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-   -   I need a lift or pulley system (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/i-need-lift-pulley-system-251675/)

Whippy 06-16-2011 05:49 PM

I need a lift or pulley system
Hi folks,

I am wondering if anyone else here has developed a pulley system to lift their heavy brewing systems around that can help me with some advice.

I currently BIAB on the stovetop but am limited to the amount of grains I can use for a couple of reasons including the size of my pot.

I want to move to a propane burner outside but still want to BIAB. My problem is that I was injured 20 years ago and do not have the strength I used to, so want to develop some sort of lift system to pull my grain bag out of the wort and hold it above the pot while it drains (likewise over my sparge bucket)

My first thought was to purchase and use an engine hoist, but then thought perhaps I might save some money by building a miniature swing-set type of frame out of metal pipe and attaching a manual pulley and chain to the center of the middle bar that I can slide back and fourth to get the grains from boil pot to sparge bucket and then to get the “sparge wort” bucket over the brew pot in order to drain that wort back to the original boil pot.

While I am sure I can configure SOMETHING like this and make it work, I do have one concern and that is how to secure my grain bag to the pulley or engine hoist hook. I was thinking of having SWMBO sew some metal eyes into the mouth of my grain bag that I could thread rope or cable through, but this seems like a lot of work for a grain bag that may or may not be good for about 10 batches of beer before needing to be replaced.

Do you have any suggestions on how to secure the grain bag to the pulley, alternatives to the grain bag (smaller grain straining pot to fit in the brew kettle to replace the bag, etc.) or tips on creating a lift system in general?

I want to keep costs down as much as I can because I am also going to need to purchase the propane cooker/pot, propane tank, and a wort chiller along with this contraption, so professional systems are not an option at this point in my life.

Any advice will be most welcome. :mug:

phidelt1499 06-16-2011 05:58 PM

Google the alton brown turkey derrick, he made a cheap pulley system for deep frying turkeys using a ladder, rope, pulley, and rope cleate. Pretty slick.

The_Dog_42 06-16-2011 06:00 PM

When I start BIAB, I think I'll build one of these Turkey Derricks. I have an aluminum brew kettle with a basket insert that I'm going to attach the rope to. They make Turkey Fryer kits that come with the insert and the burner, which may be an option. Just make sure to get a sturdy stand. Good luck, and let us know how it works out.

The_Dog_42 06-16-2011 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by phidelt1499 (Post 3011123)
Google the alton brown turkey derrick, he made a cheap pulley system for deep frying turkeys using a ladder, rope, pulley, and rope cleate. Pretty slick.

Man...quote AB 2 minutes before I do...:D

hops2it 06-16-2011 06:29 PM

A handled basket seems like a great idea. The ultimate setup would be a reasonably priced electric winch but a pulley or chain hoist would be alternatives. If you need to move it laterally, an I-beam with rollers and a clovice would be the bees knees. I've also seen strut used for a track but it may be more subject to binding issues while sliding.

Whippy 06-16-2011 07:10 PM

Wow, that IS pretty slick :) ... and cheap too, if you already have a ladder :cross:

Yes, the basket that comes in the cooker pot will be IDEAL!! ...fantastic... That is one problem solved! :mug:

hops2it, yes, I do think I will need something like what you suggest with the I-beam and rollers (a hoist and gantry type thing) I'll have to start looking into this a little closer and play with AutoCAD to create my dream setup. An electric wench would be really sweet, I agree, but although I am rather lazy that would be taking it to a completely extreme level!! ROFL!

I now feel I am going to take my time and do this right rather than making compromises in quality due to financial constraints. My beer is fine right now, so I'll make this more of a long term project while continuing my current brewing method for the time being.

When I get started, I will be sure to share photos and descriptions.

Thanks for all the advice!

Rivenin 06-16-2011 08:21 PM


it's only 10 bucks and holds 800lbs!
if you can find something to tie it down with when you hoist it up, it'll work!

for 40 bucks or so they have a 1 ton hoist that i used to take engines out with that has a chain type system for lift

JohnTheBrewist 06-16-2011 08:43 PM

Sounds like you've got some good ideas for the hoist. As far as your bag goes, does your wife make them or are you buying them? I think the easiest way to do that part of it, would be to have her sew a seam around the top that would hold a cord loop with two openings, like drawstring trash bags. Then you could just hook onto the cord at the two openings to hoist it up.

ryan0914 06-16-2011 08:59 PM

I just have my bag which has loops sewn into the tops and i thread a carabiner through then and that brings them all together.I use another one on the rope end and that makes a pulley , all you have to do is rout it through at least 2x and that'll do the trick. It works for me. I throw a rope over a tree branch or use a latter for a support.
Good Luck

Whippy 06-17-2011 05:20 PM

I'm going to wimp out and get a 1 or 2 ton engine hoist for the job. It won't have the "coolness" factor of the homemade gantry hoist, but at $200 bucks minus a discount if I buy at the right time from Harbour Freight, probably even cheaper if I shop around or pick up a used one, I guess I cannot argue with the practicality.

If the system were to remain in the same place I might consider just using a ladder or static hoist or something, but I need my lift to be somewhat mobile during my brew day.

Thanks for all the tips anyway!

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