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hawktrap74

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i dont have alot of money but good with the hands. i was wondering if i could make myself a mashing unit. what could i use. also i want to learn more about mashing, but i have gone endless places on the net and cant find anything to enlighten me about it. i would love to learn as much about it before jumping right in.ive done a few kits but its not what i want. i want beer that jumps out at me .
 

Janx

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All-grain will definitely improve the quality of your beer.

Personally, I'd get one of the homebrew books that teach all-grain and read that, but there's probably good stuff on the web.

In short, mashing is just holding water and grains at about 150 degrees for about an hour and then, without disturbing them at all, slowly rinsing them of the sugar they have created.

So, you need a vessel that can hold heat for a mash tun. A cooler is many people's first step. I like those big orange Gott coolers you see at job sites. They make a 10 gallon one that's nice to have for bigger/stronger batches.

You also need a way to pull the wort out of the bottom. Many people use a false bottom, which is just a perforated circle of stainless that the grain sits on and you draw liquid out from below it. I prefer to make a loop of tubing (copper, cpvc, etc), cut some holes in the bottom side of it and plumb that into the outlet of the mash tun. No matter what, you need a valve of some sort at the bottom of your tun. Those Gott coolers are easy to dismantle and refit the plastic valve with whatever you want.

There's a picture of my converted keg mash tun on here somewhere (a converted keg is much nicer than a cooler because it's stainless). It shows my cpvc manifold at the bottom too.

I make and have made all my brew gear for a long time. Let me know if you have any other questions. It's all real do-able once you know what you're shooting for. Cheers! :D
 

D-brewmeister

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I made my mash tun out of a 10 gal rubbermaid cooler, a length of stainles faucet supply hose (fittings cut off and hose pulled out) a 4 inch piece of 3/8" OD copper tubing, a clamp, a rubber stopper (the right size for the hole where the cooler's tap was), a plastic inline valve and a few feet of 3/8" ID food grade tubing. Pretty simple and cheap, the most expenseive item was getting the cooler, and if you can find a used one, even that should be cheap. Basic assembly: SS hose screen clamped to the copper pipe and crimped on the other end, pipe through stopper, stopper in hole, tubing and valve on outside end of pipe, voila!:) Worked like a charm, even was able to draw off wort after the grain bed had packed down onto the filter (I've heard this can be a problem for false bottom or other designs).
 

George

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I would definitly go stainless on the mash tun. You should be able to pick up a used half barrel for not much money. I like the stainless because you can add heat directly. You will probaly have difficulty on your first several batches with hitting your target mash temp. Cooling it is pretty easy with cold/ice water. Adding heat is more difficult/time consuming. It's a lot easier if you can just turn the burner on low and stir till you're there. I've done 100's of batches and occasionally still have to adjust. I suppose it just depends on how much homebrew you're enjoying while you're brewing.
However you do it, all grain is the way to go.
 
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hawktrap74

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well cool guys i think i might have the equip down but i need to read up on the whole process of mashing, i need something i can revert back to if i have problems, can anyone lead to a place if not web or a book that i can buy. i just comprehend the process everybody keeps talking about unless iread it myself. and thanks for the help fellas
 

DeRoux's Broux

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hawktrap74 said:
well cool guys i think i might have the equip down but i need to read up on the whole process of mashing, i need something i can revert back to if i have problems, can anyone lead to a place if not web or a book that i can buy. i just comprehend the process everybody keeps talking about unless iread it myself. and thanks for the help fellas
hey, try http://cruisenews.net/brewing/index.php
he has pic's that go along with each step of his brewing. plus he has a good index of links to get info. he has pics and parts of the cooler mash/lauter tun that d-brewmeister was talking about too.

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
 
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hawktrap74

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DeRoux's Broux said:
hey, try http://cruisenews.net/brewing/index.php
he has pic's that go along with each step of his brewing. plus he has a good index of links to get info. he has pics and parts of the cooler mash/lauter tun that d-brewmeister was talking about too.

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux
thanks deroux very helpful in seeing the set-up. one more question if i used a bucket instead of one of those gott coolers would it be a problem. i mean all i see that would change would be at keeping the water up to temp[/QUOTE]
 

Janx

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Yeah, but holding the water at the proper temp is important to mashing. Something insulated will definitely make your life easier, especially if you're only doing 5 gallon batches.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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hawktrap74 said:
thanks deroux very helpful in seeing the set-up. one more question if i used a bucket instead of one of those gott coolers would it be a problem. i mean all i see that would change would be at keeping the water up to temp
[/QUOTE]

Janx is right. You can use a bucket, but you'll lose alot of heat. I think I spent a tota lof $29 on my mash/lauter tank cooler converson. The Rubbermaid cooler was the most expensive part ($18 @ Wal-Mart). Works like a charm too. My temps were dead-on through the mash and sparge.
Take the jump! The water's fine :D

DeRoux's Broux
 
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hawktrap74

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Janx is right. You can use a bucket, but you'll lose alot of heat. I think I spent a tota lof $29 on my mash/lauter tank cooler converson. The Rubbermaid cooler was the most expensive part ($18 @ Wal-Mart). Works like a charm too. My temps were dead-on through the mash and sparge.
Take the jump! The water's fine :D

DeRoux's Broux[/QUOTE]
so a cooler what type one with a spigot is that the only specification. how big does the cooler have to be. what could i use for a sparge. let me know thanks.[/QUOTE]
 

DeRoux's Broux

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hawk, check the 8th or 9th thread in the post. that link i posted has pic's, sizes, equipment of the set-up. (the cruisenews link). i use a 5 gallon rubbermaid water cooler. some use a 10 gallon. i brewed an amber ale this weekend that had 12.5 lbs of grains, and it was full to the top when i added my mash water. spend the extra $$$ and get a 10 gallon. probably about $8-$10 dollars more.

DeRoux's Broux
 

wwgiese

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hawktrap74 said:
i dont have alot of money but good with the hands. i was wondering if i could make myself a mashing unit. what could i use. also i want to learn more about mashing, but i have gone endless places on the net and cant find anything to enlighten me about it. i would love to learn as much about it before jumping right in.ive done a few kits but its not what i want. i want beer that jumps out at me .
If you start mashing it gives you a lot more versitility and control over your beer. It also can be oppening a can of worms. You must be diligent and don't get discuraged when you make a lousy batch. But being cheap might be a problem for you will need to do a full boil instead of a partial one. and you will need to donate a full day to brewing instead of an evening.\

First do an ale since it is the simplest to mash.

Use about 7.5 lb of crushed grain. It is better to crush than to grind. Less dust. A simple recipie for starters would be 7 lb of your choice of pale ale type malt and .5 lb of 20 lovibond crystal. You can have your grain crushed at the store in most places or for a small fee. Ingredients will be cheaper than extract but equipment will make up for that and then some. Put the grain in a picknic cooler (one with out a drain in the bottom is best) then heat up some water in your cooker. When you get it to about 170 degrees start mixing it in to the grain slowly. You will need a thermomiter in the grain and monitor it closely. When you have a thick ,thouroughly wet, mush (kinda like oatmeal in thickness) check the temperature. If nessisary use hotter water to bring it up to 150 degrees. If it is over like 155 or so don't worry it will only make the beer alittle sweeter which is good also. We arn't trying to make a bud every time out. Besides variety is why we are doing this thing in the first place. After you have this done set the cooler aside and if your wife doenst have a fit wrap it in a blanket. In a couple of hours you will be ready. When i do the cooler thing I mash on Fri nite then leave it over nite in the cooler and start brewing Sat morning.

Now we need to get the mash up to 170 degrees. You can do this by adding boiling water to get it up, or as i do put it in a pot and put it on the stove. Either way you will need to stir constantly to keep it evenly heated. After getting it to 170 let it set for 10 mins then move it to the sparge tank.

The sparge tank can be a bucket with a mash bag in it, a pot that has a spigot and a mash screen in the bottom. or some home made job that you dream up. I have done all of those ways and they are all fine.

Now you need to have about 5 gal. of 170 degree water ready and waiting for the sparge. First you will need to recirculate the wert. At the bottom of your sparge bucket there will be a hose to drain the first runnings out. You catch this fluid in a container and pour it back in the top. Keep doing this till it is clear. Now you will start adding clear hot water instead of wert. Let the wert drain into the pot you are going to cook it in. When you run out of water to sparge with just let it set till the liquid coming out almost stops draning. You should have about 6.5 to 7 gal of wert in your pot.

Now you just boil and add hops as usual. You will need to boil 1.5 to 2 hours.
I know some of the extract brews do less but an all grain needs the extra time to coagulate the trub. After the boil you will need to cool as fast as you can. Cheap is using 2- 5 gal pots with 2.5 gal of wert each in your kitchen sink, one in each side, filled with ice (the sink). I used to boil water the week before and fill sterile milk jugs half way and then freeze them. When I put the pots in the ice filled sink I removed the plastic jug from the ice and dropped one .5 gl cube if ice in each pot. I would have the wert down to 40 degrees in 5 to 10 mins. The faster the temp drop the better the trub will coagulate in the pot.

Now is where the beer gets good. This is important for crystal clear clean tasting beer. You got to get the trub out of your wert before you ferment it. Some people don't and will say it is not important. None of them ever beat me in a beer competition. I let the trub settle to the bottom then syphon the clear beer off of the top to a carboy or plastic bucket. Do not let trub be sucked up in to the syphon. Now what I do is take the trub (I am very cheap) and put it in 1 gal jugs and put it in the fridge. (I have a extra fridge for brewing in the garage) Pitch the yeast in th carboy and put it in your fermentation area. Wert should be around 60 to 65 degrees when you pitch. If it is cooler that is ok but it will take a bit longer to get started with the fermentation. Warmer will give the beer more esters. (stronger smells and fruity tastes, ok too) Now the next day you will find that the trub in the jugs have settled to the bottom and you have more clean wert. Syphon off the wert and add it to the fermenting beer. Some will tell you that this is a bad idea but I have been doing it for 10 years and as long as you are using clean, disinfected equipment for every thing that touches the beer you will be fine. If you want to you can save about 1 quart of wert to prime with instead of the sugar.

When your fermentation starts to slow a bit you need to rack your beer to a second fermenter. This is nessasary to seperate your fermenting beer from the trub that evaded your efforts to ban it from the beer. People will tell you that you should never mess with it till the fermentation is done but I found the beer is better when you get as much trub ot as you can. The trub will be attached to all that floating yeast at the top (that real brown crap) and some will fall to the bottom. Clean out your used carboy right away. It is almost impossible to clean after it has dried out a day or too. You may even want to rack a third time in a week or so if you have a lot of crap appeara on the top or bottom of your secondary fermenter.

When it stops fermenting (very little gas escaping your air lock) just rack your beer to your bottle bucket or kegg and there you have it.

Good luck
 

wwgiese

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hawktrap74 said:
i dont have alot of money but good with the hands. i was wondering if i could make myself a mashing unit. what could i use. also i want to learn more about mashing, but i have gone endless places on the net and cant find anything to enlighten me about it. i would love to learn as much about it before jumping right in.ive done a few kits but its not what i want. i want beer that jumps out at me .

Best book - The complete handbook of home brewing by Dave Miller.
 
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hawktrap74

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wow thanks for the input ill try it and let all you guys know how it went thanks again
 
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