Author Topic: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.  (Read 6212 times)

Offline Philbrew

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Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« on: February 15, 2016, 09:43:33 PM »
Note:  I intend to move this post to Pimp My System in a week or so but I thought I’d start it here to get more views and ideas from the many creative minds on the forum for solutions that I may have overlooked.
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So my back doctor sez to me:  “…and for three months following your surgery, I don’t want you lifting anything heavier than a glass of beer.”

And I’m thinking:  “How the hell am I going to brew that glass of beer?”

Here’s what I came up with so far,

I’m sure Martin and others have said:  “Good beer starts with good water”.  But our well water sucks for brewing (TDS 380+ with some iron). 
And I can no longer hump 5 gallon jugs of RO water from the machine at Walmart into and out of the car.

So I came up with this contraption.  (Looking down sideways from above)


Ion exchange softened house water goes into a UV sterilizer (shiny thing on top w/yellow tubing) and then through an under-sink style RO device.  It fills two 5 gallon carboys on a low roll-around cart.  It takes about 24 hours to make 10 gallons.  Cost for this set-up was about $260.  I figure this will pay for itself in a year or so vs, buying RO water.

The cart is rolled out to the brew area and the jugs with rope slings between the handle and spout are hoisted using a ratcheting block and tackle to fill the brew kettle.
 
The block and tackle slides on a 2 ft. length of ½” pipe that is lag screwed to the overhead joist.  The tackle can be positioned over the kettle or off to the side for hoisting water or dumping spent grain. 

Over the kettle, the tackle supports the grain bucket while mashing in.
 


The heart of the brew set-up is a 10 gal. kettle on a low Blichmann burner.  A center inlet, SS Chugger pump recirculates wort to a whirlpool port on the kettle or pumps finished wort to the fermenter on a tall roll-around cart.

 

Note the “valves”…cheap, functional and NO take-apart-to-clean.

Aside:  I’m doing BIAB, but batch sparge folks could maybe use this same kettle and pump set-up.  Put your mash tun on a table such that it will drain into the kettle.  Put a smaller(?) cooler on a stool on the table (or a shelf) such that it will drain into the tun.  Heat mash water and pump it into the tun.  Then heat sparge water and pump into the upper cooler.  Drain first runnings into the kettle.  Then drain sparge water into the tun.
 One kettle and one burner and no lifting!
Question:  Could you also do a kinda-sorta decoction mash with that set-up?

       Mashing.


The four layer Reflectix jacket holds the temperature fairly stable and the Blichmann flame can be adjusted low enough to add heat if needed.


Pulling and draining the BIAB.
 

Slide the bag loops around to one side of the SS hoop to collapse the bag and give it a good squeeze (wearing insulated gloves).


Slide the tackle and bag over to the side and dump the spent grain into a bin for the cows.





Pumping chilled wort into the fermenter.  I have a fine mesh nylon bag clamped to the hose to catch hop bits and trub.  I stuck it and the hose in the kettle near the end of the boil and pumped hot wort through.  Hope that sanitized it.



With the cart tucked into (and under) the fermentation fridge, the fermenter can slide onto the shelf.
Edit:  Somehow this got left out of the original post.


 

Time to keg the beer.         And roll it to the kegerator on a fold-up, aluminum hand truck.

Bottling. (After pump prime bottle priming)


OK, now for the part that I haven’t quite figured out.
How do I get the filled cases of bottles from the floor to the bench for capping?  And from there to the sink for a rinse and back to the bench for drying and putting in the case or ½ case boxes.  And then from there to a shelf to carb.  SWMBO has agreed to help with all that* but it would be great if I could come up with a way to do that myself.

*Note to self:  Be extra nice to her this year.

Also, I’m betting that the creative folks on the Forum will come up with ideas for better ways that I could do things in other areas of this no-lift brew system.

But, for now…


Me, following doctor’s orders.

Cheers



« Last Edit: February 17, 2016, 04:39:48 AM by Philbrew »
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2016, 09:50:11 PM »
Now that's dedication to the craft!

I'm glad you found a way the limitations.  I probably would have guilted my kids into helping or just switched over to hard liquor until I was cleared to lift again.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2016, 10:45:59 PM »
There are days I want a set up like that! Good job!
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Stevie

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2016, 11:00:20 PM »
So the purpose of the black pipe is to act as a track for the lifting setup? Can you move items laterally while lifted?

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2016, 11:24:29 PM »
So the purpose of the black pipe is to act as a track for the lifting setup? Can you move items laterally while lifted?
Yes, I can move the bag full of wet spent grain (15-20 lbs.) from above the kettle two ft. to the side where I can lower it and empty it into a bin.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2016, 11:28:32 PM »
Nicely done Philbrew
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg:
In Bottles:  
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

Offline Stevie

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2016, 11:31:29 PM »
Pretty cool.

I think you can source sheets of plastic that are very low friction. Maybe add this to the black pipe to make it even easier.

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2016, 11:43:05 PM »
Pretty cool.

I think you can source sheets of plastic that are very low friction. Maybe add this to the black pipe to make it even easier.
See now, that's an excellent idea that I didn't think of.  It's why this forum is so helpful.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline duboman

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2016, 09:51:33 PM »
Nifty and functional set up, looks like even a wheelchair bound person could brew with it.

In trying to answer your question on lifting cases of bottles, perhaps a small low shoulder floor jack with a piece of plywood attached to the lift to place the case on? Limiting factor I suppose would be the height of the lift?

Good luck with the surgery!

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Offline euge

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 04:43:02 PM »
Sorry about the back man. :(

Love the clever solutions to the problems. Which I may inspiration and adapt for my own setup.

A collapsible cart to transfer the cases? Has to be some sort of scissor-jack contraption out there...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline Pinski

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 04:46:52 PM »
Brilliant! Way to be Phil!
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Offline Philbrew

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2016, 05:44:53 PM »
Sorry about the back man. :(

Love the clever solutions to the problems. Which I may inspiration and adapt for my own setup.

A collapsible cart to transfer the cases? Has to be some sort of scissor-jack contraption out there...
Bingo!  A scissor jack contraption.  I could make one out of wood on casters and use the ratcheting block and tackle from the overhead lift to pull the "knees" together and raise it instead of a long screw.  Hmmm.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline euge

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2016, 06:04:26 PM »
Think I'm in the market for something like this:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/material-handling/lift-tables/mobile-scissor/mobile-scissor-li-table-330-lb-capacity?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=Cj0KEQiAjMC2BRC34oGKqY27jtkBEiQAwSXzfnsKgVFm3mJkbNkyde3zbamOW2-sBVyQ-yH_NQjso-QaAk2N8P8HAQ

Mainly to adjust my mashtun below and above kettle spigot and rim respectively.

My back also isn't that great sometimes and surgery... well I'd like to avoid the need for that.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline 69franx

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2016, 06:58:42 PM »
Think I'm in the market for something like this:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/material-handling/lift-tables/mobile-scissor/mobile-scissor-li-table-330-lb-capacity?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=Cj0KEQiAjMC2BRC34oGKqY27jtkBEiQAwSXzfnsKgVFm3mJkbNkyde3zbamOW2-sBVyQ-yH_NQjso-QaAk2N8P8HAQ

Mainly to adjust my mashtun below and above kettle spigot and rim respectively.

My back also isn't that great sometimes and surgery... well I'd like to avoid the need for that.
Man, I really love the look of this thing. Start saving my back now
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg:
In Bottles:  
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

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Simple no-lift brewing. Or how I saved my back.
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 08:38:51 PM »
Think I'm in the market for something like this:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/material-handling/lift-tables/mobile-scissor/mobile-scissor-li-table-330-lb-capacity?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=Cj0KEQiAjMC2BRC34oGKqY27jtkBEiQAwSXzfnsKgVFm3mJkbNkyde3zbamOW2-sBVyQ-yH_NQjso-QaAk2N8P8HAQ

Mainly to adjust my mashtun below and above kettle spigot and rim respectively.

My back also isn't that great sometimes and surgery... well I'd like to avoid the need for that.
Man, I really love the look of this thing. Start saving my back now
Euge and franx,
Here's a similar table cart for $169 http://www.harborfreight.com/500-lb-Capacity-Hydraulic-Table-Cart-60730.html .  Both it and the Global Industrial unit have a lift height range of 19-1/2" and are made in China.

Here's one for $259 http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-lbs-Capacity-Hydraulic-Table-Cart-69148.html with a lift height range of 23-1/2".

You guys have probably figured this out, but for others thinking about this approach, lift range is critical for making it work.  You can calculate the lift range you need by measuring your boil kettle from the outlet valve to the rim and do the same for your mash tun.  Add the two numbers and that is the minimum lift range you need for the hydraulic cart to do the job.  You need to go from the rim of the tun under the kettle valve to the tun valve over the rim of the kettle.

The valve-to-rim measurement on my 10 gal. kettle is 14-3/4".  I do BIAB but I measured some Coleman Extreme coolers at the store.  The 36 qt. model had a valve-to-rim of 11-1/4" and the 70 qt. measured at 13-3/4".  So, with the 36 qt. tun that gives a lift range needed of 14.75 + 11.25 = 26".  With the 70 qt. tun the needed range would be 28-1/2".  None of the above hydraulic carts would work for me without some modification.  They are all way overkill on the weight they can lift.  Perhaps they can be modified to trade some of that for additional lift range.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.