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General Category => Pimp My System => Topic started by: mrbowenz on August 23, 2010, 02:15:38 PM

Title: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: mrbowenz on August 23, 2010, 02:15:38 PM
Just back from filming in Canada for 3 weeks and thought I would share the brewery and equipment I built for the adventure. Because of the enormous challenge of fundraising, I had to build this whole system in 6 days (funds for the equipment didn't arrive until the last minute).

The goal was to brew historic ale from an 1852 recipe, 2000 miles away from home in the Canadian arctic, while riding a motorcycle and filming a documentary along the way. The concept was 3 motorcycles, two support vehicles and seven people.

The challenge was to make the beer in the elements on the shoreline of where the Hudson Bay meets the James Bay, and the very end of the northern road in Quebec; we actually crossed into the Nunavat Territory (considered the arctic). Produced the wort and then fermented the ale "in transit" all the way back to Pennsylvania.

To do this, I built a system that produced just less than 40 gallons per brewing session (2 days of brewing) and a trailer capable of keeping fermentation temperatures in the low 60's for the entire journey back.

Here's a photo log of the equipment I built to do this:

First I built a single tier brew stand out of 2" Stainless steel:
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010024.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010025.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010027.jpg)

Then I took 3 -55 gallon drums and started welding fittings and added valves etc:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010005.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010004.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010011.jpg)

Leak testing and assembly:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010007.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010001.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010031.jpg)

I like a recirculating mash system and generally do a batch sparge most of the time, here is the mash tun:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010032.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010033.jpg)


Because of the limited space and the large footprint, I need to keep the HLT and the Mash Tun together and build a separate boil stand of the same size, when together, they all fit nicely, but are quite large. The brewery would have two 32 tip Jet type burners, one under the boil kettle and one under the HLT, the mash tun would have a smaller burner for maintaining mash temps.

Since I was brewing outside I needed to bring along a gas powered generator to supply power for the small march pump, and of course this whole system was fueled by liquid propane, for which I brought 4- 20 pound tanks. To keep things simple, there was not much automation, hand lit burners, and only an off and on switch for the pump.

Welding and testing the burners:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/000xhe65.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/000xg3e4.jpg)

Next up, the trailer:

Standard Haulmark 6'X10', single axel:
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010034.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010037.jpg)

Fermentation would be a challenge, maintaining proper temps and controlling the sloshing. I used two Blichmann 42 gallon fermenters, and added a 12-volt glycol-chilling concept;

Some of the parts used in the task:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010016.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010013.jpg)

1/4" copper circuit soldered to sheet metal plates allowed the transfer of cooling to the large surface of the fermenters;

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010044.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010045.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ArcticBrewery2010046.jpg)


Then I bolted the fermenters to the floor of the trailer and started on the glycol system:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/system.jpg)


The way the glycol system worked:

The pump circulated the liquid thru a cooler, which had a stainless steel coil, ice was added and maintained a reasonable level of insulation and fairly low level of melting. The PID's where connected to thermocouples into the fermenters, a range was set (I choose to ferment at 62-65 degrees) and as needed the PID's called for the pump to come on or not. I added a low level grant for adding glycol or purging air from the system. It took some time to prime the system but the grant helped and worked smoothly after it was all balanced and running.

The chilling circuit:
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/glycol.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/DSC_0050.jpg)

Power management and the way the system worked:

12 volts came from the Land Rover support truck battery and was charged continuously by the alternator. it fed a 12 volt power inverter (the 1000 w Black and Decker unit), plus the 12 volt water/glycol pump and 2 12 volt PIDs to monitor fermentation temps. But the power inverter also powered a 120-volt trickle charger, which charged a deep cell Marine battery.
The idea here was during the day while we traveled, the Land Rover powered the demand for the pump and PID's, when we stopped for the night, I converted power from the deep cell to keep the pump running overnight and at stops. As the battery would run down over night, it was recharged during the day, it worked flawlessly.

The control panel
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/ferment.jpg)

The idea for the sloshing was pretty easy, connect the two blow-off tubes together with a tee and send them to a stout 5 gallon corny keg, the inlet when into the tube side (or the liquid out side) and the pressure from the fermenting beer came out the gas "in side, and was vented by another tube safely outside the trailer. Honestly after all the miles we drove, I lost maybe 1/2 gallon due to sloshing, because I mounted the fermenters directly over the axel of the trailer ( for weight distribution and minimal disturbance of the beer.)

I was amazed by how well this system worked, the pump barely ran at first ( we where in a colder climate, but by the time it was in the mid 80's, the beer stayed in the low 60's as planned.

(noted these pictures below are post trip and the tubing had become slightly beat-up and disconnected to the fermenters, it is critical that the tubing is in contact with the surface to be effective)

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/DSC_0051.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/DSC_0048.jpg)

Here are a few shots of everything loaded into the trailer and ready to begin the long journey north:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/Blichmans.jpg)

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/breweryonwheels2.jpg)

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/AALineup.jpg)

So we brewed beer in the Canadian Arctic and brought home almost 70 gallons of ale:

This is the location, but we had bad weather (40 mph winds, 40 degrees and almost 5 inches of rain - all at the same time for 4 days), but we completed the session and brought home the beer.


(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/shoreline.jpg)

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/brewing.jpg)

Heavy weather brewing:

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/weather-1.jpg)

No troubles crossing the boarder into Canada, but coming back was difficult, and the ride was long and difficult on a motorcycle, 3100 miles in 3 weeks while brewing beer away from home while making a movie with 7 people in Quebec and the Nunavat. My filmmakers are from Moscow but speak English, but as far as I know, no one has ever done anything like this before and the look of the US customs people when I crossed the boarder was worth the whole trip. A team of Hazmat guys inspected the trailer and detained us for nearly two hours. Homebrewing in the US is legal and also in Canada, the beer is for promotional use only and not to be sold. They were literally puzzled by the whole affair and confused by why? ...very amusing, but not on film.

(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/bmw2.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/chrisandjohn.jpg)
(http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i226/mrbowenz/remus.jpg)
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: mrbowenz on August 23, 2010, 02:30:02 PM
Sorry forgot to add this link , here is my website with more of the reasons why/history etc..
www.arcticalchemy.com
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: bluesman on August 23, 2010, 02:39:27 PM
That is absolutely awesome!

Congrats!
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: tschmidlin on August 23, 2010, 03:09:24 PM
Great stuff - congratulations on getting the beer done!
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: bob on August 23, 2010, 09:06:10 PM
Very "cool".
Other than the great adventure of the preparation and the trip, and making beer above the Artic Circle, I'm still puzzled about the Why. The Allsopps ale wasn't made up north was it?
 Nonetheless, Congratuations!!

Nice simple build on the brewery. Whats going to happen to it?
Bob Schneider
Yeast Coasters
West Michigan
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: mrbowenz on August 23, 2010, 09:58:14 PM
Very "cool".
Other than the great adventure of the preparation and the trip, and making beer above the Artic Circle, I'm still puzzled about the Why. The Allsopps ale wasn't made up north was it?
 Nonetheless, Congratuations!!

Nice simple build on the brewery. Whats going to happen to it?


The beer was originally made in Burton on Trent in 1852 by Samuel Allsopp and Sons, but the ship that carried it went to Canada and then after being abandoned in the ice was recovered by the United States, after we returned the ship to England , the Queen had a desk for the President made from the timbers of the ship and it's in the oval office today.
To tell this story in a modern way, I choose a motorcycle instead of a ship, but I used Malted Barley from England , US grown hops and yeast, and water from a famous Canadian river ( this was the alchemy element ). Simply put , I tried to create a modern adventure film about an old beer and history , that had been mostly over-looked for 160 years.......because I think beer is neat  ;D


Not sure what I will do with the system now other than brew on it , and use it to promote my film. But I have 5 other stories like this one and I am currently developing a career in doing this again all over the world to promote beer history and tell storys, like a writer, but instead one who acts out the story on film, because I think in this era people watch movies and TV more than they read. I of course don't watch TV or movies at all, I mostly read.
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: denny on August 23, 2010, 10:03:21 PM
I'm speechless....
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: rabid_dingo on August 24, 2010, 12:10:50 AM
Congrats on the completion of this trip! Thank you for sharing.

Cheers. ;D
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: Me on August 24, 2010, 06:26:40 PM
Historical brewing is a great topic and I really enjoy seeing a homebrewer take on a challenge such as this one. There are many breweries that have uncovered old beer recipes (New Belguim 1554, Dogfish Head Midas Touch, Six Point Craft Ales Dr.Klankenstein), and I hope to see the Mobile Fermentation Trailer (and other homebrewers) on more historical beer adventures. Hey, it would make a great TV series!
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: mrbowenz on August 24, 2010, 10:04:18 PM
Thanks all , I like the idea of taking it on the road and telling the story, much of the shows about beer and wine for example are in a pub setting or over a dinner, the new concepts are refreshing ( such as Sam's new show due out this fall ) but the idea here is adding excitement and adventure ...on the road, or on the ship or the motorcycle, it's extreme brewing is it's purest sense.

It's easy to make beer in a brewery, a fresh idea is not adding an unusual ingredient (beer is the oldest drink known to mankind, and if you think by adding something new to your boil kettle or fermenter hasn't been done before?, well it probably has).This is not for everyone, but i you have a passion for beer, history and adventure, this is it.
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: Milwaukee Mike on August 25, 2010, 04:10:26 AM
This is one movie that I have to see!
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: euge on August 25, 2010, 05:43:30 AM
That brewery would be the envy of any homebrewer. Awesome experience to be sure. I'm looking forward to seeing this one and any others.
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: narcout on August 27, 2010, 03:51:00 AM
I am totally floored and definitely looking forward to seeing this on film.

I read an article about your trip the other week, how does one go about getting a bottle of your beer?

Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: tubercle on August 27, 2010, 04:18:51 AM
Damn it, boy....
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 27, 2010, 04:38:37 PM
Pretty cool.
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: capozzoli on August 28, 2010, 01:03:59 AM
Wow..just wow!

How much is one of those SS 55 gal drums?
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: mrbowenz on August 28, 2010, 02:43:02 AM
I was very fortunate to buy all three SS drums for $450 delivered from MA, however I let the seller know what it was I was doing with them and shared our story, there are always deals on CL and Ebay for the dedicated watchers and waiters. Be patient and your deal will come too!

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement !
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: hopaddicted on August 28, 2010, 04:01:19 PM
Great story, congrats!

Where did you get the fittings on the bottom of the pot from? Love that style, but haven't found them yet (except in breweries).
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: mrbowenz on August 28, 2010, 04:20:01 PM
Great story, congrats!

Where did you get the fittings on the bottom of the pot from? Love that style, but haven't found them yet (except in breweries).

Thank you !

I have been using St. Pats in Austin TX.  for almost 6 years now, and although they have difficult customer service and many in the homebrewing world can't stand them , I have had a great relationship with them, my advice is do your research elsewhere or ask someone else what you need prior to placing an order with St. Pats, but they have great pricing and fantastic parts. They are just not small order/homebrewer friendly , if not, there are several other places to buy sanitary fittings like MoreBeer, GW Kent or even Ebay.
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: denny on August 30, 2010, 04:16:05 PM
I have been using St. Pats in Austin TX.  for almost 6 years now, and although they have difficult customer service and many in the homebrewing world can't stand them , I have had a great relationship with them

I was banned from buying from them! 
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: tschmidlin on August 30, 2010, 05:33:53 PM
I was banned from buying from them! 
Come on Denny, you can't just throw that out there without explaining it . . .
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: tygo on August 30, 2010, 05:40:41 PM

I was banned from buying from them! 

(http://rlv.zcache.com/no_hippies_card-p137054768113515212qi0i_400.jpg)

 ;D
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: dak0415 on August 30, 2010, 05:51:11 PM
I was banned from buying from them! 
Yeah!  What did you do to piss them off?
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 31, 2010, 03:29:16 AM
I was banned from buying from them! 
Yeah!  What did you do to piss them off?
Probably just ask a question.
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: denny on August 31, 2010, 09:55:54 PM
Dixon should get in on this, too...a number of years ago, there was a discussion on rcb about poor customer service from St. Pat's.  Lynn O'Conner got involved in the discussion and called everyone who complained "Taliban" and banned them from buying.  It was pretty comical, really.  I actually got banned before I'd ever bought anything from them!  It may still be in the Google archives.  It was about 11-12 years ago.
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: tschmidlin on September 01, 2010, 06:07:27 AM
I tracked some of them down.  Wow.  That's all I'm going to say.

It was 2002, when people here might have heard of the Taliban. :)
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: denny on September 01, 2010, 04:13:28 PM
I tracked some of them down.  Wow.  That's all I'm going to say.

I told ya it was pretty amusing!
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: homebrewdad on September 09, 2010, 09:39:58 PM
Just so happens there's a thread going on now at Probrewer.com about this same (lack of) customer service issue at St. Pat's!! ;D
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: denny on September 10, 2010, 04:11:28 PM
Just so happens there's a thread going on now at Probrewer.com about this same (lack of) customer service issue at St. Pat's!! ;D

Can a leopard change its spots?
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: tschmidlin on September 10, 2010, 04:43:00 PM
Just so happens there's a thread going on now at Probrewer.com about this same (lack of) customer service issue at St. Pat's!! ;D

Can a leopard change its spots?
I don't know about that, but a tiger can change it's stripes (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newsvideo/weirdnewsvideo/7973055/White-tiger-cub-in-Indian-zoo-turns-black.html) . . .
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: oscarvan on September 14, 2010, 02:18:06 AM
I was going to wait with my first post until I actually brewed something. Right now I'm reading Charlie P. for the second time and putting a spreadsheet with "stuff I have" and "stuff I need" together.

But yesterday I was driving through town, and lo and behold spotted the very same Landie as featured in this thread. Being a long time Landie nut, and a budding brewer I had to say "COOL!".

The boys and girls at Keystone say I could run in to you there and shake your hand...... ;D
Title: Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
Post by: mrbowenz on October 16, 2010, 07:09:19 PM
Just did a Podcast with Bradley Smith of Beersmith software on my journey and film:

http://www.beersmith.com/blog/2010/10/15/arctic-alchemy-with-chris-bowen-bshb-podcast-episode-1/