I have been brewing beer at home for about seven years, using equipment that has gotten progressively larger or more sophisticated. Last year, I wanted to make my brewing process more time efficient and get away from using crates, boxes, and my workbench to achieve the three tiers I needed for a gravity fed system. To help solve some of these problems I decided that I would upgrade to a larger kettle and build a two-tiered brew stand that, when placed next to my propane burner, becomes a true three-tier, gravity-fed brew stand with the hot liquor cooler on the highest tier and the mash tun on the middle tier. Once my wort has all been collected and I start my boil, the stand can be rolled away to reduce any possible danger of wood being exposed to high temperatures and open flame. This is just a precaution, as the stand never gets significantly warm even when it is parked next to the burner during wort collection and early heating. This three-tier design allows me to save time by applying heat to the brew kettle soon after I start collecting wort from the mash tun (instead of waiting until runoff is complete).
As a note before we get started, my dimensions are based on my specific brewing equipment, so you will need to measure the height and width of your own equipment and customize these lengths for your needs if you want to build your own stand using my design. For a reference, however, my stand is 22-inches (56-cm) wide, 40-inches (102-cm) long, and 54-inches (137-cm) tall (including the casters) and has three platforms. The lowest platform acts as a storage shelf, the middle platform serves to hold the mash tun cooler, and the top platform holds the hot liquor tank cooler. My advice is to place your kettle on your burner and measure the height to the top of the kettle (dimension #1). Then determine the minimum height of the surface the mash tun would need to sit on and still be able to gravity feed wort into the kettle while it is sitting on the burner (dimension #2). Now measure the height of your mash tun, and determine the minimum height of the surface that your hot liquor tank would need to sit on and still be able to gravity-feed sparge water into your mash tun (dimension #3). The brew stand has six vertical “legs,” two short and four tall. The two shorter ones will be equal to dimension #2 and the four longer legs will be equal to dimension #3. Also, don’t forget to take into account the height of the casters you will use for the stand.
Radial arm saw (could use a circular saw)
Table saw (could use a circular saw)
Power sander (could use a sanding block and sandpaper)
Materials list (amount of each will vary depending on measurements unique to each brewer’s equipment):
(8) 2×4, 8-feet (2.4-m) long
(1) 4×4 ½-inch birch plywood
(1) 2×4 ½-inch birch plywood
(1) 2×4 sheet of pegboard
1 ¼-inch stainless steel #8 square drive deck screws
(52) 5/16-inch x 2 ½-inch zinc plated lag screws
(52) zinc plated washers
2 fixed casters and 2 locking casters¨