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What do i need to start all grain brewing? ...and a little bitch session.

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PAbrewer

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I have only done 4 batches so far. All were patial mashes. 2 of them came out spectacular, and the other two came out ok. I would like to get into all grain brewing as soon as i can. My questions are... what kind of investment will i have to make as far as equipment goes? What are the minimal requirements? With only 4 batches under my belt, is it advisable to start all grain brewing? How much more involved is it?

One of the main reasons why i want to start all grain brewing is that i want to be able to brew quality beers, and try to replicate some of my favorite beers. I just went to buy a case of Rogue Hazelnuts and they wanted $65.00/ case. I walked out the door! Sorry, i just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on a case of 22ozers. I don't have a problem occasionally spending a little more on a "treat". I just feel like us middle class folk is being screwed every time we turn around, and beer certainly isn't any exception. I just bought a case of Hazelnut's right before Xmas and paid $54.00. So they went up over $10.00 in a month.

The sooner i am able to produce quality beer, the sooner i can sever myself from the dependency of the overrpiced brewers. Well, i take that back, it's not really the brewers fault completely. It's costing the brewers more to brew the beer. It's costing more to bottle it, more to transport it, etc. All because of rising energy costs. I am striving towards becoming as self sufficient as i can be in this world where the middle class continues to take a beating! Long live the home brewer!!

:mug:
 

RICLARK

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you will need at least a 5 gal cooler to convert into an MLT if you dont have one, at least a 30 qt pot, prefferably bigger, and an immersion chiller. This will get you started.
 

The Pol

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You can get started for $150... that should give you the equipment and the turkey fryer to boil all that sweet wort in!

As for the question "am I ready?" I started brewing 2 years ago, I have never done anything but all grain and I did not have anyone to help me either. I read a Papazian book and built my own equipment and just did it... it is not that hard or scary. BONUS you have this forum too!

Get a cooler to use as a mash tun, you can batch sparge if you get a large enough cooler and then just have a kettle and burner to boil it. The rest of the equipment you will already have! GO to my photobucet site here if you like, it shows three systems I have built in two years, if you want ideas!
:ban:

http://s168.photobucket.com/albums/u189/PolTavern/BREWING/
 

archmaker

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I will add to that it is not that hard to do, I just did my third AG batch yesterday. All of my equipment I have put together.

The best thing I ever did when figuring out what equipment to go with, is see what I had laying around, figure what I need to make it work, and then get on this board and see what other people where doing.

By far the best thing I did was read, read, and lurk on this board.

If you are already doing partial, the cost it took me to go from there to AG was $40, already had the Turkey fryer ($40). It cost me that much because I went with a 3/4 inch cooper manifold in a 36qt cooler.

EDIT - Also forgot the money I spent on the wort chiller, you are going to need that! Another $40
 

Bob

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PAbrewer said:
I have only done 4 batches so far. All were patial mashes. 2 of them came out spectacular, and the other two came out ok. I would like to get into all grain brewing as soon as i can. My questions are... what kind of investment will i have to make as far as equipment goes? What are the minimal requirements? With only 4 batches under my belt, is it advisable to start all grain brewing? How much more involved is it?

One of the main reasons why i want to start all grain brewing is that i want to be able to brew quality beers, and try to replicate some of my favorite beers. I just went to buy a case of Rogue Hazelnuts and they wanted $65.00/ case. I walked out the door! Sorry, i just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on a case of 22ozers. I don't have a problem occasionally spending a little more on a "treat". I just feel like us middle class folk is being screwed every time we turn around, and beer certainly isn't any exception. I just bought a case of Hazelnut's right before Xmas and paid $54.00. So they went up over $10.00 in a month.

The sooner i am able to produce quality beer, the sooner i can sever myself from the dependency of the overrpiced brewers. Well, i take that back, it's not really the brewers fault completely. It's costing the brewers more to brew the beer. It's costing more to bottle it, more to transport it, etc. All because of rising energy costs. I am striving towards becoming as self sufficient as i can be in this world where the middle class continues to take a beating! Long live the home brewer!!

:mug:
It's not really more involved than the partial mashes you've been doing. Other brewers, more gadet-geek qualified than I, will answer your equipment questions. Rest assured, you will make beer. Whether or not it will be good beer is entirely dependent on your skill as a brewer and your attention to detail. So keep learning! :)

I wish to address your statements about overpricing by commercial breweries. I'm not sure why you're surprised that there has been a price increase, nor can I determine why you're laying the price increase solely at the feet of rising energy costs. Have you missed the buzz since November about the hops and malt shortages?

That's not overpricing. Overpricing is pricing a product at a point higher than it's worth and masking that pricing behind a dishonest premise. For example, if Rogue increased the price by a margin well outside the average market increase, you'd legitimately be able to claim overpricing.

But pricing is set to whatever the market will bear, whether it's homes, washing machines, beer or automobiles. And there is always more than one reason for price differentials.

In the beer world, I've commonly seen cases of highly-desired beers go for what I considered an excessive amount. A case of Chimay, for example, it prohibitively expensive. But it's not automatically overpricing.

In the automotive world, take as an example the Land Rover Defender. In UK, a really, really nice 1992 Defender with low miles might fetch $10,000. Here, that same truck fetches upwards of $40,000. Why? It's an off-roading legend that was only imported in small quantities for a few years in the early 1990s. Add into the mix that you can't just buy one in UK and ship it here - the law prevents you doing so unless the vehicle is something like 20 years old - and suddenly you've got excessive demand for a scarce product. Does that mean that a USA-spec Defender is overpriced? Not at all; the price is what the market will bear.

Anyway, that's my :off: rant. Have a nice day!

Cheers,

Bob
 

Catfish

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PAbrewer said:
I have only done 4 batches so far. All were patial mashes. 2 of them came out spectacular, and the other two came out ok. I would like to get into all grain brewing as soon as i can. My questions are...ming as self sufficient as i can be in this world where the middle class continues to take a beating! Long live the home brewer!!

:mug:
You don't need to brew all grain to produce quality beers. You don't need to brew all grain to make better beer than you can buy in the store. Your money is much better spent on temperature control and yeast than all grain equipment.

The rising costs will soon be felt across the board with hop, malt, glass, stainless steel, fuel prices going up it is natural that beer prices follow. Just drink better, drink less or drink home brew.

Buy a copy of Jamil's book and learn how to make the most of partial mashes and extract or listen to the podcast. (someone will follow with a better link) the brewing network
 

Danek

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The advice above is good and sound - using a mash tun for AG brewing is unquestionably a good route to go down. An alternative used by myself and at least a couple of other people on here is the all-grain brew-in-a-bag (BIAB) method. It makes very good AG beer, and the only cost for me to go from extract to all-grain was about $6 for a large mesh bag. There's more info in this thread:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=52207
 

MikeRLynch

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Try the link to my website and scroll down. I added pictures of my all grain setup, brew in a bag method, which all told is about 50 bucks (including brew pot). I brew indoors, without a turkey frier, so I end up using two 4 gal pots on my stove, and cooling them in an ice bath in the sink (no wort chiller!). Check it out link

mike
 

Warrior

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MLynchLtd said:
Try the link to my website and scroll down. I added pictures of my all grain setup, brew in a bag method, which all told is about 50 bucks (including brew pot). I brew indoors, without a turkey frier, so I end up using two 4 gal pots on my stove, and cooling them in an ice bath in the sink (no wort chiller!). Check it out link

mike
I agree you can brew all grain with a lot less equipment than most people think is necessary. I used to brew a lot of 13 gallon all grain batches. I still have my two keg system with 3 propane cookers and water pump system. Since I've started brewing again I'm making 5 gallon batches using buckets, a sparge bag and a cooler. You can use a cooler for doing your mash and then transfer it to the bucket and sparge bag to lauter. I put the sparge water in a bottling bucket and use the spigot to regulate the flow into another bottling bucket that has the mash in the sparge bag. I have a lid from a 3 gallon stainless pot that fits in the bottling bucket perfectly. I then allow the sparge water to flow on top of the lid which then filters through the grain bed without any channeling.

I brew in the house without using the cookers. I have a 5 gallon S.S. pot that I boil the wort in. I boil up to 4 gallon and add two gallons of cold water to the carboy to make a 5.5 gallon batch. After the sparge I usually collect about 4 gallon in the brew pot. I do not use a wort chiller but cool the pot after the boil in the sink. I do need to stir it around a lot and ghange the water about 3 times to cool it down to about 85 degrees. The two gallon of chilled water from the fridge gets the temp down to about 70 degrees.

By the way you can brew great beer by using DME also. I buy a 50 lb bag of Breiss Pils DME. This allows me to supliment my all grain beers. You can also use it as your base malt extract and color and flavor you beer by using specialty grains. The other important step is to use a good liquid yeast strain.

Good luck in your all grain brewing ventures.
 
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