The Brew Barn - One Man's Epic Brew Barn Build
Posted Aug 07th 2014 | By:
As a long time beer drinker with a craft brew budget that would rival most, I've often considered taking up brewing as a hobby. I'd done a brew here and there with friends, but never really had my own setup and equipment... until now.
After ordering all the brewing equipment I would need to set up:
Speidel 20l (5 gal)
Corny Kegs with a regulator and faucet.
I looked around my house and went "Where am I going to put all of this?" Luckily, I have a 3300 square foot, 3 story barn. Unfortunately, the ideal place to put my brewing room was the 1200 square foot room that has been used for storage since 93'.
I would like to share a picture of what I looked like when I started, unfortunately, I didn't take one because I still have flashbacks to the mess. To give you an idea of the state of the room here is a picture of the part I'm doing as a winter project:
To give you an idea of the work that went into the cleaning:
Note to self: Chainsaw + concrete = sparks flying. Wear a long sleeved shirt next time.
- Swept up enough old sawdust, wood leftovers, straw and dust to fill 15 garbage bags.
- Moved an old-school yard furniture set made of wood.
- Moved a bed.
- Moved an armoire.
- A 3 legged fussball table.
- 2 shelf/closet combos.
- Tore out the old rabbit cages.
- Taken out most of the metal dividers turning 3 pens into one area.
- Tore up the old wooden flooring that had been put over the concrete made from 2x4 nailed to 2x6 with 3 x 4 inch nails every 8 inches. I actually lifted parts of the floor and the nails still didn't give. Solution: Chainsaw.
I also took down the old metal pens. They were made from metal poles sunk into the concrete, so I had to deal with that using an angle grinder. I wore a long sleeved shirt for this.
There was a partitioning wall right across from where you can see the front of the white pen. It was a 2x4 frame, attached with 1/2 inch expansion bolts. I took that down using a mix of a sledgehammer and a crowbar.
The old feed trough was made with a concrete frame 35 inches wide and 240 inches long, filled with a mix of concrete, rocks and sand. It had metal bars like you see on the other feed trough by the fan. The quickest way to take it down was to smash the top first. Dig out the sand/concrete pieces/rocks in a small area, smash that area with the sledgehammer and drag it out that way.
Concrete breaks when it's forced to move, with something quite solid like hard-packed sand inside it, the whole force of the blow is absorbed and does little damage (other than to your hands)
The total time: 20 hours.
Total amount of trash hauled off:
- 15 garbage bags.
- 2 full trailers of wood.
- 1 full trailer of metal.
- 2 - 3 tons of concrete.
- 20 lbs sledge hammer. One side flat, one side with a wedge shape.
- Electric chain saw.
- Wire cutters.
- Angle grinder.
Leftover demolition and power-washing.
After I finished the demolition and rough cleaning detailed in part 1, I could start to get a better idea of what I needed to do next; power wash and power wash again.
I started by doing a "water only" power wash of the room to get rid of any dry materials and loose dirt, since I needed to use the angle grinder to remove the remaining metal pieces. There was some old rebar sticking up that kept snagging my power cords, and an old watering system hanging on the ceiling.
Note to self 2: If you find that you're thinking "Man, this power-washer is worse than the garden hose", check that it's plugged in.
After I finished the final parts of the demolition, I got a hold of a cleaning agent called "Power wash" that sterilizes and dissolves all organic matter. Since the power-washer I was using didn't have an intake for cleaning agents I got a cheap Ironside hand-sprayer. I started with the ceiling, then walls and finally the floor. I let the solution work for about 30 minutes and then washed it off.
I let it dry for a few hours and decided to just splash pure power-wash onto the walls and ceiling using a spray bottle (make sure to wear goggles, cloves and a mask when working with chemicals).
I turned the power washer on it and watched it foam up across the room. I then let the foam work for about 30 minutes, while I sat outside, drinking a Super Conductor IPA. (I enjoyed it, I find that I tend to like a balance between bitterness and hop aroma and this was a bit more to the bitter side.)
Luckily, since this is an old barn, it had openings in the floor so the water/soap/grime mixture could just run down into the old drainage ditch underneath. Since the floor was a bit uneven in places I just used a broom to get rid of excess water.
I did a total of 2 cleanings with the cleaning liquid, and then a final fourth clean using just water, where I focused on the parts of the walls where the paint had come loose and made sure to clear all of the loose paint away to prepare for the next step, the painting.
Time taken: 6 hours.
- Power washer.
Part 2 to be published next week.
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