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Author Topic: Building a garage brewery  (Read 5457 times)

Offline mcfa0779

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Building a garage brewery
« on: March 18, 2011, 02:52:17 pm »
I'm soon going to be the father of twins so I need to streamline my brewing process.

I am thinking of turning a section of my garage into my brewery. I'm thinking of using my 15 gallon pot for my hot water for my mash in and sparge with a gravity setup above a mash tun keg and then a transfer pump to a second keg as my boil pot. This would require me to have two burners, one for the 15 gallon pot and another for my boil pot. I have 1 propane burner, but not sure how safe this is to use indoors? Does anyone have any suggestions for what burner I should use or get? Also the kegs are not "built" yet. Any suggestions for how to do this? I'm thinking of using a grinder to cut the lids, buying a false bottom for the mash tun and drilling for my fittings. I have heard that a sanitary welder should be used to cut the tops but I'm not sure how to go about finding someone who does that and I've seen the grinder work just as well.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Building a garage brewery
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 02:59:39 pm »
Congratulations!  As a parent of twins, you might want to switch to extract brewing for a while to save yourself some time :)

I have a setup similar to what you're describing, but have three burners and drag it outside of the garage to use.  Propane can be safely used in a well-ventilated area, but if you live someplace where it gets absurdly cold you might consider getting natural gas burners.  You can get by with cracking the garage door a foot or so, but you should have a fan and CO monitors just in case.  You can't be too careful.

A grinder works well for cutting open kegs from what I've heard, just make sure the keg is vented before you start cutting.  If you google around you should be able to find several websites that describe how to do it.  Also, if the keg type you are using has a rolled steel edge around the bottom, be sure to drill a couple of holes in it before you put it on  burner.  If there is any moisture in there it can turn to steam and blow a hole in the keg when you heat it up.  Not safe.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gsandel

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Re: Building a garage brewery
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 11:55:14 pm »
I hope you are not having girls.....they are tons of fun, but I am even more marginalized as the only dude in the house.  A real argument for man space out in the just won't get out there for a while.

Grinding off your own top is just takes time (depending on the equipment you have).  I bought a air compressor and grinder cheap from craigslist....but cheap meant it didn't have the capacity to do the job.  It took me over a hour of grinding to get a top off, but I use the compressor for so many different things (bicycle tires for kids...hint hint...if you make it about the kids, it is easier to get it past spouse), including cleaning my grain mill....well worth the purchase and the time.

good luck.  Post pictures and let us know about your experience of both your build as well as your brewing schedule with newborn twins (or not).
You wouldn't believe the things I've seen...


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Re: Building a garage brewery
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 02:05:55 am »
Being the windy season has started down here in the desert Southwest, I moved my 5 gallon brew system into the garage. It's awesome having an indoor brewery. No wind to effect the flames etc. I'm using a system with three 35K btu "pancake" burners. I have a full window that I open on the side as well as cracking the garage door about 1/2 to a foot up. I also bought and installed a carbon monoxide sensor on the ceiling as a precaution. I also have a small fire extinguisher within reach just because. Another thing I do when I am done brewing, I disconnect the propane tank and move it to the outside yard. These OPD tanks will discharge gas if the garage gets hot. My hot water heater is in the garage so, with a live pilot light there could be a fire hazard if the propane tank discharges gas via the opd . Always be safe and smart and you can safely enjoy the beauty of an "indoor brewery".

Offline dshepard

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Re: Building a garage brewery
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 05:36:58 am »
I have been brewing in a garage (both of them attached) for the last 10 years, 2 years in New Jersey, the last 8 in North Carolina. In New Jersey I always had the garage door open all the way even in the Winter and had a fan in the eves running. Now in North Carolina I am lucky in that I have a window right above my boil kettle and simply put a box fan in the window to exhaust the steam. Most of the time the garage door is open all the way. Every once in a Blue Moon, it is windy enough that I have to partially close the garage door, but that is rare. Like a previous poster mentioned, I DO NOT store the propane tanks in the garage when not in use for the same reasons mentioned although I do not have a water heater in my garage.

I have a two tier system with one pump. My HLT gravity feeds my mash tun. The pump recirculates during the mash via a HERMS and then pumps the wort to the boil kettle. I simply used heavy duty shelving bought from Home Depot and my setup is permanently set up in my garage. My system uses three burners but I only use the burner on the Mash Tun for dough in.

As long as the garage door is open (at least partially anyway) you will have no problems brewing "in-doors".
Concord, NC