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Old 06-07-2011, 03:28 AM   #1
Monkey55
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Default Help Me Figure Out How to Brew With Back Problems

Hey,

I figured I'd ask for help since there's a lot of good info and suggestions on this forum.

Here's the scoop. I started having back problems about a month ago and finally saw a specialist 2 weeks ago. As it turns out, I have Degenerative Joint Disease and Spinal Stenosis. The bottom line is that I can't stand or sit for a long period of time because of the pain. (By the way, I'm only 38 years old.).

It would take a load off my shoulders (no pun intended) if I could break up the brew process into 2 days. Maybe steep the specialty grains on one day, then finish up the rest of the process the next day. At this time I'm only doing extract brewing.

I have no idea if this can be done or what it would do to the "tea."

I'm all ears..

Thanks In Advance,
Elias

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Old 06-07-2011, 03:34 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear about that...

But does steeping your grains really take that long? It shouldn't. Drop it in the water when you start heating, and pull it out when you hit 170ºF or so. If you do it like that, steeping a day ahead won't save you any time. There are certainly other things you can do to save time.

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Old 06-07-2011, 03:35 AM   #3
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Hmm, the total process for extract brewing should be roughly 2 hours. Are you finding that you need to lie down during this time? I don't know what steeping one day and boiling the next would do. I suppose it would be okay but I've never tried it and don't know what the downside would be. Sorry to hear about your back; I just had back surgery in March.

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Old 06-07-2011, 03:41 AM   #4
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I have 5 herniated discs so I hear ya on the pain after sitting/standing too long. I use a pump to transfer all of my wort so I don't have to lift any vessels full of water or grain and I have a nice, comfy fold up chair that I use when I brew so I can rest whenever I need to. Not sure if this applies to your condition but strengthening exercises and stretches that I learned in rehab help out tremendously when done consistently.

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Old 06-07-2011, 03:41 AM   #5
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If you want to start all-grain brewing, using a march pump to move wort or water from the HLT, MLT or Kettle will save a ton of heavy lifting. Use a charcoal filter on a garden hose it you have decent tap water, as that will make filling up HLT/MLT a lot easier.

For extract the above will work also, especially filling the boil kettle. I would probably get a larger boil kettle to do full 5 gallon batches so you dont have to react to boil-overs. A 10 gallon would probably be best.

For clean-up, just use PBW and soak everything overnight - this eliminates all that scrubbing!

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Old 06-07-2011, 04:53 AM   #6
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Thanks Guys. Yeah, it sucks.

It sounds like DrinksWell is kind of in the same ball park as me.

i haven't thought about doing all grain yet. It feels like I'm still learning and that I have a lot more to learn before I go to all grain.

I do have a pond pump that I use for my IC. I wonder if I clean it that it will be clean enough to transfer the wort into the fermenter. I could use rollers to get the fermenter into the closet.

It's been taking my about 2.5 hours to brew. I figured that steeping the grains a day before would knock off about 45 minutes. That way, the next day would only take my about 1.25 to 1.5 hours. So yes, 2.5 hours is way too much on my back. Right now if I do too much, I'm curled up in the fetal position like a baby.

I'm not sure that my stove can boil 5 gallons. I need to check into that.

DrinksWell - Right now the doctor and physical therapist are just working on managing the pain. They are having me do some stretches and very mild/light exercises.


*hmmm.. Thinking... Thinking.. *

Thanks
E

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Old 06-07-2011, 05:05 AM   #7
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I also suggest a pump. I would NOT use a pond pump, that is asking for troubles. Harbor Freight carries a small pump that is run off of a drill. I know some of the folks here use these. They are about $10 if I recall correctly.

The other thing I suggest is a heat stick. This will reduce the time it takes to get the wort to a boil...

The other option would be make smaller batches...while the time my be decreased slightly the weight will be decreased MUCH more so you could mange things better.

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Old 06-07-2011, 06:28 AM   #8
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The real solution is to drink more to drown the pain while brewing...
Or, read "Treat Your Own Back" on how to fix your problem.

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Old 06-07-2011, 09:32 AM   #9
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Look into brew in a bag and other alternative brewing methods. There was a method posted here a couple of months ago about transfering boiling wort to containers and letting it sit over night to come to temp prior to pitching.

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Old 06-07-2011, 12:25 PM   #10
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I have a bad L2 disc myself. I can't stand up for more than a couple minutes at a time,so I have some padded wooden bar stools handy. I use one at the stove when I'm brewing,so I can sit awhile,stand awhile. I can't believe something I did as a 23 year old young man would come back to haunt me like this. I can't even walk a great distance anymore without being in pain. Aging sucks when things that happened some 30 years ago + come back around to linger.
I also have come up with a set up for bottling where I can sit down & not reach too much. Everything is set up within arms reach between left & right hands. And,more importantly,so as not to reach above shoulder height. This is important to me,since I have advanced carpel tunnel syndrome. It starts around the thumb,goes up the arm,to the shoulder & into the sides of the back of the neck. Makes for a lot of tension headaches.
So I know where you're coming from. Worked too hard for too long in the factories myself. So I come up with ways to make brew day as comfortable as can be had,given the circumstances.
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