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Old 04-20-2010, 04:16 AM   #1
kwhyte
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Default Advice on basement brewery

We're moving to an old house that requires substantial renovation. Generally it's a pain and I'd recommend against it, but one plus for me is that I can get a brewery installed in the basement at little additional cost. I've decided to go electric as carbon monoxide in the house where my kids sleep scares me. I'm having a 220v/30a dedicated circuit installed for my use, and a quality kitchen ventilation hood to deal with the steam. I'm also planning on a chest freezer to use as both a kegerator and a fermentation chamber.

I'm looking for advice both on the brew equipment/setup and general stuff. I'm certainly willing to do easy DIY projects to keep things cheap, but I'm not that handy and afraid of screwing up any serious electrical work. Are there any all electric home breweries that come highly recommended? I'm open to just buying a system if the price is reasonable or to buying a few key parts and assembling the rest. I have no experience with using pumps, but I definitely hate racking so either pump or co2 driven is important. I'm also looking for something that'll give me more precise control over mash temps.

I am also looking for advice on other equipment that would be useful - basically I want to take advantage of the massive renovation to get everything setup as it should be. I will have some bins for bulk grain storage - I will also need a mill if there are suggestion on either of these. There will be a utility sink (used as a sink and also as a source of water for my chiller). I plan to have a chest freezer as a fermentation chamber and keg storage/serving (I'm thinking something big enough to hold 4 kegs + fermenter with 2/3 taps). Other than that I have no specific plans.

Basically, what would you do on a reasonable budget for a basement brewery built essentially from scratch?

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Old 04-20-2010, 06:01 AM   #2
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I love my Brewmation HLT - http://brewmation.com/HLT.html
I had him install a timing circuit so it kicks on while I'm at work, and I come home to hot water ready to brew.
You can certainly make one cheaper, but if it's going to run unattended on 220, I feel better letting an expert do the work.

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Old 04-20-2010, 12:52 PM   #3
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go with a 50 amp gfi circuit. it will allow you to run an electric HLT and BK together.

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Old 04-20-2010, 06:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjlammer View Post
go with a 50 amp gfi circuit. it will allow you to run an electric HLT and BK together.
+1 you will be limited by 30 ams
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:12 PM   #5
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Default 50 Amp

Is 50 Amp enough for 2 5500W elements? Each one pulls about 23 Amps? That leaves 7 for any pumps. Is this cutting it too close?

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Old 04-20-2010, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwhyte View Post
I plan to have a chest freezer as a fermentation chamber and keg storage/serving (I'm thinking something big enough to hold 4 kegs + fermenter with 2/3 taps).
You will probably need two chest freezers unless you plan on not drinking beer during fermentation or like to drink beer in the 60s.
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atl300zx View Post
You will probably need two chest freezers unless you plan on not drinking beer during fermentation or like to drink beer in the 60s.
I wasn't even around in the 60s!

As for a mill, you definitely need one if you're going to buy grain in bulk. Crushed grain doesn't keep as long as uncrushed grain. I picked up a Barley Crusher for $113 from Austin Homebrew. It works great and I love it. If you have more money to spend, you can look at other mills (Crankenstein, MonsterMill etc.) or if you want to spend less, people have gotten great results with the Corona mill too.

I'm getting to the point where I'm realizing that once you get your equipment and process dialed in, it almost doesn't matter what you're using -- you'll end up with really good beer!
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