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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: swire on February 07, 2011, 12:37:24 AM

Title: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 07, 2011, 12:37:24 AM
I'm going to move to all grain. Considering I only have a basic kit, I've had to get some new supplies.

I've started with a kit similar to this:
http://www.williamsbrewing.com/COMPLETE_BREWERY_WITH_HONEY_CR_P2338C257.cfm

But, I didn't get a wort chiller and I only have a standard brew pot which is 5 gallons without a valve.

So, my question comes in. Here is what I've just assembled. Wondering if this is right?

In addition to the stuff I have, I just bought the following:


Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: dano14041 on February 07, 2011, 01:23:40 AM
I would suggest going with the bigger boil kettle (8 gal is good, 10 gal + is better). I routinely collect 7 gals of wort for a 5 gal batch for a 60 min boil. I have a 7.5 gal kettle and have to carefully watch the boil and feather the burner to prevent boil overs.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 07, 2011, 01:49:25 AM
Thanks, that's helpful to know. I'll probably go for the 10 gallon then. I guess I'm confused on the process. I see a lot of methods online which all follow the basics but are done slightly differently depending on the equipment.

So, if I get the 10 gallon pot, I can start with that and then have the two 5 gallon coolers which act as a hot liquid tank and mash tun. Thinking that may be a problem, correct? Should I take those back and get 10 gallon ones instead? If so, that may be a problem with the conversion kit I got from Austin Brewing which says for 5 gallon. http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?cPath=178_33_82_449&products_id=12793

I'm confused. I know I sound like a complete newbie and I am. Thanks in advance for any help.

Best,

Zack
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Hokerer on February 07, 2011, 01:55:14 AM
Well, since it looks like you're throwing money around like candy, you must be independently wealthy :).  The five gallon pot is too small for a brew kettle so definitely go for a ten gallon.  You'll be glad you did.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 07, 2011, 02:00:06 AM
Wish I had money to throw around like candy :) If I'm doing this all wrong, I'd love the input. I thought the two coolers and conversion kit were the less costly option. Excuse my ignorance here. First time moving to all grain and the kit from before was always quite simple. I'd like to get what is needed, but not break the bank. I don't mind spending to get something decent. But, being a beginner, I don't need to go top of the line or anywhere close.

Best,

Zack


Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Bad Brewer on February 07, 2011, 02:09:01 AM
For a 5 gallon batch, a 10 gallon brew kettle is probably definitely best.

The 5 gallon coolers should also be fine for all grain 5 gallon batches, it depends on what mash technique you plan to use.  The only thing that cooler would be too small for (I think) is a single infusion no sparge mash. 
Ignore this paragraph, see my next post for why.

(edited to better align with reality)

Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Bad Brewer on February 07, 2011, 05:23:16 AM
Ok, after thinking on this one for a bit... let me quote John Palmer-  " I often use a 15 gallon pot for mashing a five gallon batch."

He also reccomends using more water than some other homebrew gurus.  So if you have Palmer's book (get it if you don't) and plan on following his guidelines on mashing, you will probably need to get a 10gallon cooler.  I've been using a 10gal igloo (5-8 gallon batches) for a while and never had a problem with volume.  I use Palmer's book extensively when writing a recipe.

For a typical Americal Ale that you want to end up around 5%ABV your grain bill will be somehwere around 12-15lb.  So if you end up with a 12lb grain bill and use 1.5qt/lb, it might be hard to fit 12lb of grain and 4.5gallons of water in a 5gallon cooler.

Get a 10gallon cooler, or bigger.  You can get a conversion kit and coupling from bargainfittings.com for any round 10gallon cooler (different one for igloo and rubbermaid, igloo has a thin wall so a weldless kettle ball valve works), and a bazooka screen from several online brewshops or maybe your local homebrew store.  If you want to use a less expensive square cooler there are several online homebrew stores that sell full kits to convert them to mash tuns.



Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Mark G on February 07, 2011, 06:08:19 PM
You definitely want the biggest boil kettle you can afford. The extra space never hurts. I use a 10-gallon for 6-gallon batches and it's just right. You can probably use that 5-gallon pot for your hot liquor tank. A bigger cooler is also probably in order. Here's a couple sites you should check out: http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/ (http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/) and http://brewing.lustreking.com/gear/mashtun.html (http://brewing.lustreking.com/gear/mashtun.html)
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: denny on February 07, 2011, 06:23:11 PM
Wish I had money to throw around like candy :) If I'm doing this all wrong, I'd love the input. I thought the two coolers and conversion kit were the less costly option. Excuse my ignorance here. First time moving to all grain and the kit from before was always quite simple. I'd like to get what is needed, but not break the bank. I don't mind spending to get something decent. But, being a beginner, I don't need to go top of the line or anywhere close.

Best,

Zack




If you haven't already bought coolers, take a look at www.dennybrew.com for the Cheap'n'Easy setup.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Hokerer on February 07, 2011, 06:34:22 PM
If you haven't already bought coolers, take a look at www.dennybrew.com for the Cheap'n'Easy setup.

Yeah, that's pretty much where I was headed with my comment.  Unfortunately, the OP stated "I just bought the following".  Might be too late.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: euge on February 07, 2011, 06:41:25 PM
I recommend an 80qt (20 gallon) aluminum kettle (http://www.instawares.com/stock-pot-aluminum-80.alsksp010.0.7.htm). Even for those 5 gallon batches.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 07, 2011, 11:19:50 PM
Great advice! Wish I came here and posted before I started buying things. I can take back the two 5 gallon coolers and switch those to 10 gallon, but I've already ordered the conversion kit from Austin Homebrew. So, I'll check into sending that back and trying one of the custom methods posted. Also, sounds like the bigger the pot the better. So, guessing that anywhere from 10 to 20 gallons would be best.

Great link on the 80qt kettles. I haven't seen them that inexpensive for something that looks like decent quality. Probably get something from that site. Whether aluminum or stainless steel, I don't know what the difference is than cost. Guess steel would be stronger. Any reason to not go with aluminum?

Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Hokerer on February 08, 2011, 02:18:48 AM
Whether aluminum or stainless steel, I don't know what the difference is than cost. Guess steel would be stronger. Any reason to not go with aluminum?

Aluminum vs Stainless is sort of a timeless argument but it basically comes down to your personal preference.

Aluminum:  Cheaper and lighter.  Transfers heat faster (which can be a plus and a minus).  Needs to be "seasoned" and therefore you need to be a little more careful cleaning it.

Stainless:  Expensive but more durable.  For best heat transfer get one with the "sandwich" bottom (layer of stainless, layer of aluminum, layer of stainless).  You can go to town cleaning it without risk of hurting anything.

Whichever you choose, get a good quality one of at least 10 gallons.  Be wary of the ones that come with the turkey fryer kits as they (aluminum or stainless) tend to be really thin and therefore easy to ding and dent.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: dano14041 on February 08, 2011, 02:26:21 AM
Whether aluminum or stainless steel, I don't know what the difference is than cost. Guess steel would be stronger. Any reason to not go with aluminum?



Here is a good link for pros and cons of the "disputes" of brewing. About half way down the page it list the pros and cons of stainless steel, enamel, and aluminum pots.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/vs-pro-con-analysis-109318/ (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/vs-pro-con-analysis-109318/)
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: richardt on February 08, 2011, 02:48:18 AM
Zack,

Making equipment purchases for going All-Grain can be intimidating.  I admit I had a little case of the "analysis paralysis" before making the leap from Extract and Partial Grain batches, but I'm glad I did.  I'm sure you'll feel the same way once you get past the cost concerns.  My recommendation is to definitely get a boil kettle that is 2x larger than your "batch size."  So get a 20 gallon SS kettle.  You can do a 5 gallon batch or a 10 gallon batch with no worries about a boilover (no messes, no waste).  Just get a banjo burner and propane tanks (2 or 3 full ones so you have no fear of running out during a brew day), and you're golden.  I've also got the 10 gallon round igloo coolers (x 2).  But, I'm seriously considering switching to the rectangular coolers for mashing as there's less grain bed compaction.  You may want to give the rectangular mashtuns a shot and build your own manifold (denny braid or manifold or bazooka screen--they all work).

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1079.msg28118#msg28118 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1079.msg28118#msg28118)
I think this link will have a lot of the answers you're looking for.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 08, 2011, 07:28:49 AM
Great info and links, thanks for sharing. Sounds like the 20 gallon SS pot is the way to go. I should receive the conversion kit by tomorrow so I'll see if that can be returned or if it will work with the two 10 gallon coolers. It's meant for the round ones so I don't have the option for the rectangular ones unless I can return that kit.

A couple other questions...

Thanks for all your help!

Zack
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: euge on February 08, 2011, 07:39:29 AM
The grain will be OK and so will the yeast. Make a starter with it. The yeast kit is nice but not absolutely necessary. RDWHAHB
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: gsandel on February 08, 2011, 02:31:50 PM
Equipment for all grain is much of a personal preference and the types of beers you brew.  I am in 1/2 bbl converted kegs for my mash tun and boil kettle...and now have a super fancy HLT from Stout Tanks.  I have never used a cooler.  I do 10-12 gallon batches, but I don't often do big beers (above 1.085), nor use a lot of sticky adjuncts, so I don't have problems with stuck mashes and low efficiencies....I can direct fire any of my tanks and mostly interchange them if I ever needed (in case of failure).

I started with one keg kettle and a 5 gallon pot for my HLT and always needed extra water for sparging and was always transfering wort all around my brewery.  Built my system one piece at a time (well after it was painfully evident that I needed the next piece of equipment).  In this manner, I was able to save for good equipment and over buy (bigger and slightly better than I deserve) and look for deals....but it is as I said, a personal preference.  Good beer can be made from the most simple of equipment...and really bad beer can be made anywhere.

good luck!
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 09, 2011, 08:46:18 PM
Been saving all the links shared here. Some really great sites and equipment out there.

I was able to find out from Austin Homebrew Supply that the conversion kit will work with the 10 gallon coolers as well so I'm guessing that will be a less costly way to get into this. Although, I'd prefer to just get some of the awesome equipment you guys have shared.

I do still need to get that larger kettle. Other than that, I should be ready to go. Looking forward to starting my first all grain batch. Thanks for all the great advice.

Zack
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: stadelman on February 09, 2011, 09:29:22 PM
Amazon has a great deal on a 10 gallon kettle right now-
http://www.homebrewfinds.com/2011/02/winware-10-gallon-professional-aluminum.html
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: tallcall on February 09, 2011, 10:49:43 PM
If you would prefer stainless you might check here.
http://www.stainlessstockpots.com/stainless-steel-stock-pots/?gclid=CKD1stuS2KYCFRNSgwodSjUWIA
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Hokerer on February 10, 2011, 02:26:30 AM
And if you want a heavier duty stainless that has the sandwich bottom, here you go...

http://www.instawares.com/stainless-steel-stock-pot-sps-40.upi-sps40.0.7.htm (http://www.instawares.com/stainless-steel-stock-pot-sps-40.upi-sps40.0.7.htm)
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: tygo on February 10, 2011, 03:39:25 AM
And if you want a heavier duty stainless that has the sandwich bottom, here you go...

http://www.instawares.com/stainless-steel-stock-pot-sps-40.upi-sps40.0.7.htm (http://www.instawares.com/stainless-steel-stock-pot-sps-40.upi-sps40.0.7.htm)


I have the 60 qt version of that pot.  I like it but it's very heavy.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: maxieboy on February 10, 2011, 05:45:08 PM
Been saving all the links shared here. Some really great sites and equipment out there.

I was able to find out from Austin Homebrew Supply that the conversion kit will work with the 10 gallon coolers as well so I'm guessing that will be a less costly way to get into this. Although, I'd prefer to just get some of the awesome equipment you guys have shared.

I do still need to get that larger kettle. Other than that, I should be ready to go. Looking forward to starting my first all grain batch. Thanks for all the great advice.

Zack


Where are you located? I might could let go of a 1/2bbl. I don't need 6 do I?  ;D
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 14, 2011, 06:45:22 PM
Thanks for the info and links on the kettles. I found a shop in Fullerton, CA called Addison Homebrew Provisions http://www.homebrewprovisions.com/About-Us_ep_7.html (http://www.homebrewprovisions.com/About-Us_ep_7.html)

I was looking at the links, but visited Eric at Addison's and found he had a 15 gallon SS Kettle, sandwich bottom and valve for around $250. I also picked up some yeast as I had left the other one out by mistake. So, I'm pretty much ready to go now. Spent all weekend cleaning my garage to make room for my new toys.

My only other problem may be the grain. I purchased it on the 6th and it was ground then. It's been sitting since then as it took me longer than initially planned to get all my equipment together. I should have just picked up a grinder too and I could have done it fresh. If I don't get to it until late this week it will have been nearly two weeks since ground. I heard it can give a stale taste if ground and sits for too long?
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: euge on February 14, 2011, 07:10:52 PM
Don't worry about a couple weeks and the ground grain. Not 100% optimal IMO but not harmful either.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Kit B on February 14, 2011, 07:50:51 PM
I started brewing all-grain last summer.
To start, I bought two of these:
http://www.waresdirect.com/products/Restaurant-Supply/Update-International-/60-Qt168824
I added my Home Depot version of weld-b-gone fittings & valves.

Then, I added two of these:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_318834-315-FG1610STMODRD_0__?productId=3318368&Ntt=cooler&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dcooler%26page%3D2

With this conversion:
http://members.shaw.ca/Fly_Guy/mlt.htm

Built a 25' copper chiller with compression fittings & garden hose adapters.

Had one propane burner, but my buddy wanted in & added a second:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/low-profile-banjo-burner-burner-and-stand.html

Here's most of the collection:
(http://i837.photobucket.com/albums/zz294/kitbutterfield/brewing/P7090972.jpg)

(http://i837.photobucket.com/albums/zz294/kitbutterfield/brewing/3.jpg)

Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Hokerer on February 14, 2011, 08:30:09 PM
I was looking at the links, but visited Eric at Addison's and found he had a 15 gallon SS Kettle, sandwich bottom and valve for around $250.

I strongly suspect you're going to be very happy with a kettle like that.  Nice going.

As for the grain already crushed, a couple of weeks isn't really going to hurt.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: denny on February 14, 2011, 08:55:10 PM
I was at a restaurant supply place today and they had a 20 gal. Volrath kettle for $160.  Kinda wish I needed one!
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Kit B on February 14, 2011, 09:10:00 PM
I was at a restaurant supply place today and they had a 20 gal. Volrath kettle for $160.  Kinda wish I needed one!

Wow...That's a sweet kettle.
I'd have a hard time passing that up, if it was right in my face.
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: swire on February 17, 2011, 11:04:00 PM
Nice setup Kit B. Thanks for the detail - helps to see what others are doing. I'm excited to give it a go this weekend. I've spent 2 days redoing my garage so I can make room for it all.

Thanks everyone for the advice. Been great to have found this message board. Also, I've got a friend going to the conference in San Diego who mentioned I should go so probably will and looking forward to it.

Cheers!

Zack
Title: Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
Post by: Kit B on February 18, 2011, 09:42:33 PM
Thanks, for your kind words.
I wish there was room in my garage.
I'm starting to work on slowly procuring a basement storage room.
The little lady is starting to get suspicious.