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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > garage dream setups? What would YOU do?
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:50 PM   #1
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Default garage dream setups? What would YOU do?

I finished adding a detached 30'x30' garage with 12 foot clearance to the bottoms of the rafters on the inside. It's not insulated or heated, but it has power (and capacity for 220), and a cold water line to just outside it (that I could run in through the wall, just have to disconnect when done in winter).

Also, my family is interested in having me take the next steps to build a nice all-grain setup and see how it goes.

I'd like it to serve as closely as possible as a mini-professional setup, with the ability to closely control temperatures through mashes and fermentations, and work on better yeast cultivation, etc.

I have some nice items at my disposal (besides being allowed to use half the building). I have a glass cooktop from a fancy kitchen in a model home, never used, that I could install into it's own stand for cooking up yeast starters or other small things (standard 4 burner deal). I already own a kegorator, a standard immersion chiller (for 5gal) cornelius kegs, three 6 gallon carboys, brewing buckets, my trusty (and now rusty) turkey frier setup with huge base and stainless steel pot (someone goofed and had the setup on sale for $60 two days after turkey day years ago).

And most importantly, I have permission to spend a lot of money.

B3-2100? I showed the price with all but the "full professional" and "SS frame" options to the better half and she did not balk. Not that I should get that one, but just nice to know that I have quite a long leash for this project.

I was thinking a sculpture of some sort (and floor space is something I have TONS of), standup freezers (w/ ranco's) with conical fermenters (has anyone used the plastic ones?), a counter space to set up basic lab equipment with a stir-plate and e-flasks, a fridge or freezer for extra ingredients (I grow a decent amount of hops as well)...

What about equipment to use C02 to push beer from fermenter to keg/bottle? Ways to hoist 15-20 gallons in a fermenter or do you just use the push to get it out? A large utility sink with a manifold so I can hook up hosing with a hand sprayer, a line to run to a counterflow chiller? Water filtration on the way in? Beer filtration on way out?

What am I forgetting? (don't worry about kegorator, it's rumored I may be able to gift mine to my brother later this year and build a new one).

What's the dream setup?

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:37 PM   #2
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Wow, you're the second new HBT garage gloater in two weeks that I want to kick in the nuts.

I'd personally build a Brutus 10 and a cold room for a few conicals. Put a wall of faucets on there too and make it a brewery/tap room.

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Old 04-10-2008, 12:54 AM   #3
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Where in NC are you?? Maybe I could help....

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Old 04-10-2008, 01:00 AM   #4
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I've already got a 3-tier system that I like a lot. I've got a conical in a fridge with temp controls... I'd probably add a small temp-controlled "fermentation room" so I could fit more than one conical (maybe a blichmann 42gal or two). Aside from that... probably a modified tankless water heater for instant strike / sparge water.

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Old 04-10-2008, 01:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Wow, you're the second new HBT garage gloater in two weeks that I want to kick in the nuts.
+1

It's not "He who dies with the most toys, wins." It's "He who dies with the coolest garage ever, wins."

And as mentioned above, a tankless water heater is a must. Cleaning with hot water is the best, obviously, and if it's tankless, you can save yourself some time by putting already-hot water in your kettles, with no fear of pulling in any of the crap that sits in a regular tank water heater.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Wow, you're the second new HBT garage gloater in two weeks that I want to kick in the nuts.

Hey! I resemble that remark. And my leash is not nearly as long as his is!

If I were the OP I would spend a lot of time touring microbreweries and take a close look at how they have things set up. Sounds like you have the funds and space to go way beyond the "brew rig" set-up.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:32 PM   #7
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the tankless water heater is a great idea! I had been wondering if I would just keep water hot on the cooktop for cleaning, but that's much better. I'll have to look at the small scale electric versions.

I have been on several tours of the closest breweries and am actually talking to them about some of the ideas I have. Brewers are the NICEST people!

I live west of Chapel Hill about 11 miles. It's not really any town, but near several.

If you did a walk-in or cold-room, wouldn't it make all the items in it the same temperature? What if you wanted to do a fermentation with different temperatures at various points and had to effect all your fermenters that way?

I had considered it (particularly after seeing John Beere's cold room on here) because I am good at structural home repairs (I lack in the plumbing and wiring departments, but can frame and build well). I'd basically settled on the stand-up freezers with the biggest conicals that would fit in them and Rancos to control them so you could have an ale going at 68F in one and a lager dropping off for a cold period in the 30s or 40s in another.
Any reasons why a room would be better?

The building isn't insulated and has no AC (plenty of windows and big garage doors for air flow in hot weather) or heat. I probably wouldn't hang out there much, but I might use my extra tank and regulator and set up a sampling spot, since I'd likely keep kegs pressurizing out there and cold waiting for a spot in the kegorator in the house. My old leather recliner and some other chairs might make a decent hangout spot for sampling.



My first steps are to try and get out there and haul a bunch of junk out of the garage and clean up. It's less than a year old but it instantly became the "storehouse of junk". That will let me move the one car to the other side, giving me the half with the breaker box and the water closest to it.

I was thinking of building a countertop for space for a stir plate, cleaning, measuring, weighing. Put the cooktop to one side, the utility sink to the other, and under the counter put an on-demand water heater. I can put a sculpture in at an L arrangement to the sink for the easiest water access.

I think I should make the counter, cooktop, and sink arrangment first, since I can use all that with my battered turkey frier setup for the mean time while I work on gathering the rest. I can add in the better techniques like stir-plate e-flask yeast prep one at a time to get used to them and understand them better.




If you have space on your property, you can build an out-building remarkably cheaply... but if you are a renter on a limited budget, it would be tough. I was there once, too. It took years to save up and buy a house, then five more years of saving and a slow remodel of the house end-to-end to raise the equity to afford a garage. We just got lucky and in the last year have done well in our jobs and both been promoted and given raises that have us looking at ways to use them! While my wife doesn't care for brewing, she does like the beer and would like to see if with a better setup I'd produce something even nicer to drink. Plus it keeps me at home!

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Old 04-10-2008, 05:37 PM   #8
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The only advice I can offer through experience is get expoxy sealed floors and make sure you have good drainage.

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Old 04-10-2008, 06:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan
If you did a walk-in or cold-room, wouldn't it make all the items in it the same temperature? What if you wanted to do a fermentation with different temperatures at various points and had to effect all your fermenters that way?
My requirements are probably a little less than yours. I'm a pretty simple brewer. Single-infusion mashes... all ales, so temp is always pretty much the same. A closet-sized room (enough for a couple of larger sized conicals) with a mini-ac and space heater is all I'd need.
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Our beverage that art in kegs,
Hallowed be thy tap,
With thee supplied, we will imbibe,
At home as we do in the public house.
Give us this day our liquid bread
And forgive us our spills
As we forgive those who spill upon us.
Lead us not unto hangovers
But deliver us from overindulgence.
Ahh Malt.

Buy a man a beer and he wastes an hour. Teach a man to brew and he wastes a lifetime.
-annonymous

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Old 04-10-2008, 06:25 PM   #10
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I was thinking a freezer with a ranco for keeping cool, inside the same freezer a simple dome light with a ceramic reptile heater bulb and a temperature control from a reptile cage (unless there are better equivalents) to prevent it from getting too cold in winter. It'll take some time messing with the configuration to get right. Unless I can find a system that has two outlets and will use one for too-hot and one for too-cold, which would prevent the heat and cold from running at the same time.

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