Author Topic: DIY Brewery  (Read 975 times)

Offline Rbalsinger

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DIY Brewery
« on: December 23, 2020, 12:21:23 PM »
Getting back to brewing again. This time I wanted some dedicated equipment and space. Getting setup in the basement. Have ventilation and CO alarm. Electric induction heat for HLT and Mash Tun paired with propane for the boil. I just couldn't get more than a gentle boil with the 1800 watt 120v induction heat.

Set up the 3 tier. I removed the burners for the top 2 tiers. The top tier converts easily from HLT to venting during the boil. Started the vent with some 4" duct and a 4" fan from a 90's desktop computer.

Paired that with some HVAC reducers. $$$ but I "knew a guy".

Hooked up an old power supply that matched the fan. Pushed the duct to an adjacent hot water tank flue. Voila!


The fan is noisy but i expect to have airbuds on like I do most days. Then I needed a better fermentation solution than I used before. I got a working but old and dirty water cooler from an abandoned storage unit. I took it apart and PBW'd the guts. I tried several configurations and ended up with this setup. Works like a charm. Hoping the compressor lasts. It has been fine for the past couple days. The fermenter is wrapped with 15 feet of 3/8" hose. I am running StarSan through the hoses for no particular reason. I only half filled the well in the cooler so the foam remains self contained. When I filled the well full. it foamed out wherever it could.




That thermometer is 20 years old!
Should be brewing English Ales by New Years. First batch will be some wort to can.
Hope these ideas do something for you'all.



Offline Rbalsinger

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2020, 12:37:43 PM »
I think I will replace the StarSan with RV antifreeze.

Offline kramerog

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2020, 03:26:06 PM »
Ingenious use of water cooler.

Offline Rbalsinger

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2020, 07:54:58 PM »
So, I upgraded the chiller.

I am using RV antifreeze (alcohol & glycol; good to -50F. That is a burst temperature. It gets thick below -10 but will not burst) as the coolant and got the minimum temperature down to 26.8 before the compressor turns off. It is an old cooler and does not have an adjustable feature. I have ID'd the thermostat and could upgrade, but not at this point.



I set it up so that I can cool the fermenter and/or the Therminater by opening/closing CPVC valves.

So, here is my planned process overview.

HLT is plumbed to the Hot water tank (120F)
Induction heat under the HLT

Tier 2 is Mash Tun. False bottom and insulated Stainless. Induction under the mash.

Tier 3 is 8-gal boiler. A propane boiler vented to the roof.



When I transfer to the boiler, while it is heating, I can remove the HLT and induction and set 1pc vent Fan & Duct in place. It's that simple.
At the end of boil, whirlpool, and rest for 60 minutes or so.


I then connect via quick disconnect to the pump, chiller and into the CO2 purged fermenter.





After I rearrange the hoses, I pump out of the fermenter, to the chiller and back to the bottom of the fermenter using the CO2 charger to replace the atmosphere in the fermenter.




When I reach 59- or 60-degrees wort temp I oxygenate, pitch, and have a beer.

Any input would be appreciated. I hope to be able brew New Year's Eve. I ordered malt online after a couple of disappointing encounters with the local brew shop. That's another story.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2020, 09:09:52 PM »
Far more advanced than my setup for sure.

If you find the fan too loud a good replacement would be the cloudline exhaust fans. I use one to vent my roaster and while the roaster is fairly loud the fan is almost completely silent.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline denny

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2020, 09:12:55 PM »
I applaud your creativity and skill.  You've also reminded me why I hate building equipment.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Rbalsinger

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2020, 10:03:00 PM »
Thanks.

Now all I have to do is actually make beer. 8)

Offline waltsmalt

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2020, 02:03:56 PM »
Did I misread something here, or are you boiling with propane indoors?  I saw a reference to induction, but I wasn’t sure. 

Offline Rbalsinger

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2020, 04:44:06 PM »
Yup.

I Bummed some old malt to run tests while waiting for mine to come this week from NB. The tests went so smooth I am going to drive to LHB shop to get 2 Omega British Ale VIII and go ahead and ferment.



CO alarm Floor mounted at foot of burner. Picture was taked 3/4 of the way through a 90 min rolling boil.



Fan and hood entirely lifts steam and compounds as well as some amount of air around the burner. Can't even smell the wort standing next to the pot.



Duct contains a fan. Didn't do the math but the exhaust test could blow out a match with the 4" duct work. It moves enough air to keep condensation from forming at the hood or in the duct work. Standing outside the house, you can smell wort, but you can't tell if it is from my house or the AB Columbus Brewery 1.5 miles away.



Duct joins the gas hot water flue and all collected vapors are carried to the roof outside.

Your results may vary.



Offline waltsmalt

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2020, 01:52:18 AM »
That all makes sense.  Great to see you are being safe.

Offline Mt Brew Man

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2021, 05:17:16 PM »
That's quite the setup Sir! You have obviously put the research in.

I'm working on setting up a brew room in my basement with a propane burner and ventilation system as well.

I have a few questions if you don't mind.

What is the BTU rating of your propane burner?

Is it high pressure or low pressure regulated?

Is it important to move as much air as you've described?

Last, but most important question... Have you made any brew yet?  ;)

One more thing, if you haven't noticed this is my first post here. My name is Robert and I live in the north Georgia mountains. Only made 2 batches so far, but looking forward to 100'ds more. Well actually, I'm really forward to drinking the brew more than the brewing, but I do enjoy the process of crafting a good beer. I've been making wine for almost 9 years now and just this year, have finally mustered up the courage to brew.

Anyway, glad to be here and looking forward to gaining some brewing knowledge from you more experienced brewers.

Thanks!

Offline Rbalsinger

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2021, 12:41:43 PM »

What is the BTU rating of your propane burner?

50,000 BTU

Is it high pressure or low pressure regulated?
Low. 5lb

Is it important to move as much air as you've described?
Seemed like more was better. I got a fan from an old computer board. There was a heat sink on the board that is the size of a ham sandwich. That puppy must have made some heat. You could put some old potentiometer on it if you wanted to slow it down IMO.

Last, but most important question... Have you made any brew yet?  ;)
I have a Best Bitter OG 1.044) in ferment now. Today I am supposed to get 3 batches of ingredients from NB. I will get some more going after that.

I've been making wine for almost 9 years now and just this year, have finally mustered up the courage to brew.
I plan to make wine for the first time this year. Any suggestions on where to start as far as kits, juice etc?

Offline chinaski

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2021, 12:21:29 AM »
Induction brewer here- please consider switching to electric!  I'd hate to read about a fellow brewer catching their house on fire and their insurance company not covering it!  220V can heat fast! 

Brew on!

Offline Mt Brew Man

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2021, 09:54:33 PM »
Hi Rbalsinger,

Thanks for the answers.

As for your wine question. Kits are a great way to start since they come with everything you need, except for the equipment of course. Although some kits are better than others, they all use concentrated grape juice. They're not bad, it's just a lot better if you can get your hands on fresh grapes, or juice. IMHO, unconcentrated juice is a great way to go because the hard work is already done for you. On the other hand, if there is a vineyard nearby they may let you pick some grapes, or sell them in bulk. Crushing your own grapes by hand can be rather time-consuming, but if you have the time, starting from scratch this way will give you the best chance for producing an excellent wine. Just so know, one 5 gallon bucket packed full of grapes will make you about 1 gallon of wine, or 5 - 750ml bottles. For several years now I've been making wine from fruit I can harvest locally. One vineyard I've got grapes from has what's called a "Norton/Cynthiana" grape. It's become my favorite. But, I also make wine using apples from the local orchards. Blueberries make an awesome wine, as well as strawberries. So, you might want to try using fruit from your area. Of course, that is a seasonal thing. Having said all that, there's nothing like a finely aged wine made from grapes. You might have to figure out which one is going to tantalize your palate, but that's part of the fun.

On another note, chinaski may have a point about home insurance policies. A 5lb. pressure line is illegal in my state. Not sure about yours though. Anyway, that's why I'm planning on using a low-pressure system of 1/2 psi. This way I can tap into my existing 1/2" ID gas line. I've already installed a standard range hood with a 270 CFM rating. According to what I've read, this will keep everything within code. Unfortunately, I don't know if the low-pressure propane gas burner I ordered will work. Should be delivered tomorrow, so will test it out then. It's a 35,000 BTU burner and it is described as a low-pressure burner. The connections very much resemble a standard gas Bar-B-Que grill, which will run on 1/2 psi. So, I'm hopeful it will work. I'll keep you posted on that if you like.

Let me know if I can help in any way with your winemaking.

Cheers!

Offline Rbalsinger

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Re: DIY Brewery
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2021, 12:28:33 PM »
I use bottled LPG. Sounds like you are plumbing from a tank?