Author Topic: All Grain Setup  (Read 997 times)

Offline flbrewer

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All Grain Setup
« on: December 10, 2014, 12:40:27 AM »
I'm like to take a step towards building an all grain rig. I believe the first step regardless of which style (HERMS/RIMS) I go towards I'll need (2) kettles with valves and a pump (could be wrong here).

My other main concerns are can I source something other than a big brew stand to hold all of this "stuff" while brewing?

I have a Blichman burner which I'd obviously like to incorporate in some way. Cost is somewhat of a factor, but not limiting.

I'm looking for a mix between convenience and cost. I suppose I'm looking for opinions on what is really working well for people out here using Stainless Steel brewing methods.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2014, 01:12:37 AM »
My setup is two double burner camp chefs, two 15 gal pots, one 8 gal pot, one Chugger pump, two 5 gal propane tanks. I use a domed false bottom. I recirculate over a low flame to hold mash temps. I use the 8 gal pot to mash beers 1.050 or smaller, and the 14 gal for bigger. One 14 gal pot is my boil kettle. I use a 1/2" x 60' copper immersion chiller with recirculation which I built. It chills 6 gallons from boil to pitching temp fast enough that sometimes I over chill.

Offline Stevie

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 01:26:14 AM »
Convenience + cost x good beer = dennybrew.com

Easy way to get into all-grain without a huge expense. From their you can move on to bigger and more complicated rigs.

Offline JT

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 01:32:54 AM »
Check out these sites:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/
http://dennybrew.com/
They seem like polar opposites, and they are, but you can start to see how you can combine the two to come up with something that works for you. Or start with one and add on slowly until you get what you want.  That's what I'm doing.
Even if you don't go electric you can see a functioning horiztonal setup on a using pumps.  My mash tun is a round Igloo with a stainless braid.  I have Blichmann Boilermakers for boil and HLT and an immersion chiller.  No need to buy everything at one time.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 01:45:39 AM by JT »

Offline 69franx

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 01:36:46 AM »
Convenience + cost x good beer = dennybrew.com

Easy way to get into all-grain without a huge expense. From their you can move on to bigger and more complicated rigs.
I agree completely. I am now an  all grain brewer with a 50 and a 70 qt mash tun coolers. I did recently upgrade to a 15G brew kettle that has me wanting to build a stand and buy a pump (its heavy as !@#$ when full of hot boiling wort) but I've been doing AG with a lot of lifting for a year now and 1 burner.

Brewing is like any great hobby: you can spend as much or as little as you like and will still make beer. The fancier rigs can make brewing easier, but as someone said here recently: "Great brewers(not great equipment) make great beer"
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Offline flbrewer

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 01:58:35 AM »
Good points...I think what I'm feeling is that every extract I've made has underwhelmed me. I don't believe that the equipment can make good beers, I do believe however that all grain beers must taste better than extract given good practices for both.

Offline JT

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2014, 02:04:12 AM »
A year and a half ago I assumed my extract batches weren't great because they were extract and plunged into all grain.  In fact I didn't fully understand fermentation temperature control.  Not saying that my problem is your problem but maybe worth exploring.  What is your current process to both monitor and control beer temperature during active fermentation?
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 02:06:50 AM by JT »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2014, 02:05:20 AM »
Convenience + cost x good beer = dennybrew.com

Easy way to get into all-grain without a huge expense. From their you can move on to bigger and more complicated rigs.

Yep. An easy, quality way to get your process down. And cheap.
Jon H.

Offline flbrewer

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 02:07:39 AM »
A year and a half ago I assumed my extract batches weren't great because they were extract and plunged into all grain.  In fact I didn't fully understand fermentation temperature control.  What is your current process to both monitor and control beer temperature during active fermentation?

Actually my next upgrade this month is picking up a chest freezer and temp. control device. To date it's been keeping the fermenter in a Coleman Cooler with cool water.

Offline denny

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2014, 02:07:57 AM »
Good points...I think what I'm feeling is that every extract I've made has underwhelmed me. I don't believe that the equipment can make good beers, I do believe however that all grain beers must taste better than extract given good practices for both.

FWIW, I've judged BOS of show rounds where an extract beer won

I've use that cheap setup for 17 years and 470 batches (so far!).  I've won awards and I have a great time making the beer.  What else matters?  :)
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Offline JT

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 02:14:36 AM »
Ok, the water bath should work pretty well to keep temps from spiking too high, are you able to currently monitor the temp of the beer throughout fermentation?  IMO, it is important to 1) not let the temp get out of your range during the first few days and 2) not let the temp slide backwards as fermentation winds down.  I don't want the yeast taking a nap before they clean up off flavors. 
Also worth looking at is your water report. 

Offline denny

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2014, 02:17:12 AM »
Ok, the water bath should work pretty well to keep temps from spiking too high, are you able to currently monitor the temp of the beer throughout fermentation?  IMO, it is important to 1) not let the temp get out of your range during the first few days and 2) not let the temp slide backwards as fermentation winds down.  I don't want the yeast taking a nap before they clean up off flavors. 
Also worth looking at is your water report.

I did it that way for 16 years until last fall.  It takes some monitoring, but you can do it.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 02:23:59 AM »
Trust your instincts about choosing to go to all grain. And if high tech is what you want to do, go for it. Think you already realize it's not necessary, but certainly can be fun and exciting to go all in and set up a high tech brewing system.


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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 02:24:51 AM »
Good points...I think what I'm feeling is that every extract I've made has underwhelmed me. I don't believe that the equipment can make good beers, I do believe however that all grain beers must taste better than extract given good practices for both.
My advice, dont switch until you're not underwhelmed. Here's why. The difference between extract and all grain is pre boil. A solid 80% of the flavor occurs post boil, perhaps a little less if you're talking a massively hopped beer. I highly suggest that your first investment goes toward automated precise fermentation temp control, such as a chest freezer with programmable dual temp control. Otherwise, switching to all grain is just adding a plethora of pre boil variables to master, which will simply multiply your frustration and disappointment if your post boil process is lacking. Now you're just making underwhelming beer on a $1500 system.

Offline JT

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Re: All Grain Setup
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 02:38:10 AM »
Great advice above.  Also, even fancy chest freezers with temp control can let you down in the same way an ice water bath can.  If your beer temp rises triggering the chest freezer to come on, that freezer can and will drop ambient temps down to the 40s or lower in the time it takes your beer to drop a single degree.  Since the ambient temp is now super cold, your beer will continue to drop. 
A heater installed can kick on to raise the temp up, but then you can start a roller coaster ride of up down, up down.  Is this all manageable?  Yes, but even high tech goodies take a lot of trial and error to dial in IMO.