Author Topic: My one hang-up before going all-grain...  (Read 3708 times)

Offline afacini

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My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« on: March 09, 2012, 09:55:11 AM »
...is gotta be the burner situation. I have a small apartment, but do in fact have some space in the back of the house/driveway where a burner would work (they do barbecues there, as well). I have a gas oven range, but doubt that will be effective, based on other peoples' accounts.

So my question is: how do folks going all-grain work with it, and keep it going year-round? When it's freezing outside (or snowy, etc.), how does the boiling process generally work? I have a brewkettle with a nice spigot, but what are the logistics of moving around that much hot liquid?

Once you get your boiled water into the HLT, do people generally move inside?

Sorry if this is a scatter-brained question, but it's the last remaining problem I just can't wrap my mind around with all-grain. I am afraid of 10 gal @ 200F burns, etc.

Thanks as always!

Offline Pinski

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 10:05:19 AM »
...is gotta be the burner situation. I have a small apartment, but do in fact have some space in the back of the house/driveway where a burner would work (they do barbecues there, as well). I have a gas oven range, but doubt that will be effective, based on other peoples' accounts.

So my question is: how do folks going all-grain work with it, and keep it going year-round? When it's freezing outside (or snowy, etc.), how does the boiling process generally work? I have a brewkettle with a nice spigot, but what are the logistics of moving around that much hot liquid?

Once you get your boiled water into the HLT, do people generally move inside?

Sorry if this is a scatter-brained question, but it's the last remaining problem I just can't wrap my mind around with all-grain. I am afraid of 10 gal @ 200F burns, etc.

Thanks as always!
1.  Effective layering
2. Gravity or pumping is best for moving hot(near boiling) liquid. Trying to carry is very dangerous.
3. I think most folks tend to set up and brew in one area, storage and cleaning is a different story.
4. Do you have a buddy with a garage?
Good luck, you'll work it out and it will be worth it!
Steve Carper
Green Dragon Brew Crew
Clubs: Oregon Brew Crew & Strange Brew
BJCP Certified

Offline melferburque

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 10:18:16 AM »
I brew in my garage with the door open, definitely impacts boiling time in winter but not to a ridiculous degree.  a carport or a covered patio should suffice, just enough to keep crap from blowing into the kettle.

Offline afacini

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2012, 10:20:17 AM »
1.  Effective layering
2. Gravity or pumping is best for moving hot(near boiling) liquid. Trying to carry is very dangerous.
3. I think most folks tend to set up and brew in one area, storage and cleaning is a different story.
4. Do you have a buddy with a garage?
Good luck, you'll work it out and it will be worth it!

1. Got it.
2. Hmm. Other than expensive rack systems (which I *will* eventually be able to invest in!), what is a good, stable way to place a burner and kettle higher up? I'm afraid of having anything that hot and heavy above the ground.
3. This goes back to the weather/climate question. Should be no problem when the wx is good, but in the winter, how will I brew!?
4. Of course, I am still hoping to work at home though! Heh.

Thanks so much.

Offline euge

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 10:25:18 AM »
Try scaling back the size of your batches to work with what you already have.

Or-

Use your counter-top and kitchen floor to do a gravity fed tier system for batch-sparging. You'll drain into buckets (grants) which are easy to lift and pour into a kettle on a propane burner outside. Buy or make a wort chiller that you can hook up to the garden hose.

Your extract pot will become the hot liquor tank and will work on the kitchen stove for heating mash-water. You'll probably need to buy at least 15 gallon kettle for the boil outside.

And going to AG isn't a silver bullet- it doesn't make your beer automatically better.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline afacini

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 10:29:38 AM »
Use your counter-top and kitchen floor to do a gravity fed tier system for batch-sparging. You'll drain into buckets (grants) which are easy to lift and pour into a kettle on a propane burner outside. Buy or make a wort chiller that you can hook up to the garden hose.

Your extract pot will become the hot liquor tank and will work on the kitchen stove for heating mash-water. You'll probably need to buy at least 15 gallon kettle for the boil outside.

So with this approach, the only part that is outside is the boil? I can see how that works, but with my confines, it will be tricky to move that much wort around.

And going to AG isn't a silver bullet- it doesn't make your beer automatically better.

I know. It's something I want to get into to further my own skills / knowledge, mostly. And it's been a long time coming.

Offline garc_mall

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 10:53:03 AM »
This is my ghetto-rigged way of doing all grain.

Heat strike water in my 7.5 gallon boil kettle to Strike temp +5.
Pour water into MLT, stir until the water drops to strike temp.
Add grain, confirm temp, close cooler.
Stay inside, teapot full of boiling water, and check every 15 minutes or so, adding boiling water when needed to maintain temp.
with about 40 minutes left in the mash, I put the sparge water in my boil kettle, and heat it to 175.
I pour the sparge water in my SS 5gal pot, and pick up my cooler and move it inside on the kitchen counter.
Then I run my first runnings into my boil kettle, start that heating up, and pour the sparge water into my MLT.
I run my second runnings back into my 5gallon pot, fill up the boil kettle to 6.5 gallons (so I don't boil over) and boil the rest (about a gallon) off on my kitchen stove.

Its not the best plan, but it keeps me inside most of the time, and it works with what I have. My next plan is to get a 15 gallon pot, so I can stop with all the fussing with boil overs.
In a Keg: Flanders Red Ale, Rye Altbier, Cascade/Topaz Pale
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Offline Pinski

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 11:21:20 AM »
2. Hmm. Other than expensive rack systems (which I *will* eventually be able to invest in!), what is a good, stable way to place a burner and kettle higher up? I'm afraid of having anything that hot and heavy above the ground.

I use two sawhorse with a piece of 2'x4'x3/4" as a base for by burner with a keg HLT. The horses are at least 9" in from the end of the board closer to the center of the load. It's really stable, but I do this on a level concrete floor.
Steve Carper
Green Dragon Brew Crew
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 11:33:24 AM »
I do three gallon batches on my stove top all the time.  I have pre-boil volumes of about 4.5 gallons and have no issues getting this boiling.  I have everything to do larger batches except a burner.  However, my three gallon batches have all turned out great and I get to brew more often! 
Jeremy Baker

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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 11:36:57 AM »
Also, with 3 gallon batches, that's less hot liquid you have to move around.  I batch sparge and it's very easy to add liquid in for the mash and in for the sparge.  When I drain the mash tun, I drain into a marked bucket (so I know how much I'm collecting), then pour that into the brew kettle. 
Jeremy Baker

"An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience." - Mitch Hedberg

Offline richardt

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 11:40:17 AM »
A sturdy patio table (steel and tile, for example) works well. 
Some individuals boil at ground level on the Bayou burner, chill using the IC, and then when the BK has cooled, use a buddy to help lift the kettle onto a folding table so the wort can be drained into a carboy or keg via the BK spigot.

The structure you use must be:
1.)  set up on a flat, hard surface,
2.)  sturdy--will not roll, skid, slide, or tip over if bumped,
3.)  able to support the weight (well in excess of 250 lbs for some systems with 20 gallons of water, 30+ lbs of grains, and SS vessels, etc.),
4.)  heat/flame resistant

Ideally, the structure you use should also simplify and economize your brewing process. 
Otherwise, what are you using a structure for?
Not all structures can be broken down and easily transported.  Keep this in mind if you think you may be moving soon (or often) or like to participate in group brew day sessions.  Lifting and carrying more than 50 lbs = misery.

Offline euge

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 11:58:18 AM »
Use your counter-top and kitchen floor to do a gravity fed tier system for batch-sparging. You'll drain into buckets (grants) which are easy to lift and pour into a kettle on a propane burner outside. Buy or make a wort chiller that you can hook up to the garden hose.

Your extract pot will become the hot liquor tank and will work on the kitchen stove for heating mash-water. You'll probably need to buy at least 15 gallon kettle for the boil outside.

So with this approach, the only part that is outside is the boil? I can see how that works, but with my confines, it will be tricky to move that much wort around.

If your preboil volume is divided up into grants- say 4 gallons each, they are easy to carry and pour into the kettle.

And going to AG isn't a silver bullet- it doesn't make your beer automatically better.

I know. It's something I want to get into to further my own skills / knowledge, mostly. And it's been a long time coming.

Good. You'll learn. A lot. ;D
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline VinS

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 12:09:44 PM »
I dont know how handy you are, but check the forum and search ( building a heat stick ) it shows good detail of building one. You could always buy one but wheres the fun in that. Could help in the winter for you.
" There is no such thing as a bad beer. It's that some taste better than others." Billy Carter

Offline bo

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2012, 12:09:50 PM »
All grain doesn't "automatically" make your beer better, but with a little extra effort and diligence on your part, it will turn out superior beer.

Offline aa7yy

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Re: My one hang-up before going all-grain...
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2012, 12:41:47 PM »
Well I just did my first brew, and only days before that finished my brewstand. I guess I put mine together using a modular approach and it need not be "expensive". Of course expensive is different for all of us. Thing that helped me is a friend is a welder, so find a friend that welds or make friends with a welder. Here is a link to my story. I have around $100 into metal + some dollars for burners and regs. Go too Agri supply for burners and regs. That stuff is cover all over out there.

http://snakeriverbrewers.org/index.php?topic=3900.0

This all comes apart. Probably could of gone with one burner that moves from the top to the bottom. The shelf for the MT could of been smaller for a round MT. The important thing for me was to get the heights all right so there was very little lifting. The bottom burner will stand alone on the ground as will the top when removed.

Snow ! Go south for the winter, maybe a couple of easy ups and tarps.