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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * January 9, 2004 * Well....i did it! < Previous Next >

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Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 05:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I ordered a sabco kettle with lid, ss ball valve and a ss tee. $205 including shipping. i can't believe i was ever considering a 10gal polarware w/ ss valve for $188, prolly over $200 with shipping.

the 10 gal AG cooler set-up will be my next purchase and i'll be ready to go AG! prolly another 2 months as i get to save $100 per month for personal expenditures. just in time for when my father in law comes in March. He's from the Czech republic and he showed me the process for making wine when were visiting a couple of years ago. I want to show him the brewing process, it should be interesting as it will be my first AG batch!
 

aquavitae (134.84.195.46)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would seriously consider a larger cooler if you routinely plan 10gal batches, especially high gravity. I am always maxing out my 10gal gott and it's a pain when so full. Huge rectangular coolers can be had cheap.
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 06:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

how about this cooler as a lauter tun

http://store.yahoo.com/onestopshopcatalog/6273-707.html

it has a drain....could a weldless spigot be added in place of the drain?
 

ELK (67.164.195.57)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 06:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That is the cooler I have and I think it will be good for the cold brew days I prefer (When no pow has recently fallen). IT can hold at least 25#s of grain. The only problem with any of these coolers it finding the parts to make a good bulkhead seal. These coolers are not precisely machined but rather blow molded and then they just plop a hole through and its not always centered and the material can be thin there and any pressure can cause a crack to start. I can't see how a commercial fitting would be able to fit all cooler types..Maybe they fit the gotts and such. I did 4 rows of SS braided hose in the bottom of mine which as some pointed out in an old thread is probably an overkill.
 

Denny Conn (63.114.138.2)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 06:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

FWIW, I use a 48 qt. rectangular cooler and I can just fit 28 lb. of grain at 1 qt./lb.
 

Mike McNeil (24.129.17.181)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 06:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Somebody posted a thread a few weeks ago stating that Grainger Supply carries a 15 gal. Igloo cooler. It has a metal exterior as opposed to plastic with the interior being the same. Same spigot location as others. I think price was around $65?

I have a 10 gal Rubbermaid and max out at around 23lbs. of grain at 1.1 qt./lb ratio for the mash. I suppose with the 15 gal. one cold get up int the 34 lb range; especially using something like the BAZOOKA instead of a false bottom.
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 06:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

denny

what brand of cooler is that that you are using?
 

FrugalBrewer (209.98.83.170)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 07:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brew Labs, I use a regular old Coleman 54 qt (not the EXTREME model) and it works great, it'll hold enough for 10 gallon batches, it was only 15 bucks or less.

I made a manifold out of braided nylon tube in the bottom with many holes drilled in, the standard spigot on the cooler also is the same diameter as the typical syphon hose so I have my braided nylon on a "T" fitting which feeds a syphon hose through the standard drain, no welding, drilling, or modifying the cooler at all!
 

Denny Conn (63.114.138.2)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 07:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brew Labs, it's just a plain Rubbermaid 48 qt. cooler. I'm in the process of converting a 152 qt. Extreme. Should be able to get close to 75 lb. of grain into that one!
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 07:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

good lord! that's a bit of grain
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 07:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you build it Denny, they will come...

:)
Walt
 

Paul Hayslett (64.252.38.147)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 08:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Has anyone ever used one of those rectangular plastic coffee dispensers as a mash tun? If you've ever worked catering, you know the ones I mean. Designed from the ground up to hold hot beverages, so they don't warp, they hold heat better, and the spigot is flush with the floor. I seem to remember that the biggest size held 10 gallons. I'm sure they cost 10X what a Rubbermaid does, but maybe if you found a used one....
 

Ken Anderson (24.55.255.75)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 09:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Denny, I use a 48 qt cooler also, and after draining the mash, I have to add two more batches of water to hit pre-boil volume for 10 gallon batches. Do you do the same thing?
Ken
 

Denny Conn (63.114.138.2)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 09:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, if I made 10 gal. batches, I'm sure I would! At my usual OG, I can't get enough grain in for 10 gal. so I don't do it. I do some 8 gal. batches and then I sometimes need to do more than one batch sparge.
 

Jeremy S (205.188.208.75)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 10:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I saw a 160qt cooler at gander mtn. yesterday...$30. How much grain would this hold? somewhere around 80lb?
 

bilge rat (12.29.175.2)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 10:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

brew labs...wait till you get your sabco keg boil kettle. you will like it so much you will want another converted keg w/ the sabco false bottome and pickup tube as a mash tun.
 

Kent Fletcher (206.170.107.30)
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 11:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jeremy, a 160 Qt should hold at LEAST that much, maybe more depending on your ratio. I've had 30 lbs in my 56, at about a 1.25 qts/pound. Of course, Stirring that big a mash gets to be a pain in a rectangular tun, much easier in a round one.
 

Connie (12.77.130.160)
Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2003 - 12:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brew Labs,
I recently made batch number 77 in the same 10 gallon Gott cooler that I started AG with. It has a home made copper manifold, home made bulkhead fitting (from HD) and works good enough for me. I usually get 80% eff and brew with 16 1/2 to 20 pounds of grain. I haven't been tempted to make the BIG beers. OTOH,I have a converted keg with a Sabco FB, but I've never used it, some day maybe. You may be very satisfied with a 10 gallon Gott cooler, a lot of us are. BTW, a local salvage store had 10 gallon Gott coolers last year for $29.99
 

jim williams (68.0.214.107)
Posted on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 06:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was going to say the same as Bilge rat. don't waste your time on the cooler. go straight to another sabco keg, with false bottom. You'll be glad you did. I brewed for awhile with a cooler after using a pot and transferring mash into separate lauter. I hated that cooler, in comparison. It's much better to be able to control mash temps with a direct fire, rather than boiling water, etc. the insulaing properties of the cooler were nice though..
Jim
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Monday, December 15, 2003 - 11:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm with Jim and Bilge Rat; mashing in a converted keg with full false bottom, whether from Sabco or homemade, allows tremendous variety and control over the mashing technique. There's almost nothing you can't do. Of course coolers are cheap and easy to modify, and I've mashed some very good beers in them, but a converted keg mash tun is still tops in my humble opinion.
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 12:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

so i could still get the cooler system. use my kettle to mash in, transfer the wort to one of the coolers, clean the kettle and then use the kettle to boil in! cheap and easy until i can afford another kettle as a mash tun.

any thoughts on this? any concerns about the amount of time it will take between the time i get all of my wort in a cooler and the time it takes to clean and sanitize the kettle for boiling? i would of course keep a lid on the cooler containing the wort until i pour it into the boil kettle. or would it just be easier to use the cooler for mashing until i can afford the extra sabco kettle?
 

Mike Kessenich (165.189.92.23)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 01:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You only need to clean the keg after mashing, no need to sanitize.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 03:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, it's possible to do all-grain brewing in a single vessel. The mash tun would double as a boil kettle and would need to be able to be directly heated (this would rule out a cooler). You would still need a pot to heat the sparge water and you would collect the runoff in plastic buckets while you removed the grain and cleaned the mash tun prior to boiling.
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 04:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

i figured heat the water in my kettle, transfer it to a cooler. mash in kettle, runoff into another cooler. clean kettle and then boil. i figure i could do this with 2 unmodified coolers to save $$. i would only be doing 5 gal batches, so lifting won't be a prob.
 

Chuck Denofrio (64.135.203.136)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 04:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you want an easy clean out for the kettle-WET VAC- it will get every grain out in minutes and you don't have to move or tip it.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 04:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brew Labs, use any pot or combination thereof to heat strike and sparge water. If you wish you certainly can use the same vessel as you boil in. The possible combinations are many, although you will soon realize that some are much more reasonable and less cumbersome than others.
 

Paul Hayslett (64.252.38.147)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 04:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BL, Why do you want to do so much work? Modify your cooler the way Denny Conn shows in the latest BYO and it should cost less than buying a second cooler. No moving hot mash around or having the wort sit while you clean the kettle.

You CAN mash in your kettle, as you describe. That's how I did my first AG batch and how I'll do the B-52 I'm planning for next month, because it requires more steps than I want to handle via infusion. But it's a real pain and adds an hour or so to your brew day. And it's nice to be able to let the grains cool a bit before dealing with them.

Chuck, I never would have thought of that. How do you get the vac hose clean enough afterward so it doesn't reek the next day?
 

Chuck Denofrio (64.135.203.136)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 06:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

water rinse and leave it open to air dry.
 

Paul Hayslett (64.252.38.147)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 03:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cool. Thanks!
 

don price (65.32.41.166)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 11:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I second the shop-vac cleaning process. However, I use a second hose and a 5 gallon bucket as a pre-seperator to keep the grains, hops, wort, whatever out of the actual shop-vac. Just take the bucket lid and cut in an IN and OUT hole for the hoses to go into...and the slop drops right out. You can move 150F grain quickly and easily this way.

Don
 

Chuck Denofrio (64.135.203.120)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 11:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Don you are a genius!!!!!!!
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 02:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

the kettle arrived today! it is a thing of beauty. i can't wait to brew my saison now. it will unfortunately be an extract/sg recipe, but it should be my last one before going all grain :)
 

Patrick C. Smith (67.74.247.1)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Don: run that be me again on using the pre-separator 5 gallon-bucket....I can't seem to picture it//// thanks.
 

Patrick C. Smith (67.74.247.1)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just thinking out loud....about a single vessel boiler/mashtun....what if you had a single vessel that would hold all the water you needed....and all the grain....you add all the water....say 7.5 gallons for a 5 gallon batch....heat to 175 F or so add the grain...maintain the temp (152 F)for a hour...boast the temp up to mash out temp( 168)...and drain all the runoff at once....of course, then vacuum the single vessel and boil the wort....how much different would that be than actually doing a batch sparge????? Any thoughts????
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:52 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Patrick, the mash thickness is important during conversion. The normal range is between 1.0 and 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain. A thicker mash is too dry and the enzymes are not fully dissolved; in a thinner mash the enzymes are too dilute. Within that that range, a thicker mash tends to encourage less fermentable sugars and more body in the beer, although the temperature is the more important factor.

There is nothing wrong with adding all the sparge water at once after conversion has taken place, providing that the mash tun is large enough. Most homebrew mash tuns do not have that capacity, which is why the water is added in two or three batches for batch sparging.

At any rate, no matter how the sparge is conducted another vessel is required for heating the water. I know homebrewers who mash and boil in a single vessel while heating the sparge water in a couple of pots on the stove. They collect the runoff in plastic buckets and add it back to the mash tun/kettle once the sparge is completed and the spent grain removed.
 

don price (65.32.41.166)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 12:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Patrick,

Take a 5 gallon bucket lid and cut 2 holes (IN & OUT) in it about 2 inches in diameter (to fit shop-vac hoses). Stuff the hose connected to the shop-vac into the OUT hole. Stuff a second hose into the IN hole. Put the lid on the bucket. Turn on the shop-vac. Use the second hose to suck up the slop from the mash tun or kettle. The slop drops out into the bucket instead of going straight into the shop-vac. This link might lead you to a fancy one with a nice drawing.

http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product_details.cfm?&catid=7&objectgroup_id=32&offerings_id=1515

Don
 

Randy McCord (216.174.177.190)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 03:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use a 50 quart cooler for my MLT and 10 or 11 gal. batches of low to medium gravity are a breeze. I can easily fit 28 lbs. of grain in there at 1gal./lb. For mash-out I just drain some of the wort and boil, then add back to MLT. If you want to do a step mash once in a while(I almost never do) just do what was mentioned above and transfer from kettle to cooler, no big deal every once in a while. After one or two batches using a cooler MLT you will have the temperature thing figured out. I'm always able to keep consistant temps in my cooler MLT. The only way I could see my system getting any easier is if I bought a pump and one more kettle for a herms.
 

Randy McCord (216.174.177.190)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 03:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

One more thing. Everyone has thier preferences, but a MLT built at home using a rectangular cooler is dirt cheap. You might try this method first and if you don't like it you can fork out the bucks for another sabco. Either way you go, you'll make great beer.
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 04:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

when using a kettle as your MLT, do you keep a constant flame on so as to keep a constant temp? i've seen setups where the kettle is insulated.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For a step mash in a direct fired MLT apply the heat carefully and stir frequently and well to avoid scorching. It is not necessary to apply continuous heat to maintain the temperature. A little heat and stirring once or twice during the saccharification rest (typically 60-90 minutes) should be more than sufficient.

Large mash volumes hold the temperature quite well. For example, on a 15 barrel (465 gallon) brewpub system the mash temperature will drop only about 1 degree F during a 60 minute rest. There is more temperature variation throughout the mash than that, typically 2-3 degrees F.
 

Brew Labs (150.159.224.8)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

aw right! thanks again bill

so maybe bring to desired temp and then lower the flame quite a bit? or flame out and reintroduce a little flame here and there?
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 10:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's the latter, Brew Labs: heat the mash while stirring frequently, and then shut off the flame. You will also learn to shut off the flame when the thermometers reads from 1 to 3 degrees F below your target; there is some latency. Later you can briefly repeat the process if the the temperature drops during the rest.

It's not possible to completely understand every aspect of the process until you have done it yourself or at least seen it done. I still recommend "riding shotgun" with an experienced all-grain brewer. It will answer questions you didn't even realize you had.

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