Author Topic: Rethinking my brewery  (Read 3022 times)

S. cerevisiae

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Rethinking my brewery
« on: June 21, 2015, 02:50:08 PM »
The Zymatic and the other all-in-one breweries that have come to market in the last couple of years have me rethinking my brewery.  My decision to rethink my brewery is not about simplifying the process.  It's about reducing the amount of trips that I have to make up and down my basement stairs. I brew in my garage, and clean in a utility sink that is located in our laundry room, which is on the first floor.  Brew day means humping a propane stove or portable induction range, two coolers, a grist bucket, a kettle, a bucket for primary sanitation with bleach solution (Star San does not kill a wild yeast strain that lives in my house), another bucket for secondary sanitation with Star San (post-hot water rinse because my water source is not chlorinated), a chiller, fermentation vessel, and other associated brew day gear and supplies up and down two flights of stairs. 

One of the major limitations with the all-in-one solutions is batch size, which is not a problem for me because my standard batch size is less than five gallons.   What I do see as a problem is cost.  I really like the Zymatic.  I eyeballed that booth more times than any other at NHC.  Has anyone other than Denny used the Zymatic?  I will probably have to sell one my American-made PRS guitars to fund to the purchase, which is a not an easy thing for me to do.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2015, 03:36:41 PM »
a bucket for primary sanitation with bleach solution (Star San does not kill a wild yeast strain that lives in my house),

Interesting! I have long worried that there are some bugs that may be resistant to acid-based sanitizers. For that reason, I've alternated with iodophor. But it sounds as if I may need to alter my methods even more. 

Tell me more about this issue, Master.

I feel your pain regarding the mobilization and demobilization of gear for brewing. It sounds less like a gear problem and more like a location problem. I've relocated to a permanent basement location with electric heating. That has been less of a PITA for me.
Martin B
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Offline johnnyb

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2015, 04:01:36 PM »
Do you have to build in a vented hood to boil in the basement?

Offline denny

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2015, 04:20:47 PM »
I know Drew uses a Zymatic.  Maybe he'll chime in.
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2015, 08:45:52 PM »
I just bought a house with what sounds like a similar setup to Mark. I am still pondering what brewery changes I will need to make. Lugging gear down and then back up the basement stairs seems like a bad long term plan. I too am considering the PicoBrew. None of the other automated systems seem as automated and none seem as easy to clean.

The small batch size seems like a minor issue. If I want more beer I can brew the recipe twice.


Offline 69franx

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2015, 09:51:54 PM »
I can feel your pain Mark, if a little less painful. I brew mostly outside in our back driveway (house was built with an in law suite with separate garage and access down stairs around back). All of my brew day work is down and out there as well as fermentation chamber (chest freezer) but I don't have any good working space for bottling day. So my fermenter, bucket of star dan, bottling bucket, assorted parts and tools, bottles, etc all get lugged upstairs for use. It then all gets washed upstairs in the kitchen (previous owner converted in law suite kitchen into a bedroom) and then lugged back downstairs for storage.  Sooner or later I will turn that bedroom back into a kitchen/brewery space but that's going to take time and money I don't have right now. Good luck with your plans for reorganizing
Frank L.
Fermenting:
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In the works: Hopefully brewing 10 gallons of Pilsner tomorrow for a family reunion in July, then back to IPA and  a barleywine to age

S. cerevisiae

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2015, 10:49:58 PM »
Interesting! I have long worried that there are some bugs that may be resistant to acid-based sanitizers. For that reason, I've alternated with iodophor. But it sounds as if I may need to alter my methods even more. 

I encountered a problem with a phenolic off-flavor when I switched from using bleach and iodophor to using Star San as my primary sanitizer.  I like iodophor, but my wife is not a fan of how it wants to stain everything that it touches, so bleach was my sanitizer of choice for a long time.  I know how to use bleach effectively; therefore, I do not encounter its downside.

Anyway, I changed every variable in my brewing process in an attempt to identify the source of the off-flavor.  I finally broke down and plated some of my beer using Lin's medium (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.2050-0416.1975.tb06414.x/pdf), and sure enough, there was a wild yeast strain in my beer.   I was in disbelief.  I am extremely careful when handling my cultures, and all of my small transfers are handled using aseptic technique.  I then went back to my brewing logs and discovered that the off-flavor appeared after I switched to Star San.  That's when I started to do my homework on acid-anionic sanitizers.  Here's what I found (first paragraph, right-hand side of the page): https://books.google.com/books?id=lCRxcp3gfhUC&pg=PA180&lpg=PA180&dq=acid+anionic+sanitizers&source=bl&ots=oQ8kP6na45&sig=Pt9w-raZ44UCf_VT43Qq7MfjU8k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=U-CGVdmaNrSNsQSk6ZPICQ&ved=0CE8Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=acid%20anionic%20sanitizers&f=false

The surfactant is what kills microflora.  Phosphoric acid lowers the pH of the solution in order to make the surfactant more effective.  If you think about it, your claim that Star San should be used with distilled water because the metals in non-distilled water bind with the surfactant makes perfect sense.  It does not matter if the pH is still below 3, a percentage of the killing agent is bound to metals in the water, rendering it less effective.

The killing action is via attraction to positively charged cell walls, which allows the surfactant to penetrate and disrupt cellular activity.  Yeast cells are negatively charged; hence, it is nowhere near as effective at killing yeast as the oxidizing halogens.  I quit using Star San as my primary sanitizer for that reason.  The wild yeast strain has not revisited my brewery.

Quote
Tell me more about this issue, Master.

Master? more like weed hopper  :)

Quote
I feel your pain regarding the mobilization and demobilization of gear for brewing. It sounds less like a gear problem and more like a location problem. I've relocated to a permanent basement location with electric heating. That has been less of a PITA for me.

I would love to build a permanent brewery in the basement, but that's no going to happen while I am still married.  My wife hates all of the smells that are encountered in a brewery, even at low levels.


« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 01:13:09 AM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2015, 11:37:00 PM »
That's good info, Mark.  I'm a Star San user but for the last few years I've sanitized my buckets and other plastic with a strong bleach solution once a year as a precaution against possible resistant bugs. I also use distilled for Star San. Looks like I'll keep doing both.
Jon H.

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2015, 01:32:20 AM »
God I feel the pain of no dedicated brewery which is why I often do smaller batches biab. Much of the time I save is in having less stuff to lug and using the kitchen stove. So what size batch can a zymatic handle assuming not super high gravity.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2015, 01:35:09 AM »
What about peracetic acid in the homebrewery? Its easy to create with distilled vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.  I've just never thought it was necessary with the other sanitizers we have access to.
Martin B
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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2015, 01:55:37 AM »
God I feel the pain of no dedicated brewery which is why I often do smaller batches biab. Much of the time I save is in having less stuff to lug and using the kitchen stove. So what size batch can a zymatic handle assuming not super high gravity.
I'm pretty sure it's a straight ahead 2.5 gallon batch size (although I'm sure there's a max gravity based on the amount of grain it can hold).  OK, looked it up, and it appears to brew with a finished batch size of 2.5 gallons with a starting wort amount of ~3 gallons.  It can brew beers with up to a 1.090 OG without adding DME (according to their FAQ).

S. cerevisiae

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2015, 02:13:21 AM »
What about peracetic acid in the homebrewery? Its easy to create with distilled vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.  I've just never thought it was necessary with the other sanitizers we have access to.

I have been thinking about switching to paracetic acid for quite some time.  It's just that I have ready access to bleach in the room in which I clean and sanitize my gear.

Offline dalenlandis

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2015, 02:30:45 AM »
First time poster with a zymatic. I use it all the time brewing 3.5 gal recipes (with a triple batch I can get 10 gal), and can get 1.060 with all grain.


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Offline banjo-guy

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Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2015, 03:35:40 AM »
I'm going through the same process. I move all of my gear to the kitchen from the basement.  I find if I prepare everything the night before and move all of my stuff upstairs the brew day is much easier.

I want to setup a dedicated area in the garage or in  the laundry room. The garage has no water or drain so it's not ideal. My wife is encouraging me to take over part of the laundry room.

When I first head about Pico Brew I dismissed it out of hand but now I'm having second thoughts. I only brew 2.5 gallons and this looks like a good, easy option.
What are the venting requirements for the Pico?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 03:57:25 AM by banjo-guy »

Offline dalenlandis

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Re: Rethinking my brewery
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2015, 03:38:51 AM »
Being fully contained and electric I get by brewing in a 3 car garage with no venting. It makes it a touch humid, if brewing in a smaller room, venting would be nice, but maybe not necessary


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