The Electric Homebrew Bar

In the Fall of 2008, after years of experimenting with malt extract kits and 100% wort kits, Kal Wallner of Ottawa, Canada, decided it was time to graduate to an all-grain system where he could be 100% in control of the final product. Unable to find a commercially-available set up that met his specific requirements, he designed his own 100% electric set up and built his first homebrewery in the family’s cold room — the only available space in the house.

When the family moved into a newly built home with an unfinished basement in 2011, it was an opportunity for Kal to rebuild and expand the original brewery to his exact specifications and to create a space for him and his wife

to entertain.

“Both my wife and I have similar tastes and both like a modern style,” said Kal of his design. “We do a lot of entertaining so we wanted to do something special.”

While Kal says that no project is ever quite finished, the major renovations were finished in the fall of 2012. In the past year they have been entertaining in the new space quite a bit.

“Having everybody come over here rather than pay for babysitters and going out and buying beer is much less expensive for us and our friends and family. Building a basement like that isn’t inexpensive, of course, but it’s what we wanted to do.”

FLOOR PLAN: Kal Wallner’s recently completed modern basement features a brewery, a bar where homebrewed beers are served on eight taps, a lounge with fireplace, a home theater and a bathroom with a walk-in shower, urinal and sauna. During the six-month construction process, Kal documented each step of the build on his website at
THE BAR: “Eight beers are available on this home tap, served from a keg freezer (keezer) located just inside the brewery. Two of the taps use a nitrogen/CO2 blend for beer styles that benefit from a creamy Guinness-style pour. The tower and taps are chilled continuously with RV antifreeze that is re-circulated using a pond pump and 50 feet (~50 m) of copper coil located in a separate small freezer.”

























THE BREWERY: “When I designed this new brewing room in 2012, I was able to expand the original brewery to my exact specifications and combine everything relating to brewing (wort creation, fermentation, conditioning, packaging, and serving) into one room, simplifying the brewing process. Commercial stainless steel tables along with an oversized sink equipped with a pre-rinse faucet make for easy cleaning of kegs and kettles.”
CONTROL PANEL AND KETTLES: “The all-grain brewing setup was designed to be 100% electric. Three 20-gallon (75-L) kettles are used, two of which are fitted with heating elements. The control panel allows for precise step mashes and holds temperature to within 0.1 degrees Celsius. To ensure long-term serviceability, the brewery setup uses only standard off-the-shelf industrial electrical components, along with stainless steel fittings and pharmaceutical grade silicon tubing (no plastic parts).”
BREWERY FRIDGE AND GRAIN SHELVES: The brewery includes a commercial fridge that holds a variety of yeast samples and six kegs so that beer can be conditioned or lagered. A 5-pound CO2 tank is integrated into the fridge and carbonates the beer as it conditions so that it is ready to be served as soon as it is put on tap. Grain is stored in airtight buckets and kept on shelves.
HOME THEATER: “A home theater with a nine-foot screen and seating for six (with cup holders for beer, of course!) is the perfect way to relax and unwind after a long brew day and adds an element to the basement that can be enjoyed by the whole family.”
LOUNGE: “The lounge features a sitting area and fireplace, perfect for entertaining. Extra seating can be pulled in for larger groups. The windows behind the bar allow guests to view the brewery, with spotlights on the kettles creating a brewpub feel.
Issue: November 2013