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I've been brewing extract kits for a while and I think it's time to go to all grain brewing, but I don't exactly know what to buy. I have the book How To Brew and it shows a basic setup, but I'd like to buy something nicer than converting a picnic cooler. I have read this question/response (About going all-grain), but would like to get a response more tailored to what I'm looking for.

My budget is about $1,500 to at the most $2,000 (probably looking more towards $2,000 I guess). I would like input as to what is the best (I know, relative term, everyone has their own ideas) options to have a complete setup for this price range. I don't have room to make it a permanent installation, so the only other parameter is that it must be able to be taken apart and transported from my basement to my backyard on brew day.

I'm basing my prices on the Williams Brewing catalogue and MoreBeer.com. If there's somewhere better, I'd appreciate that suggestion. Here's what I'm thinking so far:

2 stainless steel pumps ($149 each) Propane tank ($50) 2 burners ($160 each) 1 raised burner so I can gravity feed into fermenter ($200) 40 plate wort chiller ($149)

This puts me at $1,017 so far. Then I'll need 3 pots and assorted connections. I'd like to be able to brew enough that I can get 10 gallons worth of beer, so probably a 15 gallon pot? Suggestions as to what exactly I'm missing will be appreciated.

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That's a tremendous amount of money to put into an initial all-grain setup, are you sure you want to jump in like that? You need a big pot, a mashtun, a burner, and a chiller of some sort. Everything after that is optional. –  Graham Feb 24 at 11:32
    
You can spend as much, or as little as you want... If you've done extract you've probably got a large enough pot for an HLT, and you probably have an immersion chiller, all you need now is a propane burner, boil kettle, and an igloo cooler for a mashtun (pick up a used one on craigslist) and now you've jumped to all grain for < $300 –  Dave Baghdanov Feb 24 at 19:42
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I have learned that glass and steel are "cool" but I actually prefer my plastic buckets for fermenting and bottling. They are cheaper, easier to clean and easier to use. I find myself cussing much less using plastic. I can not speak specifically to all-grain, but in general. I am coming back to ease and cost. mak sure you have fun though, whatever you choose! –  Ugly Dude Feb 24 at 20:28

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You could go a number of different routes. Homebrewing can be as complicated or as easy as you want it to be.

You need 3 pieces of equipment: HLT, Mash Tun, Boil Kettle. For that price, I would get a large kettle (at least 11 gallons) with a ball valve. For mash tun, get a cooler and buy a conversion. HLT can be another 10 Gallon kettle with ball valve.

Get a few better bottle or glass carboys. You'd be all set with some money to spare. No need to throw money at it if you don't have to :). Save the rest for when you understand the all grain process deeper and can pick what would benefit you.

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With 2 pumps, you don't need to worry about gravity feed to the fermenter. Also, for 10 gal. of finished beer I'd recommend something bigger than a 10 gal. pot. That's about all the help I can give you since I've brewed 452 batches using a cooler and wouldn't think of doing it any other way.

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I've not been counting, but I must be at close to 100 batches with an 8 gallon aluminum pot, 70K BTU burner, and a cooler with a braided hose. It's low tech, but it makes great beer. –  Tobias Patton Feb 23 at 0:09

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