Just a few miles outside of Boston there lives a homebrewer who has been dedicating himself to his craft for the last ten years. That man is Russell T. Homsy, and his Nanobrewery is the subject of this week’s Pimp My System. He’s come a long way from his first mash tun, which consisted of a plastic bucket with a few holes drilled in the bottom. After a few batches using extracts he quickly dove into the world of all-grain brewing and has never looked back. From this humble beginning the Nanobrewery was born. From mash to glass the Nanobrewery is a case study in quality, dedication, and DIY skills.
The Nanobrewery first consists of a Tippy Brew Sculpture from the well-known morebeer.com which allows Russell to dump his spent grains directly into a trash bin after mashing. Because the mash tun is above the hot liquor tank heat that would normally be lost from the HLT is put to use and decreases the amount of heat that needs to be applied directly to the mash tun. Russell’s automated system allows for a high degree of control over mash and sparge temperatures using a convoluted copper coil heat exchanger. Recirculation of the wort during mashing ensures that no caramelization occurs and vastly improves the clarity of the wort by using the grain bed as a filter.
The Glycol Chilled Fermenter
The real jewel in the crown of the Nanobrewery is Russell’s glycol cooled conical fermenter. Using a 6000 BTU air conditioning unit and some serious MacGyver skills he was able to create a fermentation system that would heat or cool the fermenter to any temperature within one degree Fahrenheit. An ice chest houses the evaporating coil and propylene glycol while the remnants of the AC unit contain the rest of the condenser system. Two temperature controllers and a pump comprise the rest of the setup. As for the fermenter itself, it is wrapped in copper refrigeration coils and jacketed in insulation. For additional monitoring Russell added a thermowell to the top of the fermenter through which he placed a thermo-probe into the center of the fermenter. The glycol itself is typically chilled to 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
What could possibly make the Nanobrewery any more pimpin’, you ask? The Ninkasi Bar, that’s what. The ancient Sumerian goddess of beer is definitely smiling down on this libation enjoyment area. Russell installed a river-stone countertop along with a built-in four-faucet tap and drip tray recessed into the counter. More photos and upcoming improvements may be found at Russell’s website.