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Old 05-15-2011, 11:53 PM   #1
phenry
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Default What would you do? Apartment AG brewing.

So my new roommates (mostly BMC drinkers surprisingly) have developed a taste for my homebrew, so much that they want it on tap at all times. I do my brewing at my parent's house right now, they live about an hour away but have plenty of room now that my brother and I are in college. I live in an upstairs loft with plenty of room for my equipment and fermenters, but I'd be doing the brewing outside since I don't want to die of CO asphyxiation. Now here's where I have the predicament: we live downtown on a semi-busy street, so it's not like I have a front yard or driveway to brew on. I have the following options:

1) Brew on sidewalk. For cooling I'd either have to carry the hot wort up a flight of stairs and into our kitchen to put our wort chiller in, or get a super duper long hose rig that runs from our kitchen to the sidewalk. Also, it's a somewhat busy sidewalk and it might not be appreciated that I'm taking up so much space out there.

2) Brew on the roof. We can climb through a window from our kitchen onto the roof (technically frowned upon, but we do it "occasionally" and nothing bad happens), and I could brew out there out of sight and be close enough to a sink for a regular hose to reach the brew kettle, so getting the wort back inside wouldn't be so dangerous.

3) Brew at my friends' house. She lives a few blocks from campus in a quiet part of town, but the only bad thing I could see from this is being an annoyance since I'd be brewing quite frequently (I live with 9 other guys, and there's only one of us who doesn't drink. You can imagine how fast we'd go through 5 gallons). I'm sure supplying her and her roommates with a pretty constant supply of beer would ease things over, but I really don't want to turn into "that guy".

4) Go electric and brew inside. This would pretty much be over my head right now with equipment costs, but if I did this I'd probably just go straight to 10 gallon batches.

So which option would you go for? Also, if anybody has any other suggestions I'm all ears.

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Old 05-16-2011, 12:03 AM   #2
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1. If it's a city sidewalk, I think that would be a no go. I wouldn't want to risk that.
2. The roof thing could work if your willing to risk it. If the apartment manager found out what you were going up there I'm sure he would not approve.
3. 9 guys, your right...5 gallons will not last and you will be over there all the time just to keep up with the demand.
4. Sounds like the best option if you can come up with a way to afford it. I've never looked into electric so I'm not sure of the costs. I'm hoping that your roommates are pitching in on the cost if they are going to be drinking it. Maybe you could price it out and split up the cost between all you guys? Seems like that way could be reasonable on all your wallets.

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Old 05-16-2011, 12:06 AM   #3
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One other thought. I'm not sure of the costs/legal aspects, but I've heard of guys setting up shop in storage units. With the monthly costs though I would rather spend it up front and go electric and get those 10 gallon batches going!

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Old 05-16-2011, 12:06 AM   #4
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I hope your 8 drinking friends are heavily subsidizing your hobby

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Old 05-16-2011, 12:10 AM   #5
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I've done 1,2 and 3 in my loft, plus doing stovetop brewing, including doing 5 gallon AG batches by boiling 3.5 preboil down to 2.5 gallons and topping odd with 2.5 gallons of water.

OF the 3 you mention, I prefer to do #3- I do brew a lot at friend's places. But I have a lot of friends (through here mostly) who are brewers, and we do group brews. Usually we all bring samples of our work, and we all chip in for pizza or something. Sometimes if it's just one buddy I'll bring some steaks or something over and we'll make a day out of it.

Sidewalk brewing in an urban setting is not really condusive, and probably illegal in some stupid way. The roof top is hit or miss, if the landlord or someone caught you having a propane setup on the roof.

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Old 05-16-2011, 12:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
I've done 1,2 and 3 in my loft, plus doing stovetop brewing, including doing 5 gallon AG batches by boiling 3.5 preboil down to 2.5 gallons and topping odd with 2.5 gallons of water.
Ding ding ding I think we may have a winner. I remember reading about topping off partial AG boils on here (it may have even been you talking about it Revvy), and I think this would probably be the best option, since I'd be able to keep my regular brewing equipment at my parent's. Do you use the same water for topping off as you do brewing, or do you use distilled, etc?

And don't worry, we're splitting the cost of each batch. As much as I love sharing my homebrew, I don't love being poor from sharing too much.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:21 AM   #7
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I use the same water I used to top off extract batches with...plain old tap water.

I discussed the process in this thread.

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Old 05-16-2011, 12:30 AM   #8
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Easy Stovetop All Grain Brewing

Just do it at home. If you have roommates who will help drink your beer you also have assistants to keep up with the workload. Keep the 200 gallon household limit in mind.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:18 AM   #9
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i believe that for MOST households it is 200 gallons, but technically I think it is 100 gallons per adult of age that is allowed.

as for the brewing, roof+heat+melt='hello attic!'
sounds like you need a big system, a CO monitor, 8 other "investors", and a happy indoor brewery.

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Old 05-16-2011, 04:07 PM   #10
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If you have access to two 20 amp 120v circuits, electric brewing is not that expensive. Build a couple of heatsticks, make sure the outlets you use are equipped with GFCI, and you are in business.

Sure, you have to control it manually, but you are doing that now with gas.

(You're a bunch of frakkin' engineers, that should be no sweat)

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