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Old 01-05-2006, 06:53 PM   #1
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Default "Cooler" tun size for AG brewing

I'm considering making the leap to AG. To circumvent searching (any more) through miscellaneous bits of info about AG brewing, I'd like to pose the following question:

What size coolers and brew pot are required (or suggested) for a three-tier system to make 5 gallon AG batches? I don't want to make more than 5 gals at a time and I don't want to spend the extra money on burners and pots at all three levels. I'm thinking along the lines of what Born Brewing has http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/.../9/brewery.JPG


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Old 01-05-2006, 07:05 PM   #2
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i'm the same. i only do 5 g batches, but just want the option to do 10 if i like, or if a brew bud wants to have a brew-in and split the 10 g.

saying that, i'd go with a 10 gallon Rubbermaid/Igloo cooler. some use the rectangular larger coolers, but i prefer the cylindrical type. the 10 g cooler will allow you to brew higher gravity 5 gallon batches. w/ mash water and grains, 13-15 lbs is a pretty tight fit.

for a brew kettle, i'd say no less than 8-10 gallon kettle. you'll be mashing and sparging to get, say 6-6.5 gallons to boil down to 5, so plenty of room for a nice, vigorous boil is needed. the most you'llspend i on the boil kettle. after that, you can really save money on equipment, and still brew excellent beers.

keep us posted.


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Old 01-05-2006, 07:31 PM   #3
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What DRB said. I have a 9g rectangular cooler that I graduated to from a 5g round cooler. The extra space is really necessary. In retrospect, I did like the round configuration better than rectangular as I seem to get pockets of different temperatures moreso in the rectangular cooler, but I'm still making beer.

I have a 30qt/7.5g pot which I thought would be perfect, but now I consider just barely adequate. I usually start with 7g which leaves very little room and I have to monitor the hot break very very closely. Once I get through it, however, I'm fine.
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Old 01-05-2006, 07:52 PM   #4
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DrewsBrews,

Take a look at my set up. I reckon it cost me less than 70 to put together using some bits I had lying around.

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Old 01-05-2006, 09:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeGee
I have a 30qt/7.5g pot which I thought would be perfect, but now I consider just barely adequate. I usually start with 7g which leaves very little room and I have to monitor the hot break very very closely.
So it looks like I should be in search of a brew pot of at least 8gal capacity, but closer to the 10gal DRB suggested.

Two other related questions: Should I be overly concerned about cooler-tuns being pristine inside? I'm wondering if a used one with minor abrasions would be acceptable. Or is bacteria a concern even at this stage? Secondly, I bought a pro-grade 6gal SS pot (with a three layer bottom) for my extract batches because I didn't want to worry about scorching. Should I do the same for the larger AG brew pot, or would any decent SS pot do? I use an outdoor burner good for 185k btu wide open.

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Originally Posted by orfy
Take a look at my set up. I reckon it cost me less than 70 to put together using some bits I had lying around.
That include the guard dogs?

Thanks, guys.
Andy
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewsBrews
Two other related questions: Should I be overly concerned about cooler-tuns being pristine inside? I'm wondering if a used one with minor abrasions would be acceptable. Or is bacteria a concern even at this stage? Secondly, I bought a pro-grade 6gal SS pot (with a three layer bottom) for my extract batches because I didn't want to worry about scorching. Should I do the same for the larger AG brew pot, or would any decent SS pot do? I use an outdoor burner good for 185k btu wide open.
i'd splurge for the new cooler. you never know what's been in a used cooler and scratches can harbor nasties. even though a good cleaning might be okay, i'd be on the safe side.

no need for the extra layed bottom kettle. just a nice, simpple SS kettle will do.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewsBrews
Should I be overly concerned about cooler-tuns being pristine inside? I'm wondering if a used one with minor abrasions would be acceptable. Or is bacteria a concern even at this stage? Secondly, I bought a pro-grade 6gal SS pot (with a three layer bottom) for my extract batches because I didn't want to worry about scorching. Should I do the same for the larger AG brew pot, or would any decent SS pot do?
Your cooler needs to be clean, but certainly not pristine...after all, the wort is gonna get boiled anyway, and even mash temps are gonna be pretty tough on bacteria.

As for a brew pot, if you're gonna go up to ten gallons, then why not move on up to a keggle. If you're gonna drop $150 anyway, why not drop another $100 and not have to worry about whether it's cheap SS or not, or big enough or not.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pistolero
If you're gonna drop $150 anyway, why not drop another $100 and not have to worry about whether it's cheap SS or not, or big enough or not.
Much as I'd like to, the more expensive toys I add to this hobby, the more my wife will start eyeballing expensive trinkets she's desiring. Spending begets more spending - you get the idea. She just dropped down to working two days a week (from three) and we've got a three-year-old I'd like help put through college some day...

Andy
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewsBrews
Much as I'd like to, the more expensive toys I add to this hobby, the more my wife will start eyeballing expensive trinkets she's desiring. Spending begets more spending - you get the idea. She just dropped down to working two days a week (from three) and we've got a three-year-old I'd like help put through college some day...

Andy
more power to ya bro.
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewsBrews
Much as I'd like to, the more expensive toys I add to this hobby, the more my wife will start eyeballing expensive trinkets she's desiring. Spending begets more spending - you get the idea. She just dropped down to working two days a week (from three) and we've got a three-year-old I'd like help put through college some day...
I hear ya...all my wife knows is that the keggle cost $99 plus $20 shipping. I didn't tell her about the other $150 of fittings that arrived the next day. And the kids are just gonna have to get scholarships.


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