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All grain in an apartment advice

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1All grain in an apartment advice Empty All grain in an apartment advice on Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:33 pm

I'd like to give all grain a shot but wonder about the practicality in a NY apartment.
We have a decent kitchen and a gas stove with a high BTU burner (14k I think).
Would that be sufficient and what sort of other special equipment might I need?

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2All grain in an apartment advice Empty Re: All grain in an apartment advice on Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:40 pm

I think you can make it work. Your main concern will be storage space for all your gear. An empty 5 Gal beverage cooler sitting in the corner is a tough sell to the mr/missus/roommate(s). I use a 2 gal cooler that takes up 1/4 the space. At a ratio of 1qt of brewing liquor to 1lb of grain, you can mash a max of ~5.5lbs, and fill out the rest of your gravity with extract. You can get more than enough base malt going to convert any lower diastatic specialty grains or adjuncts. Most times, I'm mashing around 4lbs at 1.2 qts/lb, and adding in 2-4lbs of extract.

The rest of my rig consists of a 6 gal bottling bucket (doubles as my primary fermenter), a 5 gal better bottle for secondary fermentation, and a SOFC box chiller for keeping the temp constant. You can get away without the chiller in the winter, but you need some form of cooling/temp control in an apartment in the summer unless you want to run the AC all day.

My boil pot is a re-purposed aluminum tamale steamer with a ~4 gal capacity. This means I have to do partial boils for any batch larger than about 3.75 gal. To be honest, I don't think my little gas stove could hold a full 5 gallons at a rolling boil anyway. Sometimes, I will even collect a bit more wort into a 6qt stew pot, boil that down alongside the main wort and add at the end to bring my volume back up. After a little practice and trial/error, I'm able to hit my OG within about .005 most times.

For wort cooling, I bent an immersion chiller out of 20' of soft copper pipe and run ice water through it with the help of a small aquarium pump. Aside from the ice water, all my other liquid transfers are powered by gravity, which translates to a lot of lifting and setting down and ladling, etc.

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3All grain in an apartment advice Empty Re: All grain in an apartment advice on Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:11 pm

My gear is scattered in parts all over the apartment. 8 gallon pot on top in the kitchen, cooler mash-tun under the bed, syphon, tubes and other stuff on book shelves, boxes with caps, salts, and so on under the bed as well. I also use the mash-tun cooler as a swamp cooler to save space. I takes a while to assemble and disassemble everything, but it allows me to experience the joy of all grain brewing and amazing beer Smile

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4All grain in an apartment advice Empty Re: All grain in an apartment advice on Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:31 pm

I'm able to make it work. I just stick a bunch of stuff inside the bottling bucket, which I then put inside the boil pot. Also, I put a bunch of other stuff inside the mash tun. All of it then goes inside the closet. But then again, I live in Queens, where the apts. are a little bigger, generally speaking.

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