All Grain Systems, What You Need To Brew All Grain.

All Grain Systems

Reasons for Brewing With All Grain Systems

  • Cheaper- purchase ingredients in bulk
  • Total Control-you make all the decisions about the wort you make
  • You Know Exactly What’s In Your Beer
  • You Will Become a Better, More Knowlegable Brewer
  • Fine Tune Your Recipes.
  • Make Lighter Beers-extracts make it hard to brew light colored beers
  • Brew More Varieties and More Complex Beers with an All Grain Brewing System
  • Much of the Equipment You Can Build Yourself DIY
  • Brew on a Bad Ass Brew System
Northern Brewer - Insulated Cooler All Grain Beer Brewing Kits (Starter Kit w/ 12 Gallon Mash Tun)
  • The completely redesigned mash/lauter tun features thick insulation, a large 12+ gallon capacity and the first ever integrated thermometer.
  • Featuring all stainless steel fittings including our proprietary bulkhead and Titan False Bottom, this system is designed to last.
  • Everything you need to mash, sparge and collect wort is included so no additional purchases are necessary.

Don’t be intimidated by anything you hear about all grain systems. If you are an extract brewer, you already have most of the equipment you need. You can make the rest very cheaply.

Check out Northern Brewer’s video “All-Grain Brewing 101: The Basics” below:

If you are ready to take your homebrewing to the next level, read on:

BREW KETTLE (BK) 

You will need a brew pot (kettle) big enough to boil full wort boils. 7.5 gallons is the minimum. I recommend you bite the bullet and invest in a quality stainless kettle of at least 9 gallons, bigger would be better. You can get by with a turkey fryer, but you may want to upgrade later. 

MoreBeer.com has a huge selection of Brew Kettles and Pots.

MASH / LAUTER TUN (MLT)

A very important piece of equipment in any all-grain system. The cheapest way to go is to convert a cooler or good ice chest. Buy a conversion kit from a homebrew supplier and make or buy a bazooka screen. You can also purchase a plastic or stainless false bottom. A 10 gallon Gott or Rubbermaid Water Cooler is what I use. Go large rather than small. You may want to make large batches or high gravity batches that require more mash tun volume.

Learn to Brew Igloo Mash Tun with Stainless Steel False Bottom and 1/2" Valve, 10 Gallon
  • 10 gallon mash ton
  • Perfect for 5 and 10 gallon batches
  • All metal is stainless steel

OT LIQUOR TANK (HLT) 

You only need this if you are going to fly sparge (also called continuous sparge). You can heat your water in your kettle for batch sparges. Another cooler with a conversion kit is all you need. If you want to fly sparge, you will need to make or purchase a device to sprinkle hot water on the top of the grain bed.

They sell rotating sparge arms, or you can gravity feed a sprayer or copper coil with holes drilled in it. There are lots of ideas online.

WORT CHILLER 

Northern Brewer - Copperhead Copper Immersion Wort Chiller for Beer Brewing
  • The copper brother to our customer favorite Silver Serpent, the sleek Copperhead 25-foot copper immersion wort chiller is the fast way to cool your wort to pitching temps!
  • Simply drop your clean chiller into the kettle a few minutes before the end of the boil and it will be ready to go.
  • Brew with peace of mind like never before. Drop-angle connections keep surprise leaks outside your kettle and away from cooling wort.

The simplest way is to use an ice bath. But, it takes too long and you want to cool the wort as fast as possible. Most homebrewers use an immersion chiller, a coil of copper tubing with an inlet and outlet that cold water is pumped through. You can make one or it’s easier to just purchase one from a homebrew supplier. It’s too easy to kink the soft copper tubing.

There are several other options you may like: a counterflow chiller and a plate chiller. Both of these are faster but harder to clean.

GRAIN MILL 

Northern Brewer - Hullwrecker 2-Roller Grain Mill with Metal Base and Handle
  • Perfectly milled grains, ease of use and superior dependability. Look no further than the Hullwrecker grain mill.
  • Fully adjustable roller gap from 0.025” all the way to 0.1”, allowing you to finely tune the crush to your extract preference.
  • INCLUDES a custom-designed all metal base that fits perfectly on any standard 5 or 6.5 gallon bucket. Other grain mills expect you to provide your own base.

Eventually, you will want to purchase a grain mill. They aren’t cheap but having the ability to mill your own grain when you need it, and to control the degree of crush will be very important later on.

It is another way to take control of your beer.

All Grain Systems Explained

Most systems are gravity-fed systems. There are many ways to accomplish the gravity transfer of water and wort. Some systems are built in tiers. The Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) on top, then the mash tun, then the kettle. In this type of system, the HLT must be directly heated so you don’t have to carry extremely hot water up a ladder.

If you are using coolers for your all-grain system, you can arrange them so that the HLT is above the mash tun, and the mash tun is above the kettle. You will have to do a little lifting to get the HLT in place but this is an inexpensive system that works extremely well.

The next step is to utilize pumps to move liquid and wort around.  For the Ultimate in brewing pumps, check out the Blichmann RipTide™ Brewing Pump below:

These are food grade and allow back pressure to be applied to slow down the flow. This makes your brew day much nicer. It may not be a problem if you are young and indestructible, but once you get a little older, anything that keeps you from lifting heavy objects is a welcome addition.

You may also check out this brew pump on Amazon:

FERRODAY Magnetic Drive Pump Wort Pump Food Safe High Temperature Stainless Head Magnetic Pump 15RM with 1/2"NPT Thread Homebrew Pump - Black
  • 【Safely Transfer Liquid】 : Transferring liquids is an important part of any brew operation, and the most easy and safe way to transferring liquids is to use magnetic pump, the propeller will magnetically circulates liquids. Please note: Moving giant vessel with hot wort by hand is not safe.
  • 【Quiet and Efficient】 : The pump’s main shaft is separated from the impeller, which has damping and anti-vibration function, aim to reduce the influence of motor vibration during working. Realized a high efficiency smooth running, and excellent quiet circulation.
  • 【Solid Magnetic Pump】 : Fully-sealed magnetic pump, motor with connecting the magnetic shaft and magnetic propeller, all magnetically coupled for enhanced operation. This is a High output volume and quiet operation pump, industrial and home brew equipment. Great heat resistant up to 120℃/ 248℉.

Refurbished used kegs (make sure they are legally obtained) make great HLT’s, mash tuns and “Keggles”. They can be drilled easily and welded to incorporate all the extras like sight glasses, thermometer wells, ball valves, etc. Another option are the Weldless Kits available from MoreBeer.com. You can also make your own fittings.

Click Here to Go to DIY Projects and Gadgets.

Most brewers begin with the coolers and ice chests and eventually begin working on their “ultimate system”. Usually a Brutus 10 setup.

There are plans on the internet and in the DIY section showing you how to build your own system. I’m building my RIMS system now, check out the progress and find links to the best values on parts and equipment I can find. You may find the ideas I’m using helpful.

Click the link below to go back and check out the Extract Brewing System; you should already have this equipment.

Click Here to Go to Extract Brewing Equipment

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