Author Topic: New to all grain. Need help with set up  (Read 5358 times)

Offline GolfBum

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New to all grain. Need help with set up
« on: April 27, 2012, 01:50:21 PM »
So I just bought a place with plenty of space to start all grain brewing. I have read a lot of articles and looked at many different set ups but want to know what I would need for the basics. As much as I would like something badass and tricked out I just want something that will allow me more control of my beer.

I have been brewing extract with specialty grains in my apartment for almost a year now and while the beer taste great I would like to take the next step into this obsession.

Even if you just show me a link to a good site with information or your own set up that would be awesome. And about how much do you think it would cost to get a "starter" set up that I can upgrade easily?

Thanks a bunch.

Offline sparkleberry

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 01:57:12 PM »
this is my plan of attack. 

hope to put together the mash tun next week.

http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/

cheers!
cheers.

rpl
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Offline lornemagill

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 02:05:50 PM »
start looking for sanke kegs, to make keggles.  a counterflow chiller is pretty easy to make and easier to purchase premade.  ball valves.  make a manifold or false bottom for a cooler.  false bottom for boil kettle is preferable.  decide if you want to use gravity or pump(s).  do some google searching for ideas

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 02:08:56 PM »
http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/ is a great place to start.  Quick easy and reasonable cheap.

Paul
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Online denny

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 02:09:35 PM »
So I just bought a place with plenty of space to start all grain brewing. I have read a lot of articles and looked at many different set ups but want to know what I would need for the basics. As much as I would like something badass and tricked out I just want something that will allow me more control of my beer.

I have been brewing extract with specialty grains in my apartment for almost a year now and while the beer taste great I would like to take the next step into this obsession.

Even if you just show me a link to a good site with information or your own set up that would be awesome. And about how much do you think it would cost to get a "starter" set up that I can upgrade easily?

Thanks a bunch.

Sounds like you need the "Cheap'n'Easy" system!  www.dennybrew.com

EDIT:  looks like I'm too slow!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline GolfBum

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 02:25:58 PM »
So it looks like I will be doing the "Cheap n Easy" System. I have a 6 gallon brew pot but was thinking of going bigger. Is it worth it to do all grain batches at 5 gallons. I was thinking I could do 10 gallons of wort and use two different yeast strains to make some different beers. Now my question is stainless steel pot or aluminium?

Offline ukolowiczd

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 02:48:46 PM »
I love this mash tun from homebrewstuff.com. It's 15 gal but they make them in 5 and 10. It's got these snap and fit system that is so easy. I get 85% efficiency with it too. Btw I don't work for them; I just think this works better than my homemade tun and a steel one I have.

http://www.homebrewstuff.com/brewing-equipment-1/cooler-conversion-kits-and-parts/mash-tuns-and-kits-converted-coolers/15-gallon-mash-tun-w-hlt-kit.html

Offline malzig

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 03:58:38 PM »
So it looks like I will be doing the "Cheap n Easy" System. I have a 6 gallon brew pot but was thinking of going bigger. Is it worth it to do all grain batches at 5 gallons. I was thinking I could do 10 gallons of wort and use two different yeast strains to make some different beers. Now my question is stainless steel pot or aluminium?
I use an 8 gallon kettle to make 5.5 gallon batches and a 5 gallon kettle to just squeeze in a 3.25 gallon batch.  So, I think you could probably get away with making up to about a 4-4.25 gallon batch with a 6 gallon kettle. 

I don't see any problem with that.

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2012, 05:01:54 PM »
Denny's site (from suggestions above) is a great place to start.  I got a cheap 48qt rectangular (Blue!) cooler off Craigslist and turned it into a mash tun.  You can Google home made mash tun and find several ways to put one together.  I decided to do 3 gallon batches, which allowed to me brew in the kitchen and use equipment that I already had from extract batches.  This will allow you to start cheap and get your process down before you start building your system will all the cool shiny toys...then again, I'm still doing 3 gallon batches on my stove with my original cheap set up.
Jeremy Baker

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Online denny

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2012, 08:44:20 AM »
So it looks like I will be doing the "Cheap n Easy" System. I have a 6 gallon brew pot but was thinking of going bigger. Is it worth it to do all grain batches at 5 gallons. I was thinking I could do 10 gallons of wort and use two different yeast strains to make some different beers. Now my question is stainless steel pot or aluminium?

Either SS or AL is fine.  For the first several years I did AG, I used the 7.5 gal. AL pot that came with my turkey fryer.  It was just barely big enough for a 5 gal. batch if I added a bit of top off water after the boil.  I still use it for heating mash and sparge water (you can see it in the photo on my website).  Keep in mind that if you do larger batches, the mash and boil are just part of the issue.  You need a way to maintain fermentation temp control for 2 5 gal. batches at once, too.  That's the main reason I almost always do 5 gal. at a time, not 10.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline euge

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2012, 11:04:08 AM »
+1 to that! Think it all the way through. After 5 years I still pretty much use the same basic equipment you see on Denny's site.

Fermentation temp is the key to the whole shebang. You won't make good beer without it.  So it doesn't matter if you can brew a huge batch with fancy overkill equipment.

Buy a fridge or freezer and controller first if you don't have solid fermentation control. 
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline sharg54

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2012, 01:39:10 PM »
I have been all grain brewing for about a year now and for me simple and cheep works best. Dennys site has some good info for that approach. I brew in the line of 5 to 6 gallon batches and only use a rubber maid 48 qt. cooler with a short piece of 3/8 inch copper tube with slots cut in it and capped off at one end with an old racking cane end as a mash turn ( very easy to clean) . Once I get the mash done I can just slip in my makeshift manifold and batch sparge.  An 8 gallon stainless pot I picked up from walmart cheep and a 7 gallon turkey fryer to boil with and a home made submersion chiller. ( total cost about $60.00) Being as I batch sparge the cooler is plenty big enough for around 14 lbs of grain so long as you single step the mash. Like others have said fermentation temp is the key to good beer so I would say invest in a used fridge and a temp controller would be a big plus. Also I would think of how big do you want to go. If you are dreaming of 10 gallon batches than by a system that will handle it up front or your just going to be spending more money down the line to get to where you want to be. You can always brew a 5 gallon batch in a 10 gallon system but you can't go the other way around. Control comes with time and experience not so much equipment but it helps. 
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Offline weithman5

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2012, 01:59:10 PM »
it is as simple as a cooler and a kettle.  i have a braid set up for a big cooler but only brew 2gallon batches.  yes it is still worth doing all grain.  i mash in an igloo 5 gallon cooler with my grain in a bag that i just lift out and let drain.  if i am brewing bigger i will use my braid and bigger cooler. plain ol kettle.  nothing else is needed to get started. in fact. if you wait until you have all the big keggles and fancy stuff you mill miss plenty of brewing days to actually practice and brew with.  just go.
Don AHA member

Offline bo

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 02:06:46 PM »
If you spend a little more time and money on your mash tun by making a nice manifold that disassembles easily, you'll be way ahead of the game, in my opinion. You'll also be setup to fly sparge if you're wanting to squeeze out a few extra efficiency points.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 02:49:55 PM by bo »

Offline richardt

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Re: New to all grain. Need help with set up
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2012, 09:40:21 AM »
I've seen all types of systems.  This is just my opinion:  really, really try to resist the siren call of the sexy "pimp my system" rigs like the Brutus 10 and SABCO systems.  Yes, hardware looks great, but your goal should be making good beer.  And the easiest and most economical way to do it is to use a rectangular cooler as your MLT.  Over time, and as you get older, you'll also appreciate how much easier it is to transport smaller/light-weight/modular components instead of three 15.5 gal SS keggles and 200+ lbs brew rigs.  IME, the best beers have often been brewed by guys with really simple systems.  Focus on the process (cleaning, sanitation, fresh ingredients, water profiles, pH, mash temps, yeast starter, fermentation temps) and not the equipment.