Author Topic: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!  (Read 443 times)

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2019, 07:21:17 PM »
When I moved onto all grain brewing the standard for starting up quick was a 5 or 10 gallon, round, Rubbermaid or Gott type cooler.  I worked through 2 - 5 gallon coolers and 2 - 10 ten gallon before I settled on a rectangular cooler (blue, of course.  Old forum joke).  The round coolers all suffered heat stress breakage.

I started with .5" copper pipe, that I slotted, by hand to build a mash filter.  Modified for each cooler I switched to.  Then I found Denny's SS water supply line cover idea and switched yet again.  Also worked through several sizes, lengths and whatever else you can think of. 

I also moved though plastic valves, brass valves and SS valves.

My progression through options seems a bit over done, looking back.

Basically the point of all that is...

You need to make a few decisions about how you want to brew before you can pick you equipment.  I'm more of a "I want to try it before I spend a lot of money" type of guy.  BIAB wasn't a thing when I started.  It was all "real men mash and sparge" followed by a bunch of Tim Taylor grunting.   :D  So I built a mash/lauter tun, got  a 12 gallon kettle and took off.

Now a days, if I were starting out I would likely start with BIAB.  Spend a year learning the processes and then consider what my next step was. 

Buy the largest kettle you afford and comfortably use to start with.  Kettles are probably your largest startup cost.  Try not to spend it twice.

Get a good propane burner if you can cook outside.  Look at induction if you can/have to cook indoors.

That's where I would start today, if I was starting over.  And if you plan on brewing, a lot start exploring kegging now, before you have find homes for 25 cases of beer bottles.  ::)

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline Robert

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Re: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2019, 07:29:31 PM »
^^^^
I've been using a round 10 gallon orange (color is important after all) Rubbermaid cooler with a false bottom as a lauter tun for so many years I can't recall.  No failure at all.  It has been reconfigured a couple of times.  I settled on a domed SS false bottom with the center draw off extended to probably less than 1/8" off the true bottom, which leaves only about 3 fl oz of liquid behind.  It is a fantastic piece of equipment.

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Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline Alfredbrewer

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Re: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2019, 02:29:10 AM »
After going crazy deciding about a year and a half ago with this same dilemma, I went with 12 gallon coolers for my mash tun and hot liquor tank and a 10 gallon kettle. I use gravity and the 3 tier setup and love it. My temperatures only vary by about one degree over an hour for my mash. I do not think I could be anymore consistent than that with my burner. As for extract vs all grain: members of my small group extract brew with great results. I love coming up with recipes and the flexibility all grain gives me. I did end up with a riptide pump to transfer sparge water to the top level for safety reasons. I can tell you I haven't regretted switching (as opposed to "upgrading") to all grain. Cheers and best of luck.

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2019, 01:16:47 PM »
^^^^^^

Well said Alfredbrewer and welcome to the forum!
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline PBnKjell

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Re: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2019, 06:47:04 PM »
Thank you everyone for your pointers and suggestions. This helped me a lot in shedding some light on some things I didnt think of in the first place and kind of concreted a way in which I want to go with the build. I will post again with the actual build. Cheers everyone!

Offline hmbrewing

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Re: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2019, 05:48:31 PM »
I cringe just a little bit when I see someone refer to all grain brewing as an "upgrade". To me that diminishes a perfectly legitimate method of brewing and using extracts does not make you a lesser brewer.

Here, here! I remember reading in Gordon Strong's "Brewing Better Beer" book that extract brewing was essentially a lesser form of brewing and like "paint by numbers" or like "making a TV Dinner". While he admits this is a "strong opinion" I find it is more of an insult. I can't help but laugh every time I read about extract brews winning awards across the country. I quickly dismissed the book as propaganda and still have yet to read it. Immediately lost interest once I read that. I brew both - all grain and extract. Make great beers with both methods.

Bottom line: blaze your own path in this hobby. That's what I love about it. The ability to customize how you see fit. Find what works for you and your situation. Whether it's a compact all-in-one or a complex multi-vessel system with an array of buttons, pumps, and flashing lights. Whatever makes you happy my friend!
I brew beer, I drink beer...it really is that simple

Offline riceral

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Re: Upgrading from extract to all grain. NEED some setup pointers!
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2019, 08:30:18 PM »
I cringe just a little bit when I see someone refer to all grain brewing as an "upgrade". To me that diminishes a perfectly legitimate method of brewing and using extracts does not make you a lesser brewer.

Here, here! I remember reading in Gordon Strong's "Brewing Better Beer" book that extract brewing was essentially a lesser form of brewing and like "paint by numbers" or like "making a TV Dinner". While he admits this is a "strong opinion" I find it is more of an insult. I can't help but laugh every time I read about extract brews winning awards across the country. I quickly dismissed the book as propaganda and still have yet to read it. Immediately lost interest once I read that.

I would recommend you try to read "Brewing Better Beer" in spite of this. There is a lot of good information in this book and it is probably my favorite brewing book. That said, I don't agree with Gordon about some things. I don't know anyone I agree with all the time. You have to admit he's a damned fine brewer with a lot of credibility.

And I also make extract brews occasionally, like you and many others.

I don't mean this to be argumentative or to start a disagreement. Just my passing thoughts and recommendation.



Ralph R.