely and like the extra space!

I still have my 10 gallon cooler MLT, to use on smaller batches if I want but the 15 gallon keg MLT is really better for 10 gallon batches.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:44 PM   #5
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You can do fairly high gravity with a cooler mash tun the same size as your batch size. I can get to about 1.070 for 5.5 gallon batches in a 5 gallon cooler (which actually holds about 5.5 gallon). But that means mashing at about 1.0 qt/lb, which is only ok for some styles.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
I love my 10 gallon cooler! But- (and this is a big but), it maxes out at about 23 pounds of grain. That means I can do a 10 gallon batch, up to only about 1.063.

I still have my 10 gallon cooler MLT, to use on smaller batches if I want but the 15 gallon keg MLT is really better for 10 gallon batches.
+1 I will agree with Yooper here.

I built a 5 gallon round MT for low gravity and Partial Mash beers and a 52 quart (13 gallon) rectangle for larger beers. I think the 5 gallon will max out at 9lbs with the strike water being right to the lid. I have yet to max out the 52 quart, but think that I can get 28/29 lbs of grain and strike water into it.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:11 PM   #7
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Ok well this is definitely a concern of mine as most beers that I make (and enjoy) are skewed on the heavier OG end.

I have no issues sticking with the 3 keggles plan... but no one has addressed my main concern of heat loss during mash. Is it possible to wrap/insulate those keggles well enough that your not constantly fighting a battle to keep a stable temperature?

Getting a second burner would be cheaper than 2 igloo coolers for sure (although no sale of the keggles) so that's a viable option as well. A burner under the HLT and BK while still in some sort of vertical orientation.... hmmm.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:20 PM   #8
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It's a bit more involved but you could incorporate a RIMS in the MLT to solve the insulation worries. I made mine from 1.5" SS pipe and fittings....it would require a pump. Mine is actually part of a bottom draining 10gal Cooler MLT with a 2qt grant.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helibrewer View Post
It's a bit more involved but you could incorporate a RIMS in the MLT to solve the insulation worries. I made mine from 1.5" SS pipe and fittings....it would require a pump. Mine is actually part of a bottom draining 10gal Cooler MLT with a 2qt grant.
While I understand the acronyms, I can't envision it and really not sure how it would help the heat bleedoff... have pix?
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:31 PM   #10
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I use a keggle for a mashtun that is wrapped in ductwork insulation and a keg koosie and it does not lose any temperature during the mash hour. I preheat the mashtun with hot water and then dump it and start the mash process. Works great and cleans up great. I use a false bottom made for it.


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