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Brewpastor 05-27-2009 03:16 AM

Pimping the Rig
I have been working on my brewing rig for over five years and have put together some images of my up-dated set-up. I recognize that I will never be finished with this project, but why would I want to be?!

Stripped Down Rig:


This is my modified rig stripped down for storage. By stripped down I mean it has no fittings of valves attached. The black and yellow hoses are glycol lines attached to the second zone of my chiller.

The main changes are the electrical set-up, including a thermostatically controlled plug. It also contains a general use plug and the switch for my pump. I have moved all my mashing into the smaller kettle on the right and installed a tri-clover in-let near the top for various uses such as sparging. The center vessel, which previously was used as a mash tun/whirlpool, is now the hot liquor tank. I made this switch because I like a heated mash tun and the new HLT heats more quickly and easily. It also doubles as a great CIP (clean in place) unit.

Mash/Lauter Tun:


This vessel is 40 gallons and steam jacketed. The false bottom is a Blichmann 20 gallon false bottom. It is secured to the kettle by a stainless bolt attached to a removable outlet sleeve. The image here shows the Fly Sparge ring attached. I also have fittings for Batch Sparging and RIM recirculation.

Recirculation Infusion Mash Set-up:



The Mash/Lauter Tun is steam jacketed and very easily adjusted to any given mash temperature. Additionally, a Recirculation Infusion Mash unit is utilized for holding mash temperatures. The RIM unit consists of an inline water heater element which plugs into an outlet wired into a Ranco digital controller. The controller’s thermo-coupler is located in an inline thermo-well.


Brewpastor 05-27-2009 03:17 AM

Sparge/Lauter Set-up:


Whether I am Fly or Batch sparging, the operation and set up are virtually the same. Gravity is used to feed water into the Lauter Tun. An outlet valve on the Hot Liquor Tank controls the flow. The Fly Sparge ring (pictured previously) assures a smooth, uniform spray of water. A Batch Sparge tube delivers water in a hastier fashion. The run-off is pumped into the Brew Kettle. Care is taken not to draw the run-off too quickly. A valve on the pump outlet readily takes care of this. Run-off is pumped into the kettle from the bottom to help prevent any problems with hot-side aeration. The unique design of the Blichmann false bottom allows excellent results for either Fly of Batch sparging.

Wort boil is straight forward. The kettle is 60 gallons and also steam jacketed. A small standpipe in the outlet creates a fine hop and break reservoir in the dish bottom. At the end of the boil the wort is gently whirlpooled enough to get a general settling of hop and break material.

Chilling Set-up:


The wort is run out through a two zone, inline filter to remove more of the hop and break material. It is pumped through a two zone plate heat exchanger for cooling. The first zone uses well water to draw the majority of the heat from the wort. A second zone uses chilled glycol, pumped from a Glycol Chiller/Chest Freezer. Inline valves are used to control the flow and regulated the wort temperature going into the fermenter. With this set-up a 20 gallon batch can be chilled from boiling to 35 degrees in 15 minutes.

The wort is pumped into a jacketed, 24-gallon conical fermenter, which is chilled with glycol. The temperature of fermentation is controlled using a glycol circulation pump and a Ranco Digital Controller.

Everything put in its place:


In operation the brewing rig is situated as pictured here. This allows easy access to the counter and equipment needed. Note the conical fermenter in the corner, as well as the Glycol Chiller/Chest Freezer. The whole set-up easily fits in half of the garage.

arturo7 05-27-2009 03:45 AM

BP, it doesn't look like your conical is jacketed. Do you have a coil inside?

Also, do I understand that you glycol reservoir is in the chest cooler?


Oh yea, awesome rig!!

GilaMinumBeer 05-27-2009 03:48 AM

That thing is INSANE! I love it.

Brewpastor 05-27-2009 03:49 AM

The conical is jacketed, look closely near the bottom of the cone and you can see where the outer jacket is nested.

The chest freezer is the glycol chiller. I have a pond pump in there that is controlled by a ranco controller with a thermo-coupler in the fermenter.

mnadamn 05-27-2009 03:50 AM

this sir is beer porn..... well done

arturo7 05-27-2009 04:09 AM


Originally Posted by Brewpastor (Post 1346872)
I have a pond pump in there that is controlled by a ranco controller with a thermo-coupler in the fermenter.

What is the temperature spread (delta T) between the chest freezer and the fermenting beer? Does it work for lagering?

Thanks again.

weirdboy 05-27-2009 06:55 AM

If you don't mind my asking, and you have kept track, how much have you spent on this rig? I mean....it's simply an amazing setup, but I'd have to buy my wife a small island before she'd let me build a rig like that.

SurfBrew 05-27-2009 10:52 AM


Brewpastor 05-27-2009 12:44 PM


Originally Posted by arturo7 (Post 1346885)
What is the temperature spread (delta T) between the chest freezer and the fermenting beer? Does it work for lagering?

Thanks again.

It works very well for lagering. I generally keep the Glycol Chiller at about 28 degrees (2nd Ranco Controller). I have had the fermenter lagering at 34 degrees.

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