Author Topic: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer  (Read 8364 times)

Offline mrbowenz

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Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« on: August 23, 2010, 07:15:38 AM »
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:




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





Leak testing and assembly:





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





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:




Next up, the trailer:

Standard Haulmark 6'X10', single axel:



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:




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






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




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:



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


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)




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







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.






Heavy weather brewing:



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.




Brewing up history

Offline mrbowenz

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 07:30:02 AM »
Sorry forgot to add this link , here is my website with more of the reasons why/history etc..
www.arcticalchemy.com
Brewing up history

Offline bluesman

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 07:39:27 AM »
That is absolutely awesome!

Congrats!
Ron Price

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 08:09:24 AM »
Great stuff - congratulations on getting the beer done!
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bob

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2010, 02:06:10 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
Bob

Offline mrbowenz

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2010, 02:58:14 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.
Brewing up history

Offline denny

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2010, 03:03:21 PM »
I'm speechless....
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2010, 05:10:50 PM »
Congrats on the completion of this trip! Thank you for sharing.

Cheers. ;D
Ruben * Colorado :)

Offline Me

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 11:26:40 AM »
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!
Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy-
BF

Offline mrbowenz

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 03:04:18 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.
Brewing up history

Offline Milwaukee Mike

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2010, 09:10:26 PM »
This is one movie that I have to see!
Mike Rice
Beer Barons of Milwaukee

Offline euge

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2010, 10:43:30 PM »
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.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline narcout

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2010, 08:51:00 PM »
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?


Offline tubercle

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2010, 09:18:51 PM »
Damn it, boy....
Sweet Caroline where the Sun rises over the deep blue sea and sets somewhere beyond Tennessee

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Arctic Brewery and Mobile Fermentation Trailer
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2010, 09:38:37 AM »
Pretty cool.
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