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The brew set up is designed for two 11-gallon (42-L) batches per brew day. They are staggered one hour apart so the cooling on the first can finish before the second one is ready. He made a counter flow heat exchanger out of 40’ (∼12 m) of ½’ copper and a garden hose.
I had a hard time finding the right sized stainless steel kettle so I found a welder that could build one for me with an adjustable burner rack. It can boil up to about 40 gallons (151 L) of wort, although I usually shoot for around 35–38 gallons (132–144 L).
The vision of my home brewery was started from the vision of having a commercial end product and then building in reverse. This meant Sankey kegs, proper labeling, etc. Then basic process maps were put together, starting very high level (all obtained from online resources), then drilling down in more and more detail. Before I built my system I had never seen a beer made or seen an actual homebrew setup. I had never made any sort of beer before. Since I had an end vision, I never considered any other option than all-grain. The brewery had to be on wheels to go in and out of the garage. The brewery later became a RIMS and later a HERMS. The initial brewery had to be able to grow with me.
Steve Chang and Benjy Edwards have been brewing in Columbus since 1996. Their home brewery is called the Boathouse Brewery. It includes a taproom and a dedicated sink that is critical for cleaning.
I (Jeff) noticed a wort cooler my friends were using, and I was surprised at the inefficient design. As a gift, I designed and built this 5-gal. (19-L) “Frankenchiller.”
The brew system pictured here is, hopefully, the last one I’ll have to build for myself. One “glaring” mistake was to polish the stainless out too much. Otherwise, it’s an easy cleanup. I’ve been an all-grain guy for over 15 years and have used 3-vessel systems for most of that time.
This system uses a 1 ¼” stainless square tubing frame, three Vollrath’s stainless steel aluminum-clad 15-gallon vessels, a very large March pump and a Shirron plate chiller. All of the fittings are custom-made (I’m a machinist) and polished. Most of the connections are sanitary for easy removal and cleanup. The larger, 3B burners are ignited by Quikliters, from Channel Products. The funny looking thing standing behind the mash tun is one of my smaller hopbacks. Wort is pumped through vertically before reaching the chiller.
The non-traditional configuration of the vessels, while making a deeper footprint, allows me to spin the HLT and drop make-up water into the boil kettle. The weird looking fitting at the end of the HTL valve is a custom-made 3/8” flared elbow that allows a direct connection to the stainless steel twirly sparge wand and provides a hard point for mounting the stainless RIM ring doodad.
Welcome to Don’s Neighborhood Pub. There’s no Bud here, just the best homebrew!
My brewery is named the Broken Wrench Brewery. It is an all electric HERMS (Heat exchange recirculaing mash) system. I built the system myself and did all the welding and fabrication on my own. I enjoyed building it, but I enjoy brewing with it even more!
This is a frontal view of Ken’s system. From right to left, kettle, hot liquor tank, control panel, RIMS heaters and mash tun. All the valves are stainless steel.
My plan was to control every aspect of the brewing process to produce the same product over and over again. I worked for about two years to complete this brewery. The woodworking was tedious, but it exceeded all my expectations and brewing is now more enjoyable for me.
My love for homebrewing began in 2002 after receiving a 5-gallon (19-L) beer kit for Christmas. Ever since that first batch, I knew that brewing beer was something I wanted to master. As my passion for brewing grew, so did my interest in building my own home microbrewery. I was able to complete this whole system for less than $1,000 — but I still have my wish list for future upgrades!
This brewery was designed to brew large batches in a 500-square-foot apartment. The system is electrically heated and uses the power supply normally attached to the kitchen stove. It produces 20 gallons of finished beer per brew. The kettle and hot liquor tank are each constructed from two Sanke kegs welded end-to-end. The roller mill is made from custom-machined rollers made from schedule 80 mild steel pipe, and is driven by an old clothes-dryer motor. A magnetically coupled centrifugal pump, helical wort chiller and oxygen injection take care of wort transfer and cooling-in.
I am a relatively new brewer (my first brew was February 2006) that started with some assistance from my military buddies from the Air National Guard. Since then, I’ve been hooked. But there was a problem — how to keep more than one brew on tap at a time?
I started my 5-tap fridge by purchasing a used 28-cubic-foot fridge from the Internet. Since I brewed more than three styles of beer, I needed several taps. I spoke with the guys at my local supplier for help and drafted a plan.
I constructed a Cornelius gauge that had three low-pressure gauges and one high-pressure gauge. From two of the low-pressure gauges, I installed a 2-line manifold system. I custom built the gauge so I could deliver three different pressures to suit the individual styles of beer.
I removed the inner parts of the fridge and created a plywood platform that could hold five corny kegs and one 20-pound CO2 tank.
Once it was all put together, the fridge had her maiden tapping in November 2006. The kegs were filled with beer and forced carbonated for three days at 30 pounds of pressure. I had a group of friends over for beer that day and they were completely amazed.
Currently I have Irish red, hefeweizen, Fat Tire (clone), honey weiss, and a rootbeer on tap. My kids actually brew most of the root beer, which makes me hope that someday they will become homebrewers, like their dad.
I built this exchanger to regulate my HERMS temperatures. Basically, there are five one-inch copper pipes at the bottom, each has a 4500W water heating element in it that I run at half voltage. (I think it totals around 6000W in the wiring configuration I’m using.)
The heat exchanger water is heated in those pipes and pumped into the outer tube of the Chillzilla counter-flow wort chiller above it (they work so darn well chilling the wort, why wouldn’t they work as well heating it up?), which the recirculating wort is counterflowing through.
The white PVC at the top of the down pipe is just a little reservoir for the exchanger water. The heating elements are controlled with an Omega Engineering CN9000A and some big solid state relays, and the temperature is read at the wort outlet of the mashtun.
The pump moves the exchanger water through the tubes and up into the outer coil of the exchanger, which then gets dumped into the reservoir that drops back down into the pump.
It’s kind of an expensive setup since it requires two pumps, and a second Chillzilla, but it is capable of bringing the mash from dough-in to 154 °F (68 °C) in less than ten minutes with absolutely no risk of scorching. Not that that’s always what you want, but it can.
In the November 2007 issue of Brew Your Own, we published the plans for Brutus 10 — the single-tier brewery designed by Lonnie McAllister, homebrewer and host of the podcast “Alenuts”.
Lonnie’s design featured two pumps for moving liquids on brewday and two temperature controllers for maintaining temperature in the hot liquor tank and the mash tun. Clever design elements included the tubing being affixed to the lids of the vessels so brewers could switch from recirculating the mash to running off the wort and sparging simply by moving two lids. The wiring was hidden inside the frame and even the propane gas was routed through one of the hollow stainless steel beams to the burners, giving the design a clean look.
Since then, many BYO readers have built their own Brutus 10. Here are a few examples.
To get your own copy of the Brutus 10 plans, you can purchase a copy of the special re-print from the sold out November 2007 issue.
Jim calls his homebrew system Valverde Brewing and Winery. It is housed inside, and on the porch of a 20’ x 30’ temperature-controlled building in his backyard and has a 3-barrel brewing copacity.
Tom Hart was a co-founder and served for 7 years as the head brewer of the Rio Grande Brewing Company, where he earned two medals at the Great American Beer Festival. He built his home brewery after returning to his work as a Presbyterian minister.
My system — Tophat Brewery — consists of two Sabco universal kettles powered by 240V 4,500-watt heating elements used as my boil kettle and hot liquor tun. My mash tun is a cooler. I use a pump and counterflow chiller to transfer the wort into my conical fermenter. The wort is oxygenated with pure oxygen and a stainless diffusion stone. I use an upright freezer and temperature controller to regulate fermentation temperatures. All my beer is kegged and force carbonated, then served with my 6-tap kegerator. I've also built a positive pressure ultra low particulate air (ULPA) filter chamber to collect and manipulate my yeast collection. My sink is a large three-bay stainless commercial sink that makes cleaning and sanitizing a breeze. I use a JSP malt mill powerd by a Bodine motor.
The hot liquor tun is controlled by a PID controller and SSR (solid state relay) and the kettle heating element is controlled by a pulse width modulator and SSR. The electric setup allows brewing indoors with no worry of carbon monoxide. Steam is still an issue so a strong vent was installed and works well.
Badbrew Brewing Company uses a uniquely designed mobile brewing platform to which the RIMS chamber, wort chiller, pump and control panel are attached. The mash tun sits atop the platform during mashing and the brew kettle sits atop the platform during wort chilling. The platform itself is a base Rubbermaid industrial wheeled cart.
After building several systems for friends I thought it was time to build a new system for myself. I had to go one better and build a system out of stainless steel, including the frame amd piping. The tri-clovers on the keg are made from the neck of kegs, with a gasket and clamp. The tri-clovers in the piping are made from two end caps that are bored and a half coupler tig welded onto the cap. Add a gasket and clamp and you have an inline tri-clover at a cost of about $20.00 compared to one half of a purchased fitting of $55.00.
The system can be broken down into parts of no longer than 24 inches for cleaning. The Mash tun has an adjustable return ring so you can set it for mash height. The coil in the HLT is copper because of heat transfer. The coil has a bypass valve so you can avoid the coil and maintain temperature. The temperature is monitored by a gauge coming out of the coil at the sight glass, which is also homemade. At present the boil pot and HLT are gas fired but an electric HLT tank is being built and may replace the present tank.
Your “Projects” department is where I got the idea to build this gadget. I am part of a local micro group called the Mid-Michigan Malt Meisters. Every year I have a championship football party and invite the crew over. Each year I try to outdo the previous year.
So, this year we purchased a bubbler over E-bay and converted it to a beer dispenser. It was a party favorite, along with the seven different kegs of my homebrew.
We got the idea from the “Great Taste of the Midwest.” I believe it was New Holland Brewing Company out of Michigan who had one. With the bubbler, we basically gutted the machine and added fittings to the in-valve. We drained the dispensed beer into a bucket and put the keg into a container with ice. The bubbler is designed for a party, not for a long-term beer fridge. We try to keep the keg at about 6 PSI. As Frank the Tank from the movie Old School put it, “It taste so good when it hits your lips!” P.S. – Pale Ale is a good beer on tap for the bubbler.
I have been a homebrewer for just a year now and I am a relatively new subscriber to BYO. Reading through my first six issues I find that I enjoy the articles that homebrewers write that share brewing ideas and equipment they have modified or built. So, in similar fashion, I thought I could share a project that I completed last spring.
Last fall when I started homebrewing I quickly found that kegging the ales was much easier not to mention quicker than bottling, so I promptly invested in a double CO2 corny keg system. This worked out quite well when my wife and I hosted parties where my homebrew was served.
The only problem that I had with the keg system was that it looked very “college dorm like” with its industrial mechanical looks. The cheap cobra
dispenser head did not do justice to the care that was used in brewing the beer. What I needed was a clean looking setup that would allow me to serve the ales with the same attention to detail that was used during the brew.
What I came up with is a portable, Old World-style “tap stand.” I wanted the tap stand to emulate the look and feel of an Old World pub without compromising its portability. The system that I built around is working quite well and has been used inside our home as well as out doors during picnics.
I started off like most home brewers, a couple of plastic buckets and a kit. I told my wife, “this is all that I will ever need to make beer with.” Well, thousands of dollars later I have the system that I am really proud of.
My brewery is housed in a 10-foot x 16-foot building next to my house. The brewing system is a three tier 10-gallon (38-L) all stainless steel piped system (an electric heat exchange recirculating mash system or “EHERMS”).
The best part of building this system was the planning and the tweaking. It never seems to end. I am also a member of the Alcohol Through Fermentation (ATF) Home-brew club in New Bern, North Carolina and we make some great brews!
This is my set up for dispensing beer. I used a Woods freezer which holds three kegs easily. I got an Ibis tower from with the gold finish (I am a Vandy fan and the colors are black and gold). I use beer gas for dispensing with a manifold located in the freezer. The weight of the top is a little too great for the hinges of the freezer to hold, so I rigged up a support for it that pivots out as the top is opened.
I have a probe thermometer inside which monitors the temp, and I have an extra probe that I can use to check the temperature of the beer. I have rigged up four feet of beer line from each keg to the respective faucet, so I don’t have to worry about over-foaming. I use a temperature control unit to keep the beer at 52 ºF (11 ºC).
I am currently dispensing a pale ale, an English style bitter and a sweet stout. I intend to get a gold-plated stout faucet (sometime in the future as my wife is still recovering from the purchases so far). Until then, I’ll be relaxing and having a homebrew!
My system is simple and utilizes all gravity flow — no pumps. It was inexpensive, but with most of the parts self-made, it performs exactly how I want it to. I buy the grain in bulk and crack it. This has become very cost effective, and I would much rather spend money on good grain than pumps and heating elements for a slightly higher efficiency.
I love having friends over for a brew session where we can drink and talk about beer. I frequently offer my brewery to others interested in the hobby. My standing policy is “You pick the style, we split the cost of ingredients, you help brew and clean, and we split the beer 50/50”. I even have an extra dispensing system I lend out since I really don’t like bottling.
What fun. It’s great for brewing while playing bar sports, watching a game or a race. It’s my version of the ultimate home brewery.
This rig is primarily intended for single step all-grain infusion mashes and is designed as a small footprint pilot brewery for commercial use. However, it makes excellent homebrews of up to 80 liters (one English barrel) a batch at a maximum of 5.8% ABV strength. Most brews are in the range 4.3–5.3%. The rig could easily be adapted for multi-step RIMS by fitting a copper coil inside the hot liquor tun (HLT) and adding an extra pump. Each vessel is crafted from re-engineered 18-UK gallon barrels.
Building brewing systems and gadgets can be as much fun as brewing itself. That is, of course, as long as you have a nice, fresh homebrew to drink while you are doing it. One of the main goals in designing my system was to have everything on the same level, to prevent having scalding water above my head. My system can easily be increased to a 1 barrel (31-gallon/118-L) system by changing the vessels and attaching some manifolds. I’m not sure that this will ever happen, but I sometimes go overboard.
My homebrewery consists of a 60-liter boil kettle, 50-liter mash/lauter tun and a 30-liter grant (boil kettle). A stainless steel stand holds the mash tun, pump, filter and heat exchanger, with the boiler free standing at the end. The heart of my system is the pump (0.5 HP 90 liters/minute), filter and heat exchanger.