Matthew Wirtz and his Electric Sculpture
Talk about the marriage of art and science… our friend Matthew Wirtz (not making this up!) posted pictures of this beauty on the AHA Forum, and for a bunch of jaded, seen-it-all publishing types, we have to admit that we are impressed. If Frank Lloyd Wright and RoboCop had a child, it would be this brewing apparatus. A member of the Roaring Fork High Altitude Mashers, Matthew is a credit to his club.
Matthew hails from Eagle, Colorado and works in IT, which explains the technical sophistication of this build. What is even more amazing is the fact that Matthew is still relatively new to homebrewing, with less than a year between his first Mr. Brew kit to this beauty.
A self-professed tinkerer, Matthew started his build in October of 2009 and completed it in January. It is a single tier, three vessel system. The corny keg in the middle acts as the heat exchanger/ hot liquor tank and is flanked by two Sanke kegs, one for the mash tun, the other for the boil kettle. The boil kettle is powered by a 5500 watt element, and controlled by pulse width modulator (PWM) circuit with a homemade dial. The hot liquor kettle is powered by a 1500 watt element and controlled by a proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controller.
Matthew created a really slick flow manifold on the front to maximize the use of his pump. Two digital oven thermometers mounted on the control panel give readouts from the boil kettle and the mash tun.
The flow manifold from the reverse. Matthew incorporated an electric ball valve on the output of the pump to control flow for recirculation.
Seen from the back. To keep the build compact, Matthew designed this hard plumbing concept with quick release camlock fittings to make it easy to remove the vessels for cleaning.
Truly a sweet build, Matthew! If this is what we can expect after Year One as a homebrewer, we can’t wait to see what you bring us in the future.