Just when you thought my process was simple, it got simpler. After much thought, I tweaked my system into a no-sparge, single vessel, Brew in a Bag system. I got a bigger pot and stopped sparging. This new system allows me to (1) get rid of some sparging equipment (2) make brew days easier and (3) make bigger beers and bigger batches (previously I was limited to only 12 pounds of grain). Of course I’m hoping this to be my last and final brewing system (haven’t we all said that?).
What’s different? A larger aluminum pot ($50):
It’s a 52 quart (13 gallon) aluminum tamale steamer. I wish I had gotten this from the start. Sparging is no fun. Now, with this beast, I don’t have to. I can start with all the water I need (say, 8 gallons). As usual, I will be using this pot to mash, boil, ferment, and bottle. I can do a 5, 6, 7, or 8 gallon batch if I want. I’m excited to use the lid as well. For fermenting, I will simply put the lid on and let ‘er go (no more aluminum foil). This is not technically open fermentation, but it’s in the same ballpark; as you can see, it’s not a super tight seal. I’m not worried.
Next, a better spigot ($16) to bottle from:
This will go about 2 inches from the bottom of the pot (above the trub line). My previous spigot was similar, but the advantage here is the possibility to attach a bottle filler, if I so desire (I probably will). Here’s what it looks like put together:
Next, a customized Brew in a Bag bag ($30):
Super strong, quality, holds a ton of grain, and lasts forever. Next, some heavy duty chemical gloves ($5):
This allows me to squeeze the bag after taking it out of the hot, 155F mash water. Then, discard the grains directly into the garbage. No more large strainer, no more tea kettle full of water, no more sticky hands, no more spilling hot wort into the propane burner. Mash and get rid of it.
For more details on my equipment, see equipment page.