So next year (2013) I plan to build a mobile, all-electric brewstand. I spent a little time recently identifying goals for this project:
An affordable, flexible, all-electric system designed to ease the physical process and provide indoor/outdoor brewing in an urban apartment.
Mobile -- can be rolled throughout apartment's main floor and deck
Modular -- parts can be replaced as needed
Flexible batch size -- supports between 2 and 4 gallons per batch
Water-conscious -- cooling water is no more than 3x the amount of sparging water
Automates the movement of liquid throughout the brewing process ("no-lift")
Minimizes the need to sparge (but supports sparging if desired)
Accessible for short/older brewers - minimal reaching, minimal stooping, low center of gravity
Easy-to-read controls and displays
Alarms, alerts, and reminders for brewing steps (possibly remote)
Comments are welcome. One question I have been chewing over has to do with cooling the wort. I am wondering if the edit: HLT can double as a prechiller or recirculator. I'd like to make this project as water-conscious as possible.
I'm also thinking 5 gallons may be ambitious. One thing I've noticed from brewing different sized batches is that there is a point above 3 gallons where the process becomes exponentially more demanding -- how long it takes to cool, in particular (and of course, lifting and moving, which this brewstand is designed to address for this stage of the process). I selected 5 gallons because that's the standard kit size -- not that I brew kits (not since my first three or four batches), though I might now and then if I could figure out how to easily move all that liquid through the brewing process.
I'm not in any rush on this project. I can take five years if that's what's needed... maybe to take a class in something or have something constructed.