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First Ag Setup..got A Few Questions..

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maldridge

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Hey everyone, thought I'd start off by saying how amazing this forum is. Such a wealth of information here. I've been doing a lot of reading over the last few months and at this stage I think I'm almost ready to attempt my first AG batch.

I thought I'd make this thread just to list down all the gear I've acquired, and just to see if there's anything else I need or any suggestions you guys can make. I hope this thread can also kick my ass into gear and get cracking.

I purchased a few items off members of this forum actually, saved me a bit of cash which has been great.

Going for a 2-vessel system with the following:

- spiral burner with adjustable medium pressure regulator
- copper immersion coil
- 2x 70L s/s pots (mash tun + kettle)
- 12" s/s BB false bottom
- 2x 1/2" ball valves
- STC 1000 for controllling an old fridge I've scored, will probably place a heat belt or something in the fridge as well to maintain temps in the cold.

That's all the gear I have at the moment.

I purchased the pots and the false bottom from craft brewer who were great. Luckily the pots came with 1/2" holes drilled in the bottom, for use with ball valves.

My first question is what sort of plumbing equipment do I need to attach this false bottom to a ball valve?? I've seen on the Beer Belly site they stock S/S weldless bulkheads. I'm hoping I can get something like this from my local Bunnings? Also what sort of stuff do I need for inside the pot? Do people usually use silicone hosing of some sort? Does that connect from the false bottom outlet, directly to the bulkhead? The false bottom itself seems so small in my giant pots. Will this be a problem? Here's a pic:



My next question is in regards to the false bottom. I'm struggling to understand how I get the wort out of the mash-tun....Obviously with the false bottom being curved, the elbow on top sits about 5-6cm above the bottom of the pot. When I release the ball-valve and the liquid starts coming out, won't there be a heap of liquid left at the bottom?? Is there some form of siphoning involved in this process?

As far as brewing goes, my plan is to expel the wort from the mash-tun into a bucket of some sort with measurements. Use this bucket to then put everything (after sparging etc) back into the kettle for the boil. This is a pretty standard method yeh?

Insulating my mash-tun. I've decided I'm going to try and insulate my mash-tun pot with a camping mat, and perhaps some rubber overlay of some sort. What do people suggest for this? Will my pot be ok at maintaining temps?

One final question actually. With this being my first run, I think I'm going to go with Dr Smurto's golden ale. This seems to be well recommended around here. And the PDF I found of the recipe makes a 20L batch. This sounds great for my first go.

Now, I've got 70L pots, only producing 20L in these pots, will this be an issue? Or is it fine making small batches in these giant pots? I plan to step up to larger batches once I have my technique dialed in.

I'll post up a few more pics of all the gear when I set it all up at my mates place. I'll be brewing in his garage as I don't really have the room at my place.

That's it for now guys. Thanks for reading. I'll try to keep my questions in this thread to avoid creating new threads every time I need to ask something :lol:

Cheers!!!
 

adryargument

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What type of elbow is that?

Mine goes through the plate about 2-3cm and is about 1cm off the base.
Other option is to use a normal double female elbow with a custom cut thread piece to match the height of your false bottom.
 

mckenry

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Hi Mirek,
If youre still in Melbourne, ask one of the local lads to help you through your first AG.
I think you have enough gear.
 

maldridge

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What type of elbow is that?

Mine goes through the plate about 2-3cm and is about 1cm off the base.
Other option is to use a normal double female elbow with a custom cut thread piece to match the height of your false bottom.
Ah I see, I think that's where our false bottoms differ. Underneath the place the elbow doesn't extend at all like yours does. There is also no thread on the bottom as you can see here. Perhaps I'm supposed to put in some silicone hosing so it reaches the bottom of the pot, or an elbow fitting of some sort?



Thanks McKenry. I think I'll be ok when it actually comes time to brew to be honest. There's just a few little things as I mentioned above that I'm having trouble understanding.
 

mxd

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My first question is what sort of plumbing equipment do I need to attach this false bottom to a ball valve?? I've seen on the Beer Belly site they stock S/S weldless bulkheads. I'm hoping I can get something like this from my local Bunnings? Also what sort of stuff do I need for inside the pot? Do people usually use silicone hosing of some sort? Does that connect from the false bottom outlet, directly to the bulkhead? The false bottom itself seems so small in my giant pots. Will this be a problem? Here's a pic:
you can do a couple of things here you can get a stainless nipple welded in or go a all thread (stainless or brass) some silicon washers a couple of bolts, then add a screw on hose barb internal to the pot and the ball valve external. Use a silicon hose from falsie to barb.


My next question is in regards to the false bottom. I'm struggling to understand how I get the wort out of the mash-tun....Obviously with the false bottom being curved, the elbow on top sits about 5-6cm above the bottom of the pot. When I release the ball-valve and the liquid starts coming out, won't there be a heap of liquid left at the bottom?? Is there some form of siphoning involved in this process?
I use a motor to empty you'll need to figure out how much fluid you leave in the tun.

As far as brewing goes, my plan is to expel the wort from the mash-tun into a bucket of some sort with measurements. Use this bucket to then put everything (after sparging etc) back into the kettle for the boil. This is a pretty standard method yeh?
I go from MLT to kettle, but as your only a 2V sure.

Insulating my mash-tun. I've decided I'm going to try and insulate my mash-tun pot with a camping mat, and perhaps some rubber overlay of some sort. What do people suggest for this? Will my pot be ok at maintaining temps?

sholud be, the only issue I see is a big pot and no volume, either do 45+ ltr batches or try to remove some head space in the MLT

One final question actually. With this being my first run, I think I'm going to go with Dr Smurto's golden ale. This seems to be well recommended around here. And the PDF I found of the recipe makes a 20L batch. This sounds great for my first go.

Now, I've got 70L pots, only producing 20L in these pots, will this be an issue? Or is it fine making small batches in these giant pots? I plan to step up to larger batches once I have my technique dialed in.
I would go a 45ltr batch (with the 70 ltr pots, start a grain thingy at grain and grape to reduce your cost, do the recipe for a 65% efficiency and see what happens :)

I'll post up a few more pics of all the gear when I set it all up at my mates place. I'll be brewing in his garage as I don't really have the room at my place.

That's it for now guys. Thanks for reading. I'll try to keep my questions in this thread to avoid creating new threads every time I need to ask something :lol:

Cheers!!!

good luck,
 

adraine

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The size of the false bottom will be no problem.

You can do whatever size batches you like with your pots. You will be constrained by how big ou go not how small.
 

maldridge

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Thanks for the help everyone, you've certainly cleared up a few things. I'll continue to update this thread when things get going.
 

sp0rk

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why not use a march pump for your sparging and transferring to the kettle?
 

maldridge

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Trying to keep costs down mate, already forked out more than I can really afford for this setup currently. So going to have to do things on the cheap from now on (sound familiar?? :D)
 

sp0rk

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Craftbrewer will be stocking the cheap brown pumps from later on this month for $24.75, you've just gotta shop around a little find these little bargains
 

pk.sax

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as for getting down to the bottom of the pot... buy an SS socket and measure how much you will need to get down to the bottom of the pot from the fb. Cut that much out, then cut a few holes near the bottom of that to get suction.

This will do two things: Keep the fb from hittin the floor with all the grain on it & also let you suck every last bit of wort out.
 

TidalPete

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Two slits cut at right angles on the top section of a short bit of 1\2" food-grade hose (Clark Rubber, Bunnings, whatever) will ensure a tight fit into your falsie fitting. Make the piece long enough to reach the bottom of your pot & remember to cut the bottom end at a slight angle to allow free travel of the wort. Too easy!
 

maldridge

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Thanks again everyone. I think the food-grade hose is the easiest and cheapest option for me at the moment. A pump is certainly something I'll look into further down the track.

I'm also trying to find the weldless S/S 1/2" bulkheads that beer belly stock .. (http://beerbelly.com.au/fittings.html) but I'm having real problems sourcing them in Melbourne. Bunnings had no idea what I was talking about. Is this something that can be found at a specialty plumbing store? I just need a couple of things (as well as hosetails) and I think I'm ready to setup!

Thanks in advance!
 

TidalPete

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Have never used a bulkhead fitting to connect to a falsie but if you want to go the cheap route before upgrading to stainless then you might need ---

1 --- Stainless or nickel-plated ball valve
2 --- Cut-off of 1\2" brass all-thread (Available in 150mm lrngths from Bunnings, etc).
3 --- 1\2" brass female compression fitting to fit all-thread from the inside (Bunnings, etc, also).
4 --- The awkward bit ------ Bend a short length of copper tubing to go from the compression fitting to the top of your falsie & solder to the barbed falsie end. Alternatively I have seen pics of a brass female barb screwed on to the all-thread & connected by silicone hose to the barb on the falsie. Although the silicone hose tends to let the falsie rise from the bottom of the MT the weight of the grain holds it in place during mashing. IMHO the plumbed copper way is much better even if a little more work is involved as the falsie sits hard on the bottom all the time.
Of course, you will need the appropiate washers & thread-seal tape to keep the whole thing watertight.
Hope this helps?
 

maldridge

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Ok I sort of get what you mean .. :) hah

I just found this though, and it seems to clear a few things up for me.

http://www.bargainfittings.com/index.php?r...formation_id=14

I don't really need a bulkhead as such do I? I just need a threaded section to go through the hole, an o-ring, and a nut as you suggest....?

At this point I'm not even worried about connecting to the falsie, I just want to get my ball-valves fitted! (Which I already have).
 

TidalPete

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Ok I sort of get what you mean .. :) hah

I just found this though, and it seems to clear a few things up for me.

http://www.bargainfittings.com/index.php?r...formation_id=14

I don't really need a bulkhead as such do I? I just need a threaded section to go through the hole, an o-ring, and a nut as you suggest....?
Yes, that's what I was trying to convey. No bulkhead fitting needed. Going the stainless route straight off is more economical in the long run as I found after spending many $$$'s on brass fittings when starting out & then wanting to change over later on. But that's up to you to decide. Some of the above sponsers sell correct-sized bits of 1\2" ss all-thread (Which is hard to come by sometimes) as well as most of the other stuff.
I personally wouldn't use a step drill on a keg as they're only meant for thin gauge plate. Better off using the appropiate-sized hole saw (Slow speed & well lubricated with oil) or you could it cheaply by marking off the hole, drilling a series of overlapping smallish holes around the inside of the marked circle, knocking out what's left & then filing to the mark.
 

maldridge

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Thanks mate, luckily holes were pre-drilled in my pots from Craft Brewer.

So I guess I'll be purchasing my parts from an online store, which is annoying because I'm sick of paying for postage on everything, and I never order things all at once because I never seem to have the funds at the right time. Wish I knew where to find all these bits in Melbourne...

Edit: If I have trouble finding S/S locally, will brass be ok?
 

bignath

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Something to keep in mind regarding batch size(s) in a pot that big....

If you are going to use brewing software, remember that your boiloff will be very different as a percentage if you are doing single vs double vs triple's in your 70lt pot.

Some programs use % to account for boil losses, other's used an actual volume you can input as the boiloff.

If you do a single, keep in mind, you may end up with less beer for your first run until you have your system figured out. This is assuming you don't worry about trying to factor in losses just yet. It's nearly impossible to predict just how much you'll lose until you actually brew a few beers anyway. So many factors go into determining your boiloff.

I remember my first ever AG brewday, and i was really disappointed to learn that i only got 16-17lt's of beer, which was considerably less than i was expecting.
You'll get that sorted fairly quickly though..

Good luck with your maiden run!
 

manticle

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Thanks mate, luckily holes were pre-drilled in my pots from Craft Brewer.

So I guess I'll be purchasing my parts from an online store, which is annoying because I'm sick of paying for postage on everything, and I never order things all at once because I never seem to have the funds at the right time. Wish I knew where to find all these bits in Melbourne...

Edit: If I have trouble finding S/S locally, will brass be ok?


You possibly be able to find what you are looking for here: http://www.grainandgrape.com.au/


or here: http://www.kegking.com.au/



I prefer plumbing supply places to Bunnings but mostly they seem to stock brass fittings. I have brass in my kettle and HLT and no of no main reason why I shouldn't. Galvanic corrosion is the biggest problem I'm aware of. I got some SS all thread and ball valve tap from Grain and Grape linked above and they will know what you are talking about.
 

maldridge

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Yeh I think I'll just make the trek to Grain and Grape - coming from northcote in my car will probably cost the same as shipping :)

In regards to doing smaller batches in my larger pot, will it work if I perhaps lower my expected efficiency in BeerSmith, so it can at least try and compensate for my extra boil off?

Cheers.
 

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