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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: dbeechum on August 22, 2010, 06:16:50 PM

Title: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: dbeechum on August 22, 2010, 06:16:50 PM
Hi, my name is Drew Beechum and I'm a disorganization-aholic.

It would be funny how horrifically disorganized I am in meat space (my computer data on the other hand - ocd like level of organization), but it drives my partner nuts. She takes one look around my office and runs screaming! :)

So, since I'm moving into my first house shortly (fingers crossed - mostly from the mound of paperwork needed to sign) I figure I should come up with a battleplan for turning my 300 square foot detached garage into a nifty and spiffy brewhouse. It'll be good for the brewhouse and for my partner to spend time there too. .

I've got grain storage down in a set of 5 gallon buckets with gamma seal lids (Like these (http://www.amazon.com/Leaktite-Corp-5GAMMA6-Screw-Top/dp/B001VBALBK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1282495216&sr=8-1), but there are better prices online) and some simliar things. Specialty grains get vacuum sealed and put into bins.

The rest.. the rest I'm hopeless about. So for those of you with piles of equipment - how do you organize it? Any clever tricks for reducing the floor space needed for the various bits and bobs? Carboys? Kegs? Hoses? Burners, etc? Got photos of how you organize everything?

The equipment list for me:
~20 cornie kegs
~8 carboys of various shapes
2 10 gallon kegs for fermenting
2 burners
78 quart mash tun
26 gallon boiler
2 50 liter kettles
1 8 gallon kettle
1 pump
2 IC's
3 CO2 tanks
1 racking cane / carboy cap CO2 barb assembly
various bits and bobs...

Lots of stuff and I want to get it squared away.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: euge on August 22, 2010, 06:39:30 PM
Drew congratulations on purchasing a house! You'll love it though there's always something to fix LOL. I bought mine with brewing in mind. Not a determining factor just a consideration.

I keep my stuff along one section of a wall in the garage and stack kettles inside each other. Same with buckets. IC goes in a bucket or kettle. Burners- basically the whole brewery can be broken down an fit along a 6' section of wall. Empty kegs or those needing repair get stored there too which I stack everything else on including the 70qt tun. Full kegs get stored in a cool closet. Fermenter chambers are on mover's dollies and I can move them about the house if need be. There's a grain area in the garage but it's basically an office chair LOL

This still leaves me room for a truck and a car in the garage. I pull one out to brew.

Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: weithman5 on August 22, 2010, 07:28:32 PM
first fill the 20 kegs with beer.  then put those into some refrigeration type unit (see how things are getting consolidated)  next invite a bunch of friends over to drink all the beer. this will make room for more beer and you can thus empty some of those plastic buckets of grain.....


Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: denny on August 22, 2010, 07:40:56 PM
Think vertical...use shelves and hang stuff on walls.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: capozzoli on August 22, 2010, 08:22:16 PM
^ works with family members too^
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: hoptomation on August 22, 2010, 08:40:19 PM
if you do isle shelving make sure there is enough space to walk up and down and pull things out.  think like an industrial engineer so label all shelving space with tape and its purpose or tape off spaces on the floor for larger pieces of equipment.  keep like/common process equipment together, helps keep things in manageable sizes of equipment lots.

heavy duty roughneck rubbermaid bins work great as well for smaller misc gear.  i have one for misc dry ingredients, scales, mill, storage, etc; another for cooking equip tools, thermometers, ph; another for bottling, carboy, sanitation, anything post fermentation.  i've doubled up on a few pieces of equipment to keep the organization clean, simple, true (like hydrometer for cooking and also for post fermentation storage) but it hasn't failed me yet.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: rabid_dingo on August 22, 2010, 09:19:49 PM
For a second there I thought you were going to talk about Oxidation...:D

Get a couple of bicycle hooks or ladder hooks, that are coated in rubber or vinyl. Use them to hang
all your tubing.

I have three piles of cornies around the brewery(Garage). Specifically, the full-o-beer
ones are right next to the fridge waiting their turn. Those that are "clean" usually sitting on PBW or
Starsan are labeled with their contents using painters blue tape and a sharpie and are further away
from the fridge. Single stack. And the rest that I have yet to recondition and put new o-rings on are
stacked vertically two tall up against the far wall... As soon as a keg blows, rinse out and PBW for
storage no presure.

And my specialty grain is in shoe box sized sterilite bins(they hold 6# perfectly)
on shelves, large shipping label on the front with the contents, lovibond and potential gravity info...

Congratulations and good luck!  ;D
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: gordonstrong on August 22, 2010, 10:18:17 PM
For a second there I thought you were going to talk about Oxidation...

Or worse, Oprah.

I tend to think of organization not in terms of optimizing for storage, but optimizing for retrieval.  So think about what items you use the most and have those most handy.  If you have other stuff that is essentially bulk, then you can have that less accessible.  Use your computer geek mind and think if your supplies should be FIFO or LIFO -- it affects how you design your storage.

If you have a lot of kegs, stack them.  You can go dense with them.  Carboys put in their boxes when not in use so they can be more easily stacked. 

Understand what supplies are likely to vary in quantity widely and don't dense pack those. Leave room for the ebb and flow of brewing. I've seen people who pack everything away so tightly that it takes them forever to get everything out to brew. And you don't want to have to re-engineer your storage every time you buy a new gadget or restock some supplies.

If you are going to brew in the garage, keep supplies near equipment (grain near mill, for instance). Think workflow as part of your brewing process. Whatever causes you to take fewer steps and do less work is a win.  Your brewing system should be always set up or be ready to go quickly; don't give yourself reasons not to brew.

All of this is pretty personalized, so it's hard to generalize.  Be flexible and adapt; you probably won't get it right the first time, and you should be open-minded about changing it as you see better ways of doing it after you brew a few times.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: dbeechum on August 23, 2010, 02:06:26 AM
Or worse, Oprah.

No, not the Oprah!

Would love to see some photos of how people have their breweries setup. I tell you those kegs are a pain in the rear in terms of space.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: tschmidlin on August 23, 2010, 04:29:01 AM
Would love to see some photos of how people have their breweries setup. I tell you those kegs are a pain in the rear in terms of space.
I added some "uprights" to one of my shelving units that extends it to the ceiling.  Now I stack kegs on their side on the top shelf, 3 to a row and however high I need.  I can fit at least 15 kegs there, but I never have that many empty at one time.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: mthogan1997 on August 23, 2010, 07:34:07 AM
Since I park cars in my brewery, I put caster wheels on my shelving (the 5-tier, free-standing kind they sell at lowes), and my brew rig. For the shelving, I attached the wheels to a sheet of 3/8 plywood and glued/screwed it to the bottom shelf.

Rolling the shelves and brew rig into position keeps everything close for set-up and clean up even though they are not close for storage.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: bluesman on August 23, 2010, 10:31:49 AM
Now is chance to finally get things right.  ;)
Easy for me to say. 
Some great ideas noted above.  Conceptualize the flow and lay it out on paper.
Flow is key.  Minimize repeptitive motions.  That's how it's done in a manufacturing environment.
I don't envy you.  Moving sucks but it gives you a chance to improve your living environment.

Congrats and good luck!
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: MDixon on August 23, 2010, 12:25:25 PM
Wow if I had 300 sf for brewing I wouldn't have to circle the garage in shelves. I keep a majority of my stuff on desk tops I got for free. They were computer desk tops (nice ones) which were being thrown away. I put them on shelf brackets reported to hold 1000lb each and keep my kettles and such up there. My brewery sets up on cinder blocks or whatever when needed. Certainly not ideal.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: Slowbrew on August 23, 2010, 06:09:52 PM
Gorilla shelves from Sam's Club work great.  Adjustable shelves and heavy duty.

You can also build a cabinet designed for cornies in the basement (assuming you have one).  I built one that holds 10 kegs and my glass primaries on an outside basement wall.  It works like a natural cooler and keeps the kegs at cellar temps without having to keep the basement cold.

Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: deepsouth on August 23, 2010, 08:25:07 PM
i built a bigger house and i still need more storage....  you never seem to have enough.....
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: MrNate on August 23, 2010, 08:28:33 PM
Well, I finally got my sink/brew area in the garage somewhat organized. I put up some wall cabinets my brother-in-law gave me up above my commercial sink (which I still haven't hooked up yet). I put the random crap in the cabinets, cajun cookers underneath the drainboard, and kettles in the tubs. Added a few hooks for tubing, and then mounted bin storage for plumbing parts on the adjacent wall. Opposite the sink I have my fridge with taps and crap piled up on top that I need to deal with.

For my grain storage/milling/lagering area in the basement I'm still planning on building a dual chamber fermentation/lagering cabinet with bulk grain storage above. Everything else will go on a rack opposite that.

This, sadly, is about as organized as I get.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: chezteth on August 24, 2010, 01:33:54 AM
I agree that shelving is definitely a good idea.  When we moved into our house there was a shelf in the basement with each shelf tilted slightly toward the back.  I am able to fit my carboys on it 3 per shelf.  Unfortunately, I am not able to fit the 6.5 gal carboys as the shelves are not spaced far enough apart.  We also have another shelf with some tupperware containers for storing bungs, airlocks, chemicals, etc.  I stack the corny kegs in a corner of our brewing room.  Items that I use often for brewing I keep in a bucket that I can just grab and take up to the garage when I am going to brew.

Good Luck,
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: tankdeer on August 25, 2010, 06:50:46 PM
Congrats. I just bought my first house and still haven't set up my brewing area yet.

But I can tell you a little from past experience, that Denny is 100% right on. Shelves are the way to go. And specifically along those lines with regards to cornies and carboys, empty ones at least, is that they do especially well on their sides. So like a long narrow shelf along the top of your storage can hold lots of empties. The handles point forward, so they are easy to grab. And nothing is hidden behind anything else, so you can grab any one you want.

Another thing, if you've got the space, instead of putting a shelving unit with it's back against a wall, think "isles" and put it's side against the wall. Do that with several and you've at least doubled your storage space in roughly the same footprint.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: dcbc on September 02, 2010, 04:42:33 PM
I have a spot in the corner of the garage for the brew stand.  Kettles are stored in place.  I have shelving next to it with the mash tun and two plastic storage boxes full of hoses, worth chiller, and various gear.  In my closet, in the house, I have another storage box with things necessary to make starters (flask, stir plate, extra specialty grain) and deal with kegging, cleaning.  Iodophor and oxyclean are under the sink since that's where they get used.  I also have a small toolbox that contains all of the little stuff, stir bars, grommets, thermometers, gaskets, servomyces, lactic, etc, etc.

I don't do bulk grain storage, but may some day.  I need to relocate my grain mill and motor/table over by the stand since my old summit kegerator is going to be positioned next to my other storage fridge on that side of the garage.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: dbeechum on September 08, 2010, 05:57:23 PM
Hey gang, wanted to bump this topic back up and talk it through a little more thoroughly, get some pictures, etc, because this is looking like a possible Zymurgy piece. Here's your chance to get immortalized for at least an issue, while helping your fellow brewers bring peace and harmony to their brew spaces!
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: Mikey on September 08, 2010, 06:38:14 PM
I have a dedicated brew room. Kegs are kept high and hoses are hung on the wall. All of my test equipment, sample jars etc. are kept close by. Everything else is kept on or in the sink until ready to use.

Before I had this space, I was brewing out of my garage. It worked, but this is so much better. If you can ever swing it, go for it. If you're organized, it doesn't really take up all that much space.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: MrNate on September 09, 2010, 11:39:53 PM
Hey Drew, when's your deadline for pictures?
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: euge on September 10, 2010, 06:01:50 AM
Hey Drew, when's your deadline for pictures?

I have a feeling no-one's posting pics cause it ain't pretty... Seen some impressive setups posted elsewhere. Mine isn't. ;)
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: MrNate on September 10, 2010, 01:09:11 PM
Yeah, I feel the same way, but I'm trying to use it as my reason to clean up that corner.
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: tubercle on September 10, 2010, 01:26:09 PM
VCS = Visual Control System

Color coding and shadow boards.

Set min/max levels so you don't end up with and over abundance of supplies or ingredients and don't run out of critical stuff either.

For example, I have a space on a shelf for starsan concentrate. As soon as I get a new container I mark a line 3/4 empty with a sharpie. When I get to that level I order more. That way I don't have 2 or 3 laying around but the order point is soon enough to make sure I don't run out.

 I order a large coil of beverage line and cut to length and hang these coils on a peg. I keep the now individual coils together with a green twist tie on each except one, which has a red twist tie. I use the green ones first and when I get to the red one...time to order. 

 All kinds of little ways....
Title: Re: The Dreaded O Word
Post by: dbeechum on September 15, 2010, 06:12:03 PM
My deadline is around mid-November, so that would be ideal for photos.

Totally bring the ideas guys.. you'll help everyone out!