All Grain Advice

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by mtp81, May 15, 2018.

  1. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    I’m looking for some all grain brewing advice. So I’ve helped a friend of a friend brew all grain on several occasions just to get a feel for it and now would like to do it myself, but I don’t really have any equipment and the friend of a friend doesn’t have any to spare or much advice as he bought a system off of someone else.

    I have a new igloo water cooler that’s never been used. I also have a $100 gift card to Northern Brewer. I’m trying to figure out what I should use the gift card towards and what I can pay out of pocket for? I’m probably going to buy some stuff used if I can. I was planning on getting a 10 gal kettle at the very least. Any advice to point me towards where I should pay out of pocket and what I should buy with the gift card would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Marc
     
  2. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,339) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Sorry to say it but $100 is not that much in my opinion. You'll end up spending way more than that but it'll be worth it. I'd either focus on buying things from Northern Brewer that you can't get at your local homebrew shop, or things that are lighter in weight to keep shipping costs down.
     
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  3. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (471) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    If you think there is ever a chance of you brewing 10 gallon batches buy a 15 gallon kettle instead of a 10. The equipment that you need to convert a cooler can usually be bought most cheaply at a hardware store. That's really all you have to have to upgrade to all grain.
     
  4. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    No I know it can get very expensive. I just wanted to use the $100 on something that I couldn't get near me or something that would be useful, instead of bullshit. I think the equipment lighter in weight from Northern Brewer is a good idea as well. Thank you.
     
  5. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    That's something I've been pondering. There is a real possibility that I would want to do 10 gallon batches in the future. I was probably going to bite the bullet and buy stainless steel instead of aluminum. Do you recommend buying a kettle with the thermometer and/or a valve kit? I'll take a look at hardware stores. Thank you.
     
  6. scottakelly

    scottakelly Devotee (471) May 9, 2007 Ohio

    I do not have a thermometer or valvle in my kettle. 10 gallons of hot wort is as much as I can lift. For most the valve would be a no brainer. I wouldn't waste the money on a thermometer. Its easy enough to dip one in when you need to check.
     
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  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,469) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    With $100 total to spend, I wouldn't use any of it on a built in thermometer or a valve. If you don't already have one, you'll need a good thermometer, but get one that is multipurpose rather than part of your kettle.

    FWIW, I have considerably more than $100 invested in my equipment, and my kettles are just kettles.
     
  8. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    Ok thanks. If anything I can see the valve coming more in handy than the built in thermometer, however I’d rather not waste money at this point. I do have a really nice Thermapen thermometer that I use for cooking meats and such, but I don’t know if it would be good to use for it because if I dropped it in, then I’m fucked for over a $100 thermometer. I’ll pick up a different one.

    I should have specified this in my initial post. I realize that $100 is a drop in the bucket compared to what I’ll need to spend or could spend if money was no object, however I just wanted to get opinions from homebrewers who have experience with all grain on what to use the gift card towards so I can figure out what to spend out of pocket on other supplies. Like if there’s something on Northern Brewer that I couldn’t get elsewhere. I didn’t want to waste it on supplies/equipment that I could get anywhere. I just had this gift card sitting around that I wanted to utilize. Thank you for your input.
     
  9. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,258) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium

    Welcome to the hobby, mtp81. I think you'll find a better price if you look for used equipment, so take the time to see what is on Craig's List, etc. before buying new stuff. If you find anything, hopefully it is close to you so that you can inspect it before purchase.

    It sounds like you're just starting with this hobby, so other major items that you'll need are are a fermentor, and a bottling bucket (if bottling your beers) or kegging equipment (if you decide to keg). You could also find good prices on all kinds of peripheral things that you'll need too if someone is selling stuff as a package deal. Here is a link to a search that I did of this forum using 'equipment' as the search word in thread titles only. Read thru some of these posts to help you think about what you'll need. https://www.beeradvocate.com/commun...t&t=post&o=date&g=1&c[title_only]=1&c[node]=8

    Also, the suggestion above about checking your hardware store for equipment was probably meant for the fittings, etc. that would convert your cooler to a mash tun. You might find a large kettle in a hardware store that could be used for brewing, but fermentors, bottling buckets, etc., probably not. Good luck.
     
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  10. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Skip the false bottom and get a bazooka tube for 1/5 of the price.
     
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  11. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    What does this mean? All-grain equipment/lauter tuns? ...or the whole enchilada? (fermenters, boiling kettles, bottling stuff, temp/measuring/control equip., hopping paraphernalia etc., etc.,)
     
  12. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    Thank you for the thorough reply and for the search results. I’ll take a look at what there is. I’ve been looking on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to see if there’s anything close.
     
  13. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    I open to any options and will look into the bazooka tube. Thanks.
     
  14. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    It basically means that I have nothing. The only thing I have is a plastic water cooler that’s brand new that I picked up on sale last year with the intent of homebrewing in the future.
     
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  15. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Then I recommend this + a false bottom and bulkhead valve when you are ready...
    https://www.northernbrewer.com/brew-share-enjoy-homebrew-starter-kit-ipa

    Keep the 5 gal kettle for a hot liquor tank (HLT) and buy yourself a >8 gal. kettle for when you want to do full volume boils (soon hopefully) :slight_smile: Good Luck!
    almost forgot....howtobrew.com
     
    #15 GreenKrusty101, May 15, 2018
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  16. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

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  17. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    have you thought about starting as Brew in a bag? Cheapest and easiest way to do all grain from an equipment standpoint.
     
  18. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Bags don't last forever...but false bottoms and bazooka screens do...pretty much
     
  19. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Yes but he could easily start with 2.5 gallon batches on his stove pot with a kettle from the kit you suggested and a paint strainer bag which are dirt cheap.
     
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  20. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (97) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Local/regional classified publications like Thrifty Nickel, garage sales and Estate sales (one of my favorites).
     
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  21. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    He's got a $100 gift certificate for starters...although I am a definite sucker for local garage sales (even though I've never been lucky enough to find homebrew equipment)
     
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  22. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,258) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium

    No one has brought up the topic yet about your heat source for cooking. Are you planning to use the kitchen stove, or can you cook outdoors? If you plan to use the kitchen, there are limits of what a domestic range can do, especially if it is electric.

    If you can cook outdoors, then you need to put a gas burner and LP tank into the budget and on your list of equipment needs.
     
  23. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (97) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina
    Trader

    Functional two-tap kegerator for $135 at an estate sale, but I've digressed away from the OP's intent.

    The $100 is a gift certificate to Northern Brewer. He didn't indicate what he's comfortable springing for out of pocket, but did ask for input on what he should get from NB that's in line with his certificate and that he might have trouble sourcing elsewhere (sans another certificate).

    @mtp81 I think @Mothergoose03 has hit on something by suggesting a list. If you're not in a "gotta do it now" mode make a list of the suggestions; cull what you can on your own then solicit add'l feedback based on what it is you want to accomplish in the short term.
    Take my input with a grain of salt. There are folks here much more knowledgeable than I am about what the minimum requirements are for all-grain brewing.
     
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  24. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Devotee (479) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    I have a 10 gallon igloo cooler I converted to a mash tun for cheap through my hardware store. I also have two 8 gallon brew kettles. One kettle has a spigot and the other does not. In hindsight, I wish both did, but its not necessary. I heat all the water for the strike and sparge in the non-spigot kettle and use the spigot kettle for the brew kettle. Luckily I’m young and lifting multiple gallons of strike water into the mash tun is an easy task; but I can see myself upgrading quite soon. I never brew more than 5 gallon batches and the system is perfect for me.

    Probably spent about $400-$450 total on all equipment, including a false bottom for the mash tun and all tubing.
     
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  25. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Long-term investing...buy and hold...if you can manage. :slight_smile:
     
  26. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Even the second 8 gal kettle is not necessary, imho. Valves hide mung that will eventually result in an infected/contaminated batch if your CIP cleaning habits are less than stellar. I have never brewed a grossly :astonished: contaminated batch with either my 8 gal. kettle + 5 gal HLT (no valves)...come to think of it, not even with my 15 gal. gross keggle 10 gal setup...but then again I'm more careful with it.
     
  27. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    I think cleaning a valve on hot side kettle is overrate as it all gets boiled. I run hot pbw through the valve every other brew and take the valve totally apart once a year as part of my spring cleaning. Never had an infection at my house and the only infection I ever had was at my buddies house. My practices are pretty sound being in the medical field but a ball valve is pretty helpful for me since my autosiphon is just another thing I have to actually make sure is clean. I do agree a thermometer on a boil kettle is pretty unnecessary. I use an instant read thermometer a few times throughout brew day but never really kettle thermometer.
     
  28. NorCalKid

    NorCalKid Initiate (99) Jan 10, 2018 California

    I bought my system off NB. It was the 10 gal FF coolers. I think it ran about $250 with all the bells and whistles. Ready to go. But I’ve made a few tweaks here and there. Outa the box it’s legit though. Put $100 towards that’s. One thing I will say is that this hobby is a never ending money pit into beer!
     
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  29. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    I have the actual book that I read like 5 years ago but then did nothing with the knowledge I gained from reading it so I do f remember much. It couldn’t hurt to re-read. Thanks.
     
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  30. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    I have, but thought about just going in all of the way. It’s not off the table yet though.
     
  31. mtp81

    mtp81 Initiate (86) May 8, 2009 Delaware

    Sorry for not mentioning that. I have a shitty electric range (actually on my opinion all electric ranges are shitty) that struggles to boil my 2.5 gallon All Clad pot,so I will definitely be doing it outdoors. Most likely in my driveway/partially in garage.
     
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  32. brchapman

    brchapman Initiate (67) Nov 18, 2014 Georgia

    I would say BIAB'ing is going in all the way. All the benefits of all grain with a much shorter brew time.
     
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  33. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,469) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I guess "all the benefits" depends on what you consider important. A couple things that some people consider important that BIAB does not offer...
    - Vorlauf for clear wort into the kettle
    - Most precise control/stability of mash temps possible

    I'm not saying good or great beer can't be made with BIAB. Just wanted to point out a couple of advantages to mash tuns for people who consider them important. I would say BIAB has most of the benefits of all grain.
     
  34. brchapman

    brchapman Initiate (67) Nov 18, 2014 Georgia

    My original post felt a little "trollish" to me and expected I would get challenged on it...

    Absolutely some specific benefits fall into BIAB and some fall into 3 tier and some are shared by both...
     
  35. frozyn

    frozyn Zealot (573) May 16, 2015 New York
    Premium Trader

    Sous vide sticks and similar heating elements have helped narrow the gap here. As for still having a lid on the mash, though...
     
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  36. brchapman

    brchapman Initiate (67) Nov 18, 2014 Georgia

    I actually use a sous vide stick from time to time! Didn't want to have this turn into a BIAB vs 3 vessel debate...
     
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  37. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    That’s good cause 2 vessel is actually king :stuck_out_tongue:
     
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