Holy smokes, who ever woulda thought there was so much work involved getting ready. I could have kept it simple and put my HLT on my stepladder, and my MT on the shelf of my gas grill and the boil pot underneath, but noooo, that would have had me brewing today as planned.
So I decided to build my brewsculpture, a hacked "ladder style" wooden rig, "it will only take a couple hours and I'll be done". A day and a half later, I am close, but not quite there.
I am using a 5 gallon kettle for my HLT. Out of nowhere I thought, "It wont hold the heat very well for fly sparging." I Started cutting strips of 2" foam board and with a roll of duct tape to hold it all together, Voila! And if I do say so myself, the duct tape gives it a great finished look.
On to the Mash tun, a 5 gallon HD cooler. It needed a manifold and a sparge arm...well maybe it didn't, but since I am going "all out", why not? CPVC, maybe a couple copper 45's, even some pex tubing. Sparge arm through the lid so i can leave the lid on to maintain heat, but i can still lift it to make sure the water level is just right. At some point i may need to fill the lid with expanding foam, but that will be "later on".
Now...the boil kettle and burner...For my first burner, a 48k btu Brinkmann, not a bad looking burner for now as I know I will upgrade in the future. However, that damn safety shut off switch...my kettle wont hold it down as the burner is designed for a 30 quart pot and I have a 42...quick fix to bypass, but another hour gone. hmmm...kettle drain is 8" too low to be able to drain straight into the carboy, Now I have a nice stand for my burner to sit on at just the right height.
I tried a boil, it took an hour to get 5 gallons up to boiling, seemed too slow. After looking things over, the burner in the stand was 6" awat from the bottom of the pot. A couple hours later, a few holes drilled, a little sheet metal removed and only one minor cut to my index finger, the burner now sits 4" below the pot, I hope this helps as much as I imagined it would.
Good news, I think all I have left to do is to make some braces to keep my boil pot on the burner, no sense in taking chances of wearing 6 gallons of boiling wort after all of this. I think I may even see what I can scrounge up for paint, its gonna be too late to brew before I finish anyways, and what the hell, tomorrow is my birthday, I'll just spend it doing my favorite pastime...that is after a trip to DMV to renew my drivers license!
I'm not sure if this is a rant or not, sorry about that, but I do feel better now and I have my second wind to go get started on those kettle braces.
By the way, Happy Independance day!