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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > The birth of Zeus. (Non typical brewstand build.)
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:33 PM   #1
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Default The birth of Zeus. (Non typical brewstand build.)

I'm building a brewstand. I'm naming it Zeus.

I had a brewstand 10 years ago using various keggles and coolers but sold it. I've been meaning to get back into brewing ever since. This fall I'm taking the plunge and building a brewstand to get going again.

Zeus is a bit off the wall. I made a list of everything that made my past brewing experiences less than perfectly enjoyable and tried to design Zeus to address those issues.

Here is what I am planning.

- stainless steel stand on locking casters
- 2x 11 gallon SS boil kettles
- an 11 or 20.5 gallon direct fired SS mash tun on a tippy for easy clean out
- each vessel has its own March pump
- each vessel has its own temperature control loop
- an on demand hot water heater built into the stand to supply mash in, sparge and cleaning water
- a stainless steel water/wort manifold with manual valves and cam lock fittings
- 30(?) plate chiller
- the manifold breaks down into pieces for easy cleaning in a regular sink
- natural gas burners using gas control valves to automate burner firing
- a SS sink built into the stand with a pump for pumping out waste water
- a fold out SS work leaf
- storage on the lower level of the brewstand
- compressed air input on the stand to blow out all the lines when I am done brewing. I winterize our RV this way and it works well.
- controlled by BrewPi via a browser on a remote computer (Tablet, laptop, etc.)

I've been amassing parts for Zeus for nearly a year.

I'll either be brewing outside or in my heated garage. I've never brewed in the summer, so mostly I'll be brewing in the garage.

I have no running water in my garage thus the need for the hot water heater and sink on the brewstand. No more continuously running into the house to wash things !

I'll be brewing 5, 8 and 15 gallon batches, all kegged. No bottling.

I went with 2 boil kettles for versatility. I'd rather brew more smaller batches than fewer big batches. I'm hoping that with enough automation that I can brew 2 batches almost simultaneously. I'm building the stand large enough to size up one of the boil kettles to 20.5 gallons.

Zeus will be stored outside when not being used.

I have just about all the parts and pieces to assemble Zeus. I'll post pictures as I do.

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Old 11-16-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:55 PM   #3
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valve-a-palooza!

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:30 PM   #4
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Actually, I need another 12 valves.

Each pump head has 4 valves. Manifold in, manifold out, recirc to the vessel and output from the pump. Other manifold designs have omitted the recirc and pump valves, but I'm going to use them. For 3 pumps, I need 12 valves.

Each vessel needs 2 valves. Recirc and pickup. 4 vessels x 2 = 8 valves.

The stand itself needs valves for water in, nat gas in and compressed air in. The compressed air is used to blow everything out after brewing so nothing busts if it freezes. 3 valves.

The manifold has 2 inlets to it, hot water and cold water. 2 valves.

The manifold has 2 outlets, chiller and discharge. 2 valves.

The chiller needs a valve to control the cooling water going through it. 1 valve.

Total valve count: 28, if I don't add a couple special valves.

The valves in the pile are Home Depot specials. 1/2 x 1/2, chromed brass. I'm getting them for a bit over $7 each because some stores will give a discount if you buy more than 5 at a time. Thus far I have emptied 2 stores.

A certain vendor has similar SS valves that they will sell for $10 each in volume. They would have been a good choice too.

I got a super good deal on all the stainless fittings. 30-50% off of McMasterCarr prices. I got them from a local wholesale supplier.

Its a lot of valves and plumbing to set up a brewstand this way, but I'm looking forward to not having to be continually swapping hoses around while brewing. Remember that my stand has the potential to have 3 brews going at once (1 mashing, 1 BIAB and 1 boiling or chilling).

I have a 10+ year timeline on this brewstand. Build it right the first time, cry once. Rebuild it several times, cry many times. I should have bit the bullet and built this thing 10 years ago.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:36 PM   #5
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I'm not happy with the size of the cross and bushings on the pump head. Too bulky, too much trapped fluid in dead spaces.

I am going to make up some custom male crosses to make the pump head setup more compact with less trapped fluid.

I'll explain my concern with manifold dead space and trapped fluid later in the thread.

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewman ! View Post
I'm hoping that with enough automation that I can brew 2 batches almost simultaneously.
You must be a master of multi-tasking! Hopefully you won't have a DFH 90-minute going on the same time you have a hop blasted IPA with all late addition charges going on at the same time. I'd be throwing all the wrong hops in to the wrong kettle at the wrong times!

Good luck with the build! Can't wait to see more of this behemoth!
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:48 PM   #7
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I'm in the process of building my own rig...getting ideas and such. Holy Ball Valve Batman! I am sure you have more invested in fittings then I will in my entire setup! Keep us posted

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrooze View Post
You must be a master of multi-tasking! Hopefully you won't have a DFH 90-minute going on the same time you have a hop blasted IPA with all late addition charges going on at the same time. I'd be throwing all the wrong hops in to the wrong kettle at the wrong times!
That is what automation, timers and alarms are for ! I'm hoping that automating burner control for both mashing and boiling allows me to concentrate on everything else. It seems to in the Brutus 10 videos Lonnie has posted on youtube.

I'm hoping the on demand hot water heater really speeds up my brew day. I should never have to wait for sparge or mash in water and clean up should be a breeze.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BeerBrewBob View Post
I'm in the process of building my own rig...getting ideas and such. Holy Ball Valve Batman! I am sure you have more invested in fittings then I will in my entire setup! Keep us posted
28 valves x $7.50 each = $210.
The pile of SS fittings you see there was $150. I'll need a bit more to finish the stand.
Wheels were $12 each, $50.
SS for the stand was $350, but I won't use all of it. I'm welding it myself.
3 11 gallon SS kettles were $75 each, $215.
3 March pumps
3 burners at $35 each.
3 gas control valves and thermocouples.
The hot water heater was $250. Sounds expensive, but to replace it I'd need another brew kettle, burner, gas control valve, a longer stand, etc, etc. I'll probably install it in our RV during the summer when I am not brewing.
Sink: $20, used.

I am so sick of drinking commercial beer. If this thing allows me to easily crank out good homebrew for the next 10 years, it will be well worth it.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:04 PM   #10
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The other thing about the hot water heater is that its really efficient. It will take way less energy to heat sparge and mash water. Between that and powering the stand with natural gas instead of propane, I should save $50 a year in energy costs compared to my old system.

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