Want to take the plunge

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

McCall St. Brewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2005
Messages
1,172
Reaction score
5
Location
West Monroe, Louisiana
I've been brewing now for about six months and have done several successful batches using extract and specialty grains. I am getting to the point where I would like to take the plunge and move to AG.

One bit thing is stopping me, though, and that's equipment. I have been reading about AG brewing wherever I can, including books, this forum, How To Brew, etc. I guess I am a little frustrated because unlike in extract brewing where most people seem to use pretty similar setups (I bought a nice setup kit from my local homebrewing supply store), all grain brewers seem to have all sorts of Rube Goldberg type contraptions setups that they seem to build themselves.

I don't really want to build anything. Can I simply buy a system that is made for this and use it?
 

Darth Konvel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2005
Messages
1,037
Reaction score
1
Location
Columbus
Do it! Do it! Do it! ;)

Fancy equipment isn't a necessity, but the power of the dark side is strong :) I personally just use an igloo cooler with a conversion kit and custom manifold, and that pretty much it as far as specialty equipment goes. Additional stuff includes a second pot to heat water / boil wort with, and a big big spoon so stir the mash with.

3-tier systems, turkey friers, etc are all nice things to have, but not necessary.
 

Dude

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2005
Messages
8,768
Reaction score
122
Location
Ramstein-Miesenbach
I just bought a rectangular Rubbermaid 54 quart cooler yesterday for 15 bucks. 5 more dollars worth of parts and I have a new mashtun.
One more cooler or big pot can act as the HLT. You probably already have that big aluminum pot from your turkey fryer? ;)

The only thing that will set you back going AG is a boil kettle because you have to do full boils.
 

Rhoobarb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
3,553
Reaction score
20
Location
Gainesville
Here's the 'plunge thread' I posted when I took my leap into AG last July. You might find it amusing.

Palmer's book is really a great place to start. As others have stated, you don't need a lot of equipment. Converting a cooler is easy and probably what many of us have done. Converting it and making my own wort chiller were the only items I made myself. Buy a wort chiller and all you have to do is convert a cooler!

If you have money to spend and/or just want to get a ready-made set up from the get-go, Beer, Beer & More Beer is a good place to do some browsing... and dream! :rolleyes:
 

Baron von BeeGee

Beer Bully
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
5,374
Reaction score
30
Location
Barony of Fuquay-Varina, NC
I think the issue for going AG but not wanting to fabricate anything is the cost. It can be done, but they charge you dearly for it. I'm talking whole system here. Certainly a lot of the bits and pieces of an AG setup are now commercially available such as manifolds/screens, bulkhead/nozzles, etc., which some people still fabricate while others buy. The good news is that it's much, much easier to 'fabricate' (really too strong of a word in most cases) an AG setup than most people think. Check out this link for a good baseline of a simple AG setup:
http://cruisenews.net/brewing/infusion/
 

Kaiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2005
Messages
3,895
Reaction score
167
Location
Pepperell, MA
Dude said:
The only thing that will set you back going AG is a boil kettle because you have to do full boils.
A 30qt stainless steel turkey fryer pot works for AG, you just have to be very careful with the boil-overs and you may have a lower brew house efficiency since you have to stop sparging earlier. Don't through away the test though. freeze it and use it for future starters.

I collect about 26L from the sparging. This boils down to about 21L in a 60 min boil.

But I wish I had a bigger brew kettle. Which I will work on getting after I finished my fermentation/lagering fridge. This seems to be more important for me at the time.

Kai
 

djmd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
52
Reaction score
0
Location
Cincinnati, OH
I was kind of in the same boat a month ago. I wanted to start all-grain but I didn't think I wanted to build anything, fearing it would turn out like crap. I placed an order for one of the systems at Beer, Beer and More Beer and a couple days later decided it was a total ripoff and cancelled the order. They DO charge dearly, as beegee said!

2 weeks ago I went to Target and got a 5 gal bev. cooler on sale for $8. I ordered a mini-keg bung ($1.00) and a plastic valve. I got a 6 dollar SS water supply line and a couple clamps. Cut a small piece of hose off, and within about 20 minutes I had a sweet mashtun. Total cost, 16 bucks or so. The only challenge was getting the braided SS off the hose. Had I known to use gloves and put soap on the hose in the first place, it would have taken about 15 seconds. This weekend I'll be running my third all-grain session...
 

cgravier

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
276
Reaction score
2
Location
Virginia Beach
mmditter said:
all grain brewers seem to have all sorts of Rube Goldberg type contraptions setups that they seem to build themselves.

I don't really want to build anything. Can I simply buy a system that is made for this and use it?
j.s. bach rules!!

just buy a zymurgy magazine, in it youll find about 20 mail order supply shops, call everyone and theyll send you free catalogues in which most will have complete all-grain set ups. some good ones are 'midwest supply', 'northern brewer supply' 'the grape and granary'

you cant get a decent, if not top of the line set up for 200 bucks or so.

p.s. the only thing that sucks about a.g. is the time invested...but its not like you have anything better to do on your day off...
 

akira7799

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2005
Messages
43
Reaction score
4
Location
Pittsburgh
Hey mmditter,

The system I use is comprised of the following:

1 - 10 gallon orange rubbermaid cooler with 1/2 out (for Hot Liquor Tank)
1 - 10 gallon orange rubbermaid cooler with domed stainless steel false bottom screen and 1/2 out (for Mash Tun)
1 - 14 Gallon brew kettle from morebeer.com
1 - 10 gal wort chiller
1 - Burner @ 70,000 BTU

It's the B3-200B. It was my brother's birthday present. So it's not mine. But we brew together.

Hope it helps,
Dave
 

Orfy

For the love of beer!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
11,732
Reaction score
118
Location
Cheshire, England
I did it heath robinson style on the cheap.

1 electric tank water heater and bucket for the hot water tank.
1 retangular cooler and a few plumbing supplies for the mash tun
1 keg, a spigot and a couple of bottles of home brew for the welding of the kettle.
1 cheap burner at 35000kw (It does the job)

Some of the stuff I already had but the full lot cost me around 70gpb.

The bit I spent most time on was getting my head set up right.
 

jeffg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
278
Reaction score
1
Location
Boston, MA
Here is the system I got when i decided to upgrade about seven years ago:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/WILLIAM_S_MASHING_SYSTEM_P191C83.cfm

It's pretty basic, and more importantly it is less than $100. THe insulating jacket does a great job and it essentially works just like a cooler system. All you really need is a 30 qt. pot and, ideally, an outdoor burner and you are good to go.

For what it's worth, I am still using this system and generally hitting the right gravities and making good beer, so I have full confidence in recommending it...
 

El Pistolero

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
16
Location
Houston
mmditter said:
I don't really want to build anything. Can I simply buy a system that is made for this and use it?
I'm with you...I'd rather buy it than build it. My LHBS sells a five gallon cooler with all the fittings for use as a mash lauter tun...$85 and you're ready to go. I imagine that most LHBS's will have a similiar deal.

That said tho...if there's anything that I might try doing myself it would be a MLT. That El Cheapo mash tun that BeeGee linked to looks pretty easy...I couldn't possibly screw it up too bad, could I? :(
 
Top