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Building an all grain system.... Help!

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Jim Noto

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Trying my hand at all grain brewing. Just trying to find out what will be the best fit for me. So far I’ve built up the following equipment:
  • 15 gallon Blichmann boilermaker (with whirlpool hook up, false bottom, and autosparge)
  • 8 gallon brew kettle with ball valve
  • 2x 10 gallon Rubbermaid coolers (with false bottoms and Lauter/mash tun hardware)
  • 50ft of food grade silicon tubing
  • Riptide brewing pump
  • Edelmetal burner

I have a rough idea of what I want to do and have a couple kegs, c02 tank with a dual regulator and corresponding hoses and fitting for kegging.

anybody have some wisdom they could share for a set up? Or anything else they think I’ll need?
 
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Jim Noto

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Do you have a wort chiller and fermenting vessels?
I haven’t bought a chiller because I’m not sure which process I’m going with yet. I have 2 glass car boy’s and a bunch of buckets with air locks. I want to try keg fermenting though.
 

BigEd

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I was t sure if I should go with an immersion, or a plate chiller.

You don't need to buy everything all at once. Start with the basics: burner, kettle, MLT, HLT, and a chiller. I second the recommendation of an immersion chiller. While not as fast working as counter-flow or immersion versions they are relatively inexpensive or can be homemade for even lower cost. Maintenance is also simple. When you upgrade the immersion chiller makes a good backup or pre-chiller if needed.

A mill is nice to have but can always be added later. To make it really worthwhile you will want to buy grain in bulk so storage and planned inventory will need to be figured out. I suggest getting used to the process and your equipment first and with that experience choosing what else to add will make more sense.
 

RM-MN

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Trying my hand at all grain brewing. Just trying to find out what will be the best fit for me. So far I’ve built up the following equipment:
  • 15 gallon Blichmann boilermaker (with whirlpool hook up, false bottom, and autosparge)
  • 8 gallon brew kettle with ball valve
  • 2x 10 gallon Rubbermaid coolers (with false bottoms and Lauter/mash tun hardware)
  • 50ft of food grade silicon tubing
  • Riptide brewing pump
  • Edelmetal burner

I have a rough idea of what I want to do and have a couple kegs, c02 tank with a dual regulator and corresponding hoses and fitting for kegging.

anybody have some wisdom they could share for a set up? Or anything else they think I’ll need?
Buy two bags from Wilserbrewer, custom made to fit each kettle. Now you can BIAB two batches at once. You might want to add a Corona mill and one of the ratcheting pulleys that Wilserbrewer also sells to help raise and hold the bags of grain while they drain back into the kettle.

BIAB has to be the easiest, cheapest, and probably fastest way to get started in all grain.
 

hottpeper13

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I use a pump to move my wort and when done boiling I whirlpool with it thru a counterflow chiller back to the kettle. doing that lets me chill to 170* and add hops,it's awesome and hands free.
 
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Jim Noto

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I'd do what RM-MN suggest . BIAB is a cheap and easy way to get going . I'd also look into fermentation temp control before splurging on other things . Fermentation temp is key .
I kind of want to stay away from BIAB, it does seem a lot easier, but I already have a good handful of equipment for doing a single or multiple infusion mash, so I kind of want to say on that route. Anyone have any tips/diagrams for a brew table/stand
 

Transamguy77

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Anyone have any tips/diagrams for a brew table/stand
There is a whole thread dedicated to that question, show us your brew stand, I think is the actual thread name. You have to decide how you want it first then you can narrow down a configuration.

For me I wanted simple, no pumps and let gravity do all the work (well until I have to lift the bucket into the ferm chamber) so I built a 3 tier stand and I wanted to make 10 gallons at a time.
 
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Jim Noto

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I appreciate all the help guys! I’m getting some really good ideas for a set up! What do you guys recommend for fermentation controls? I live up in New England so I’ve kind of been just putting anything in my basement for low temps and near my baseboard heater for higher temps lol
 

Jag75

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I appreciate all the help guys! I’m getting some really good ideas for a set up! What do you guys recommend for fermentation controls? I live up in New England so I’ve kind of been just putting anything in my basement for low temps and near my baseboard heater for higher temps lol
Really depends on space and budget .
 
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I'd do what RM-MN suggest . BIAB is a cheap and easy way to get going . I'd also look into fermentation temp control before splurging on other things . Fermentation temp is key .
I agree with Jag75 re ferm temp control. Once i decided a nice cool basement room wasn't good enough, I moved to fermenting in an old fridge, with a ceramic reptile heater, and a Ranco two-stage controller. Today, I'd go with and Inkbird controller.
 

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here is my 2 cents... well maybe 1/2 cent thoughts on this... I do BIAB :)

first question is, do you want a tier or a flat system.

So my thoughts is this, a tier is for gravity field systems( the type of the system will be on you, as long as it will drain into next vessel), where you have a cooler 5 feet up (lotter tank), then you will have you mash tun(4 foot), then to your boil kettle (3 foot).
a flat system is using a pump to transfer from one versel to another. Can be done with 1 pump, but eiser with 2)
My opinion is that the kettle should be high enough to naturally drain to your fermentor,or you can use a pump to pump it to the fermentor.

Now with cooling, it doesn't matter on the process you use. I like my IC with my BIAB system, easy to clean. with my IC, i do recirculation of the water to cool. so instead of using water, i buy ice to drop my temp. my last brew it took 25 min to get to 70F. Now I did not add the ice till the temp drop to 145F, My temp of my water right now is about 45F, and I am still fine tuning my process. I am still experimenting with the changes. Next brew will be adding Ice at the beginning to see how fast my temp drops.

Once I cool my wort, I fermit in buckets. I transfer to my fermenter, and carry it over to my keezer. After fermentation I use a pump to transfer to my keg. I am lazy, and tired of lifting 5 Gals of beer up :).


Things to look at are:

Things available to you
How much DIY you want to do
How much lifting you want to do
How much cleaning you want to do
How much Controll of your brew do you want.
 

kevin58

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I would bump up your boil kettle to 15gallons. Sell the two 10 gallon water coolers and get a 70qt Coleman xtreme (or equivalent) if coolers are what you want to use for mashing. For tables scan Craigslist or your local FB buy/sell/trade groups for stainless steel commercial kitchen prep tables. I was able to score the one shown in the pic for under $100. Sturdy and easy to keep clean.
 

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Jim Noto

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here is my 2 cents... well maybe 1/2 cent thoughts on this... I do BIAB :)

first question is, do you want a tier or a flat system.

So my thoughts is this, a tier is for gravity field systems( the type of the system will be on you, as long as it will drain into next vessel), where you have a cooler 5 feet up (lotter tank), then you will have you mash tun(4 foot), then to your boil kettle (3 foot).
a flat system is using a pump to transfer from one versel to another. Can be done with 1 pump, but eiser with 2)
My opinion is that the kettle should be high enough to naturally drain to your fermentor,or you can use a pump to pump it to the fermentor.

Now with cooling, it doesn't matter on the process you use. I like my IC with my BIAB system, easy to clean. with my IC, i do recirculation of the water to cool. so instead of using water, i buy ice to drop my temp. my last brew it took 25 min to get to 70F. Now I did not add the ice till the temp drop to 145F, My temp of my water right now is about 45F, and I am still fine tuning my process. I am still experimenting with the changes. Next brew will be adding Ice at the beginning to see how fast my temp drops.

Once I cool my wort, I fermit in buckets. I transfer to my fermenter, and carry it over to my keezer. After fermentation I use a pump to transfer to my keg. I am lazy, and tired of lifting 5 Gals of beer up :).


Things to look at are:

Things available to you
How much DIY you want to do
How much lifting you want to do
How much cleaning you want to do
How much Controll of your brew do you want.
So I have a 2nd fridge I can use for any low temp fermenting, so I’m pretty safe there. I have plenty of buckets, and 2 car boys, and 2 ball lock kegs. Fermentation-wise for my system I can live with what I have available right now. I’m more concerned with how to make my system work best for me. Convenience, and ease of use is probably what I’m going for right now. I don’t want to do too much lifting, but I suppose I’m not against it if I have to lol. I’d rather now have a stage system, I’d rather go flat. I have a little bit of money to put into it now, probably not enough to buy 2 electric temp controllers though, so I’m gonna try to stick to propane burners I’m looking at a second pump and another 15 gallon kettle for a HLT, I just haven’t decided on a wort chiller yet but a counterflow chiller is sounding pretty good right now. I don’t have a lot of dedicated space but I have a room I can dedicate my hobby to, and I bit of know how for some DIY. I really just need a sense To help me put all right pieces together to build my dream brewing system on step at a time lol.
 
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Jim Noto

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I would bump up your boil kettle to 15gallons. Sell the two 10 gallon water coolers and get a 70qt Coleman xtreme (or equivalent) if coolers are what you want to use for mashing. For tables scan Craigslist or your local FB buy/sell/trade groups for stainless steel commercial kitchen prep tables. I was able to score the one shown in the pic for under $100. Sturdy and easy to keep clean.
Wow. That’s like my ideal set up honestly! What kind of kettles are those? How are you heating?
 

Dog House Brew

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I kind of want to stay away from BIAB, it does seem a lot easier, but I already have a good handful of equipment for doing a single or multiple infusion mash, so I kind of want to say on that route. Anyone have any tips/diagrams for a brew table/stand
I started with, and still use, a 3 tier. I bought pumps and added a HERMS coil to my HLT. My favorite structure would be a 2 tier. Something similar to a Sabco. I flysparge, so I like to be able to gravity feed to my MT. I use a CFC to chill/recirculate to the BK. Helps leave cold break in there and allows for whirlpool temp control too. The third tier is too high, something I didn’t think through. My opinion on a chiller is buy a stainless model and limit copper. I’ve never had an issue with using buckets/plastic. Would like a conical one day, but doing big, multiple batches is too much $$$. They still allow for closed transfer to the keg. Keg fermenting, get you a few Clear Beer setups.
 

RM-MN

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I kind of want to stay away from BIAB, it does seem a lot easier, but I already have a good handful of equipment for doing a single or multiple infusion mash, so I kind of want to say on that route. Anyone have any tips/diagrams for a brew table/stand
The two methods are not mutually exclusive. For a very small amount of cash you could get a bag to fit the 8 gallon kettle and have a 4 gallon batch brewed tomorrow (today if you hurried). If you do some reading you may find out that you can do that small batch quickly so you can brew when you don't think you have the time to brew on a full blown conventional mash system and the cleanup is simple. That could have you brewing several small batches while you are sourcing the parts for your ideal system.
 
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