Advice appreciated on first AG set-up!

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Advice appreciated on first AG set-up!

Post by welshandy » Tue May 28, 2013 10:04 pm

Hi all,

Been lurking on this forum for a while, found it to be a great source of information and inspiration!

It's time for the next step in my brewing journey - a full AG set-up. I've been planning this for a while, but now time, funds, and space are finally all with me.

It's gonna be pretty simple, because I want to be brewing ASAP, and to save money. Also because I like things simple.

Think I've got most of it worked out, but am stuck on a few details with the boiling kettle, mostly to do with getting the good stuff out and leaving the bad stuff behind. So far, I've worked out that there's hot break and cold break, and hops, to keep out of wort going to the fermenter. How worried should I be about each of these? How do other set-ups deal with these things? I'm planning to cool the wort in the kettle with an IC. I'd like to use the hops as a filter for the hot/cold break particles, but as far as I've seen, they float (at least in hot wort, as an extract brewer I've never seen hops in cold wort), so presumably are filtered last. Most boiling kettles I've seen have some kind of sieve arrangement at the bottom - how do these work with the various bits to be filtered out?

To save on getting a tap fitted, for now I was planning to use a syphon to get the wort out and into the fermenter, and trying the whirlpool technique the guys on one of the American forums seem to love. I'd appreciate any ideas on how well this will work.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Advice appreciated on first AG set-up!

Post by seymour » Tue May 28, 2013 10:50 pm

Welcome to Jim's! That all sounds practical and functional to me. As far as precisely "how well it will work?"...well, there's only one way to find out. It will take some time and multiple brewdays for you, the brewmaster, to really get to know your equipment and coax the most out of it, but that's the fun of it.

There's nothing wrong with starting simple, as you said, and upgrading as you go. You'll quickly decide for yourself which enhancements you want to make before each subsequent brewday. For instance, I've been brewing for years and only very recently drilled a hole in my boil kettle to install a bottom tap and hop strainer. It was so cheap and easy I wish I'd done it years ago, but on the other hand, using an auto-siphon and racking tube has always worked fine and I drank hundreds of gallons of good beer in the meantime. :) I did not drill a hole for a built-in thermometer, but realized last brewday that it would be nice to have. You'll see, that's just how this hobby works. I like your spirit though: I'm a big believer in the "just get brewing already and figure stuff out as you go" school-of-thought.

Best of luck, and please keep us updated on your journey!


lord groan
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Re: Advice appreciated on first AG set-up!

Post by lord groan » Tue May 28, 2013 11:15 pm

I've just started AG too, I went for a tap at the bottom of the boiler, with the mesh tube from a flexible hose connector as a filter, to stop this tube being coated/blocked by soggy hops I added a mesh disc (kind of a false bottom) which sits above it, I thought it might be overkill but for the 2 brews done so far it has worked brilliantly.
pics can be seen on this link: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=58027

I set mine up the way I did because I wanted to be sure I wasn't having to move any containers holding potentially 20-30litres of very hot liquid. The boiler tap meant I could drain it in-situ. Still early days though, I have only used loose hops so far, I think hop pellets may be more prone to blocking filters, others will have more knowledge on this. Lots more to learn but I'm really pleased with how my setup has worked so far, like you I lurked here for a while learning as much as i could before beginning my build, and i'll be eternally grateful for all the do's and don'ts I found here - they saved me so much time and grief
good luck

Martin G

Re: Advice appreciated on first AG set-up!

Post by Martin G » Tue May 28, 2013 11:20 pm

Hi, there was a recent thread where somone used some muslin on the end of a syphon tube that may be of interest, I think the hops get sucked towards the tube or tap.

Good luck with your first ag brew, took me ages to get the kit together, or was it to get my confidence together! Soon discovered it was best to get stuck in like you plan to.

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