I've long been a homebrewer, but the constant problem has always been 1) where to store the equipment, and 2) how to brew without moving around 5-10 gallons of really, really hot water. I've used many cobbled together solutions, but because everything had to be torn down after every brew, it was a tremendous hassle. That all changed last week when my wife suggested that I use the area next to our Pub-In-Progress as a semi permanent location. In the middle of our property are a series of outbuildings (a shop, barn, enclosed patio, and other buildings) that my grandfather built. Over the last two years we've been converting the barn into the Pub, and with the exception of actual taps I think we are happy with it's extreme kitschy-ness. Anyway, the room next to it (the enclosed, covered patio) wasn't really being used for anything. And it's that area that is being turned into the brewery.
Since it is basically a roofed concrete floor with a sliding glass door (the floor being covered with horrific linoleum), running propane won't be a problem. Also, since it is a small room that is reasonably insulated, keeping it at 68F-70F won't destroy my power bills. So, luckily the height of the ceiling was perfect for a three tier setup like pictured above. I don't have a pump yet so I'll be manually moving liquid up via a four-cup pyrex measuring cup, but that is a hell of a lot safer than lifting ten gallons of nearly boiling water over my head.
This setup can brew up to ten gallons of all grain beer in a single go. The mash tun and sparge tun are insulated water coolers, and the single kettle is 13 gallons and stainless steel. I've had all these pieces for quite awhile, but the shelf is new. It came from Home Depot, and can hold up to 1700 lbs total, so I'm not worried about the whole thing collapsing (which I have been worried about with previous arrangements). This makes the whole system quite compact, though tall. Once I get my hands on a pump, then automation will be super easy. In the mean time, I'm just excited to have a setup that is simple, doesn't require moving hot liquor, and is fairly permanent.
The best part of course is that it is right next to the pub. I should be getting my hands on the equipment needed to install a couple of kegs and a tower, so in a few weeks after the initial batch is done I'll have a complete brewpub in my backyard. I'm still debating on how to keep the brew cold and what kind of plumbing I might need, but for right now I am ecstatic.
And what am I brewing first? Why Newcastle Brown Ale of course :D
Cheese A Day by Jeremy Pickett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at cheeseaday.blogspot.com.