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Organizing your Gear - Beechum

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Will's Swill:
Howdy y'all,

I'm a long time brewer, but first time poster to this forum.  Despite decades of homebrewing (well, almost decades), I just joined the AHA for the first time at the last GABF (what can I say, I had had a few) and now I get Zymurgy.  Now for some reason my brewing hobby has started trending toward an obsession in the last year or so - probably due to the fact that I have a couple of neighbors that wanted me to teach them to brew.  Whatever the reason, my process is going through some changes and I'm experimenting more than I ever have with different techniques and equipment.  And just as I'm about to go through my second recent reorganization of my homebrewery, as if reading my mind, Drew Beechum's article lands in my mailbox with the latest issue of Zymurgy (but judging from another thread, Drew has been remiss in paying his dues as he apparently he has not received the issue with his own article...).

So, if you've made it this far, I have comments and questions regarding the article.  First the comments.  I love the idea of the checklist.  I was doing this for a while when I first went to all-grain so I wouldn't have to flip through books while brewing to remember the various temperature rests.  I had a separate checklist of the equipment needed since I have to truck everything from my "brewery" (read: room in basement) to the patio outside where I brew.  But I have a problem with Drew's checklist.  It only has one "Drink a beer" item.  His beer cannot possibly be worth drinking if he's only drinking one.  ;D

The first question was going to be about the 'Skim "scum" ' item.  Never having heard of this, it's a natural question, but doing a little lurking I see that that is currently being covered in another thread.

Since I have to move all my stuff from the brewery room at the front of the house to the patio at the back of the house each time I brew (with the exception of the brewstand, burners, and propane tank which I leave outside) I'd like to organize in a way that makes the moving of equipment in and out more efficient.  Because next to cleaning, set up and tear down are the worst parts of the brew day for me (at least on the days where things don't go rapidly awry).  Any organization ideas here?  I already have one of those tool organizers that fits over a bucket for small items.  And rolling things back and forth over the carpet in the basement will probably not please SWMBO, especially if I track rain/snow back in from the great outdoors so carts are right out.

I was thinking of mounting pumps, valves, water filter, and my CFC in a wooden box to create a diverter panel of sorts so that setup of those items would be 1) carry to brewstand; 2) place on bottom shelf of brewstand; 3) hook up water and power.  The piece I was missing was how to drain the chiller and pump prior to storage again.  In his checklist, Drew puts the genius idea of blowing out the chiller with CO2.  My question is, should I blow out the outer tube (coolant side) of the chiller as well?  Can I blow out the pumps?  What fittings do you suggest to do this?  I'm trying to avoid corrosion of the chiller, or accidental indoor draining of the pumps.

I swear that my posts from here on out will not be this long (mostly...)

This is a tough scenario. I would look at mobilization of all equipment. In other words a brew cart where all of your equipment can be stationed. Something that has wheels and is easily transported. Another suggestion is containers of some sort (rubbermaid totes, stackable, etc.) You definitely want everything to be mobile and easily transported.

Welcome to the AHA Forum Will!

I don't have as much stuff (yet) as Drew or you seem to have, but I fit most of what I need into the mash tun, boil kettle, and fermenting bucket.

I found that my IC fits nicely inside my mash tun (rectangular cooler), and most everything else I need gets stored in either the boil kettle or a bucket. I have a small shelf beside the Keggerator that catches most of the seldom used items and a small "broom" hanger gets the extra hoses hose. It isn't as tidy as I would like, but it is a work in progress.

On brew day, I double check what is in the boil kettle and add or subtract as needed (add salts if I need them, take out extra starter jug, etc). Takes two or three trips to get all the gear outside.


Glad the article was timed well for you. Regarding the checklist - remember the checklist was modified from something I wrote for the Everything Homebrewing Book. Since that's aimed in part at new brewers, I followed my typical advice to them which is "don't drink too heavily until you get the hang of this" :)

Skimming scum is just the step of removing the cap of proteins that form pre-boil. I find it more important for partial boil batches. With my huge kettle, I usually do a trick I learned from watching the pros - stopping and starting the boil a few times.

I like the box idea a lot and it'll be convenient particularly if you're doing clean in place type procedures (e.g. pump the cleaner through everything, pump the sanitizer, etc). Since you're storing the chiller inside, I would totally blow everything out including the outer channel. I love using and abusing the CO2 tank for uses like that.


--- Quote from: dano14041 on March 12, 2011, 08:00:10 PM ---I found that my IC fits nicely inside my mash tun (rectangular cooler), and most everything else I need gets stored in either the boil kettle or a bucket.

--- End quote ---

One thing to keep in mind - be careful about how/what you store in the bucket since you could easily end up scratching the bucket.  Too many scratches and it becomes about impossible to sanitize.


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