Author Topic: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...  (Read 4951 times)

Offline swire

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Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« on: February 06, 2011, 05:37:24 PM »
I'm going to move to all grain. Considering I only have a basic kit, I've had to get some new supplies.

I've started with a kit similar to this:
http://www.williamsbrewing.com/COMPLETE_BREWERY_WITH_HONEY_CR_P2338C257.cfm

But, I didn't get a wort chiller and I only have a standard brew pot which is 5 gallons without a valve.

So, my question comes in. Here is what I've just assembled. Wondering if this is right?

In addition to the stuff I have, I just bought the following:



Offline dano14041

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2011, 06:23:40 PM »
I would suggest going with the bigger boil kettle (8 gal is good, 10 gal + is better). I routinely collect 7 gals of wort for a 5 gal batch for a 60 min boil. I have a 7.5 gal kettle and have to carefully watch the boil and feather the burner to prevent boil overs.
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Offline swire

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2011, 06:49:25 PM »
Thanks, that's helpful to know. I'll probably go for the 10 gallon then. I guess I'm confused on the process. I see a lot of methods online which all follow the basics but are done slightly differently depending on the equipment.

So, if I get the 10 gallon pot, I can start with that and then have the two 5 gallon coolers which act as a hot liquid tank and mash tun. Thinking that may be a problem, correct? Should I take those back and get 10 gallon ones instead? If so, that may be a problem with the conversion kit I got from Austin Brewing which says for 5 gallon. http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?cPath=178_33_82_449&products_id=12793

I'm confused. I know I sound like a complete newbie and I am. Thanks in advance for any help.

Best,

Zack

Offline hokerer

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2011, 06:55:14 PM »
Well, since it looks like you're throwing money around like candy, you must be independently wealthy :).  The five gallon pot is too small for a brew kettle so definitely go for a ten gallon.  You'll be glad you did.
Joe

Offline swire

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2011, 07:00:06 PM »
Wish I had money to throw around like candy :) If I'm doing this all wrong, I'd love the input. I thought the two coolers and conversion kit were the less costly option. Excuse my ignorance here. First time moving to all grain and the kit from before was always quite simple. I'd like to get what is needed, but not break the bank. I don't mind spending to get something decent. But, being a beginner, I don't need to go top of the line or anywhere close.

Best,

Zack



Offline Bad Brewer

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2011, 07:09:01 PM »
For a 5 gallon batch, a 10 gallon brew kettle is probably definitely best.

The 5 gallon coolers should also be fine for all grain 5 gallon batches, it depends on what mash technique you plan to use.  The only thing that cooler would be too small for (I think) is a single infusion no sparge mash. 
Ignore this paragraph, see my next post for why.

(edited to better align with reality)

« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 10:27:32 PM by Bad Brewer »

Offline Bad Brewer

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2011, 10:23:16 PM »
Ok, after thinking on this one for a bit... let me quote John Palmer-  " I often use a 15 gallon pot for mashing a five gallon batch."

He also reccomends using more water than some other homebrew gurus.  So if you have Palmer's book (get it if you don't) and plan on following his guidelines on mashing, you will probably need to get a 10gallon cooler.  I've been using a 10gal igloo (5-8 gallon batches) for a while and never had a problem with volume.  I use Palmer's book extensively when writing a recipe.

For a typical Americal Ale that you want to end up around 5%ABV your grain bill will be somehwere around 12-15lb.  So if you end up with a 12lb grain bill and use 1.5qt/lb, it might be hard to fit 12lb of grain and 4.5gallons of water in a 5gallon cooler.

Get a 10gallon cooler, or bigger.  You can get a conversion kit and coupling from bargainfittings.com for any round 10gallon cooler (different one for igloo and rubbermaid, igloo has a thin wall so a weldless kettle ball valve works), and a bazooka screen from several online brewshops or maybe your local homebrew store.  If you want to use a less expensive square cooler there are several online homebrew stores that sell full kits to convert them to mash tuns.




Offline Mark G

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 11:08:19 AM »
You definitely want the biggest boil kettle you can afford. The extra space never hurts. I use a 10-gallon for 6-gallon batches and it's just right. You can probably use that 5-gallon pot for your hot liquor tank. A bigger cooler is also probably in order. Here's a couple sites you should check out: http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/ and http://brewing.lustreking.com/gear/mashtun.html
Mark Gres

Offline denny

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 11:23:11 AM »
Wish I had money to throw around like candy :) If I'm doing this all wrong, I'd love the input. I thought the two coolers and conversion kit were the less costly option. Excuse my ignorance here. First time moving to all grain and the kit from before was always quite simple. I'd like to get what is needed, but not break the bank. I don't mind spending to get something decent. But, being a beginner, I don't need to go top of the line or anywhere close.

Best,

Zack




If you haven't already bought coolers, take a look at www.dennybrew.com for the Cheap'n'Easy setup.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline hokerer

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2011, 11:34:22 AM »
If you haven't already bought coolers, take a look at www.dennybrew.com for the Cheap'n'Easy setup.

Yeah, that's pretty much where I was headed with my comment.  Unfortunately, the OP stated "I just bought the following".  Might be too late.
Joe

Offline euge

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2011, 11:41:25 AM »
I recommend an 80qt (20 gallon) aluminum kettle. Even for those 5 gallon batches.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline swire

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2011, 04:19:50 PM »
Great advice! Wish I came here and posted before I started buying things. I can take back the two 5 gallon coolers and switch those to 10 gallon, but I've already ordered the conversion kit from Austin Homebrew. So, I'll check into sending that back and trying one of the custom methods posted. Also, sounds like the bigger the pot the better. So, guessing that anywhere from 10 to 20 gallons would be best.

Great link on the 80qt kettles. I haven't seen them that inexpensive for something that looks like decent quality. Probably get something from that site. Whether aluminum or stainless steel, I don't know what the difference is than cost. Guess steel would be stronger. Any reason to not go with aluminum?


Offline hokerer

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2011, 07:18:48 PM »
Whether aluminum or stainless steel, I don't know what the difference is than cost. Guess steel would be stronger. Any reason to not go with aluminum?

Aluminum vs Stainless is sort of a timeless argument but it basically comes down to your personal preference.

Aluminum:  Cheaper and lighter.  Transfers heat faster (which can be a plus and a minus).  Needs to be "seasoned" and therefore you need to be a little more careful cleaning it.

Stainless:  Expensive but more durable.  For best heat transfer get one with the "sandwich" bottom (layer of stainless, layer of aluminum, layer of stainless).  You can go to town cleaning it without risk of hurting anything.

Whichever you choose, get a good quality one of at least 10 gallons.  Be wary of the ones that come with the turkey fryer kits as they (aluminum or stainless) tend to be really thin and therefore easy to ding and dent.
Joe

Offline dano14041

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2011, 07:26:21 PM »
Whether aluminum or stainless steel, I don't know what the difference is than cost. Guess steel would be stronger. Any reason to not go with aluminum?



Here is a good link for pros and cons of the "disputes" of brewing. About half way down the page it list the pros and cons of stainless steel, enamel, and aluminum pots.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/vs-pro-con-analysis-109318/
Tulsa, OK

Offline richardt

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Re: Going All Grain & Have Equipment Questions...
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 07:48:18 PM »
Zack,

Making equipment purchases for going All-Grain can be intimidating.  I admit I had a little case of the "analysis paralysis" before making the leap from Extract and Partial Grain batches, but I'm glad I did.  I'm sure you'll feel the same way once you get past the cost concerns.  My recommendation is to definitely get a boil kettle that is 2x larger than your "batch size."  So get a 20 gallon SS kettle.  You can do a 5 gallon batch or a 10 gallon batch with no worries about a boilover (no messes, no waste).  Just get a banjo burner and propane tanks (2 or 3 full ones so you have no fear of running out during a brew day), and you're golden.  I've also got the 10 gallon round igloo coolers (x 2).  But, I'm seriously considering switching to the rectangular coolers for mashing as there's less grain bed compaction.  You may want to give the rectangular mashtuns a shot and build your own manifold (denny braid or manifold or bazooka screen--they all work).

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1079.msg28118#msg28118
I think this link will have a lot of the answers you're looking for.