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The FauxTurkeyBrew is a home beer-brewing system based around the cheap used turkey fryers available in the U.S.

The goal is to make a guide for how to build a home beer-brewing setup, while optimizing for the following properties.

  • ~ $200 - $300 total materials cost.
  • All grain brewing.
  • At least 25 liter batch brewing capacity.
  • Intentioned for outside brewing.
  • Minimize total brew time
  • Minimize amount of time human attention is needed during brew.
  • Ensure food safety of all materials contacting brew.
    • Mash does not contact open air after boil.
  • Keep grain, yeast and hops cost as low as possible.

version 0.1

This is the current version.

People often buy these and use them once or never. I found mine for $60 on craigslist. There is also a cheaper and slightly smaller aluminum version.
This grain bag is sturdy, made of 100% unbleached ramie, and has withstood about 10 brews so far with no noticeable wear. It fits a turkey fryer perfectly, and includes straps that can be used to tie secure it around the top of the mash tun.
  • Mash cooler: A home-made Counter-flow chiller using copper pipe inside garden hose - ~ $60
  • Heating: This setup uses the gas burner included with the turkey fryer.
  • Propane tank: I forget what the propane tank deposit is.
  • "No-weld" spigot for mash tun - $? (need to find price and components for this)

Tools required

  • Copper solder equipment
  • Hole-cutting bits and drill (for fermenter)
  • Something to cut

Counter-flow chiller

Here's the guide I more or less followed. Note that you don't need any kind of special high-temperature rubber hose. Normal garden hose will do just fine (I used it for many brews). You could potentially worry about food safety, but there is a copper tube between the beer and hose, and water is flowing constantly so the temperature will never go above what the garden hose is rated for. Many people use longer copper tubes, but if you gravity feed the tube, then 10 feet is _plenty_ for cooling your mash from boiling. I recommend getting a longer hose though (e.g. 25 feet), since you can use the extra length to connect to the faucet without having to buy an extender hose.

Future improvements

It'd be nice if this could be done with a few more hose clamps and no copper soldering. Need to do more research.


When heating the grain to 72 degrees C, the heating from below with the grain bag seated in the false bottom can easily cause the bottom and sides to get to boiling, causing the mash to boil over and deactivating the enzymes. This can be solved by a combination of using less grain and stirring the mash manually. Automatic circulation of the mash during heating will be the major improvement of version 0.2

version 0.2

Planned improvements:

  • Circulation pump for mash during mashing
I'm researching how to make a cheap high-flow peristaltic pump without specialty tools.
  • Yeast archiving and re-use
Yeast archiving seems to need pressure cooker and centrifuge. Re-use is vastly improved with a magnetic stirrer plate. Researching cheaper alternatives and build-it-yourself versions.

version 0.3

Planned improvements:

  • Grow your own hops
My first attempt failed. Need to read up on optimal hops growing conditions.
  • Super cheap build-it-yourself grain grinder
Looking for sources for cheap knurled stainless steel cylinders. So far found the "footrests" for BMX bikes. More research needed.
  • Roast your own specialty malts.

version 1.0

Planned improvements:

  • Replace propane burner with home-built rocket stove thus getting rid of propane expense/dependency.

For this version of the brew setup the only supplies you ever have to buy are:

  • Malted barley
  • Water
  • A bit of wood
  • Electricity for yeast storage

version 2.0

Malted barley is more expensive than normal barley. Doing the malting yourself is problematic because of the drying step. Is it possible to malt the grain, then grind and use it while wet? The malting itself is simply a matter of wetting the barley and storing it at the right temperature for a while.

For this version of the brew setup the only supplies you ever have to buy are:

  • Barley
  • Water
  • A bit of wood
  • Electricity for yeast storage

version 3.0


  • Ultra-efficient solar-powered freezer
  • Grow your own wood
E.g. willow trees growing on the nutrients from your composting toilet that you probably have.
  • Solar water still
  • Barley farming operation

For this version of the brew setup the only supplies you ever have to buy are:

Nothing! Ever!