I was going to write a "how to" construct an all grain brewery but I'm so incredibly retarded at DIY that my attempts should probably be referred to as a "how not to". However the testing has been completed and I'll be popping my AG cherry on Saturday, weather permitting.
It all seemed so simple when I started out a few weeks ago bit of plumbing here, bit of drilling there, butcher a couple of kettles and bob's your uncle.
Why go for a 10 Gallon set up?
It was pretty simple really, my kegs are all 23/25L capacity and I'd like to do some bottling as well so why half fill a keg. The plan is to bottle 15 or 20 x 500ml bottles and fill a keg, once I've got the hang of it, that is.
And then the trouble started. First of all I had to find something to drill holes in the side for the kettle elements, I settled on a 38mm hole saw. The outside of the hole looked perfect but there were a lot of rough edges on the inside. I filed them down as best I could but they both leaked, not a lot, but they leaked.
At the weekend I tried top have a boil up and still had a small leak in element 1 but, worse still, the boiler wouldn't heat up. I went back to the drawing board and realised I'd forgotten to link the wires on the element to complete the circuit. I can build a computer from scratch but give me some simple household electrics and plumbing and I'm a gibbering wreck. In the end, the right amount of food grade sealant (i.e. lots) seemed to do the trick.
Last night I tested the boil and no leaks. It is hard to describe the feeling but I think the only way to describe it that is a bit like being a kid the night before Christmas crossed with a dog who's just discovered he can lick his own balls.
I'll post some pix of my first brew at the weekend, assuming it's not a complete balls up and I'll include the hop strainer which was the only thing that went right first time. Remember, if someone as hopeless as I can build a brewery there's hope for us all.