All grain with minimal equipment?

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Reddy

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I've made several batches so far but never a true all grain... It's not that I don't want to, it's that I live in a crappy tiny apartment and don't have storage for all my equipment.

I was thinking I could do an all-grain half batch by steeping my grains in cheese cloth instead of floating in the water (avoiding the need for a mash turn - although this would leave sparging out) and just holding the temp steady for steeping. Follow that with a full boil in my 4 gal extract pot, an ice bath instead of a wort chiller and then it's off to the fermenter.

Other than only making a half batch are there any real disadvantages to this set up? I think it's a good compromise between available space and the desire to go full grain.

What do you all think?
 

cheezydemon

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A 5 gallon cooler for a tun and another pot to divide the boil, and you are in business for 5 gallon batches.

I myself have gone back to PM's rather than AG, but to each their own.
 

Revvy

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I have the same situation as you...

Since you're planining to do small batch full boils you can use a 5 gallon cooler...you can fit up to 12 or 14 pounds of grain in it which for a 1 or 2 gallon batch will make you a big beer (in a small size).That way you can still sparge...Look at the 10 gallon rubbermade thread for plans to modify it with a braid and a ball valve.

If you don't want to modify it, use a grain bag and a folding metal steamer...stick the steamer in the bottom of the cooler to lift the grain bag above the spigot so you don't get stuck sparges....The only disadvantage with the unodified cooler is you have to hold that spigot open for the whole draining.

What are you going to ferment in? A 3 gallon BB or even a 3 gallon water jug can give you enough headspace for even a 2.5 gallon batch.

:mug:
 

BierMuncher

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You can see here that there really isn't that much need for a lot of equipment to do a 5-gallon batch.

If you can split your boils up, the biggest item you'll have is a 5-gallon cooler...and they're not that big.

InsideSetupA.jpg
 

Saccharomyces

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I've done this before for half batches using a Mr Beer when I am doing an experimental batch and don't want to go through the whole process to make 5 gal. Mash in 2 gal in your boil kettle. After 60 minutes drop the grain bag into 1.5 gal of water in another pot at 170 for mashout/sparge, for 10 min. Carefully add the sparge water to the boil kettle and you are in business. Last batch I did this way I got 80% efficiency, and it took just under three hours from start to pitching.
:mug:
 
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Reddy

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Since you're planining to do small batch full boils you can use a 5 gallon cooler...you can fit up to 12 or 14 pounds of grain in it which for a 1 or 2 gallon batch will make you a big beer (in a small size).That way you can still sparge...Look at the 10 gallon rubbermade thread for plans to modify it with a braid and a ball valve.
I've done PM's before by just putting the grain and water in my boil pot, putting the lid on and keeping on a burner on the stove. That low amount of heat kept the temp perfect as long as I kept and eye on it. I was planning on just doing this again... any real problem with that?

What are you going to ferment in? A 3 gallon BB or even a 3 gallon water jug can give you enough headspace for even a 2.5 gallon batch.
I've got a 3 gal. carboy stashed behind my sofa I was planning to use. I stay away from water jugs because of the #7 plastic. I've got a 6 gal. carboy, and a ale pail somewhere back there too... as you can see I really don't have room all this, but it's totally worth it (unless you ask my girlfriend).

I've done this before for half batches using a Mr Beer when I am doing an experimental batch and don't want to go through the whole process to make 5 gal. Mash in 2 gal in your boil kettle. After 60 minutes drop the grain bag into 1.5 gal of water in another pot at 170 for mashout/sparge, for 10 min. Carefully add the sparge water to the boil kettle and you are in business. Last batch I did this way I got 80% efficiency, and it took just under three hours from start to pitching.
This is what I wanted to hear! I made an offer on a house this morning.... if all goes well I'll be moving at the end of the summer to a place with a full basement. Room aplenty! :ban: But in the meantime I think the method you describe will be good practice.

So.... if this'll work, at least to a decent extent, the only question is what FG recipe should I try first?
 

Edcculus

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I'm a college student living in a 2 bedroom townhouse with 3 other roomates (saves on rent!). I have absolutely no space and still do all grain. Like Revvy said, a 5 gallon MLT wont take up that much room. Before I made mine, I used the Papizian sparge method, a bucket with a bunch of holes drilled in the bottom resting over the bottling bucket. Not the best, but it worked.

Here is all of my bulky equipment. All of it fits in to the small closet under the stairs:
2 6.5 gallon glass carboys
fermentation bucket (dont use any more)
2 3 gallon boil pots (my stove cant handle boiling 6 gallons at once)
bottling bucket
5 gallon converted MLT Cooler

The rest of my stuff fits into a cardboard box. Bigger stuff (hoses, racking canes) go inside of a bucket.

Don't let space stop you from going all grain! Its possible, and you dont even have to compromise with half batches.
 
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Reddy

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oops... Ignore this post.
 

WBC

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All grain is not hard to do. Partial mash is just as hard as far as effort involved. A modified cooler is the way to go and just have enough boiler space for the wort and you are the able to brew all grain. Trying to mash in a pan has many disadvantages such as sparging (there is no grain bed filter) and you have to maintain mash temperature for an hour by raising and lowering the flame and stiring when heating. This part is not easy but it can be done if you stay right on top of it. Get a cooler for your mash tun, it's not that expensive and sparging is really easy.
 
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You can see here that there really isn't that much need for a lot of equipment to do a 5-gallon batch.

If you can split your boils up, the biggest item you'll have is a 5-gallon cooler...and they're not that big.

View attachment 5979
and you boil what 15 gallon on a jet engine?

He's right though....I use a turkey fryer, Boil 7 gallon at a time, and the entire mash tun, burner, pot, and accessories fit in a small coat closet....like I'm ever going to put it away....
 

EricCSU

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You can see here that there really isn't that much need for a lot of equipment to do a 5-gallon batch.

If you can split your boils up, the biggest item you'll have is a 5-gallon cooler...and they're not that big.
If you do a split boil, what is the best way to combine your boil at flame out? At first I thought, well, just pour one into the other and insert immersion chiller. The problem with that is first, splashing 200 degree wort (I spend enough time in ERs thank you very much!), and second, the possibility of hot-side aeration.

Is there a quick, easy way to siphon one into the other? It would need to be quick because the wort needs to cool fast. Maybe one could be siphoned into the other while the chiller is working? I know vinyl hoses wouldn't do well with hot wort, but would silicone fare better.

Hope this isn't hijacking your thread too much--maybe you had these questions too.

Eric
 
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Reddy

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Hope this isn't hijacking your thread too much--maybe you had these questions too.
Well I did wonder about that, but then I thought that you could just combine them once they were cool. You could aerate them too while you were at it right then.
 

EricCSU

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Well I did wonder about that, but then I thought that you could just combine them once they were cool. You could aerate them too while you were at it right then.
Then you would need two immersion chillers, or one in the IC and one in an ice bath...doable, but not quite efficient.

Eric
 

McCall St. Brewer

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There are 3 ways to dramatically improve your brews:

1. use an immersion chiller
2. add your extract later in the boil
3. go AG

Oh, and honorable mention:

4. keg instead of bottle

If you can figure out how to use an immersion chiller in you apartment, then the rest is easy. You can make extract brews better right now.

Otherwise, as others have said, just get a 5 gal cooler and a second stock pot, so you can split your boil in half. There. That was easy, wasn't it?
 

Harterrt

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http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4650

The Aussie's figured this method out about a year and a half ago and I adopted it to make the switch from extract to all grain. It does the job, and if you can get the grain run through the mill a few times for a finer crush I hear it works well, but generally my efficiencies were poo-poo.

Since then I've switched to a big boy system and I find it much more workable, but the transition time helped me get a feel for all grain without the space investment. All in all I recommend it.
 

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