Author Topic: I have been bouncing this around for a bit  (Read 791 times)

Offline redrocker652002

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I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« on: February 07, 2022, 02:50:12 am »
I know I am still new and still learning, but I have been thinking of moving to all grain.  And in true fashion, I have been trying to figure out how to start out with as little cash outlay as possible.  So, Youtube has been my friend, and I have searched the DIY vids of how people have made mash tuns and boil kettles.  The mash tun seems pretty simple.  A 10 gallon home depot cooler, ball valve and either a false bottom or a bazooka tube seem to be the popular ways of doing it.  I have seen a guy put together a PVC manifold set up that looked pretty cool, but in trying to keep it cheap I was thinking of the bazooka screen.  Now, on to the boil kettle.  I don't think I need a thermometer on the kettle, heck all I am doing is boiling liquid, and I have plenty of other thermometers I can use.  I saw a pretty cool setup where a guy took a regular beer keg, ground off a hole in the top to put a lid on it, drilled the side for a ball valve and used that as a boil kettle.  I have a beer distributor nearby and called them about corny kegs once.  He said they don't have those, but have a bunch of used beer kegs that they would happily like to get rid of.  So, my thought is, a free boil kettle, a 20 dollar ball valve and a weekend of grinding and fooling around and I have a huge boil kettle. 

With all this said, and I am sure the ready made systems are much better, I am wondering if any of you guys have ventured into this true DIY setup, or similar.  Also, I saw another vid that showed how to make a wort chiller and recycle the water thru a cooler and not just dump it down the drain.  That is yet another DIY thing I am considering. 

Anyway, comments?  It's ok if you call me a fool, LOL.  Won't be the first time and sure won't be the last. 

Thanks all

RR

Offline BrewBama

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I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2022, 06:26:23 am »
I started with a DIY mash tun and a boil kettle. I made many great beers with it for several years. In fact, the way you described watching YouTube videos to get ideas is exactly what I did by watching the old Northern Brewer videos (Chip Walton, Jake Keeler, and Michael Dawson) who introduced me me to Don Osborn videos, who introduced me to Denny Conn’s Cheap and Easy method of brewing.

One word of caution based on my experience: though the initial outlay of cash seems unapproachable, I assure you after years of initial design, upgrading, add ons, etc., I have spent far more than I would have by simply buying an all-in-one system off the shelf (except they weren’t available when I started).

…but it’s still cheaper than most other hobbies like golf, fishing, hunting, motorcycles, cars, etc.

My advice: if you already have a 7-8 gal boil kettle for extract, get a bag and do 3 gal BIAB. It’s the same concept as the all-in-one systems.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2022, 07:06:13 am by BrewBama »

Offline Kevin

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2022, 07:12:33 am »
My first all grain system was built around Denny Conn's Cheap And Easy system. http://www.dennybrew.com/
It doesn't even use a ball valve on the mash tun and I just used a small clamp I had in the garage to open and close mine. Instead of a false bottom or bazooka tube it uses a SS water supply line with the inner hose removed and works great. Since I needed both boil kettle and a propane burner I bought an inexpensive turkey fryer kit from Walmart. That set up served me well for many, many years. Tip: an aluminum turkey fryer is much easier to carry around and clean than a heavy beer keg.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2022, 07:14:43 am by Kevin »
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Offline denny

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2022, 08:24:42 am »
I would advise to you stay away from those round coolers and manifolds and check out my system. Www.dennybrew.com
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Offline redrocker652002

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2022, 08:49:37 am »
I would advise to you stay away from those round coolers and manifolds and check out my system. Www.dennybrew.com

I like yours better.  Cheaper and I already have a rectangular cooler that I never use.  Cool.  I think I might be able to sell this to my accountant, also known as my wife.  LOL.  Thanks, and here I thought I was asking a really stupid question.  RR

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2022, 08:51:45 am »
My first all grain system was built around Denny Conn's Cheap And Easy system. http://www.dennybrew.com/
It doesn't even use a ball valve on the mash tun and I just used a small clamp I had in the garage to open and close mine. Instead of a false bottom or bazooka tube it uses a SS water supply line with the inner hose removed and works great. Since I needed both boil kettle and a propane burner I bought an inexpensive turkey fryer kit from Walmart. That set up served me well for many, many years. Tip: an aluminum turkey fryer is much easier to carry around and clean than a heavy beer keg.

Even better than my idea.  I like it.  My brother has a setup he used for turkey frying that he has lent me.  I wonder though, the pot is pretty bad looking.  Maybe a replacement pot would be cheaper than the whole setup.  This is why I posted, I knew you guys would have some better ideas.  Thanks  RR

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2022, 08:54:49 am »
I started with a DIY mash tun and a boil kettle. I made many great beers with it for several years. In fact, the way you described watching YouTube videos to get ideas is exactly what I did by watching the old Northern Brewer videos (Chip Walton, Jake Keeler, and Michael Dawson) who introduced me me to Don Osborn videos, who introduced me to Denny Conn’s Cheap and Easy method of brewing.

One word of caution based on my experience: though the initial outlay of cash seems unapproachable, I assure you after years of initial design, upgrading, add ons, etc., I have spent far more than I would have by simply buying an all-in-one system off the shelf (except they weren’t available when I started).

…but it’s still cheaper than most other hobbies like golf, fishing, hunting, motorcycles, cars, etc.

My advice: if you already have a 7-8 gal boil kettle for extract, get a bag and do 3 gal BIAB. It’s the same concept as the all-in-one systems.

I completely agree that the all in one systems are probably cheaper in the long run, and much easier.  But for now, laying out less than 100 bucks to get my feet wet, so to speak, is an easier sell that a 400 to 500 all in one set up.

As far as the boil kettle, I am using a 5 gallon now, so I am going to have to look around and see what I can find.  But, for now, I might just get the stuff to do the mash tun and then deal with the pot later.  My birthday is coming up.  LOL.  Thanks for the input, I appreciate it and all the others who have posted so far.  RR

Offline denny

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2022, 09:50:30 am »
My first all grain system was built around Denny Conn's Cheap And Easy system. http://www.dennybrew.com/
It doesn't even use a ball valve on the mash tun and I just used a small clamp I had in the garage to open and close mine. Instead of a false bottom or bazooka tube it uses a SS water supply line with the inner hose removed and works great. Since I needed both boil kettle and a propane burner I bought an inexpensive turkey fryer kit from Walmart. That set up served me well for many, many years. Tip: an aluminum turkey fryer is much easier to carry around and clean than a heavy beer keg.

Even better than my idea.  I like it.  My brother has a setup he used for turkey frying that he has lent me.  I wonder though, the pot is pretty bad looking.  Maybe a replacement pot would be cheaper than the whole setup.  This is why I posted, I knew you guys would have some better ideas.  Thanks  RR

Bad looking in what way?  Many turkey fryers come with AL pots.  Mine did. They're fine, but you want to be sure they have a gray oxide layer on the inside. You dont want to scrub it so hard you remove that.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2022, 11:09:17 am »
For what it is worth, I still return to my roots and brew a batch in my white, 40Qt. rectangular cooler with braid and a propane burner.  I do this when I am brewing at a friend's house (our club hosts "brew-ins" about twice a year).  It is fun to get back to basics and I can bring along what I have learned in many other aspects to make beer the new "old way".   Nobody will know what equipment you used to make your beer and cutting costs is a fine objective - as long as you make good beer!

 
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Offline neuse

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2022, 11:38:58 am »
I eliminated the propane burner and the immersion chiller by using a split boil. Already had a 4 gallon kettle for extract, and bought a 5 gallon aluminum kettle. Then I could boil on my stove on two burners. I cooled the wort in separate ice baths. The biggest downside is splitting both the first and second runnings evenly and splitting the bittering hops fairly evenly (maybe not really necessary?). Having two boils going at the same time and chilling the wort in two separate ice water baths is also a bit of a PITA. I would only recommend this approach if you have a high tolerance for complexity.

Offline MNWayne

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2022, 07:37:42 pm »
The best part about this hobby, after great beer, is the DIY aspect. I love building and tinkering, solving problems, figuring something out.  Frugality is part of the challenge.  I don't think I could be happy with an all-in-one turn-key system.  Ironic twist, I'm sure I've spent more over the years compared to just investing in a GrainFather or similar.
Far better to dare mighty things....

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2022, 08:18:18 pm »
The best part about this hobby, after great beer, is the DIY aspect. I love building and tinkering, solving problems, figuring something out.  Frugality is part of the challenge.  I don't think I could be happy with an all-in-one turn-key system.  Ironic twist, I'm sure I've spent more over the years compared to just investing in a GrainFather or similar.

I tend to think the way you do.  I tinker with everything and probably spend more, but it is fun to do and it keeps me out of the house.  LOL.


Offline redrocker652002

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2022, 08:53:23 pm »
My first all grain system was built around Denny Conn's Cheap And Easy system. http://www.dennybrew.com/
It doesn't even use a ball valve on the mash tun and I just used a small clamp I had in the garage to open and close mine. Instead of a false bottom or bazooka tube it uses a SS water supply line with the inner hose removed and works great. Since I needed both boil kettle and a propane burner I bought an inexpensive turkey fryer kit from Walmart. That set up served me well for many, many years. Tip: an aluminum turkey fryer is much easier to carry around and clean than a heavy beer keg.

Even better than my idea.  I like it.  My brother has a setup he used for turkey frying that he has lent me.  I wonder though, the pot is pretty bad looking.  Maybe a replacement pot would be cheaper than the whole setup.  This is why I posted, I knew you guys would have some better ideas.  Thanks  RR

Bad looking in what way?  Many turkey fryers come with AL pots.  Mine did. They're fine, but you want to be sure they have a gray oxide layer on the inside. You dont want to scrub it so hard you remove that.

I have to look a bit closer at it.  It has been sitting in his shed for a while and had some what looked like dried oil or something all over it.  I am going to price out the parts I need and go from there.  This is kinda what I envisioned my set up to be at first.  Very DIY.  LOL.   Thanks to all for the help and input, I honestly thought this was a stupid question and almost didn't post it.  Now I am glad I did. 

Offline fredthecat

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2022, 10:23:40 pm »
My first all grain system was built around Denny Conn's Cheap And Easy system. http://www.dennybrew.com/
It doesn't even use a ball valve on the mash tun and I just used a small clamp I had in the garage to open and close mine. Instead of a false bottom or bazooka tube it uses a SS water supply line with the inner hose removed and works great. Since I needed both boil kettle and a propane burner I bought an inexpensive turkey fryer kit from Walmart. That set up served me well for many, many years. Tip: an aluminum turkey fryer is much easier to carry around and clean than a heavy beer keg.

Even better than my idea.  I like it.  My brother has a setup he used for turkey frying that he has lent me.  I wonder though, the pot is pretty bad looking.  Maybe a replacement pot would be cheaper than the whole setup.  This is why I posted, I knew you guys would have some better ideas.  Thanks  RR

Bad looking in what way?  Many turkey fryers come with AL pots.  Mine did. They're fine, but you want to be sure they have a gray oxide layer on the inside. You dont want to scrub it so hard you remove that.

I have to look a bit closer at it.  It has been sitting in his shed for a while and had some what looked like dried oil or something all over it.  I am going to price out the parts I need and go from there.  This is kinda what I envisioned my set up to be at first.  Very DIY.  LOL.   Thanks to all for the help and input, I honestly thought this was a stupid question and almost didn't post it.  Now I am glad I did.


i use what denny outlined as a mashtun, tbh i think i actually used his one webpage for how to do it years ago.

i used an aluminium 25 litre pot for about 5 or 6 years. i liked it, it was 25 bucks in korea. it would probably be at least 70 in north america. its lightness is really nice, but yeah the oxide layer/potential for scratching - if youre not totally broke i would spend another ~25% more and go stainless steel.

i may take a pic of my KISS setup for you sometime soon if i remember.

Offline redrocker652002

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Re: I have been bouncing this around for a bit
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2022, 11:49:37 pm »
My first all grain system was built around Denny Conn's Cheap And Easy system. http://www.dennybrew.com/
It doesn't even use a ball valve on the mash tun and I just used a small clamp I had in the garage to open and close mine. Instead of a false bottom or bazooka tube it uses a SS water supply line with the inner hose removed and works great. Since I needed both boil kettle and a propane burner I bought an inexpensive turkey fryer kit from Walmart. That set up served me well for many, many years. Tip: an aluminum turkey fryer is much easier to carry around and clean than a heavy beer keg.

Even better than my idea.  I like it.  My brother has a setup he used for turkey frying that he has lent me.  I wonder though, the pot is pretty bad looking.  Maybe a replacement pot would be cheaper than the whole setup.  This is why I posted, I knew you guys would have some better ideas.  Thanks  RR

Bad looking in what way?  Many turkey fryers come with AL pots.  Mine did. They're fine, but you want to be sure they have a gray oxide layer on the inside. You dont want to scrub it so hard you remove that.

I have to look a bit closer at it.  It has been sitting in his shed for a while and had some what looked like dried oil or something all over it.  I am going to price out the parts I need and go from there.  This is kinda what I envisioned my set up to be at first.  Very DIY.  LOL.   Thanks to all for the help and input, I honestly thought this was a stupid question and almost didn't post it.  Now I am glad I did.


i use what denny outlined as a mashtun, tbh i think i actually used his one webpage for how to do it years ago.

i used an aluminium 25 litre pot for about 5 or 6 years. i liked it, it was 25 bucks in korea. it would probably be at least 70 in north america. its lightness is really nice, but yeah the oxide layer/potential for scratching - if youre not totally broke i would spend another ~25% more and go stainless steel.

i may take a pic of my KISS setup for you sometime soon if i remember.

That would be awesome if you don't mind.   

This is so cool.  I was just telling my brother that I really have found this to be all very interesting and I have just scratched the surface.  You guys are a great group, thank you for all the info and input. 
« Last Edit: February 08, 2022, 08:38:50 am by redrocker652002 »