AG brewing - do I need a lauter tun?

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pennahighlandbrew

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Hi all!

After about a dozen or so extract brews I've decided I want to make the leap to all grain brewing, and being that I'm on a shoestring budget I'm slowly collecting the gear. I've got my paddle and burner, and I'll probably begin converting an igloo cooler to a mash tun in a week or so (I have little to no technical know-how, but at least I have a brother who's a manager at a hardware store, so that helps).

Anyway, I guess my biggest question in terms of gear is: do I really need a separate lauter tun? I have my five gallon pot from extract brewing and will almost definitely be batch sparging. Do any of you guys have a similar set up, and if so, how does it work for you all? Any tips, tricks, or advice?

P.S. If anyone knows a good place to get a decently priced ten gallon pot with a ball valve, I'm all ears. Thanks in advance!


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grainbill

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keep an eye n Craigs List, every once in awhile something shows up...
 

brewkinger

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The answer to the important question is NO. You do not need a dedicated hot liquor tank (HLT).

Many of us work with a single cooler mash tun and simply dump our sparge water in, stir and drain.

A lauter tun becomes almost necessary if you fly sparge, but I also know some people that fly sparge by slowly dumping water in.

Do you have a kettle with ball valve currently? If so and you REALLY want the experience of a lauter tun, you could use the kettle you have and drain your runnings into another vessel. Then dump it all into the kettle for the boil.

You can successfully brew AG without the HLT though.


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pennahighlandbrew

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No, my kettle that I have now is just a five gallon one with no ball valve. I'm planning to convert a ten gallon cooler to a mash tun, but I'm still looking for a ten gallon pot. The main reason I want a valve on it is for convenience's sake. Lifting and carrying around 5+ gallons of liquid doesn't sound too appealing to me, especially when I have to transfer it to my fermenter.

In terms of batch sparging, for a typical five gallon boil, I assume my five gallon pot will do the trick for heating the water and then I can just dump it in. About how long should my sparge water sit in the mash tun before I draw it off into my kettle? Further, Palmer's book mentioned recirculating the first runnings through the mash tun. Can someone walk me through their batch sparge process? (I realize this thread is getting off topic, but everyone on this community is so helpful I may as well respond to this instead of making a thousand threads). I'm so excited for my first AG brew day!


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jtratcliff

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Easiest way to step up to AG is BIAB.... Paint strainer bag or voile curtain is all you need. I bought a custom made bag from wilserbrewer here on HBT. Every happens in your kettle.

If your kettle isn't big enough for full volume, do a dunk sparge in a separate kettle or bucket,
or just pour water over/through the bag after you pull it out to get to your final volume.

I scored a 10 g aluminum tamale pot from Smart-n-Final for $19.99... Got a 15g one for $25 from a local
Mexican market. I have't drilled them for ball valves though.

I look on homebrewfinds for deals on brew stuff. Usually a kettle or two on sale listed there.
 

SuliBrew

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would highly recommend waiting until you have at least an 8 gallon pot for a 5 gallon ag. if you try to boil the wort and add hops to 5 gallons, you will boil over. unless you plan on doing smaller batches.
 

rlmiller10

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I found my SS pot on outofstock.com. They might have something. No ball valve though. I use my auto siphon to go from kettle to fermenter.

Second BIAB as the easy way to all grain. Two 5 gal paint strainer bags are $5 at Home Depot.


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j1n

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I use 2 coolers, one for my Mash tun and one for the HLT. i just use the boil kettle to get the water up to temp then put into mash tun and mash. while its mashing i heat more water up for the sparge water. Once its done mashing i vorlauf and drain to kettle and fly sparge.
 

dobes

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I would recommend to start with the BIAB also. When I started all grain I went with a cooler as a MLT. Worked great and no complaints about that route either.
But my sister wanted to start brewing so we started doing mini mashes then went to the BIAB. I could not believe how simple it is and how much less time it takes also. Now she does both mini and BIAB and makes really good beer.
I think its all in what you want to do but a real inexpensive way to go to all grain is the BIAB and you can try it basically with the equipment you have now and just get the bag. You may have to adjust your batch size a bit to accommodate your pot but that is fairly simple and their are many recipes online that will already be adjusted to your equipment.
 

madscientist451

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Don't worry, just brew. Get a round or one of the square coolers at walmart, put your BIAB in there, dump in the grain and water, stir, and you are mashing.
Get a ball valve for easy draining or just pull the bag and dump or siphon into your pot. Put the bag of wet grains back in, add more hot water, stir, and you are batch sparging. Its pretty simple. Do one or two batch sparges and you are ready to boil. So all you got to do is figure how to get your water hot, how to take a temp, what temp you want to mash at and how long, and how hot to make your sparge water. Its all pretty easy, just go for it.
Look for mash strike water calculators on Google, they're out there for free.
 

FuriousE

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Just for the sake of proper terminology, a lauter tun is a vessel that is used to extract the wort from the grains. Most home brewers use a combination mas/lauter tun (MLT), like a cooler with a manifold.

A Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) would be used to hold hot water to use for batch or fly sparging.

In any case, I second the BIAB notion.
 
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