Ideas on upgrading on the cheap...

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Wurp

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Story of my life...doing it on the cheap!

I was kit brewing for about a year, stepped up to biab all grain in a 20 litre stock pot on the cooker, mashing by wrapping said pot in blankets, cooling post boil in the sink and pouring into the plastic fv which sits in the kitchen. I bottle using mainly banks bitter, Aldi ale bottles and leffe bottles all of which I have Bruno at some point... I have a thermometer, hydrometer, capper and a few other essential s to get me going with all grain.. I also have propane gas bottle but no burner...

I am at capacity of around 15 litre batches on the cooker, which is fine most of the time, I have even done some 5 litre batches.... But the whole process is a bit cumbersome.

I want to start to upgrade, move on from biab and have scope to make bigger batched...

So..the question is, does anyone have any suggestions as to where I could upgrade as efficiently as possible?

Thanks in advance all!
 

Dorst

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I think BIAB is one of the most cost effective ways to homebrew. A bigger pot/kettle and a burner that fits said pot/kettle + a bigger bag would be the most logical upgrade if you are looking to brew bigger batches.

You could also keep an eye out for good deals on second hand equipment.
 
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Another option might be something like a Burco/Cygnet 30-litre boiler, with a tap & bazooka to replace the standard tap.

This should cost around £100 and you can then add to it as funds allow. It’s how I started all-grain and I’m still doing it that way with the same boiler. I’m doing a brew with it right now as it happens, this is it currently brewing the 150th (ish) batch.

7B2803D3-276F-4628-8EFE-3548506A8879.jpeg
 

Wurp

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Thanks all... Had a look at the burco boiler and that looks like a good was forward. I also came across the instructable for making a brewery for less than £100 and the mash tun looks really interesting!
 

Nicks90

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Plus whatever they said for an electric tea urn for biab.
Just keeps it simple and straightforward. No rotating sparge arms, recirc pumps, false bottoms or malt pipes, and gadgets and gizmos to go wrong.

Just you, a thermometer, a long handled stirring stick and a will to make beer.

I have a 23l tea urn and like you do 15-17l batches - which suits me as I like brew days and like variety. But cygnet and others do up to 40l tea urns which will obviously let you scale up in volume..
 

jof

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I would say a false bottom for your boiler is very useful to keep the bag away from the element during mash, but doesn't need to be too fancy.
 

phildo79

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Scale up to a 30L+ boiler and ditch the bottles for kegs. You can get used kegs for under £50. Of course, you'll need a larder fridge, gas etc. but trust me when I say, you won't look back.
 

Subtle Duck

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20200409_133427-1.jpg

This is my kit, cost about £45 (including a copper manifold in the mash tun) but got the kettle for free.
 

Jon1961

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I would say a false bottom for your boiler is very useful to keep the bag away from the element during mash, but doesn't need to be too fancy.
What would be the best thing to use as a false bottom on a Burco boiler. Do you think?
 
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I’ve seen people use a pizza tray. Maybe something like this? You’d need to check the size (my boiler is 34cm but you’d want the tray a touch under) and make sure it’s rigid enough to not just collapse under the weight of the grain.


You’d use it inverted. The base of the boiler is also recessed. The concealed heater element is under that inner central section.

355D686C-31F9-45CD-B5A2-339C720E15F9.jpeg
 
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Nicks90

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@Hazelwood Brewery do you leave the heat on when mashing?
I always turn it off completely and just wrap it up in an old fleece jacket. Usually only drops 2c over a 60 - 90 minutes mash, which I can't see objectively altering the beer.
My worry about using a false bottom and maintaining some heat source, is the mash will get hot at the bottomand without a recirc pump then it won't be an even mash temp.
 
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Here you go, bargain at £30. Could always use it for sparge water if you get a bigger boiler.
 
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@Hazelwood Brewery do you leave the heat on when mashing?
I always turn it off completely and just wrap it up in an old fleece jacket. Usually only drops 2c over a 60 - 90 minutes mash, which I can't see objectively altering the beer.
My worry about using a false bottom and maintaining some heat source, is the mash will get hot at the bottomand without a recirc pump then it won't be an even mash temp.
I use a grain basket that holds the grain well off the base. I also recirculate to maintain a consistent temperature through the grain bed. You absolutely can do as you suggest though.
 
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