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Old 04-12-2009, 12:21 AM   #1
kmlavoy
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Default Brew stand

I am going to be putting together something of a brew stand, and I have a question about incorporating wood and brewing. My plan is to get some heavy duty metal shelving from HD, but the shelving pieces themselves are particle boards. I will have a ring burner sitting on top of them. Would I be safe enough with some sheet metal under the burner? I was also thinking maybe I'd set the burner on top of some 1x1 ceramic tiles to keep the heat away from it. Does this sound safe enough? I don't want to take any weird chances, and I don't mind doing a little overkill instead of accidentally setting my house on fire (although I do always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when I'm brewing just in case)

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Old 04-12-2009, 01:00 AM   #2
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The fire extinguisher is always a good idea and that goes for all of us whether brewing or not. I'm going to try to talk you out of building a brew stand altogether, or at least not a traditional one.

A brew stand is cool and impressive. High on the bling rating list for sure, but consider a few things before you dive into building a big, bulky cumbersome brew stand. All you really need are some burners with their own stands and maybe a small stout table or workbench. Depending on your method of brewing, the configuration will vary. Assuming you are going to use three kettles, then two or three burners will be needed. You can move the wort and water with a pump and hoses. No real need for a stand. The pump can be mounted on it's own small, portable stand and the hoses moved as required for specific operations. You might think it would be convenient to have everything mounted on a stand, but when it comes time to store everything it might not be so convenient. A stand will take up substantial floor space. It will likely be very heavy and hard to move around. Might not be able to take it with you for group brews if you do that sort of thing. You can buy burners with leg extensions to elevate them some which I like a lot. Keeping everything modular allows much more flexibility IMO.

Now then, particle board will dissolve when it gets wet. You could probably shield it adequately from the heat with the tiles or something similar, but it will inevitably get wet and start to come apart eventually. Why not replace the particle board with some metal cross bars to hold the burner. You could probably bolt these in place without too much trouble. Is the shelving stable with the particle board removed?

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Old 04-12-2009, 02:18 AM   #3
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Even though it is against the manufacturers recomendations, lots of people use burners on wood decks. In my experience, the area directly below the burner is not subjected to extremely high heat. Tile or cement board, perhaps covered w/aluminum sheeting should protect the shelving.

Use care and closely monitor the situation.

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Old 04-12-2009, 05:14 AM   #4
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Yeah, I've been brewing with my burner on a wood deck for over a year with no issues, so I'm not terribly worried. I guess I misspoke a bit. It's not a brew stand per se, but really just some shelving with some burners sitting on top, and my mash cooler on the bottom. I just wanted to see if anyone thought the whole thing would burst into flames if I tried it out. I think I'll do it and post some pictures.

All in all, it's really an attempt to put something together somewhat cheaply that can break down clean, not cost a lot of money, and also save time and water.

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Old 04-12-2009, 11:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
High on the bling rating list for sure, but consider a few things before you dive into building a big, bulky cumbersome brew stand. All you really need are some burners with their own stands and maybe a small stout table or workbench. Depending on your method of brewing, the configuration will vary. Assuming you are going to use three kettles, then two or three burners will be needed. You can move the wort and water with a pump and hoses. No real need for a stand. The pump can be mounted on it's own small, portable stand and the hoses moved as required for specific operations. You might think it would be convenient to have everything mounted on a stand, but when it comes time to store everything it might not be so convenient. A stand will take up substantial floor space. It will likely be very heavy and hard to move around. Might not be able to take it with you for group brews if you do that sort of thing. You can buy burners with leg extensions to elevate them some which I like a lot. Keeping everything modular allows much more flexibility IMO.
Having used a homemade stand for a few years now, I have the complete opposite opinion as Catt.

I just measured my stand, and the footprint is approx 40" x 17", it's bigger if you count the propane shelf (which folds up), and the table on one end, but that is like 3.5-4 feet off the ground, so it doesn't take up any "floor" space.

The stand can hold store my two kettles and the cooler mlt. You have the ability to hard pipe all of your propane / liquid lines, and use quick disconnects to remove the kettles for cleaning. 8" rubber wheels make it easy to move, which is helpful as I usually brew on the patio. A few times I've had to move back in the garage because of the weather. I can wheel it back in without even shutting everything off if I wanted. It's true that it's not real portable as far as traveling, but you could easily build a rectangular base, and then make the tiers modular that bolted together. Just to give you some more flexibility. It is really nice being able to just start brewing, without having to set everything up every time.

Anyways, I guess I've strayed from the original question.

Wood is fine for a brew stand, but it needs to be somewhat heat and water resistant. Another option is to make the section, that will be closest to the heat source, removable so it can be replaced if needed without destroying the whole stand. Particle board wouldn't be my first choice, but you could always put a few coats of paint on it to help protect it.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:48 PM   #6
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While particle board is perhaps not a best first choice, I feel you will be fine for the occasional spill. Not like this thing is going to see daily use being hosed off and left out in the rain. My son left a piece of particle board sheathing out in the back yard most of the winter, I picked it up a few days ago and was amazed it was barely weathered. Not like years ago when that stuff was about as water resistant as cardboard.

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