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Author Topic: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play  (Read 2757 times)

Offline Kirk

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When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« on: January 01, 2011, 10:40:24 am »
I've got a gravity system with 15 gallon pots.  Love it but they're heavy.  I'm in good shape now, but some day my back won't let me do what I now do.  The biggest strain is cleaning (moving pots around, etc.).  So I'm wondering if you guys have some tips.  I suppose that the more I could "clean-in-place", the better off I would be.  I would need pumps I guess.  Use ladders more.  Maybe I'll need to replace the gravity with a flat frame.  Maybe get a young son, grandson, or nephew to do the grunt work.  I'm just wondering if you've found something that really worked for you, and didn't cost "5 figures".

On another note:  I'm so thankful for all of you, this forum, you who have worked so hard to put it together and maintain it.  This is the best hobby I have ever found, and this fraternity makes it so much more rewarding.  Where else can a schmuck like me "toss" a question out there, and "know" I'm not only going to get a response, but several, from all around the country, even the world, and the responses will be intelligent, thoughtful, and will increase my knowledge and perspective.  May God bless all of you, your families, and your endeavors.
Kirk Howell

Offline denny

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 10:43:38 am »
Hi Kirk,

Thanks for all the kind words about the forum.  I think that the AHA, those of us who run this forum, and all the users are thrilled with how it works and the quality of information and camaraderie here.

As to your question, having reached the ripe old age of nearly 59, I started thinking the same way.  After years of keeping it "Cheap'n'Easy", I bought a pump about 6 months ago and it's been a great labor (and back!) saving device.  If you don't have one already, I'd recommend you consider it!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline euge

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 10:57:23 am »
I learned my limits. Even though I have a pump the highest anything gets lifted is to the counter-top, and that is when racking to kegs or bottling. The rest of my brewery is about waist level or less.

I try not to lift more than 4 gallons at a time on brew day though at the the end my fermenters usually have 6 gallons in them. That's pretty hefty, but also I keep my fermentation chamber on a furniture dolly that can be pushed around with two fermenters inside.

Welcome to the AHA forum.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 11:33:32 am »
As one of the guys who can speak from experience on the age/back thing.

I would not brew as much without a pump.  It is a back saver.

Going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week is also a good thing as I get older.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline capozzoli

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2011, 11:52:54 am »
This is a tough problem. I drink less now so I am moving to smaller batches. Five gallons is way more than I need n one brew session.

But I have thought about this.

What about some kind of uni-strut over the brew area with a small chain fall and trolley. May be relatively inexpensive with a look through the McMaster Carr catalog.  

Coarse you would have to keep your brewery compact and close with a sink near by.
Beer, its whats for dinner.


Offline tom

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2011, 01:11:04 pm »
Or a brew buddy.
Brew on

Offline oscarvan

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2011, 08:54:17 pm »
53 and (still) refusing to act my age.....still muscling things around.... but every year it gets a little harder. Some day I just may have to go with the sit and hold the remote approach.
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2011, 10:39:14 am »
I'm 46 and wondering what I'm going to do when my 17 year old son goes to college after next year.  Some days it's just dang hard to move 5+ gallons at a time.

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

Offline phillamb168

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2011, 12:15:42 pm »
I'm 26 and every winter for the past 4 years I've gotten a pinched nerve on my lower left back, which has put me out of commission for a week. As it's now January and I've not yet had the dreaded Twinge Of Doom that is a portent of my spending a week in bed, I wonder if the change in climate has helped, or maybe the regimen of Aleve which I've been taking religiously for the last two months. The best way to fix it permanently is to get in better shape, but for now let's just say I feel your pain.
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Offline SiameseMoose

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2011, 01:34:13 pm »
In my club, the Bloatarian Brewing League, we have an unofficial subsidiary: the Bad Back Brewing League. The only entry requirement is that you have to have received professional medical treatment on your back. Our official motto is, "...Because alcohol is a powerful pain reliever!" Our membership approaches 50% of the parent club. While each of us has adapted his brewery in different ways, we all have either a pump, "staff", or both. The only exception is the guy who has a hoist system on ceiling rails in his basement.
I named my brewery after my cat, Moose. He's Siamese.

Offline linenoiz

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2011, 03:56:33 pm »
I had to have surgery on my back in September. My brewing has been on hold ever since. I'm just about ready to give it another go (I've felt ready for about a month now, but the doc says to wait until February). Hoping very hard that I don't screw it up again; back surgery is pretty much the worst thing ever.

Definitely going to be using a pump from now on, but that's really only going to help pre-fermentation. I brew and ferment in the garage, but the keg fridge is down in the basement. I'm planning on getting the wife to carry my kegs down for me until I can get an electric setup in the basement going so I don't have to fight the stairs anymore.

Offline hike20

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Re: When the Back no Longer Wants to Play
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2011, 08:36:06 pm »
I had back surgery about 6 years ago. Now I work hard to keep in shape, and do the stretching that the PT put me on. I'm building my brewery one small piece at a time as money permits (not much going to be spent on equipment this year as I'm blowing it all on flying out to NHC).

My back is one of the reasons I brew really small (2.5 gallon) batches. Not the only reason, but it sure makes moving everything around MUCH easier.