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I want to AG this Fall....

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tucker713

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I've been reading post all over the web to get info on AG brewing...Can someone please post pixs or any info on what I should start collecting for AG brewing...Walmart has coolers on sale that I may pick up shortly...

thanks
 

DeRoux's Broux

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try, http://cruisenews.net/brewing/index.php

this guy has pic's, detailed descriptions of what he does through his whole process. his way is inexpensive, efficient, and makes great AG brews. he has a lot of good links on his web page that go into detail and give other set-up descriptions too.

cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 

andre the giant

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I started all-grain brewing by purchasing a mashing kit/setup from an online brewing supply company. I'm sure I could have made the stuff for half the price, but it was nice to order it and forget. The system, (one plastic bucket with false bottom and spigot, one with spigot only, Listerman sparge arm, tubing, and other goodies) has worked well for me. The cooler based systems look like fun too.

Kit beers are great for beginners, (God knows, I brewed them for about 4 years) or the quick carefree batch, and extract brewing can get great results in half the time of all-grain batches, but I just love the taste of my all-grain brews. I'll probably never go back to extract only. The all-grain option is just too much fun, offers more control and options and the flavor is so fresh. I highly reccommend it. (Don't wait!)
 
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Not to hi-jack your thread Tucker but I can throw in a more pointed question which you may also need to hear back on...

I've pretty much decided on going with the cooler for mash/lauter tun. I figure I will make a drain manifold from pvc or copper with slits in the bottom. I'm thinking that it would be easier to use a rectangle cooler instead of round to facilitate ease of installation and removal of the manifold.

The question here, what size cooler? I currently do 5 gallon batches but my whole setup has been purchased / built with the ability to expand to 10gal batches in the future. I have read that you don't want a cooler with too much surface area since your grains will then be spread out too much resulting in a shallow filter bed. I have been eyeballing the square (ok, not rectangle in this case) cooler at Wal-mart which I believe is called the 'ice cube' and I was wondering if that would be a good choice (there are two sizes available in this model). Also, after deciding how much surface area the cooler should have, how tall should it be to allow for the grains required for a 10gal batch? Too tall a cooler... I think that would lead to minimal drain manifold size and therefore slow/stuck sparges.

What do you use / recommend?

Thanks...
 

92greenyj

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well we just tested our cooler set up for the first time yesterday and it worked like a champ!!

we got one of the round water cooler things from home depot, then got some 3/4" Copper tube, hose clamps, stainless steel screen, 3/4" copper T fitting, 3/4" Copper Ball valve, and some 3/4" copper butt fittings. we drilled the hole in the cooler for the spigot out to the right size, then soldered our copper together. inside the cooler it looks like a T and we have a screen on each end of the T. then we got an 8: diameter, 2" deep cake pan, cut a notch out of it to fit over the copper pipe, and drillled a TON of holes in it to acvt as a false bottom. worksd awsome! flows very well and was well worth the time and effort to piece it together.

It held the 14 lbs of grain for our IPA justr fine. However, it was too small for the 18lbs we used for the barley wine. the grain all fit, but the little water we added just got absorbed by it.
 

neldor19

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I use a cooler/manifold and although Ive only used it twice (my first two AG batches)it has worked flawlessly.I used a Coleman "Extreme"I believe it is called(all stickers are removed so I think thats the right name).I got it from Walmart for about $16.00.Its a 36 quart,and is twice as thick as an ordinary cooler giving it better insulating values.I believe its rated a 5 day cooler or something like that.I know they had a bigger ones too.I had very little temp drop during the mash....2 to 3 degrees.The manifold works great....just kind of a pain in the butt to make.If you you a hacksaw,make sure you use a blade with fine toothing.Or maybe I should say "blades".You will go through a few.The manifold is about 20 inches long and 8 inches wide with 3 half inch copper tubes running the 20 inch length.Cutting slits half way through every half inch was quite tedious work,but Im satisfied.Wort's clear after 2 quarts and no stuck sparge....and I tried to get it stuck..just to test its limits.I opened the valve all the way and it handled it no problem.2 quarts in 20 seconds ;)I think Im gonna do a Rye batch soon so well see how she does does with that.Its been awhile since I made this,about a year,but I think it costed around $35.00 to make.I was also looking at the Igloo's,but decided on rectangular hopeing for better efficiency due to more area of manifold.Unfortunatly Im still getting used to the system and havent worked out my efficiency yet,so I cant give ya any numbers.But I know its up there.
 

D-brewmeister

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I have been using a 20 gal rubbermaid cooler with a stainless steel screen that I took from a water supply hose (the braided kind, just remove the fittings from the end and pull out the rubber hose, then clamp it to the outlet of your tun). So far it has worked marvelously, no stuck sparges, even if allowing the grain bed to drain and compact while sparging. Quite simple to put together, just stuck a rubber stopper in the hole where the cooler's spout used to be, inserted copper tubing through the hole, and clamped the stainless screen on to the end of the tube. The most expensive part was the cooler, by far, and I assume you could priobably find used ones for much cheaper that would work fine. Good luck :)
 

tnlandsailor

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Tucker: Depending on where you are geographically, try to find a homebrew club in your area. Someone in that club is bound to brew all grain, and your mission is to watch at least a couple of brew sessions with that person from start to finish. If you can, watch sessions with a couple of different people to get a feel for alternate approaches to methods and processes. This is by far the best and most efficient way to become familiar with all grain brewing. Go to: http://www.beertown.org/homebrewing/listings.asp and put in your state in the search bar. You may find that you have to drive a little ways, but think of it as a field trip. It will be worth it.

If you are stuck in the middle of nowhere and there is no one to give a hands-on demo, then you are stuck with books and the internet, which isn't all bad. All grain isn't that complicated, it just takes a bit more time and some extra pieces of equipment. You can go very primitive or very elaborate, it's up to you. Spend some more time on research like you've been doing and keep a notebook on the things you learn. You will be fine.

Prosit,
 
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Besides the mash/lauter tun, grain mill and various kettles, what is required to step up from partial mash to all grain? Looks like a ph test kit is needed. Any recommendations on style / brand which would be good for this? Anything else specific to the mash/lauter that would be needed? I'm still reading up on the subject... still... but it's always good to hear from this group.


Thanks.
 

tnlandsailor

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I have never measured the pH in any of the AG batches I've done. If you have pretty decent water available to you and the pH of that water is within a couple of points of 7.0, I just don't think measuring pH is necessary. If you have well water or really crappy city water, you might think about using bottled water or some additives, and unfortunately, a pH meter. If someone pipes up and says that pH measurement is an absolute necessity and that same person elsewhere on this board said that a hydrometer is optional - I'm going to scream.

For a mash tun, I would go with the 50 quart (+ or -) rectangular cooler. It's already insulated, has a built in drain hole, and the volume is just about right for 5 or 10 gallon batches. Build a slotted manifold for the bottom out of copper tubing or CPVC and put a valve on the outlet. It's a pretty simple job and you will end up with a great mash tun. You will spend a lot more money if you go with a converted keg or a round Gott type cooler. If you change your mind later and want something a little more fancy or want to ditch all-grain completely, you haven't invested too much money on the rig to toss it or pass it on to another inspired all-grainer.

Prosit,
 

Dude

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tnlandsailor said:
If someone pipes up and says that pH measurement is an absolute necessity and that same person elsewhere on this board said that a hydrometer is optional - I'm going to scream.

I don't think comments like this are really necessary. Just because you don't agree with another person's brewing practices, doesn't mean it is wrong. I respect the opinions of you guys who have been brewing for a while, but that doesn't mean its gospel. Whether or not someone else thinks a hydrometer is a waste of time, I don't. I use it EVERY time.
Somewhat the same with PH. This one is a bit more optional--but I HIGHLY recommend reading PH at least once to get a handle on the water you use. If you don't change your water (switching from botled to tap, etc.) then its not necessary every time you brew. But balancing PH is a very underutilized practice in brewing, IMHO. It can have a huge effect on off-flavors that you can't nail down otherwise.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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DyerNeedOfBeer said:
Besides the mash/lauter tun, grain mill and various kettles, what is required to step up from partial mash to all grain? Looks like a ph test kit is needed. Any recommendations on style / brand which would be good for this? Anything else specific to the mash/lauter that would be needed? I'm still reading up on the subject... still... but it's always good to hear from this group.
Thanks.
i've never checked my ph on my all-grains. i just use a simple rubbermaid 5 g cooler for my mash/lauter tun, i heat my mash/sparge water in a 15.5 g keg w/ the lid cut out, and boil in a 10 g SS kettle. the only addition i made when i moved from partial mash was the mash/lauter tun, and larger boil kettle. i first used my old stove top sized boil kettle to heat my mash/sparge water. just easier to use one big pot than adding water so often.
 

homebrewer_99

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tnlandsailor said:
I have never measured the pH in any of the AG batches I've done. If someone pipes up and says that pH measurement is an absolute necessity and that same person elsewhere on this board said that a hydrometer is optional - I'm going to scream.
I wonder who it is you could possibly be speaking about? :D :D
 

tnlandsailor

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I don't think comments like this are really necessary. Just because you don't agree with another person's brewing practices, doesn't mean it is wrong. I respect the opinions of you guys who have been brewing for a while, but that doesn't mean its gospel.
It's all in jest folks. Is it because I left off the little winking smiley thingy? It takes all kinds, and there are definitely all kinds on this board. Just tryin' to lighten things up. ;) :) :D :p

Prosit,
 
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