Pimp My System: MaxOut Brew Station
System Description: Chefs table converted into a semi-automated single tier, 3/4 - vessel, HERMS, with integrated fermenter, work table and overhead rack.
When initially designing the MaxOut Brew Station there was some basic requirements I had in mind. Use stainless steel wherever possible for its ease of cleaning and durability, TIG weld all through fittings in the kettles to achieve the most sanitary connections, all plumbing should be detachable and have a minimum of ½" I.D. on all fittings to maintain the max flow possible. Kettles need to be removable for cleaning and use high temp silicone o-rings in place of ferrules for dip tubes and temp probes for adjustability and ease of break down.
The MaxOut Brew Station consists of 3ea. 50 liter Euro kegs converted to keggles. There is an hot liquor tank with 47' X ½" stainless steel heat exchanger coil, boil kettle with whirlpool return and mash lauter tun with 14 gage hinged stainless steel false bottom and custom designed lid mounted sprayer used for fly sparge and mash . All kettles are fitted with calibrated sight glasses, Blichman thermometers, three piece stainless steel full port ball valves on output and adjustable thermo probes including an additional thermo probe on the output of the heat exchanger coil on the hot liquor tank. There is also a sink that was converted to a mash lauter tun with 14 gage stainless steel false bottom with handles that will also be converted to an electric boil kettle in the future making the brew station a hybrid of sorts. All connections and plumbing is attached with stainless steel CamLok fittings, stainless steel three piece full port ball valves and ½" I.D. high temp food grade flexible silicone tubing. There are two March 809 pump motors with Chugger stainless steel pump heads that have stainless steel three piece full port ball valves on the outlet and another pointing down used for dump or priming.
There is a dedicated Rinnai C85i instant hot water heater permanently plumbed to propane and filtered water above the brew station that can deliver water up 185 degrees on demand. The hot water temperature from the Rinnai C85i is controlled by a control panel mounted on the wall behind the brew station. The pre filtered hot and cold water is plumbed to an existing faucet on the brew station with high temp stainless braided lines and the faucet is converted with a CamLok fitting. There is two Bayou Classic BG-14 10" low pressure propane banjo burners installed in the area that used to be a steam tub. There is a custom stainless steel surround around the burners and a custom made stainless steel rack constructed of 1" X 1/8" square tubing that supports the kettles and is removable for cleaning. There are pins made from ¼" stainless steel rod that center the kettles over the burners and lock the support frame to the surround. No holes were made in existing table or sink and entire thing breaks down without any tools for cleaning. There is an overhead baker's rack, large work surface and a two door freezer that is used as a primary fermenter. Overall the brew station measures 3' Wide X 14' Long X 8' tall. The chefs table came with a two level shelf with wire chase that was originally on top of the table the entire width. This was mounted to the floor in front of the brew station and acts as another work station and a bar for friends to sit and observe the brewing process and sample some of the home brew. Triple 444 is the house flavor and is a golden Lager.
The controls side consists of a custom designed control box with remote panel and BCS-462 control. The burners firing sequence are controlled via two Honeywell SmartValves with intermittent hot surface ignition and pilot. The pilot assemblies are custom tapped to the side of the banjo burners and the gas manifold is custom fabricated to fit the valves nicely behind the front panel of the brew station. The SmartValves were chosen because of the simplicity of interfacing and compactness. Most other valves require a separate module to control ignition and pilot where the SmartValve only requires 24VAC to operate and initiate the firing sequence. Inside the control box resides the BCS-460, SSR's, 24VAC supply, 5VDC supply and fuses. There is a custom made remote control panel that was placed over the original position of the steam tub controller. This panel has industrial grade LED lit switches with auto/off/on for the two pumps and two burners. When in auto mode the lights illuminate when the BCS-462 is actively controlling the pumps and burners. With the three position switches the pumps and burners can operate in manual or automatic mode and gives you a manual override if needed. There is a lighted warning buzzer on the panel that beeps and lights slow when a running process needs manual intervention and fast when a process is outside programmed parameters. There is an orange pause button that can be used to put the BCS-462 in a standby mode shutting off all automated control without ending the active process. The control panel also has a keyed main switch with green LED light that will kill the power to the entire system if needed in an emergency. There is also a switch that controls the three halogen lights mounted on the overhead rack. The temperature probes are custom modified with heat resistant fiberglass mesh loom and have XLR connectors that plug into receptacles on the remote control panel on the front of the brew station and another panel for the fermenters. The BCS-462 also controls heat and cooling functions inside two fermenters, the primary and secondary. The OEM controls on both fermenters are still intact and work in parallel to the automation and can be used if the BCS-462 malfunctions. There is a dedicated computer hooked to the BCS-462 that has a battery backup that has the capacity to run the entire brew station for 2 hours if needed. On top of the work surface is a keyboard, mouse, monitor and small label printer. Oh and don't forget the Bose soundock for the brew time jams. The BCS-462 is available locally or remote if needed and has a custom graphical interface representing the MaxOut Brew Station and current states.