Author Topic: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches  (Read 9124 times)

Offline alcaponejunior

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Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« on: August 18, 2012, 09:36:57 AM »
OK.  I want to start doing 3-gallon all grain batches. 

The reason for this is that I'm doing this on stovetop in a apartment, and 5 gallon batches are currently impossible as the stove won't heat that much wort to a boil.  I can easily do 3.5+ gallons though, allowing a bit of room for boil-off, the immersion wort chiller, and still having three (or slightly more) gallons of post boil wort. 

I want to do the sparging in a cooler.  I was thinking of an igloo type water cooler.  However, I'm not sure the best type of cooler or the best procedure to use and how to do it.

I am familiar with both fly and batch sparging, and the consensus seems to be that batch sparging would be best.  I have several links marked for batch sparging, but please do say which one is your favorite.

My first few attempts will involve pretty simple pale ale, IPA, amber ale or SMaSH recipes. 

All comments welcome.

Offline denny

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 09:57:00 AM »
Well, my favorite batch sparging link is www.dennybrew.com, but you probably already knew that!

You say you want to sparge in a cooler.  Does that also mean you want to mash in a cooler?  Have you considered doing a concentrated boil and then adding top off water so you can get 5 gal. in the fermenter?  I did that for a couple years when I started AG and it works really well.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 10:15:46 AM »
Well, my favorite batch sparging link is www.dennybrew.com, but you probably already knew that!

You say you want to sparge in a cooler.  Does that also mean you want to mash in a cooler?  Have you considered doing a concentrated boil and then adding top off water so you can get 5 gal. in the fermenter?  I did that for a couple years when I started AG and it works really well.

Yes I meant mash in a cooler. 

I can top off to five gallons but I don't really need or want to.  Five gallons worth of bottled beer takes up a lot of space, which I don't have.  I had been doing a concentrated boil and topping off when doing extract batches, and it does work fine.  However, I think the last couple batches I've done, where I boiled all or nearly all of the wort and made a slightly smaller batch, have come out even better. 

I like the process of brewing and don't mind that by making less, I have to brew more often. 

Your link uses a rectangular cooler, are those better than the stand up cylinder type?

« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 10:17:32 AM by alcaponejunior »

Offline nateo

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2012, 10:23:36 AM »
The thicker your grain bed, the better it'll filter when you're running off. I'd recommend something like a 5 gallon round cooler for doing 3 gallon batches. I have a 10 gallon round cooler and it's not ideal for making small batches.

I'll just do BIAB if I'm only making 3 gallons now, but a proper MLT would be better.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2012, 10:30:56 AM »
yes I thought something like this would be best for my application.  How would you go about doing the filter on the bottom?  I could get a stainless mesh bottom but that's expensive and I'd rather do it some other way.  I'm plenty handy enough to make alterations via a trip to home depot if need be.  8)


Offline denny

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2012, 10:32:32 AM »
Yes I meant mash in a cooler. 

I can top off to five gallons but I don't really need or want to.  Five gallons worth of bottled beer takes up a lot of space, which I don't have.  I had been doing a concentrated boil and topping off when doing extract batches, and it does work fine.  However, I think the last couple batches I've done, where I boiled all or nearly all of the wort and made a slightly smaller batch, have come out even better. 

I like the process of brewing and don't mind that by making less, I have to brew more often. 

Your link uses a rectangular cooler, are those better than the stand up cylinder type?

Sounds like you plenty of good reasons for doing 3 gal. batches.

I prefer rectangular coolers, because they're less expensive than the round ones and the larger opening makes stirring and cleaning easier.
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Offline denny

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2012, 10:33:14 AM »
The thicker your grain bed, the better it'll filter when you're running off. I'd recommend something like a 5 gallon round cooler for doing 3 gallon batches. I have a 10 gallon round cooler and it's not ideal for making small batches.

I'll just do BIAB if I'm only making 3 gallons now, but a proper MLT would be better.

I've found that it really doesn't matter in batch sparging.  YMMV.
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Offline denny

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2012, 10:33:44 AM »
yes I thought something like this would be best for my application.  How would you go about doing the filter on the bottom?  I could get a stainless mesh bottom but that's expensive and I'd rather do it some other way.  I'm plenty handy enough to make alterations via a trip to home depot if need be.  8)



Use a SS mesh braid.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2012, 10:42:52 AM »
Got a good source for that braid?  Or can it be easily found at home depot?

Offline nateo

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2012, 10:46:42 AM »
I made my first braid out of a fat, short water heater line. just pull the plastic tubing inside the braid out. I used a brass flare fitting to pinch one end of the braid to the output valve, and just crimped the other end around a brass plug.

I accidentally banged it up pretty good with my mash paddle, so now I just use a stainless kettle screen from the LHBS.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2012, 10:55:32 AM »
something like this, but maybe shorter?



I could easily hook that up to the cooler with a trip to the depot.  Since I need to go there anyway it would give me an excuse to get started...  ;D

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2012, 11:05:48 AM »
You could also line your cooler with a fine-mesh straining bag in place of using braid.

Also - the best bang for your buck on a 5-gallon round cooler is the Home Depot brand one. It's about $5-15 cheaper than any other one I've seen. Of course, it's not blue, so YMMV  ;)

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Offline denny

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2012, 11:15:41 AM »
Got a good source for that braid?  Or can it be easily found at home depot?

I use a toilet supply line, cut the ends off, and remove the inner tube.  Be sure you get real SS.  HD and some other places sell plastic ones that look like SS.
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Offline denny

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2012, 11:16:47 AM »
something like this, but maybe shorter?



I could easily hook that up to the cooler with a trip to the depot.  Since I need to go there anyway it would give me an excuse to get started...  ;D

Yeah, but you can't just screw it on.  You need to remove the inner tubing.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Considerations for 3-gallon all grain batches
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2012, 11:18:55 AM »
Yeah I understand you have to remove the inner rubber tubing.

Ironically, there ain't a home depot within a bizzillion miles of here.  I'll be stuck with lowes (doh). 

I'm seeing that size cooler for about $21 at lowes, and there's also a walmart near here. 

I think I can pull off the stainless mesh hose system pretty easily if they have the hose in stock.  Those hoses don't look very expensive.  The hardware to make the modifications shouldn't be too expensive either.