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A few questions for a newbie with brewing and Anvil Foundry

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Newtobrewing85

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Hi everyone, new here! I’ve brewed beer once with one of the little starter kits and had a good time, came out really good. Since then I’ve been considering brewing on a much larger scale. My wife surprised me and told me she bought me the fermenter from craftabrew for Christmas, the catalyst. I imagine most are familiar with this? I liked it because you can drain all the crap out of the beer while it ferments and it appears to make it insanely easy to bottle which was a PIA in a glass carboy. I had a hell of a time bottling lol.

So she told me and said I was free to buy any brewing setup I wanted to get started. Naturally I started looking at kettles, burners etc. I finally came across the Anvil Foundry and decided to get the 10.5 last night so now I’m really all in on this! I liked the idea of starting on easy stuff and gradually getting more serious.

I won’t be starting with all grain brewing or recipes, kits will be fine for now. So with that said any information I should know with jumping from something so small to so large? 5 gallon brews. So I have the foundry, wort chiller and the thermometer from the old kit plus a capper.

Outside of metal utensils what else should I be looking to have to be able to brew my first 5 gallon batch?

TIA, William.
 

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I won’t be starting with all grain brewing or recipes, kits will be fine for now. So with that said any information I should know with jumping from something so small to so large? 5 gallon brews. So I have the foundry, wort chiller and the thermometer from the old kit plus a capper.
Why would you not start with all grain? With BIAB its about as easy and nearly as fast as doing a kit and much more flexible and fun. You have a big enough pot for full volume, no sparge so all you need to add is a bag. One of the members here on HomeBrewTalk makes custom bags and is well regarded for them.
(Wilserbrewer)
A hydrometer is something I consider an essential piece of equipment but I also like my refractometer for taking preboil readings where I don't need to take more than a couple drops of the wort and don't need to wait for them to cool. As long as you will be bottling, a bottling wand is invaluable.
 
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Newtobrewing85

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Why would you not start with all grain? With BIAB its about as easy and nearly as fast as doing a kit and much more flexible and fun. You have a big enough pot for full volume, no sparge so all you need to add is a bag. One of the members here on HomeBrewTalk makes custom bags and is well regarded for them.
(Wilserbrewer)
A hydrometer is something I consider an essential piece of equipment but I also like my refractometer for taking preboil readings where I don't need to take more than a couple drops of the wort and don't need to wait for them to cool. As long as you will be bottling, a bottling wand is invaluable.
Hi, I wasn’t aware of the difference tbh. My wife said she bought a kit, not sure which one. Where do you get the BIAB from? Thanks for the heads up here, I’m still figuring this all out.

Hydrometer! Gotcha. That’s for gravity and ABV readings? I guess I never really thought about that, good way to know if everything went according to plan I suppose? Bottling wand, I will check that out, thanks!
 

McKnuckle

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The Anvil Foundry is an all-in-one electric system for all grain beer brewing. You wouldn't need anything remotely like the Anvil to brew extract, but then by "kits" you are hopefully referring to all grain kits. These are nothing more special than what you could buy separately by yourself if you crafted your own recipes. They are simply pieced together for convenience, with grains, hops, and yeast all selected for you.

Also, there are a lot of small pieces of equipment that are necessary for brewing, fermenting, packaging, and serving beer - no matter what method you use. It's best to take a little time and explore the forums, watch YouTube videos, and so on. Put a shopping list together.

The term "BIAB" means brew in a bag, or brew in a basket, and is contrasted with more traditional brewing where the hot liquid wort is filtered and drained from the mashed grains, to be boiled in a separate vessel. With BIAB, the mashed grains are held in a filter the whole time, which is then removed from the hot liquid wort. The wort is then boiled in place.

Otherwise, both are essentially equivalent processes. The Anvil is a type of BIAB system (basket in this case).
 
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Newtobrewing85

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The Anvil Foundry is an all-in-one electric system for all grain beer brewing. You wouldn't need anything remotely like the Anvil to brew extract, but then by "kits" you are hopefully referring to all grain kits. These are nothing more special than what you could buy separately by yourself if you crafted your own recipes. They are simply pieced together for convenience, with grains, hops, and yeast all selected for you.

Also, there are a lot of small pieces of equipment that are necessary for brewing, fermenting, packaging, and serving beer - no matter what method you use. It's best to take a little time and explore the forums, watch YouTube videos, and so on. Put a shopping list together.

The term "BIAB" means brew in a bag, or brew in a basket, and is contrasted with more traditional brewing where the hot liquid wort is filtered and drained from the mashed grains, to be boiled in a separate vessel. With BIAB, the mashed grains are held in a filter the whole time, which is then removed from the hot liquid wort. The wort is then boiled in place.

Otherwise, both are essentially equivalent processes. The Anvil is a type of BIAB system (basket in this case).
Thanks! Yeah, in my searches I came across extract and all grain brewing methods, learned something new. I just typed up a completely different reply and I think I answered my own question . I think the kit she bought came from craftabrew as that’s where the catalyst comes from. Upon googling, it appears that extract brewing is syrup?!? If that’s the case I have no intention of using extract methods lol. The first kit I tried (which was the beginner kit for craftabrew) I cooked the grains in a bag in a pan of boiling water so I presume that’s what we’re all talking about with the BIAB method? Midwest, Craftabrew, northern all seem to have the same all-grain kits unless I’m confused here. I thought extract was the kits and all grain was something different entirely. I thought all grain was more complex and had more steps and was more for your own recipes.
 

McKnuckle

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Let's keep it simple. Beer is, and always has been, made from whole grains. Barley (mostly), wheat, rye, oats, etc. To do this, one mashes the grains in hot water to create a cereal of sorts, extracting a hot liquid which contains the color, flavor, and sugars from the grains.

That's how brewing is done.

In relatively recent times, it has been possible to buy this extract in either pre-made concentrated liquid (syrup) or dried form, so you don't have to make it yourself. Just add water for the right density. That's "extract brewing."

"All grain brewing" is just a term invented to contrast with that. Before extract brewing, one did not need the term all grain brewing. It was just... brewing.
 
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Newtobrewing85

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Let's keep it simple. Beer is, and always has been, made from whole grains. Barley (mostly), wheat, rye, oats, etc. To do this, one mashes the grains in hot water to create a cereal of sorts, extracting a hot liquid which contains the color, flavor, and sugars from the grains.

That's how brewing is done.

In relatively recent times, it has been possible to buy this extract in either pre-made concentrated liquid (syrup) or dried form, so you don't have to make it yourself. Just add water for the right density. That's "extract brewing."

"All grain brewing" is just a term invented to contrast with that. Before extract brewing, one did not need the term all grain brewing. It was just... brewing.
Thanks! That explains it perfectly and sums up my confusion! I didn’t realize that even existed and I just watched a video and tbh it looks disgusting lol although I’m sure it’s perfectly fine. I’d much rather brew the beer myself, I didn’t pay $400 for a setup to have someone else do the work for me.
 

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You will like the foundry. It will do a good job with extract and all grain kits. Don’t bemoan the extract kits, I know some award winning brewers who only brew extracts. You can sometimes find good deals on them, and they make good beer. In any case I would suggest you start with kits, extract or all grain, so you can concentration on learning the equipment instead of the recipes. You will need a longer spoon with the foundry. The standard metal brew spoon is not really long enough. The pump is optional, I used a pump for a bit but have gone pumpless to make cleanup easier. I recirculate by hand every 10 minutes using a 3 qt pot. PM me if you have questions.
 
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Newtobrewing85

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You will like the foundry. It will do a good job with extract and all grain kits. Don’t bemoan the extract kits, I know some award winning brewers who only brew extracts. You can sometimes find good deals on them, and they make good beer. In any case I would suggest you start with kits, extract or all grain, so you can concentration on learning the equipment instead of the recipes. You will need a longer spoon with the foundry. The standard metal brew spoon is not really long enough. The pump is optional, I used a pump for a bit but have gone pumpless to make cleanup easier. I recirculate by hand every 10 minutes using a 3 qt pot. PM me if you have questions.
Thanks for the tips! Wasn’t sure if the pump was necessary and it was on sale for $50 but I still didn’t know if I wanted it lol. My wife showed me what she got me and it’s an extract so I’ll start with that and I’m looking to use an all grain after that.
 

dandksutton

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Thanks for the tips! Wasn’t sure if the pump was necessary and it was on sale for $50 but I still didn’t know if I wanted it lol. My wife showed me what she got me and it’s an extract so I’ll start with that and I’m looking to use an all grain after that.
The pump is pretty handy. Putting the grain in a BIAB bag in the grain pipe makes it easier to clean up and clearer beer. I keep the pump circulating on low through the entire mash and stir the grain every 10 to 15 minutes. After mash time is completed I pull the grain pipe and sit it on the drain rack and continue running the pump over the grain to wash the grain and get my sparge water. Turn the pump off sparge, and boil. I put my big stir spoon under the lid while boiling, if you put the lid on you will get a boil over. My first brew with the Anvil was (trying to be lazy) just put grain in, run the pump, then boil. Ended up with real cloudy low efficiency throw away.
 
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Newtobrewing85

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The pump is pretty handy. Putting the grain in a BIAB bag in the grain pipe makes it easier to clean up and clearer beer. I keep the pump circulating on low through the entire mash and stir the grain every 10 to 15 minutes. After mash time is completed I pull the grain pipe and sit it on the drain rack and continue running the pump over the grain to wash the grain and get my sparge water. Turn the pump off sparge, and boil. I put my big stir spoon under the lid while boiling, if you put the lid on you will get a boil over. My first brew with the Anvil was (trying to be lazy) just put grain in, run the pump, then boil. Ended up with real cloudy low efficiency throw away.
Well now it’s too late to add it to the order lol! Why didn’t you tell me this 3 days ago when I wasn’t signed up for the website? 🤣 🍻

Thanks for the tips! Knowing I was starting with kits I wasn’t sure if the pump mattered. I saw some people say they just stir it every 10 or so minutes instead of use a pump.
 

Ogilthorpe2

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Well now it’s too late to add it to the order lol! Why didn’t you tell me this 3 days ago when I wasn’t signed up for the website? 🤣 🍻

Thanks for the tips! Knowing I was starting with kits I wasn’t sure if the pump mattered. I saw some people say they just stir it every 10 or so minutes instead of use a pump.
While you’re on a shopping spree, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of this...

 

Coastalbrew

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Well now it’s too late to add it to the order lol! Why didn’t you tell me this 3 days ago when I wasn’t signed up for the website? 🤣 🍻

Thanks for the tips! Knowing I was starting with kits I wasn’t sure if the pump mattered. I saw some people say they just stir it every 10 or so minutes instead of use a pump.
Don't worry about the pump, you don't need it. You can accomplish very effective recirculation with a pyrex measuring cup or pot, and either of these options is easier to clean and cheaper since you probably already have both.

My suggestion is to hold off on further equipment purchases until you have used your new system a few times. You will learn a ton in those first couple of batches about what works and what doesn't. Then figure out what you want to tweak and get the appropriate pieces as dictated by your own process. The simpler you keep your brew day, the more fun it is and the more you will want to continue brewing, IMO.

Also get a copy of John Palmer's "How to brew" it's the best piece of brewing equipment any new brewer can get.

Cheers!
 
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Newtobrewing85

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Don't worry about the pump, you don't need it. You can accomplish very effective recirculation with a pyrex measuring cup or pot, and either of these options is easier to clean and cheaper since you probably already have both.

My suggestion is to hold off on further equipment purchases until you have used your new system a few times. You will learn a ton in those first couple of batches about what works and what doesn't. Then figure out what you want to tweak and get the appropriate pieces as dictated by your own process. The simpler you keep your brew day, the more fun it is and the more you will want to continue brewing, IMO.

Also get a copy of John Palmer's "How to brew" it's the best piece of brewing equipment any new brewer can get.

Cheers!
Right on, thanks! I’ve had the book mentioned a ton now, it’s on order! I’m trying to scale down my current purchases but there’s still some small stuff I know I need. Hydrometer, spoon, sanitizer, cleaner etc. Just trying to make sure I have the basic necessities to start.
 

Coastalbrew

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Right on, thanks! I’ve had the book mentioned a ton now, it’s on order! I’m trying to scale down my current purchases but there’s still some small stuff I know I need. Hydrometer, spoon, sanitizer, cleaner etc. Just trying to make sure I have the basic necessities to start.
FWIW, I prefer a 24" stainless steel whisk over a spoon. It does a better job of breaking up dough balls in the mash. Also I used to use a spoon until one day I was stirring during the boil and went to put the spoon in the wort, just as a huge bubble surfaced and ricocheted off the spoon splashing boiling hot wort all over my chest and feet. I'll never use a spoon again.

Cheers!
 
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Newtobrewing85

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FWIW, I prefer a 24" stainless steel whisk over a spoon. It does a better job of breaking up dough balls in the mash. Also I used to use a spoon until one day I was stirring during the boil and went to put the spoon in the wort, just as a huge bubble surfaced and ricocheted off the spoon splashing boiling hot wort all over my chest and feet. I'll never use a spoon again.

Cheers!
Yikes! I’ve never seen anyone use or mention a whisk so that’s interesting! I’ll grab a whisk too, I can always use it my kitchen.
 

Coastalbrew

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Yikes! I’ve never seen anyone use or mention a whisk so that’s interesting! I’ll grab a whisk too, I can always use it my kitchen.
The 24" whisk is pretty much single function, as it is 3 times longer and wider than a standard kitchen whisk. When I got it, I was reminded of the scene from Crocodile Dundee - "That's not a whisk...This is a whisk." 😂
 
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Newtobrewing85

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The 24" whisk is pretty much single function, as it is 3 times longer and wider than a standard kitchen whisk. When I got it, I was reminded of the scene from Crocodile Dundee - "That's not a whisk...This is a whisk." 😂
Lol that’s great, maybe i won’t use it in my kitchen hahaha
 

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+1 on Palmer’s book and start simple. Foundry provides a basic step by step process to get started. You’ll make very good beer to start. While not the only one, I do like using Beer Smith software to plan my brewing. I find it fun and educational to plug in ingredients and steps and the predicted outcomes for the style of beer. It also prints out the steps on brewing day which I find helpful to keep me organized.

Palmer has the previous version of his book online free which I still reread.

Perhaps the single biggest question you will face with the Foundry is whether or not to sparge or to brew full volume water. Go with the latter. Sparging is basically holding back water at temp and then rinsing the grain with it at the end of the mash to get every last drop of sugar. I’ve done it both ways and never noticed a difference in taste or efficiency. The Foundry is fully capable of holding all the water for a basic pale ale, and the simple process of lifting the basket and letting it drain is all the sparging you’ll need. Beats having a second pot of water on a heat source.

I’m looking forward to you posting pics of your first brew day in the anvil thread.
 
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Newtobrewing85

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+1 on Palmer’s book and start simple. Foundry provides a basic step by step process to get started. You’ll make very good beer to start. While not the only one, I do like using Beer Smith software to plan my brewing. I find it fun and educational to plug in ingredients and steps and the predicted outcomes for the style of beer. It also prints out the steps on brewing day which I find helpful to keep me organized.

Palmer has the previous version of his book online free which I still reread.

Perhaps the single biggest question you will face with the Foundry is whether or not to sparge or to brew full volume water. Go with the latter. Sparging is basically holding back water at temp and then rinsing the grain with it at the end of the mash to get every last drop of sugar. I’ve done it both ways and never noticed a difference in taste or efficiency. The Foundry is fully capable of holding all the water for a basic pale ale, and the simple process of lifting the basket and letting it drain is all the sparging you’ll need. Beats having a second pot of water on a heat source.

I’m looking forward to you posting pics of your first brew day in the anvil thread.
Thanks I picked up the book, I’ll have to start reading it here soon! I’ve looked at beersmith, but I’m still a ways away from that for now! I’ve got a few kits coming so hop-fully they turn out good.

Thanks for the tips! I read a lot about anvil when I bought it but wasn’t sure exactly what sparging was. This makes sense though! I don’t have a second pot currently so I’d have to avoid that anyways. I’ll post up some stuff when I get everything, I’ll have to go find the anvil thread.
 

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In terms of brewing software, BeerSmith is very capable and is a long time leader, but in 2020 it's a little passe and has a cumbersome interface compared to more modern, web-based tools. Many folks would say that Brewer's Friend and (especially) Brewfather have surpassed it in ease of use.

Just so you are aware that there are competitors in the field - if and when you explore that. For brewing kits "as is," you don't need brewing software. It's for creating your own recipes, or adapting others' recipes, for your particular system.
 
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Newtobrewing85

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In terms of brewing software, BeerSmith is very capable and is a long time leader, but in 2020 it's a little passe and has a cumbersome interface compared to more modern, web-based tools. Many folks would say that Brewer's Friend and (especially) Brewfather have surpassed it in ease of use.

Just so you are aware that there are competitors in the field - if and when you explore that. For brewing kits "as is," you don't need brewing software. It's for creating your own recipes, or adapting others' recipes, for your particular system.
Very cool! This is what I’ll need to progress so this is all good to know. Just using a kit feels a bit overwhelming now so making my own is another level. This gives me some hope I can do that.
 

mcmeador

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The pump is pretty handy. Putting the grain in a BIAB bag in the grain pipe makes it easier to clean up and clearer beer. I keep the pump circulating on low through the entire mash and stir the grain every 10 to 15 minutes. After mash time is completed I pull the grain pipe and sit it on the drain rack and continue running the pump over the grain to wash the grain and get my sparge water. Turn the pump off sparge, and boil. I put my big stir spoon under the lid while boiling, if you put the lid on you will get a boil over. My first brew with the Anvil was (trying to be lazy) just put grain in, run the pump, then boil. Ended up with real cloudy low efficiency throw away.
You shouldn’t be brewing with the lid on anyway unless you have a steam condenser. Otherwise you’re not allowing the DMS to boil off, which will create off-flavors.
 

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After you read Palmers book to understand the classical way to home brew, read Denny and Drew's Simple home brewing. It is much more up to date, and really captures the essence of simplified brewing. There is a revolution in home brewing that is all about simplicity. The all in one systems are part of it, as well as the 30 min mash and 30 min or 0 min boil, no chill, and using dry or high count yeast rather than starters.
 
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Newtobrewing85

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After you read Palmers book to understand the classical way to home brew, read Denny and Drew's Simple home brewing. It is much more up to date, and really captures the essence of simplified brewing. There is a revolution in home brewing that is all about simplicity. The all in one systems are part of it, as well as the 30 min mash and 30 min or 0 min boil, no chill, and using dry or high count yeast rather than starters.
Ill look it up, thanks!
 

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Does anyone have a Brewfather profile for the 6.5 Anvil Foundry? I only see the 10.5 in the equipment list. I copied that one and scaled it down using the BeerSmith profile.

After reading @McKnuckle post, I decided to try out Brewfather. I’ve been using BeerSmith for some time and recently upgraded to the most recent version, and while I do like it, it does have some shortfalls, especially the app version, BeerSmith Lite. The cloud storage feature of BeerSmith just doesn’t compete with a full web based software when it comes to switching devices. I’ve killed too many expensive MacBooks to bring one near a sink anymore. I prefer to use my iPad or phone on brew day. Additionally, the way Brewfather separates recipes from batches is much more in line with how I brew and think, especially when I want to tweak something or have to make a substitution.

In any case, after I check my numbers, I’ll post my 6.5 profile here for comments and for use by anyone who needs it.
 
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