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Have the chance to rebuild my setup - No Sparge or BIAB?

About two years ago I sold all my gear and have been rebuilding. Now I have the chance to rebuild and am looking at a no sparge or BIAB setup - I mostly brew session ales british & belgian influenced ales in sub 1.060 range and would like to brew some 10 gallon session batches like milds & bitters partial boil at some point (6 gallons high gravity wort). Fermentation & Recipe Creation is my fav part of brewing.

Which of these setups would you go with?

No Sparge

Don Osborn Mash tun
9 gallon brewpot with spigot
outdoor burner
dudadeisel chill plate

or

BIAB
15 gallon brewpot with spigot
outdoor burner
Dudadeisel chill plate
Big Ole Bag

I realize I will need extra grain for no sparge and am fine with that (I can get crushed 55’s sacks) - one of my favorite articles of all time in by Randy Mosher:

The Lazy Brewers Guide To Mashing
By Randy Mosher

http://allaboutbeer.com/learn-beer/home ... o-mashing/

I’d like to do some partigyle brewing at some point - maybe 3 gallon english barleywine & mild or something like that.

Lifting 15+ gallons of wet grain not so fun

I have a 5 gallon pot that I’m currently doing some maxi BIAB’ing right now - so I could still do those.

What would YOU go with?

No-sparge will be more versatile - you could sparge if you wanted to make a really big beer, for instance.

Edit - didn’t see the smaller kettle in the no-sparge option. I would go no-sparge with the 15-gal kettle and a 30-gallon cooler. Of course, that’s the setup that I have been using for a while now. :wink:

I’d build the BIAB system you describe, then add a cooler mash tun (ala Don Osborn or Denny Conn) later. That way, you’ll have the kettle you need to brew 10-gallon batches. I think that, in the long run, you’d be more likely to add a mash tun than spend the money on a bigger kettle. And, instead of one “Big Ole Bag,” you can use a few smaller bags for BIAB to help keep the weight of the wet grain bags more manageable.

Thanks for the replies.

The difference on the kettles in about $125 with the spigot for 9 gal vs 15 gallon.

I’ve been doing partial boil all grain for a while and have it pretty nailed - if I was trying to save $$ and was only would be brewing 10 gallon partial boil - do I really need that 15 gallon kettle?

I just don’t ever see myself brewing anything that is in the 10 gallon range that isn’t 1.40 or lower (bitter & milds & belgian singles) - I just wouldn’t want 10 gallons of barleywine or old ale or something like that.

If you’re sure you’ll stick with partial boil 10-gal batches for a while, and want to do this on a budget, then the 9-gal kettle and a 12-15 gallon cooler would work for no-sparge.

Go for the pot. You can always set the tun up later when you have some more scratch. Seriously though, if you go to HD at the end of the summer and pick up an ice chest on sale for cheap and the rest of the parts and probably be out the door with a mashtun for 50 bucks.

That’s where this hobby gets nuts - you always want to go bigger but I really just want “relax and have a homebrew” you know what I mean? So that’s where I’m kindof torn between the two pots. I’d love to just be satisfied on 5 and up to 10 gallon partial boil batches but not always wanting to go bigger and bigger…you know what I mean?

When I started brewing again I said to myself that I would go as simple as possible - minimal gear as possible and have been making some amazing partial boil / partial mash beers (it seems like the extract has gotten so much better or its just fresher) with basically 1 pot & my spagetti pot & a plastic bucket - now here I am building a setup again :slight_smile:

I like this mash build for like $20 - http://www.donosborn.com/homebrew/mashtun.htm

You could easily get started that way though I think you’ll find the same problems with the supply hose web that everyone else has (stuck sparge) especially on bigger batches or high gravity brews. The bazooka screen (or its generic proxy available through our host) is worth every penny. But that is something you can upgrade to later, and it will do no harm to have some high temp tubing and a valve laying around anyway.

[quote=“spykeratchet”]I think you’ll find the same problems with the supply hose web that everyone else has (stuck sparge) especially on bigger batches or high gravity brews.[/quote]I use a stainless braid and typically mash 40-60 lbs of grain and have never had a stuck sparge even with 30+% rye. Never had the braid “collapse” either. I believe the problems that others report are caused by using inferior-quality braids, even plastic ones - be sure to buy the braided line in the gas water heater section, not the sink/toilet section.

Nice advice Shadetree. I have a friend that wanted to build a mashtun as cheaply as possible, may give that a try.

Thanks for the tip on that.

[quote=“css”]That’s where this hobby gets nuts - you always want to go bigger but I really just want “relax and have a homebrew” you know what I mean?

This is why I still do 5 gallon batches and not 10. I just want to relax and have a beer, not make it a chore.

I went for the BIAB method and set up. I don’t see any reason to add any more equipment at this point. I making very good beer with a kettle and a bag. I also don’t have the desire for one minute more of clean up then I already am doing. My two cents!

That’s the beauty of this hobby - you can keep it simple, or build as big and complex a system as you desire. Either way, with practice and care you can make great beer! :cheers:

[quote=“ruinah69”]
This is why I still do 5 gallon batches and not 10. I just want to relax and have a beer, not make it a chore.[/quote]

I hear ya - well I took the first step and order an outdoor burner - I will be thinking more about this setup over the next few days but I’m leaning towards a no sparge setup where I have the option to do partigyle brewing - I’ll be doing some maxi BIAB over the next few weeks so that may change my mind.

Do you have a picture? I made a braid from 3/4" steam line, but had a hard time with 15% rye. I do mash/lauter in a keg.

[quote=“mrv”]Do you have a picture? I made a braid from 3/4" steam line, but had a hard time with 15% rye. I do mash/lauter in a keg.[/quote]No picture handy, but it’s just a standard braid, maybe 6" long, one end attached to the pickup tube with a clamp and the other end tucked back into the same clamp, then tightened (makes a loop).

Hi all,

I’ve been lurking in this thread and others on the subject of simple AG setups, slowly gathering info so I can convert an old cooler into a mash tun. I was curious if anyone knows if this in-line valve is still available from Northern Brewer?

That pic is from Denny’s site and I’m not sure if it’s from NB; however, a very similar looking valve is listed as being from Northern Brewer on the Don Osborn Cheap and Easy Mash Tun[/url] walk through mentioned earlier in this thread. I searched the store and can’t find anything but [url=http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/3-8-in-line-valve-green.html]this
http://www.donosborn.com/homebrew/mashtun.htm
. My LHBS doesn’t have anything but metal ball valves.

The lack of barbing on the stems of the NB 3/8" green valve bothers me, though I suspect wouldn’t really be a problem, so I’ll grab that if the clear barbed one is no longer available.

Mine.

Right now I’m leaning towards a no sparge setup and think that will be the easiest brewday and let me expand with patigyle or go places that BIAB won’t allow me to go.

BIAB is great but I’m not too psyched about lifted or draining a 15 lb wet bag - or building some kind of pulley system when you can build a cooler mash tun for $25.

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