Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Zymurgy => Topic started by: kgs on April 24, 2010, 04:40:01 PM

Title: Easing the physical process
Post by: kgs on April 24, 2010, 04:40:01 PM
Maybe this has been done, but what about an article (or articles) focused on homebrewing for people who are differently-abled, older, smaller, use wheelchairs, etc.?

As someone in the old-and-small category, I have found many good ideas on the Forum and on TechTalk for easing the brewing process--just today, I learned that some homebrewers siphon their wort from the brew pot into the fermenter, which helps solve a question I had about moving to full batches. That might seem obvious to many homebrewers but it wasn't to me, and it's the kind of technique that could make homebrewing more accessible and promote homebrewing to diverse demographics.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: denny on April 24, 2010, 05:49:50 PM
That's a really good idea.  I'll try to remember to bring it up with Gary or Jill.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: beerrat on April 24, 2010, 09:19:15 PM
Excellent topic idea!  I have some on and off back issues, but still want to make 5 gallon batches.  A brewhauler and ability to keep process located to a single floor of the house helped a lot.  I'd think a pump may be the next item to help. 

I've also gone thru chemo/radiation in the past month and found brewing help keep my mind on something positive.  Had to balance that with ensuring I did not get burns/injured when the blood counts dropped, so ended up making a mead and wine and getting help from family to move the heavy carboys.

Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: denny on April 24, 2010, 09:24:01 PM
I've also gone thru chemo/radiation in the past month and found brewing help keep my mind on something positive.

Best wishes and good vibes, man.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: chumley on April 26, 2010, 03:17:27 AM
You can make 1-2 gallon batches on the stove in a stock pot using a spaghetti strainer.  I knew of a 70+ year old woman who would do just that.

And you can take a sample of that wort, put it in a jar, and know when your fermentation in your closed bucket is done, just by watching what is going on in the jar,

No need to thank me, I am just here to help.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: denny on April 26, 2010, 03:58:06 PM
You can make 1-2 gallon batches on the stove in a stock pot using a spaghetti strainer.  I knew of a 70+ year old woman who would do just that.

And you can take a sample of that wort, put it in a jar, and know when your fermentation in your closed bucket is done, just by watching what is going on in the jar,

No need to thank me, I am just here to help.

Was that Coly on B&V?

And thanks (HAHAHAHA!) for the fermentation tip!   ::)
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: kgs on April 27, 2010, 02:39:11 PM
You can make 1-2 gallon batches on the stove in a stock pot using a spaghetti strainer.  I knew of a 70+ year old woman who would do just that.

Sure you can. But an interesting challenge is to adapt the standard batch size to accommodate the brewer, who might be a person with a bad back, undergoing chemo, wheelchair-bound, or for that matter pregnant (there must be women who have brewed while pregnant--after all, *making* beer isn't the problem), or is simply brewing in a challenging home environment--for example, where the ideal fermentation area is a steep flight of steps up or down from where brewing takes place.

(It interests me that 5 gallons *is* the de facto standard--why not 4 or 6? how did it come to be 5?--and if I ever get the time to research that question, I will.)
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: a10t2 on April 27, 2010, 05:32:20 PM
(It interests me that 5 gallons *is* the de facto standard--why not 4 or 6? how did it come to be 5?--and if I ever get the time to research that question, I will.)

Most corny kegs are 5 gal.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: denny on April 27, 2010, 05:58:54 PM
But I think the standard 19L batch size was around before people started using cornies.  Maybe based on standard carboy size?
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: a10t2 on April 28, 2010, 05:39:44 AM
There was a time before cornies? ;)

Thinking about it a little more, it's also around the maximum amount an average adult is comfortable lifting/carrying (50 lb).
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: chumley on April 28, 2010, 03:18:41 PM
Yep, Denny, Coly Moore was the spaghetti strainer brewer and the inventor of the sample in the jar....quite the accomplishment.

5 gallon carboys and 5 gallon buckets have been standard equipment for a long time.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: denny on April 28, 2010, 03:44:13 PM
So, does anybody here want to undertake this article? 
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: glitterbug on April 28, 2010, 03:46:53 PM
So, does anybody here want to undertake this article? 

Is it open to anyone?
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: kgs on April 29, 2010, 04:20:54 AM
I write on the side. I have written close to 100 technical articles (different field than homebrewing) and two books, plus some literary essays. I hesitated to raise my hand because my day job has pulled me in so deeply since I started last fall. Great job, major commitment. But I'm interested. It would be an interesting (even funny and moving) piece to write.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: Slowbrew on May 11, 2010, 09:36:43 PM
I'm definitely not volunteering to write the article.  Anyone who has had to suffer through my business composition would support me on that.   ::)

With that said, I'm guessing the focus should be on lower cost options to lessening the load on a brew day.  The easy answer is a big brew system with pumps and PID controllers and all that stuff but the average person with kids, cars, a house and a wife/hubby is never get through the home budgeting process. 

What comes to mind for are things like:

A standalone pump with a long high temp hose might work for some.

I've seen outdoor brewers who open a basement window and siphon their cooled wort from the patio to the fermenter in the basement. 

Maybe a lever or balance beam system to raise the boil kettle a couple of feet so the wort can flow into a bucket.  (This seemed more far fetched as I typed it.)

A cart with large wheels (like 20" used bicycle rims) to move carboys from one location to another.  For those who can lift 50 - 75 lbs. but can't carry it very far.

Seems like a low tech kind of article to me.  I love the Systems to Drool Over pieces but I know I won't be going that way until well after the 9 year old is out of college.

I'll stop before I ramble too much more.

Paul
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: Hokerer on May 12, 2010, 01:24:30 AM
Maybe a lever or balance beam system to raise the boil kettle a couple of feet so the wort can flow into a bucket.  (This seemed more far fetched as I typed it.)

Not so far fetched after all...

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=19.0 (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=19.0)
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: kgs on May 13, 2010, 02:36:37 PM
Yes, not far-fetched. I realized after I bought a propane burner that moving from waist-height to knee-height would bring its own complex issues. Still working that out. The batch I made last week I did as a split boil on the stove.

For around the main level of the apartment we live in (part of a house), I've considered something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Radio-Flyer-Classic-Red-Wagon/dp/B00000IS6G/

But it won't go down stairs, and the best fermentation spot is a cool, dark closet in the garage below us. My current answer is to make smaller batches, which is easy to do with brewing software. I could also split the fermentation across two small carboys. I own two 3-gallon Better Bottles which I bought for $30 for the pair when Amazon briefly carried them.

I agree that focusing on affordable, entry-level solutions is the right approach. I do like the trebucket though :)
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: euge on May 13, 2010, 06:27:39 PM
I think many get into brewing with little idea about what it entails- especially doing all grain and larger batches. We all find an approach and equipment that suits our abilities. Or not.

Gravity or a pump will be a good friend. However, I've brewed for years by just transferring the cooled wort in a gallon pitcher to the fermenters. Also I use furniture dollies to move the fermenters around. Still, I have to lift the fermenters to the counter to drain them. :(

Know one's limitations and plan accordingly. Not easy, I discovered early on dead-lifting 12 gallons of hot wort up onto the stove was a bad idea... :-\

Wish I had bought a pump back then...


Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: kgs on May 18, 2010, 04:26:41 PM
Know one's limitations and plan accordingly. Not easy, I discovered early on dead-lifting 12 gallons of hot wort up onto the stove was a bad idea... :-\

I think of it more as "know the brewing environment and creatively address challenges."  ;)

Sometimes a limitation becomes a strength... brewing half-batches has meant that I've brewed more frequently and felt more emboldened to experiment and push my knowledge.

But same-same! When you're facing a brewpot you can't lift, whether it's a limitation or a challenge is immaterial at the moment ;)
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: richardt on May 18, 2010, 06:37:15 PM
I wonder what our ancestors did before spigots and pumps and plastic/silicone tubing?
How did they ever fill up those 20,000+ gallon barrels the old fashioned way?
World Record, by the way, for the largest beer vat in the world, goes to Meux Brewery, London, UK, in 1795.  It was made with wood and enormous cast iron hoops and held 860,000 gallons of porter.

Bucket Brigade?  Siphons?
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: kgs on May 18, 2010, 08:06:56 PM
For that matter, what about the alewife of yore? What equipment did she use? What quantities did she brew? I'm guessing she didn't have an aquarium pump...
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: dean on May 21, 2010, 01:28:15 PM
Way back when, some farmers used streams themselves to lift, move or perform other work.  There are still some old watermills around the countryside if you look, probably how alewives and yores did it back then especially doing large batches?  Old windmills too, but none of those would help for this subject. 

Interesting topic and idea. 
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: a10t2 on May 21, 2010, 01:41:20 PM
I wonder what our ancestors did before spigots and pumps and plastic/silicone tubing?

I'm not saying I have a definitive answer or anything, but pumps have been around much longer than the brewing industry.
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: kgs on May 23, 2010, 03:08:44 PM
I wonder what our ancestors did before spigots and pumps and plastic/silicone tubing?

I'm not saying I have a definitive answer or anything, but pumps have been around much longer than the brewing industry.

However, beer has been around a lot longer than many technologies, including pumps (and has been attributed with fostering the creation of new technologies and processes--even agriculture). I wasn't sure about water wheels, but from what I'm reading, beer goes back to the 6th millennium BC, while water wheels are just barely pre-BC. 
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: dean on May 24, 2010, 01:53:18 PM

However, beer has been around a lot longer than many technologies, including pumps (and has been attributed with fostering the creation of new technologies and processes--even agriculture). I wasn't sure about water wheels, but from what I'm reading, beer goes back to the 6th millennium BC, while water wheels are just barely pre-BC. 


True, even today some places still practice methods to make beer that we would probably be a bit squeamish trying.... using spit versus yeast to ferment with.  I would assume that is a bacterial fermentation rather than yeast fermentation?  Uughhh!... we would call it an infection.   :o  :D
Title: Re: Easing the physical process
Post by: dean on May 27, 2010, 12:31:08 PM
CP wrote an article about the changes in brewing a few months back, the one about personalizing a brew really got me... now after reading my previous post... I think the spit would pretty much do it.   ;D :D