Many of us just use a Chilly Bin, a Cooler, an Esky, a Willow, or whatever these things are called in NZ these days (haven't llived in NZ since 1973, so I'm a bit rusty on that!).
I use a 25 litre Willow cooler, and it's just big enough.A slightly larger one would have been better. I made up a manifold for mine, drilled a hole towards the bottom of one side, and installed a tap to drain it.
The best idea, if you want to go grain brewing, is to hook up with another brewer near you, and see how it's done. Saves lots of headaches when you see the process, and realise it is quite simple in many ways.
Anyway, welcome to the dark side. You'll love the beers you can brew doing all grain.
I racked my Imperial Stout on thursday. I have 38ltrs of Best Bitter (MO, Med Crystal, touch Patent, fug/goldings) in primary doing a diacetyl rest. I have an ordinary planned for boxing day (MO, Med Crystal, Goldings/Styrians) and a summer ale for the day after (Golden Promise/Weyerman Pils Goldings/Styrians)
Im brain storming on a hoppy ESB (Youngs Special London-esq) for the 2nd aswell.
Last brew of 2007 just kegged a few days ago. 36L of 1.045 'Aloo' Strong Dark Mild with my mate Sam (TheGrandMaster) - a big Mild Ale fan. I ballsed up the pale malt, with 1kg too much, which meant we ended up with a strong mild.
6kg pale malt
600g pale chocolate
500g dark crystal
68c infusion mash
60g Fuggles 4.2% @ 60min
Split into two fermenters and kegs, both using S04 yeast, and one of the kegs was dry-hopped with 20g English Fuggles. Before the style nazi's object, check out literature on Batham's Mild Ale.
The dregs from the fermenter tasted superb.
What to brew this weekend - first brew of '08. Need to check the grain stocks first. I've got a lot of specialty but I'm a bit light on base malts (besides a nice chunk of munich and pils, which I had been saving for winter).
Every ale I entered was batch sparged, no-chill and fermented with dried yeast. Take that you nay-sayers.
American Brown (silver, best in class) was brewed with S05
Mild (gold, best in class) - S04
Best Bitter (silver) - S04
Summer Bitter (Bronze) - S04
Fiddlesticks bitter above was mashed at 66 degrees, OG 1.036. Hoping to get it down to 1.010.
recipe: Pacific Mild Ale.
3.4kg Bairds Maris Otter pale malt
300gm Bairds Crystal malt
150gm Bairds Dark Crystal malt
150gm Bairds Pale Chocolate malt