Equipping to start AG brewing

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2pugbrews

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I have brewed probably 12 or more extract brews and now think that I'm ready to get into AG. I've been kind of collecting stuff with this in mind. Here's what I have:
A 48 qt Gott picnic cooler. Is this size alright for a 5 gal? I was planning to make a 3 or 4 branch cpvc collection arrangement for the bottom but some use a single braided stainless steel jacket from a water supply line. Palmer takes great pains to show that multiple (3 or more) branches of copper prevent channeling. Does either work equally well? or one better than the other?

A turkey fryer w/30 qt pot and a 65000 btu burner. Because they were on sale at Lowes I bought a second in case I would need a second pot. I'm not real clear but I think I will need a second pot. Do I need to equip one or both with spigots?

I want to make an immersion cooler but in case I don't get one made by the time I brew, is it possible to cool 5 gal in the bath tub in a reasonable time (our water is 47 deg out of the faucet) with lots of ice? I freeze milk jugs of water and then break it up with an ice pick and cut the jug open. I can freeze a lot in a short while.
 

z987k

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looks like your good to go, the 48qt is plenty big enough... I think thats the size of mine, can't remember.

I can't recommend the IC enough, but if you do what you described it would probably work, but thats a real PITA that can be avoided.

BTW, I'll be driving by Loveland on the 5th!
 

Blender

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If you are batch sparging there are no worries about channelling. I use a stainless braid and they are great. If you are fly sparging I can't be much help.
30 qt. pot is kinda small, but with 2 pots you could boil enough wort for a batch between the 2. I have an 32 qt. and wish it was 40.

If you are going grain go to 5.5 gallon batches because then you will get a nice clear 5 gallons at the end.

Get a chiller, they are very much worth it. Toting 5 gallons of very hot wort to the bathtub is kind of scary for me. Then think about a mill and buying bulk base malt and the cost per batch is quite low.:)
 

abracadabra

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either the cpvc manifold or the braided SS should work just fine. I'd recommend some kind of paddle to stir the mash.

I would not recommend a 7.5 gal boil pot but if that's all you can afford it will certainly work. It's gonna require you to watch the boil like a hawk the entire time.

The cold water bath will work if you can't afford an IC right now.

The sipgot will make things a lot easier as well but not totally necessary. Just be careful.

I'd recommend 1 large pot over 2 small 7.5 gal pots anyday. 2 pots will also make things easier but only if they are big enough. A 7.5 gall pot will make an ok HLT but a poor boil kettle. IMHO a 9 gal. boil pot is the minimum starting point 10 gal. is better still. You're better off in the long run getting stuff to do the job right rather than trying to squeak by because you end up buying all over again in most cases or you won't like dealing with the hassle of having half a$$ equipment so you'll quit.
 

ohiobrewtus

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2pugbrews said:
A 48 qt Gott picnic cooler. Is this size alright for a 5 gal? I was planning to make a 3 or 4 branch cpvc collection arrangement for the bottom but some use a single braided stainless steel jacket from a water supply line. Palmer takes great pains to show that multiple (3 or more) branches of copper prevent channeling. Does either work equally well? or one better than the other?
I use a braid, as do a lot of others here. Channeling is not an issue. a 48 qt. cooler is plenty large enough.

2pugbrews said:
A turkey fryer w/30 qt pot and a 65000 btu burner. Because they were on sale at Lowes I bought a second in case I would need a second pot. I'm not real clear but I think I will need a second pot. Do I need to equip one or both with spigots?
I agree that 30 qt. is probably the minimum size you'll want for full boils. I usually end up boiling down a bit over 7 gallons on my bigger beers. When you're ready to upgrade again, you may want to think about a larger pot. A spigot is not necessary, but nice to have. You can always use an auto siphon to get to primary after cooling if you have to.

2pugbrews said:
I want to make an immersion cooler but in case I don't get one made by the time I brew, is it possible to cool 5 gal in the bath tub in a reasonable time (our water is 47 deg out of the faucet) with lots of ice? I freeze milk jugs of water and then break it up with an ice pick and cut the jug open. I can freeze a lot in a short while.
Cooling in an icebath is always a viable option if you don't have any other means available to you. My IC is one of the best purchases that I've made in my brewery to date.
 

lustreking

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2pugbrews said:
Is it possible to cool 5 gal in the bath tub in a reasonable time (our water is 47 deg out of the faucet) with lots of ice? I freeze milk jugs of water and then break it up with an ice pick and cut the jug open. I can freeze a lot in a short while.
While it might be possible, you might want to ask yourself how far do you want to carry 5 gallons of very hot sticky liquid, especially through your house?
 

foxtrot

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FWIW- I live south of you in Arvada and can tell you the evaporation rate is huge here because its so dry. I boil outside on my deck and typically lose about 2 gal on a 90 minute boil using a 55K burner. Just something to keep in mind. Another Colorado all-grainer is born... Good luck!
 

BrianP

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+1 on the braid and batch sparging

+1 on the wort chiller (easy to make from copper tubing, a fitting or two, and some plastic tubing)

+1 on the barley crusher (or other grain mill) and buying malt in bulk (I went from $1.80 to $2.20 per lb down to $0.66/lb).

The 30 qt aluminum pot is kinda small (it's what I use) - but there are tricks to prevent boilovers (search for EdWort's suggestion of using a spray bottle of water). That being said, a keggle would be better since you could do bigger batches and let them boil like a mofo without worry.
 
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