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Our “TexanBrew brewery” is a home brewery that, like almost all, has grown over time — from a five-gallon turkey pot to three converted kegs on a custom stand. The TexanBrew brewery is a Recirculating Heat Exchange Mash System (RHEMS). A typical RHEMS consists of a mash tun, hot liquor tank and boil kettle. Our brewery adds to those a separate, electrically heated vessel containing the heat-exchanging coils. Dubbed the mini-exchanger, this is the heart of the TexanBrew brewery.
At the 1997 AHA convention, I studied the Sabco BrewMagic system and was convinced I could build a cheaper one for my needs. I’ve spent almost $2,000 and achieved most of my design goals, but I sometimes think it would have been better to just buy the BrewMagic.
My brewing equipment has developed from a simple saucepan and cooling bag to what it is today. But while a good system makes the brew day more simple, I have found that advanced brewing systems are no guarantee for good beer — they still depend on a good brewer.
Keeping beer cold while you’re out in the shed has always been a challenge. Finding the ultimate solution was a trial and error process. My first solution was to surround my beers with ice. Unfortunately that small quantity of ice would not keep multiple beers cold all day — and no, you cannot, under any circumstances, put ice into the beer.