Cheap all-grain equipment

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rewster451

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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,
Rewster
 
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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...
 

El Pistolero

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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.
 

davidkrau

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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.
 

cowain

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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.
 

Glibbidy

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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. :eek:

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.
 

ian

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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!
 

cweston

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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.
 

casebrew

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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...
 

Walker

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yeah, I was looking at this yesterday, but a 30 quart pot (7.5 gallon) has been labeled "too small" or "painfully minimal" in size by a couple AG folks already, so I'm shying away from it.

-walker
 
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Imperial Walker said:
yeah, I was looking at this yesterday, but a 30 quart pot (7.5 gallon) has been labeled "too small" or "painfully minimal" in size by a couple AG folks already, so I'm shying away from it.

-walker
True - I have a 7.5g aluminum (don't start) that I have to completely micro-manage my boil. Bigger is better and if Sabco and/or a converted keg is big enough for 10g batches why skimp? I just haven't purchased yet because I'm married and she spends all my... Never mind!
 

Baron von BeeGee

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The pots that come with the turkey fryers are still useful, particularly for heating up sparge water (or frying turkeys). I think they're porbably too thin for safely managing a decoction (without considering the aluminum vs ss irresistible force meeting immovable object argument). And maybe cooking pozole.
 

ian

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I've used my 7 gal Alluminum pot (from a kit like that) for both of the All-grain batches that I've done and had little trouble with boilovers. If you catch it right at boil and adjust the flame accordingly you should be fine. I've only had one on the first batch and none on the second.

It will work if its all you have/can afford.
 

cweston

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Seems like turkey fryers are pretty readily available in the 34 quart size (8.5 gallons).

I think that extra gallon would make a huge difference: you can probably boil 7 gallons in an 8.5 gallon pot without too many worries--that's right about the target for 5.5 gallon batches.
 

Bernie Brewer

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With all due respect to the Sabco shoppers, here is a link to a fundraiser of the
Green Bay Rackers ( a club to which I would like to join but they are too far away for me). They are selling converted kegs for $50 +shipping. Not cheap, but not expensive, either, and for a good cause.

http://www.rackers.org/

Look in the upper right for a link to the kegs.
 
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ablrbrau said:
With all due respect to the Sabco shoppers, here is a link to a fundraiser of the
Green Bay Rackers ( a club to which I would like to join but they are too far away for me). They are selling converted kegs for $50 +shipping. Not cheap, but not expensive, either, and for a good cause.

http://www.rackers.org/

Look in the upper right for a link to the kegs.
That is interesting. Wonder what shipping ends up costing on one of these buggers.
 

Bernie Brewer

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desertBrew said:
That is interesting. Wonder what shipping ends up costing on one of these buggers.
Dunno. I already had a keg when I found out about it, so I never contacted them.
 
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El Pistolero said:
Who cares...you need to visit home don't you?
Yea, but not in winter. Theres a small window; I believe it's still between Jun 8th and June 24th when the weather is nice and the skeeters aren't carrying you away :D. Unless global warming has changed the climate up der hey.
 
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Just note that the keg 'rackers' is selling does not have the welded couplings. If your comparing apples to apples, sabco sells that for $60. Yes rackers is a better price and it is for a good cause but just note that if you want the welded couplings, you will not be getting exactly what you were looking for
 

Dude

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desertBrew said:
Yea, but not in winter. Theres a small window; I believe it's still between Jun 8th and June 24th when the weather is nice and the skeeters aren't carrying you away :D. Unless global warming has changed the climate up der hey.
LOL.

Summer in Wisconsin is 3 months of bad sledding. :p
 
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