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Old 09-09-2007, 08:02 PM   #1
kvh
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Default Need help designing a -COMPACT- AG system

Ok, so I decided to post this nice and early so I have time to build it all up.

My situation is that I just moved from my apartment with a back yard to a 3rd floor 1BR with an electric stove and no reasonable access to the back yard. Couple that with the fact that in January I'll be headed to NYC where my girlfriend just moved. There we'll have a 5th floor walk up and no one even knows what a backyard is.

Suffice to say, she's gung ho for me to keep brewing (the kegerator is coming with), but I've recently begun AG, and have a decent system. However, I don't have a burner, a pot over 7.5g, or plans for either.

I have been thinking hard about how compactly I could build a system, and here's what I've come up with.

My current MLT, but modified with a pressure-cooker for steam mashes. (I like Mr. X's Design here)
2 five-gal pots for a split boil - I'll have a decent gas-stove up there. (need these - the current one I use isn't mine)
Better bottles or buckets for fermenting - no need for broken glass anymore - bottle bombs were enough.
My modified BeverageAir kegerator. (holds 4 kegs, have 6)

Anything I'm missing? I already do a quasi- recirculated-ice-water system to cool my wort - (more like a siphon from ice-water to another bucket).

I also need to make things as self-managable as possible since I'm losing my brew-partner when I move away.

Thoughts?

thanks all.
kvh.

__________________
Make beer, not bombs.
(...and not bottle bombs either.)
Primary Fermentor - *empty*
Primary Fermentor -

Secondary - Mystery IPA
Secondary -
Bottle Conditioning -
Keg Conditioning -

Draft: - Apfelwein, Belgian-style Dubbel w/ Grains of Paradise
Bottles:(and still in stock): FIRST AG - (I)IPA 4.1.07, PK's Warm Spring Marzen, Summer Cerveza -BANG, PK's Winter Spice II, Espresso Stout, Indiana Pale Ale, PK's Chocolate Bitter II, Porterfield Porter, and New Year's 2006 remnants.


Last edited by kvh; 09-09-2007 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 09-09-2007, 08:08 PM   #2
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Sounds like cooling's going to be the big challenge for you. Not sure how easy it will be to manage two ice baths at once. You could make a pair of small immersion chillers that would either hook up to the sink's faucet, or use a small pump to circulate ice water.

The other option you might have on the boiling side, I've seen pictures (within the last day, I think) of submersible electric elements that people use for boiling. Maybe something like that could be used, perhaps in a 10-12 gallon pot that's also being heated on the stove, so you wouldn't have to split the boil. Just a thought.... if you could do something like that, though, it would make chilling a lot easier. You'd definately need an immersion chiller (no ice bath for 5 gallons), but you'd only have to wrestle with one pot instead of two.

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Old 09-09-2007, 08:22 PM   #3
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What I currently use is an immursion chiller siphoning 5-10 gallons of ice water. It works ok, but you're right, more boil, more heat, longer cool.

I'll look into the submersible electric heaters - that might be nice. My other issue right now is LONG boils, which leads to darker colored beer and a whole day of only brewing...

I found www.theoverstockedkitchen.com, which has both commercial and non-commercial SS stockpots - they have a pair, 20 and 24 qt, which, while not commercial quality, should be fine, and combined are only about $70. Plus, they'll nest when not in use. I'd like to find a pair about a gallon larger each - so I'll keep looking.

Thanks

kvh

__________________
Make beer, not bombs.
(...and not bottle bombs either.)
Primary Fermentor - *empty*
Primary Fermentor -

Secondary - Mystery IPA
Secondary -
Bottle Conditioning -
Keg Conditioning -

Draft: - Apfelwein, Belgian-style Dubbel w/ Grains of Paradise
Bottles:(and still in stock): FIRST AG - (I)IPA 4.1.07, PK's Warm Spring Marzen, Summer Cerveza -BANG, PK's Winter Spice II, Espresso Stout, Indiana Pale Ale, PK's Chocolate Bitter II, Porterfield Porter, and New Year's 2006 remnants.

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Old 09-09-2007, 08:23 PM   #4
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Yeah, I agree with Bird that siphoning ice water probably won't cut it. A recirculating system using a pump might be your best bet.

You should also think about how you will maintain good fermentation temps in your apartment. Not sure how warm or consistent it would get in there, but you might want to build a fermentation chamber in your closet. Or get an apartment sized-freezer and a temp controller.

Otherwise, you sound good to go. Best of luck!

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Old 09-09-2007, 10:08 PM   #5
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You probably won't have enough circuits/current capacity to run hot enough elements to go electric.

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Old 09-09-2007, 10:13 PM   #6
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Your moving to the wrong place for room. Move to Texas. We'll be glad to have another homebrewer have a place to call home.

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Old 09-09-2007, 10:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
You probably won't have enough circuits/current capacity to run hot enough elements to go electric.
Likely true, though I was imagining a combination gas/electric system, where the electric kept the boil going a little faster/hotter... Does anyone have more info on what Bird was talking about?

kvh.
__________________
Make beer, not bombs.
(...and not bottle bombs either.)
Primary Fermentor - *empty*
Primary Fermentor -

Secondary - Mystery IPA
Secondary -
Bottle Conditioning -
Keg Conditioning -

Draft: - Apfelwein, Belgian-style Dubbel w/ Grains of Paradise
Bottles:(and still in stock): FIRST AG - (I)IPA 4.1.07, PK's Warm Spring Marzen, Summer Cerveza -BANG, PK's Winter Spice II, Espresso Stout, Indiana Pale Ale, PK's Chocolate Bitter II, Porterfield Porter, and New Year's 2006 remnants.

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Old 09-09-2007, 11:31 PM   #8
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I think you should go with something like Monster Mash's. Seems nice and compact. Just stick it on the patio.

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Old 09-09-2007, 11:42 PM   #9
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Ha, yeah, wink wink indeed. That'll be in the works, in 5 years or so. For now, though, I think it qualifies as a fire hazard on the 'patio' (fire-escape).

thx though.
kvh

__________________
Make beer, not bombs.
(...and not bottle bombs either.)
Primary Fermentor - *empty*
Primary Fermentor -

Secondary - Mystery IPA
Secondary -
Bottle Conditioning -
Keg Conditioning -

Draft: - Apfelwein, Belgian-style Dubbel w/ Grains of Paradise
Bottles:(and still in stock): FIRST AG - (I)IPA 4.1.07, PK's Warm Spring Marzen, Summer Cerveza -BANG, PK's Winter Spice II, Espresso Stout, Indiana Pale Ale, PK's Chocolate Bitter II, Porterfield Porter, and New Year's 2006 remnants.

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Old 09-10-2007, 01:18 AM   #10
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IF...and ONLY IF... you know what you're doing, you may be able to unplug an electric stove (there ought to be an outlet) and use that to incorporate 220v electric into a compact electric HERMS. Look at some of the electric-only systems....that is as small as you'll get with a brew-rig.

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