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Old 12-10-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
ubermick
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Default To Brutus, or not to Brutus. That is the question...

Lads, I need help. (On so many levels...)

My setup at the moment is an 8 gallon Morebeer pot, on a Bayou Classic burner, an old 5 gallon turkey fryer pot that sort of acts as my HLT, and an 40qt Igloo ice cube MLT. Recently, I came into posession of a pair of Sankes which are being converted to keggles as I want to make the step to 10 gallon batches. (One's going to be a boil kettle, one's going to be the HLT - and the parts JUST showed up from bargainfittings, but have to wait for Santa to bring me my angle grinder!)

Which means... I want a brewstand, since I'm sick to death of crouching on the floor of my garage over my wee burner.

First thought went to a three tier gravity system. Easiest to knock together, and a nice small footprint - space is at a premium in my garage (SWMBO for some reason thinks that CARS belong in the garage, as opposed to tools!) But the kicker is a low ceiling in the garage, and brewing outside isn't an option (my driveway's on a wicked slope) - and the fact that I'm a short stubby wee fecker at 5'6, with dodgy knees who'd rather not be hopping up and down on a ladder.

So I started kicking around a design in my head, basically copying Scuba Steve's Stainless cart rig using a shortened 40" Brutus frame with two burners as opposed to three, instead of a cart, the second tier would be almost to the floor to accomodate about 24" of "shelf space" for the MLT. I was getting more and more eager about this until a friend looked at what I'd sketched out on a notepad and said "given how hot those burners get, wouldn't your MLT on the bottom shelf melt, or at least get really hot?"

D'oh!

So more and more I've been eyeing the Brutus. Up until sometime today, I'd made up my mind that I just needed a stand and burners - no need for a HERMS setup, since I think that part of the fun of home brewing lies in tweaking your heat *just* right, watching your dials and temperature surfing, as opposed to having it somewhat automated. Then I cracked my latest brew, and once more it tastes feckin' foul. So maybe a little mechanical help wouldn't go astray.

The obstacles between me and the Brutus are the same as 99% of the HBT members - space, ability, and money. I can't weld - and as much as every Brutus thread I read usually is filled with the advice of "Just buy a welder and do it yourself", that's not realistic for me. One, I don't have anywhere to put it, and two, my wife would beat the everloving ****e out of me if I bought a tool *just* for this (Really. I'm a graphic designer. What else would I use a welder for?!) so the only option is to have a shop do it, or (hope against hope) there's someone I know who just HAPPENS to be able to TIG weld. (Woohoo!)

So cost really becomes the big issue. Of course. I read Yooperbrew's thread asking for input for *her* (thanks, dave!) brewstand, and when I read that her monthly "allowance" of explanation-free funds drops to just $600, I almost chucked my poor mac out the window! Like everyone else, I have to do it piecemeal, only I have the "benefit" of living in the Bay Area, where everything's twice as expensive as everywhere else, and comes with a fun 10% sales tax too. So even though I've seen posts where people say they've built the big 'un for $700, I can't see it happening for me. (Chances are I *might* get the bare stand with the burners and plumbing for that, without talking about the HERMS system, pumps, or chiller)

So any advice folks can give me is appreciated. The nice thing about the Brutus is, I guess, it's a setup that will last me for years, and even if I do outgrow it, I should be able to find a good home for it and not be completely out of pocket (like my other hobby, mountain biking!). Is there anyone who has the plans who could share a parts list? Not the plans, which I know are available on the BYO site for a fee, which I don't mind paying, but just a parts list to see how much it's going to set me back? (The BYO plans are mailed - and if this is something I might be able to swing, then I'd rather know ASAP so I can ask "Santa" for some of the components!) Is there a comparable system that can be built for less? (I've thought about a wooden rig, but the thought of high powered burners plus wood equals nervous me and terrified wife!)

And apologies for making this long winded. Thanks for bearing with me. As a way of saying sorry, here's a picture of Jessica Alba in Sin City:



(Mmm... makes everything better!)


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Old 12-10-2009, 02:34 AM   #2
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Yoop's a gal

Check my build thread in my sig.

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My RIMS Brewery Build Project

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Primary: Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout

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Kegged: Oberon Clone, Kona Fire Rock APA, Northern English Brown, Centennial Blond
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by davebl View Post
Yoop's a gal

Check my build thread in my sig.
Ooop! I'll edit accordingly. And when I click the link in yer siggy, I get sent to Flicker and am told I don't have permission to view it!
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:49 AM   #4
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Try this one: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-rims-job-86934/

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Kegged: Oberon Clone, Kona Fire Rock APA, Northern English Brown, Centennial Blond
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
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Nice... didn't even ponder a RIMS setup, might work - especially since you seem to have been able to build on a budget. But as the trend goes, the folks who can pop a stand out with some form of temperature control (HERMS or RIMS) for under $1,000 either have gotten the steel free/cheap, and have the ability to weld it themselves. I'm thinking that's going to be my downfall, and the cost that's going to make this impossible for me.

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Old 12-10-2009, 05:58 PM   #6
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Myself, i'd aim for the brutus stand... there's no rules saying that you have to build the complete system right away to use it. you can add controllers and fancy stuff later if you like. plus it's so popular that if the stand was built by the books, you would have no problem selling it later. If you were going to build a brutus, it seems like a logical starting point.

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Old 12-10-2009, 08:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_m_s_00 View Post
Myself, i'd aim for the brutus stand... there's no rules saying that you have to build the complete system right away to use it. you can add controllers and fancy stuff later if you like. plus it's so popular that if the stand was built by the books, you would have no problem selling it later. If you were going to build a brutus, it seems like a logical starting point.
x2


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I'm thinking that's going to be my downfall, and the cost that's going to make this impossible for me.
You mentioned you're a graphic designer. Why not post up on CL and see if a welder needs some design work in trade for a little welding?
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:28 PM   #8
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Not a bad idea there, orangebrew - a little barter action.

Yeah, more and more I'm leaning towards the Brutus. At least in my head, I am (in reality, maybe I'll get another turkey fryer, or something, and put it on a wooden box!) To start, just get the stand and the pumps, then add all the fancy shmancy HERMS action later...

So, does anyone have a parts list (again, not looking for the plans) to see how much this project is going to set me back, soup to nuts? Seems like...

40 feet of 2" square tubing for the frame (and some poor soul to weld it)
2X banjo burners (HLT, BK)
1X smaller burner (MLT)
30psi regulator
Black pipe and fittings to plumb it all
2X March pumps
1X counterflow chiller

Anything beyond that is for the HERMS?

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Old 12-10-2009, 09:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ubermick View Post
Not a bad idea there, orangebrew - a little barter action.

Yeah, more and more I'm leaning towards the Brutus. At least in my head, I am (in reality, maybe I'll get another turkey fryer, or something, and put it on a wooden box!) To start, just get the stand and the pumps, then add all the fancy shmancy HERMS action later...

So, does anyone have a parts list (again, not looking for the plans) to see how much this project is going to set me back, soup to nuts? Seems like...

40 feet of 2" square tubing for the frame (and some poor soul to weld it)
2X banjo burners (HLT, BK)
1X smaller burner (MLT)
30psi regulator
Black pipe and fittings to plumb it all
2X March pumps
1X counterflow chiller

Anything beyond that is for the HERMS?
Have you thought about maybe just asking Lonnie Mac? I hear he is a pretty swell guy!
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:50 PM   #10
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Have you thought about maybe just asking Lonnie Mac? I hear he is a pretty swell guy!
Oh, HELL no! I'm scared of that dude - I've seen pictures of him packin' heat!!!!

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