New to Site - Cooler of Kettle?

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Gusfish7

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Hi All,
I am new to this site and have been researching home brewing for about a month now. I have not made brew just yet, still looking and purchasing some equipment. I am interested in grain brewing and I was wondering what people think about using a cooler for a mash tun versus using a stainless steel kettle. I realize that multi step mashing and mashouts may not be easy using a cooler. Can anyone comment on this, any info is appreciated.
Thanks!
 

AJS2154

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Hi mate, welcome.

I know there will be many comments for you to digest about brewing, this being no different, but I would recommend you start with BIAB, and then if you feel the need to get a 3 vessel system you can. You will always need the kettle.

I have been on brewing courses, progressed through many different approaches but BIAB has remained consistent for me as I make good beer without having, what I is see, as the complexity and space requirement of a 3v system. I welded a solid burner stand on wheels for my keggle, keep all my gear in the keggle when not in use, and pull it out on brew day. Simple and effective.

There will now be many, many opinions following mine, but hey, I was in first.

So long as you are having a crack and enjoying the moment, how you make it becomes less important to me. My view anyway.

Enjoy, Anthony
 

Gusfish7

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Thanks for the comments. I've seen the 3 vessel systems on the internet. They look efficient
.
On youtube there is a lot of home-made equipment which is cool, as an engineer I can appreciate that. I think right now I need to figure out if I want to mash in a cooler or a kettle.

There seems to be kettles made from kegs and some fancy kettles on the internet that provide a whirlpool etc.

With a kettle there may be more options because of heat control however they loose heat easily. A cooler may only be good for a single temperature mash?

I've seen videos on youtube and read a bit about BIAG and that seems interesting as well. hmmm more to think about
 

manticle

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I use an esky as part of a home made 3v system.

I step mash and mashout every brew no drama. Stepping and mashout is not necessary for brewing (although there are reasons to do it) and esky as tun does not prevent it. Direct fire is not the only means of heating.

If I were starting AG now, I'd very seriously consider single vessel brewing - whether biab, braumeister, grainfather or guten.

Really depends on time, space, interest and budget but all can make high quality wort.
 

Stouter

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As an engineer, you may want to scratch that itch with the 3V systems or intricate bling. If the aspects of design and function are what you already enjoy in your work and way of thinking then you'll probably gravitate to that style of system and brewing.
Good advice above with the BIAB starting point and potential to repurpose that equipment if you stick with it.
Get your feet wet, the is water fine Brother.
 

Brewno Marz

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BIAB is sound advice. However, if you do go with a 3V system, you can always insulate the hot water tun and mash tun. I used $10 nitrile yoga mats from Kmart held in place with the mandatory homebrewer's duct tape. They are about 12mm thick, fit a keggle really well make a huge difference in reducing heat loss.
FullSizeRender.jpg

Whoops...added the photo twice...fixed now...
 

Danscraftbeer

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I started with a 75lt esky and feel no need to upgrade.
My typical mash schedule is protein rest at 50c, Saccarification rest at 62-69c then mash out around 75c
1st Infusion (2.5l water per kilo of grain) - protein rest
2nd infusion of boiled water, just add and mix in until you get desired mash temp.
Decoction to get mash out temp. (or another infusion but decoction gets nice malty smoothness)
Beersmith gets all the estimations of water temps pretty close. Its second nature for me now.
Batch sparge etc. Good brew house efficiency 72% plus.

Basically to step mash you can do them with infusions, or decoctions. Like the old school ways.
So a larger esky is the go for the extra volume you may need.
eg. 75lt esky is plenty enough for 40lt brews. Could easily do larger than that.
 

Quokka42

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I'm with toothy - with the variety of malts and other ingredients available today a stepped mash is rarely needed, and with the price the little extra grain you may need for BIAB is negligible.

If you are an engineer it shouldn't be a problem for you to design a temperature control and insulation for your kettle - or you can afford to buy one. I picked up a used RoboBrew boiler for a bargain and insulate it with beach towels. I don't think I'll ever go back to 3V unless I go commercial...
 

malt junkie

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Also note cost vs scale; a 300L mash tun will be so much cheaper, even with the highest quality esky.
 
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I haven't been brewing all grain for all that long, (batch 21 in the fermenter), but there is nothing wrong with BIAB. You can make bad beer in any system, and good beer in any system. Less equipment to worry about in BIAB. Does the 3v system make better beer? Possibly, but could you really tell the difference? The key point is the process. Do the process well, in any system, and enjoy the benefits. My current batch is one of the best I've ever made, and it is largely down to a good recipe, and following it.
 

Gusfish7

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Very sound advice. This is great. I agree less equipment is easier for starting out and probably less complex.

This will allow me to focus more on the process. Will probably stay away from 3v system for now. Once I get into it further I can always expand.

Not familiar with the esky or the robobrew, will have to take a look. The great thing about beer making is that you don't have to spend a lot of money on high priced equipment to make a great brew. I can't wait to get started but I'm not rushing into it.

The photos on this site are awesome, I love seeing what people are coming up with in terms of equipment. Very helpful, great ideas out there!

I welcome more comments.......particularly about how people are mashing.........Thanks
 

Quokka42

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manticle said:
Who's toothy?
Have a look at the avatar for the first reply - the nick seems to be a reference to classic British motorcycles, but couldn't be bothered copying it, so toothy...
 

Gusfish7

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Ok I see that. :beerbang: Cheers! Thinking thinking thinking (and a little beer drinking) about many possibilities. I will be dialing in soon thanks for the suggestions.
GP
 

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