Author Topic: Oh no! All grain!?!?  (Read 2552 times)

Offline skepace

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Oh no! All grain!?!?
« on: September 11, 2012, 04:15:03 PM »
Yes I have the bug!  I want to go all grain but with so many different set-ups I am confused.

Pots or Keggles?
March or Chuggar pumps?

What misc. piece of equipment did you wish you had when you first went all grain but didn't know about till later?

Any help is appreciated!

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 04:34:33 PM »
it really depends on your goals, the only thing you need is a pot big enough to boil and a cooler of some kind big enough to hold your grain and mash water.  really to start you could use a fermenter bucket as a mash tun wrapped in a bunch of blankets. but cooler works well.  there is no need to have a pump to begin with depending on how big your batch is.  i would recommend you start with the minimum and see how your technique and desire develops, then add in as needed.
Don AHA member

Offline skepace

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 04:40:13 PM »
Thanks!  My goal is to buy now but plan for the future.  I know I want to get to brewing 10 gal batches.  Currently I am doing a lot of reading to understand the use of a cooler for mashing.  Still don't get why its better than a pot. 

Anyone?

Offline bboy9000

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 216
  • KCMO
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2012, 04:47:20 PM »
Thanks!  My goal is to buy now but plan for the future.  I know I want to get to brewing 10 gal batches.  Currently I am doing a lot of reading to understand the use of a cooler for mashing.  Still don't get why its better than a pot. 

Anyone?

I think it depends on your setup and what materials are available.  For me it was cheaper to get a 10 gallon Igloo at a flea market ($1) than it was to invest in another pot.  I have a friend who's a plumber so I was able to build a mash tun out of the water cooler for less than $5.
Brian
mobrewer

Offline skepace

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 04:50:02 PM »
I've got a buddy who can weld stainless steel so I would love to get one from a restaurant store new or used.  Plus with my birthday coming up, I should have some money to spend on equipment.

Plus, plate chiller or immersion chiller?  Don't have one of either yet.  I used a buddy's immersion and want my own.


Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6300
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 07:04:43 PM »
A lot of people have different thoughts on this but I recommend an immersion chiller. Much easier to clean and sanitize than a plate chiller. Simply hose it off and add it to your BK 20 minutes before flame out. Then hose off after use. SImple!

I like the recirculate with a pump method (Ala JZ whirlpool - se here: http://www.mrmalty.com/chiller.php )

Also, because of the ease and speed of the process I recommend using Denny's batch sparge method: http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline PSUhomebrewer

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 34
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 03:01:46 AM »
The big difference between a cooler and a pot is ease of use (in the beginning) and cost. A cooler tun normally will run less than $100 buying everything new where most kettles start at that price point. The cooler has the advantage of being insulated completely making holding temps easy and you really don't have to worry about where you place it (on the ground, stand, table, etc). The downside of a cooler is it is limited in doing complex mashs (need to do decot. or multiple infusions) and has a volume limit (limiting the number of infusion you can do to hit common mash temps either by the volume of water needs to be added or by temp of water that needs to be added).

A pot on the other hand eliminates the downsides of a cooler in being able to be heated, but it is more difficult to maintain a constant mash temp. A burner is nice here to both heat the strike water and keep it off the ground. Then you also have the option of rims herms and dfrims, which I a completely different discussion. I run a df(direct fire) rims and it is nice to have no real worry about missing temps either way, either add heat or add water.

As for pump march pumps are the standard for brewing on the hot side atleast. Most of the chigger pumps say that they are not to be used with boiling liquid. An for chiller, well it depend on batch size. For 5g batches immersion chillers are great and affordable. For 10 and especially larger batches, plate chillers are the better option (remember that the chiller will displace some volume so 10g batch in a 12.5g kettle with 100' 1/2" chiller could get messy). The biggest draw back to plate chillers is their ability to get clogged without taking some extra precautions (hop sacks, filter of some sort aka hop back with hops or rice hulls).

Best advice is use what you like and are comfortable with, also go bigger than what you expect you will need to save cash when you want to brew more later.

Offline guido

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 217
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 03:16:15 AM »
Thanks!  My goal is to buy now but plan for the future.  I know I want to get to brewing 10 gal batches.  Currently I am doing a lot of reading to understand the use of a cooler for mashing.  Still don't get why its better than a pot. 

Anyone?

I mash in a kettle and will never go back.  That way I'm sure I can maintain the temperature and can do step mashes (you need it for Hefe's and German styles).  Otherwise, I have to hit the mash temp exactly and watch the temp free-fall in a cooler. ) I had little success with adding boiling water.  The more you add, the worse it gets to raise.)  The transfer to the Igloo cooler for the lauter/sparge can be messy if I'm not careful.  Don't worry about hot side aeration.  It's an old homebrewer's myth
Well...I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer

     -"Roadhouse Blues,"  Jim Morrison

Offline AleForce

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 78
    • View Profile
    • AleForce1
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2012, 03:42:01 AM »
I have both the March and Chugger pumps....  I find the Chugger pump to be better than the March pump.

Last November I switched from 10 gal. coolers for my hot liq. and mashtun to Blichmann kettles (20 gal).  While the larger kettles are nicer I didn't give the coolers enough credit for their beneficial insulation properties... I ended up making insulation jackets out of Reflectix insulation to fit around my Hot Liq. Tank and Mashtun kettles so that I could keep temps as efficiently as what the coolers were doing.  Link to setup : http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/community/pimp-my-system/show?title=pimp-my-system-ale-force-1

Having a good brew station will save you alot of time. I remember when I first started it took forever to get the equipment setup prior to brewing and then having to tear it all down. Now I have a brew station on wheels that I store my equipment on and when it comes time to brew I wheel it out into the middle of the garage. 
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 03:44:33 AM by AleForce »
Off We Go Into The Wild Brew Yonder!

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6300
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2012, 03:43:25 AM »
Thanks!  My goal is to buy now but plan for the future.  I know I want to get to brewing 10 gal batches.  Currently I am doing a lot of reading to understand the use of a cooler for mashing.  Still don't get why its better than a pot. 

Anyone?

I mash in a kettle and will never go back.  That way I'm sure I can maintain the temperature and can do step mashes (you need it for Hefe's and German styles).  Otherwise, I have to hit the mash temp exactly and watch the temp free-fall in a cooler. ) I had little success with adding boiling water.  The more you add, the worse it gets to raise.)  The transfer to the Igloo cooler for the lauter/sparge can be messy if I'm not careful.  Don't worry about hot side aeration.  It's an old homebrewer's myth

Never had an issue with hitting my temps and maintaining my temps in a cooler. Maybe you have the wrong color. ;) I have had problems trying to dial in my temps by adding bottom heat. It always climbs higher than I mean for it too.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Online morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5658
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2012, 07:59:36 AM »
To paraphrase alton brown on kitchen equipment...

If you are wondering if you need a newer, bigger, better piece of equipment, make the dish you are planning on several times without it. If it seems like it would be better or much easier with it, then buy it.

I started using my bottling bucket, a grain bag, and a big comforter for a mash tun. I was very glad to get the cooler but the hybrid BIAB system did work. If you have the money go hog wild but don't worry if what you can afford is a coleman extreme cooler and a SS braided hose or even just a bucket and bag. They all make good, even great beer.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline skepace

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2012, 02:19:05 PM »
Well I found Stainless Steel pots from Pacific Prime for a great price today but they are listed as 201 SS and not 304 which most are.  Any downside to this?

Online morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5658
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 02:48:25 PM »
Looks liek 201 is stronger but less resistant to harse environments. might not be ideal for brewing given the low pH and high temps involved but might well be just fine.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline skepace

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2012, 03:54:11 PM »
Looks liek 201 is stronger but less resistant to harse environments. might not be ideal for brewing given the low pH and high temps involved but might well be just fine.

Might give it a shot.

From what I can find online is that with 304 getting so expensive a lot of food service places are switching to 201.  Just as safe, not as shinny.  :)

Offline richardt

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1227
    • View Profile
Re: Oh no! All grain!?!?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2012, 08:41:48 AM »
Keep all parts of your system simple and lightweight (e.g., less than 50 pounds for any piece of equipment).  It makes transportation, clean-up, and storage of equipment much easier.  Plus, it is easier on the body.  A sturdy picnic table or patio table is a must and avoids the time and expense of building a heavy stand that takes up space.  Some folks just use the lift gate of their pickup truck.  Whatever works and is sturdy/safe.  Respect the danger of propane burners and hot liquids (>120 degrees).  Burns suck.

I recommend the rectangular cooler and bazooka braid and SS spigot.  A 20.5 gallon Coleman cooler works great for 10 gallon batches and does not suffer thick mash or grain bed compaction issues like I've experienced with high gravity brews using a 10 gallon round Igloo cooler.  I batch sparge with roughly 8 gallons RO strike water + salts (per style per Bru'n water), wait 60 minutes, vorlauf and lauter (i.e., drain the mash), add 8 gallons of RO sparge water + salts, stir well, vorlauf, and lauter the second runnings.