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AG newb equipment question

Hey guys, I am about to make the jump into AG, and I needed some much needed input as far as equipment goes.

I have the opportunity to either get the two (10 gallon) stainless steel kettle kit, or get the two (10 gallon) cooler kit. I know coolers retain heat much better, and the stainless steel may need a continuous heat source applied to keep the mash temp up.

So I got two questions. If I don’t have a nice pair of propane burners to keep both the hot liquor tank and the mash tun at the right temp, am I going to need the cooler kit as of right now instead? Or am I wrong, and I can retain the heat without propane burners in the stainless steel? Use the kitchen stove?

To sum it up: Which kit should a AG newbie like me get if handed the opportunity to get stainless steel kit or the cooler kit?

Thanks in advance.

My vote would be neither. I would save your money and go with Denny’s Cheap ‘n’ Easy batch sparge method.
http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/
There’s no need to drop serious coin on SS or the pricey round cooler set ups and you only need one burner.

You can get a 15 gallon stock pot here for $63 shipped
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Thunder-Group-ALSKSP009-60-qt-Aluminum-Stock-Pot-/370474736777?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item564203dc89
, pick up a 70 quart Coleman Extreme cooler for ~ $50 and convert it with a cooler bulkhead kit from NB or bargainfittings.com. You’ll be set up for less than $140, the saved monies could be used for a mill or a bunch of hops and malt.

I too will vote for Denny’s cheap and easy mash tun with the 10 gallon brew pot. I have made a lot of great beer with mine and it is inexpensive.
That said , if you are determined , i would get the two stainless kettles for the money they will last forever and are more sanitary. You can wrap one with an insulator to retain heat to use as the mash tun, and get by with one burner.

I have a 10 gal rubbermaid with false bottom. I get 90%+ efficiency with it. So you may save money on equipment one way and save money on ingredients another. I say get the coolers.

Building your own cooler MLT won’t result in lower efficiency.

Some people like the ease of buying premade, and in that case go for the cooler setup. My own limited experience with keeping a pot at temp for a mash, is that its very tricky and you really have to babysit it to avoid large fluctuations. A cooler is a lot easier to work with, you can preheat with your strike water and you’ll maintain temp during the mash with little to no effort on your part.

Building your own cooler MLT won’t result in lower efficiency.

True! depends on the design and how you use it.
I made my own MLT and have great results with it.

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