Friday, February 1, 2013

Rebuilding my Brewhouse

About a year ago I decided that I was going to take a break from brewing beer, and focus on brewing meads and ciders. The process and the resulting drinks didn't capture my imagination nearly as much as beer did.  I still wanted to keep my diet gluten-free, and so I stopped brewing altogether.  I assumed it would be a permanent change.

I was wrong.

I sold off the majority of my equipment, including my brew kettle (this lovely model from morebeer), my entire keezer setup, and most of my fermentation equipment.  I even gave my hops away to my friend Noah from Red Mantis Brewing.

But now I get to rebuild my brew house, and make the upgrades to it that I've wanted to do for a few years. To begin with I setup my requirements -

  • Ability to brew 10-gallon batches
  • Ability to brew two 5-gallon batches simultaneously
  • Pumping capability
  • Kegging capacity for up to 20 gallons
  • Temperature controlled fermentation

As for fermenters, this deal is tempting me. I've always wanted an SS Conical.
Reasons behind my specific requirements - 

Brewing 10-gallon Batches

There are to reasons I want to brew 10-gallon batches.  It is either a favorite recipe that is being brewed for a party, or I want to split it into two different batches to test different yeast strains.  Splitting a single batch after brewing ensures that I have the exact same wort, and same hop schedule.  Any differences are in the fermentation process, yeast or temp.

Brewing two 5-gallon Batches Separately

Having the ability to do full boils on two batches at the same time will let me do partigyles, where you split the run off into a big brew for the first runnings, and a small beer with the subsequent runnings.  
This will also give me the ability to brew with a friend, and not require them to bring all of their equipment over.

Pumping Capability

My previous setup required a lot of lifting.  With a cold brew kettle this isn't a huge deal.  When it is near boiling, it becomes a lot more dangerous.  The ability to pump mash and sparge water will not only make the brew day safer, it will make it easier when being done alone.

Kegging Capacity of 20 Gallons

I thought that my previous kegging capacity of 20 gallons was perfect.  It ensured that I was always able to have a brew on tap, even after a large party.  The one difference I want over my old setup is external CO2, and a way to limit condensation.  

Temperature Controlled Fermentation

My previous process for temperature control involved a large cooler and a lot of water.  The water helped to add thermal mass, and control temperature swings.  It took a lot of work, and keeping the temperature actually even was not easy.  My new setup needs to have the ability to both lower, and raise the temperature through electronic controls.

I will begin piecing the new brewhouse together, and building the needed parts in the coming weeks.  I plan to begin brewing by March 1st, 2013, which should be a nice 34th birthday present to myself.


  1. This is in the lead as for my brew stand setup right now -

    I might scale it back down to just two burners though.