Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1, & now stage 2

The forum for discussing all kinds of brewing paraphernalia.
lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1, & now stage 2

Post by lord groan » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:02 pm

I've been longing to try AG for a while but funds do not permit spending much, so I'm trying to put together the basics for as little as possible. then I can try an AG brew or two before deciding if I want to carry on, and if I do - getting SWMBO to agree!
I'd be grateful for any advice or comments on what I'm doing
(I've never posted any pictures before so this is a first attempt)

HLT, an old tea urn I swiped from an office refurb at work a few years ago, I would have used it as a boiler but it's too small, it holds 20l so I can heat enough to start a mash, and while that's going, heat enough for the sparge. It is insulated, the lid too, and has a stat which I've set to 80c, it's even got a sight glass which I've marked off in litres.

Image

Mash Tun - a mango chutney barrel with homemade tank connector made specifically to accept a 15mm pipe on the inside, siphon tube inserted and SS braid from flexible tap connector looped around to act as a filter. Then a stainless folding vegetable steamer flipped over and supported on a small stainless dome (which has slipped to one side in the picture) to protect the braid underneath from getting crushed. Is 2 filters OTT and unnecessarily complicated?

Image

MT insulated box made from polystyrene boxes
Image
Costs so far £8.25p
Am I going in the right direction so far?
Cheers
Last edited by lord groan on Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

crafty john

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by crafty john » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:12 pm

Very inventive, it will make beer so go ahead and make some :D Welcome to the dark side :wink:

Belter

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by Belter » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:16 pm

crafty john wrote:Very inventive, it will make GREAT beer so go ahead and make some :D Welcome to the dark side :wink:


Cazamodo

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by Cazamodo » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:40 am

Good luck! Looks good so far!
I wouldn't say two filters is OTT, at least you have peace of mind the braid wont collapse mid sparge.
How well does that box insulate the MT? Does it fit in snug or do you pack the cavity with something to help insulate it to?

User avatar
far9410
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2472
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:37 pm
Location: Nottingham, usually!

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by far9410 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:06 am

+4
have you got a boiler sorted?
no palate, no patience.


Drinking - of course

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by lord groan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:27 pm

Thanks for the encouragement!

cazamodo - the MT is a snug fit in the box, but of course its a round tub in a square box, I've cut 4 triangular cross section lengths of polystyrene to drop into the corners when I close it up and cut a disc that fits snug in the lid. Having trouble measuring temp drop, I've got a glass stick thermometer but that drops fast when I pull it out of the water. 3 times I've stuck 13 litres in the MT and taken the temp, always been called away at the 1.5 hr stage or it was dark and I couldn't read the thermometer quick enough! Still, I did get one temp check after 4.5 hours! it had dropped (water only mind you)from 75c to 60c so I reckon it should work out ok for a standard mash period.
Far9410 - yup the boiler build is underway, i've got a few more things to sort before I post pictures, and I'm doing a chiller coil too, that's going to end up as the costliest part of the build by the look of it. Still considering copper prices that's not too surprising, you can't scrounge free microbore anywhere sadly.
lg

Deller12

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by Deller12 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:39 pm

lord groan wrote:I've been longing to try AG for a while but funds do not permit spending much, so I'm trying to put together the basics for as little as possible. then I can try an AG brew or two before deciding if I want to carry on, and if I do - getting SWMBO to agree!
I'd be grateful for any advice or comments on what I'm doing
(I've never posted any pictures before so this is a first attempt)

HLT, an old tea urn I swiped from an office refurb at work a few years ago, I would have used it as a boiler but it's too small, it holds 20l so I can heat enough to start a mash, and while that's going, heat enough for the sparge. It is insulated, the lid too, and has a stat which I've set to 80c, it's even got a sight glass which I've marked off in litres.

Image

Mash Tun - a mango chutney barrel with homemade tank connector made specifically to accept a 15mm pipe on the inside, siphon tube inserted and SS braid from flexible tap connector looped around to act as a filter. Then a stainless folding vegetable steamer flipped over and supported on a small stainless dome (which has slipped to one side in the picture) to protect the braid underneath from getting crushed. Is 2 filters OTT and unnecessarily complicated?

Image

MT insulated box made from polystyrene boxes
Image
Costs so far £8.25p
Am I going in the right direction so far?
Cheers
I'm sure that set up will turn out some lovely beer =D> enjoy

User avatar
Hogarth
Under the Table
Posts: 1793
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:30 am
Location: Brixton, London

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by Hogarth » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:14 pm

You dirty old man! =D>

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by lord groan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:35 pm

Ahh you've sussed me out Hogarth ! I was hoping you'd mistake the name and think it referred to everything being built from salvaged scrap

akka lakka

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by akka lakka » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:18 pm

Nice one, To make nice beer from bits and bobs you have scrounged plus your ingenuity gives you a feeling all your hard word has paid off.

Cheers joe

Martin G

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1

Post by Martin G » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:37 am

Some on here have talked about no chill, where they fill a jerry can hot from the boiler. It sounds like these can be stored for surprisingly long times.

Only mention in case it is a more 'salvageable' option than copper pipe that you'd not considered. Maybe you've already considered it, there was a long thread and discussion recently.

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1, now stage

Post by lord groan » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:42 pm

Stage 2

The boiler!
Image

Made from a beer-line cleaner bottle, I checked with the manufacturer all their bottles are HDPE, so food safe, concerns about HDPE softening were answered when I found the wall thickness is between 7-8mm, a full boil didn't soften it at all! The insulation is a bit of an experiment as you can see. I used a can of builders foam to make a fitted jacket. Not too sure about it really
Steptoes boiler cost? - free hdpe bottle (bless the builder at my local pub>tesco express conversion), element £3.00 from wallpaper stripper bought as scrap from local tip/recycling centre, it even included the proper 3kw rated kettle lead. Tank connector, homemade £3.80. Tap -free from my box of plumbing bits.
Hop filter – left over SS mesh tube from compression hose used in MT. False bottom £1.00, cobbled together from kitchen SS sink strainer/veg washer thing. Insulation – £5.99
Total £13.79 not bad!

The Immersion chiller
Image

I couldn't get copper free anywhere, not at all surprising at the moment. In the end I went to a scrap metal recyclers and convinced them to sell me 2 left over part coils of tube one was 6mm x 7metres one 8mm x 4metres, the 8mm went on both ends of the 6mm and was silver soldered giving two 8m tails, the inner coil was wound around a 2l lemonade bottle (10cm dia) and the outer around a 15cm piece of pipe.
IC Cost: Microbore £4.50, end fittings £7.72
Total £12.22

I've built a stand to make the whole lot work as a gravity fed system, and done a trial run using water only. I rechecked the MT heat losses with the temp probe on my new multimeter (SWMBO is the best!) only 1c drop after 90 mins! Really chuffed with that.
Now I only have to buy some grain and hops - whoohoo!
lg

Deller12

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1, now stage

Post by Deller12 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:55 pm

lord groan wrote:Stage 2

The boiler!
Image

Made from a beer-line cleaner bottle, I checked with the manufacturer all their bottles are HDPE, so food safe, concerns about HDPE softening were answered when I found the wall thickness is between 7-8mm, a full boil didn't soften it at all! The insulation is a bit of an experiment as you can see. I used a can of builders foam to make a fitted jacket. Not too sure about it really
Steptoes boiler cost? - free hdpe bottle (bless the builder at my local pub>tesco express conversion), element £3.00 from wallpaper stripper bought as scrap from local tip/recycling centre, it even included the proper 3kw rated kettle lead. Tank connector, homemade £3.80. Tap -free from my box of plumbing bits.
Hop filter – left over SS mesh tube from compression hose used in MT. False bottom £1.00, cobbled together from kitchen SS sink strainer/veg washer thing. Insulation – £5.99
Total £13.79 not bad!

The Immersion chiller
Image

I couldn't get copper free anywhere, not at all surprising at the moment. In the end I went to a scrap metal recyclers and convinced them to sell me 2 left over part coils of tube one was 6mm x 7metres one 8mm x 4metres, the 8mm went on both ends of the 6mm and was silver soldered giving two 8m tails, the inner coil was wound around a 2l lemonade bottle (10cm dia) and the outer around a 15cm piece of pipe.
IC Cost: Microbore £4.50, end fittings £7.72
Total £12.22

I've built a stand to make the whole lot work as a gravity fed system, and done a trial run using water only. I rechecked the MT heat losses with the temp probe on my new multimeter (SWMBO is the best!) only 1c drop after 90 mins! Really chuffed with that.
Now I only have to buy some grain and hops - whoohoo!
lg
Nice work =D>

crafty john

Re: Steptoes cheap and cheerful ag build stage 1, & now stag

Post by crafty john » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:59 pm

+2 =D> =D> =D> =D>

Post Reply