Advice On Beginner Ag Setup

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merlin032

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Hi guys,

I've been brewing extracts and partials for years now and I just decided to make the jump into AG, I wanted some advice on whether the equipment I was thinking about buying will be workable. I'm on a bit of a budget so I'm opting to build what I can rather than purchase pre-built equipment.

So...

Sparge water pot - 40L aluminium stock pot with Keg King 2200w Hot stick for heating
Mash tun - 36L esky with home made copper piping manifold
Boil pot - My current thinking is to sparge into a spare fermenter and then use the 40L Sparge water pot to do the boil (see question 1)

Other:
Wort cooler - home made coil of copper piping with tap fittings

Questions:
1. Is it feasible to use the same pot for the boil and does anyone here do it this way, obviously there is a bit more arsing about but it gives me a chance to try it first before spending more money on the second heating vessel
2. Does anyone know if a 2200 w element is going to be enough to boil 23-25litres of wort or should I look into a gas burner?
3. Are there any issues fitting heat elements, temperature probes etc. to the side of a round vessel or does the surface have to be flat?
4. Any other advice / common issues I should be aware of with a setup like this?
 

sean_0

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2. Does anyone know if a 2200 w element is going to be enough to boil 23-25litres of wort or should I look into a gas burner?
3. Are there any issues fitting heat elements, temperature probes etc. to the side of a round vessel or does the surface have to be flat?
Yeah, should be fine. I get a good rolling boil with 30L with my 2200W element. No issues with installing on my round 40L pot, no leaks whatsoever with the supplied silicone washer.
 

raven19

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Its perfectly acceptable also to use your HLT as your Kettle with sparging into a temporary intermediate vessel.

Go for it! :icon_cheers:

Re Qu. 3 - a silicon washer will help to form a leak proof seal. I use them for my thermowells and elements in my round vessels with no issues.
 

Dazza88

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Wouldn't be fermenting in that fermenter anymore.
 

iralosavic

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Why don't you stick to a single vessle and use 'Brew-in-a-bag' methodology. If you feel the need to add a dedicated mash tun (eski) after that, then the single vessle can become the HLT and boil kettle anyway. The bag itself will cost $10 to make or $20 to buy. You'll save $150 odd on your initial outlay doing it this way, as the bulkhead alone will set you back $60+ and once you factor in thermowells etc, you'll be LUCKY to get the esky complete for $150. I'd personally be putting this cash towards some grains.

Edit: and if you don't spend all the extra cash on grains, build a stir plate and buy a flask and some vials so you can split yeasts and save ongoing costs.
 

katzke

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Hi guys,

I've been brewing extracts and partials for years now and I just decided to make the jump into AG, I wanted some advice on whether the equipment I was thinking about buying will be workable. I'm on a bit of a budget so I'm opting to build what I can rather than purchase pre-built equipment.

So...

Sparge water pot - 40L aluminium stock pot with Keg King 2200w Hot stick for heating
Mash tun - 36L esky with home made copper piping manifold
Boil pot - My current thinking is to sparge into a spare fermenter and then use the 40L Sparge water pot to do the boil (see question 1)

Other:
Wort cooler - home made coil of copper piping with tap fittings

Questions:
1. Is it feasible to use the same pot for the boil and does anyone here do it this way, obviously there is a bit more arsing about but it gives me a chance to try it first before spending more money on the second heating vessel
2. Does anyone know if a 2200 w element is going to be enough to boil 23-25litres of wort or should I look into a gas burner?
3. Are there any issues fitting heat elements, temperature probes etc. to the side of a round vessel or does the surface have to be flat?
4. Any other advice / common issues I should be aware of with a setup like this?
Got to ask. What are you using to brew in now? You do not need a 40 liter pot to heat sparge water.
 

merlin032

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Great - so, it sounds like I'm on the right track then. I was thinking about BIAB methods, I think the answers here will allow me to assess whether I go for full AG or BIAB - I think it comes down to how easy it is to build the mash tun - I did say I was doing it on a budget - but that budget did include around $100-150 for the mash tun.

The pot I have right now is only 15 litres and I heat it on the stove, I want to move everything out of the kitchen to the shed so the larger pot & electric element will let me do that (keeps the missus happy also).

I'm trying to work out the best way to build the mash tun, I can get copper pipe & plumbing fittings for next to nothing and there are 36litre esky's on sale at Aldi for $30 at the moment so that's a good option for me - only issue is no drain plug so the plan was to siphon over the side - seems like it could be a troublesome way to do it - any comments?

Are there any type of plumbing fittings or materials to avoid for the mash tun? is high pressure water hose & hose clamps ok in contact with the wort or should I stick to all-copper?
 

seemax

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Is there a particular reasons you want to use an esky for your mash tun?

If not... brew in a bag... spend the money saved on a grain mill... buy some grain and hops and brew.
 

chunckious

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Try to research the esky if possible. From what I've read some esky's like to retain the cold but retaining heat can warp some brands over time.
 

Jazzafish

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I started brewing before BIAB was popular. So started with a basic 3 tier gravity system.
At the top tier I heated my water using a hand held element in my old coopers fermenter... which I also fermented in.
Next down was a bucket in bucket mash tun. The bucket in the bucket has lots of small holes drilled in it to filter the grain out.
And on the floor I had (and still use) a legally aquired keg with the top cut off to boil using the same hand held element used to heat my water.

As time went on, I got converted an esky mash tun simular to this to better maintain temps and increase mash volumes. Eventually the bigger volumes meant I wanted a bit more water, so I got another keg to be a HLT and controlled it with a thermostat. Heat stich was slow to heat over 20L - but got there. So I also gas fired my kettle to boil faster and allow me to heat water for another batch with the element while the first was boiling. Now I have a 3 vessel HERMS rig and considdering a 4th vessel as a dedicated heat exchanger (currently a coil in the HLT) while also looking at a 50 L braumaster...

Beer quality hasn't changed much through all the gear changing. But the volume and time required to brew has changed a lot. More beer in less time, which is important to me at the moment with little downtime.

I guess my point is get a pot sized to 50 to 70L and start as a BIAB brewer. This will make great beer on a budget. If you have trouble lifting 15 to 30Kg, get a pulley system to help get the bagged grain out of the pot. If you want to move to multivessel systems down the road, you can still use the pot. Nothing wasted.
 

gareth

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Just brew properly and go with your first idea and later grow that system.
 

Muscovy_333

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I have been AGing for 6 months successfully.

My set-up is more ghetto than your proposd set-up....Go for it, you will never turn back.

I have a 20 litre bucket/kettle with a ghetto kettle element, a 55 litre esky which is probably too big (but works fantastic), and a 32 litre SS pot which i boil on a 2 ring burner.
28 litres pre boil 24 litres post boil, 21litres into the fermenter, 2 litres wort as a yeast starter, 1 litre loss to trub.

Cost me next to nothing to get started, as i learn more i keep notes for phase 2 brewery.
I have just picked up a 100+ litre SS jacketed pot that I'm designing a custom single vessel brewery...will kick off the build shortly.
 

Eggs

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I am also new to the game. there are as many system variations and opinions as there are forum members. Id recomend BIAB for the following reasons, in no particular order:

1. the gear youll need can be easely adapted to make a bigger system, but its a minimum expense on gear to start up. the only obsolete part will be the bag at a cost of only a few dollars.
2. It gives you the chance to sort out the rest of your brew day without worrying about the mash, shifting wort, etc and makes hitting strike temps simpler.
3. cleaning. there is less of it. for me a brew day is still a messy, long and error filled experience. the less i have to wash at the end of the day the better.
4. storage. one vessel takes up less space.
5. speed. it streamlines the process to an extent. you save some time.

I went with a 30lt urn bought from a market, with a ball valve and pickup tube fitted. My wife stiched up a bag for me for the cost of a few dollars.
IF i were to do it again, and will do in the future, id opt for a larger stainless pot as I would already prefer to do double batches and brew less often. And Id use an imersion element or two. I think a plain bottomed vessel would be much better . The element in my urn is under powered and takes some time to reach a boil, then makes cleaning harder. It interfears with the bag during the mash and the whilpool at the end of the boil. I heat my sparge water in a pot on the BBQ whilst mashing and then dunk the grain bag into a plastic tub like a giant tea bag. The tub also serves to store the gear when not in use. Its worked well so far and the brew day system is starting to come together. All the best, whatever you choose will work once you get your systems worked out. Its realy up to you what you can afford, what you find easyest and what makes you feel good about your brewing.

edit: spelling.
 

Plastic Man

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another option could be using the two vessels and go "no sparge".

- Heat water in the 40l pot,
- full volume mash in the esky, and drain back into the pot for boil. (use a braided hose in the esky)

May not be able to brew at too high a gravity and may limit volume a tad, but gut feel is that max 1.060 and 19l batches would be attainable - especially if the Aldi 36L esky holds a bit more than spec. Aldi also had a 50l esky for sale just before xmas for $50 so you could expand when that comes up again.

There was an interesting article on No Sparge in last Novembers BYO. I bought the Aldi 50litre esky at the time to give it a go. Will make brew day pretty simple and should boost flavour. Only downside is you use a bit more grain, but grain is cheap.
 

bum

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You'll save $150 odd on your initial outlay doing it this way, as the bulkhead alone will set you back $60+ and once you factor in thermowells etc, you'll be LUCKY to get the esky complete for $150.
I love you, AHB. You never talk complete shit.

Ever.
 

manticle

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Great - so, it sounds like I'm on the right track then. I was thinking about BIAB methods, I think the answers here will allow me to assess whether I go for full AG or BIAB - I think it comes down to how easy it is to build the mash tun - I did say I was doing it on a budget - but that budget did include around $100-150 for the mash tun.

The pot I have right now is only 15 litres and I heat it on the stove, I want to move everything out of the kitchen to the shed so the larger pot & electric element will let me do that (keeps the missus happy also).

I'm trying to work out the best way to build the mash tun, I can get copper pipe & plumbing fittings for next to nothing and there are 36litre esky's on sale at Aldi for $30 at the moment so that's a good option for me - only issue is no drain plug so the plan was to siphon over the side - seems like it could be a troublesome way to do it - any comments?

Are there any type of plumbing fittings or materials to avoid for the mash tun? is high pressure water hose & hose clamps ok in contact with the wort or should I stick to all-copper?
You can drill into your esky to fit the bulkhead and tap. Don't need a drain plug. Some locknuts and some thread tape will see you right.

Mash tun should be fine with brass fittings etc but zinc washers will corrode in combination with brass and the wort.

BIAB as mentioned is not a bad option but go with whatever idea takes your fancy. Building stuff is fun.
 

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