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Old 03-16-2006, 03:34 AM   #1
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Default Cheap all-grain equipment

Ok, so we've decided to go all grain. I know we'll need some kind of propane burner, a large pot, possibly with the capacity to lauter as well as mash, and a wort chiller. I've read a lot about homemade wort chillers and I'm pretty sure I can figure that part out, but how much should I realistically expect to spend on a burner and 10-15 gal. pot? It of course has to be stainless, and if I can't use it as a lauter tun, no biggee, I'll just lauter in a five gal. bucket with holes. Also, about how much propane per batch should I expect to use? Should I refill everytime I brew, or can I stretch it? I'd hate to run out of propane in the middle of a session.
Thanks for the help,

Up next: Big Brew Off competition between me and Kaptain Karma as one team, and my two roommates as another--We'll be brewing Pale Ales with specifications on malts, hops, and total yeild to see who's version is better (and to end up with ten total gallons of great beer).
Also up soon: Belgian Dubbel
Primary: Grampa's Woodshed Apple Smoked Porter
Secondary: Zombiefoot California Common, Chocolate Strong Porter
Drinking: Seamus O'Drunkagan Irish Red, Humble Pie Imperial Stout, Capricorn IPA
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Old 03-16-2006, 03:47 AM   #2
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If you are in the range of 10-15 gallon pots and don't plan on doing it yourself, buy a converted keg from Sabco at about 100 bucks (and my shipping was 20 bucks). Compared to large stainless pots you may find elsewhere, this is a good deal. They have the nipples welded on them (one full and one half coupling) so you can have a drain valve and a thermometer. They also have the top cut out of them for you. I think these are a great deal unless you plan on getting a keg and have access to a stainless welder or welding service.

The burner... Wal-Mart turkey fryer. Use the pot that comes with it to hold the pre-chiller for your wort chiller when you get to that stage (and for turkeys!).

Propane... I would say four batches for the 'standard size' propane tank.

You would be farther ahead to have a seperate lauter tun which drains into your kettle. That opens up a whole new can of worms...

Beer lovers make better drinkers.
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Old 03-16-2006, 05:23 AM   #3
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I'll second Dyer on the Sabco keggle...absolutely everything you need in a brew pot, and not that expensive when all is said and done.
[/I] Up Next - Hobgoblin
After That - Czech Pilsner
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Primary - NOT Wheat AG SNCA (5/5)
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Conditioning - SNCA Clone (3/3),
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Old 03-16-2006, 09:35 PM   #4
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If you are trying to save money, you can get a turkey fryer for about $40.00. This comes with a propane burner, regulator, propane tank and a 7 or 8 gal aluminum pot.You can do your boil in the aluminum pot . You should already have a pot big enough to boil the water. I assume you are going to brew 5 gal batches. If you are after 10 gal batches I have no sugestions. And yes SS steel is better than aluminum but aluminum works and getting alzheimers from cooking in aluminum is bunk. I would also suggest that you get a second propane tank just in case.
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Old 03-17-2006, 02:59 PM   #5
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yeah, I'll second davidkrau here. I thought it was odd to come into a thread titled "cheap all grain equipment" and then find a bunch of stuff about stainless and keggles. Not exactly what I think of when I think cheap all grain stuff.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:49 PM   #6
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I got my kegs from SABCO and converted them into two very efficient kettles. I am very pleased with the job that my local metal ship performed. For mashing I simply converted a regular picnic cooler, and installed one of them Bazooka screens and a Kewler Kitz from Zymico. You could probbaly fabricate something like this for less, since I'm not an engineer or incredibly gifted as a tinker'r it was worth it's weight in stainless steel.

I spread the cost out over time so it didn't hurt my pocket so much. It wasn't super cheap, but then again it beats buying beer at the store.

Brewing 10 gallons at a time gets me about four batches out of my propane tank I would recommend the King Kooker as the burner of choice.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:53 PM   #7
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Once again, I suggest the "simple all-grain" HERE

It'll get you started and if you don't like it you've got very little invested and its still usable for other stuff.

That site is a goldmine if you ask me!

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Old 03-23-2006, 11:55 AM   #8
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Iain that site great thank you mate
"There is nothing more lonesome than a pub with no beer" (slim dusty)

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Old 03-23-2006, 02:13 PM   #9
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I think the only major expense is the pot, if you don't already have one.

I made a CPVC manifold for a 34-quart cooler I already had for less than $10.

It looks like you can get a turkey fryer with a stainless 34 Qt pot on e-bay for around $100 or less including shipping. 34 QT seems like about the minimum size pot to me.

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Old 03-24-2006, 05:45 PM   #10
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I was lucky, I already had a SS 9 gal pot I had made when I worked in a welding shop. I mash in a rectanular cooler, dump the wort into my bottling bucket with a Home Depot paint strainer bag in it, syphon hot liquor from the pot, drain into a pickle bucket, dump the wort into the pot, boil on a burner from a NG wall furnace that's fed propane with the hose and regulator borrowed from the Barbecue. I've been fermenting in carboys from the swap meet, $5 each. I started with a swap meet 'kit' that had thermo, hydometer, bubblers, capper, caps, and a Irish Red extract kit, all for $20. I went AG later, $35 total, including $5 for an antique, gear operated bench capper. I haven't had to dump any beer yet, AG cost me 35 cents/bottle- my bottles are from dumpster diving...

So far, I've had more experience thinking than I've had don't think they are mutually exclusive, do you?

72 batches so far,
48 wine, mostly Loquat, peach, plum, prickly pear
23 beers and ciders
1 sauerkraut
1 Tequila, from a prickly pear wine experiment that didn't work. I call it "Prickly Heat"
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