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Old 01-09-2012, 07:22 PM   #1
cyclogenesis
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Default MicroPhysical, a gravity fed basement E-Brewery.

I got quite into home brewing back in my PhD days in Canberra, Australia. I started with the Coopers Kit, went to steeping grains and hops and worked my way to all grain even playing with decoatation mashing, yeast propagation etc...

Then I got a job and it all went downhill (plus moving into the inner city in Melbourne)... I ended up selling almost all of my kit. We have just moved to Chicago and it is time for brewery rebirth.. Rather than use the old name (PotOfGrass Productions) I thought I would start anew..

Being an Aussie when the temperature heads south I want to be indoors and I have an awesome unfinished basement (been in the house about a year) so I have decided to go the E-Brewery route.. The build will be a four tier (HLT-MLT-Kettle-Fermenter) gravity system, I intend to mainly batch sparge (worked for the previous build so why change?)

First step was to build a stand.. I had a heap of scrap wood from when we had our deck built, plus zero metal working skills so wood it was:


IMG_0964 by Cyclogenesis_au, on Flickr

Plan will be to build some heatpads, probably out of copper tubing (saw this at the inteligensia cafe in Chicago, they had some great four legged "tables" out of copper piping for heat protection)

With the stand built I went out and bought a cooler from target.. decided to go the rectangular one rather than the Gatorade cooler shape to keep it low profile and lower rise..


IMG_0969 by Cyclogenesis_au, on Flickr

Here it is with a bulkhead kit installed from bargainfittings.com

Kettle is from morebeer (Loving homebrew finds!) single port welded, can't remember where I got the cheep 20qt stockpot, this will be converted to the HLT (yes I know it will be very small for a 5 Gal batch brewery... will upgrade)

IMG_0970 by Cyclogenesis_au, on Flickr

Next step is the manifold for the mash tun... basically followed some designs off here and came up with this:

IMG_0973 by Cyclogenesis_au, on Flickr

did a test run and was very please to see almost zero deadspace... the sipon pulled up almost all the test water!

Next I used a step up drill bit to put a hole in the HLT (following advice here I used some dishwasher soap as a lubricant... ) installing a morebeer converter kit (needed a few extra washers as it is a very thin flexible wall) and we have a non-leaking HLT!

IMG_0976 by Cyclogenesis_au, on Flickr

So I am 99% sure I will go with the EBC II from high gravity as I lack the confidence to build my own controller... plan is for an element in the HLT and an element in the kettle and switching between them..

I ordered cam couplings today, as in my old brewery I intended to mash in by sending the strike water through the outlet of the MLT...

Next: Plumbing hot and cold water to the brewery, quick connects, electricals etc.. ! (and then BREWING!)



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Old 01-09-2012, 09:43 PM   #2
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cool build, I am about to start building a basement brewery myself. I have also looked at the EBC controllers. One question I have is about switching between the HLT and kettle. How will this affect your process? I am also new to all grain brewing and have only done extracts...but I want to make sure my new setup can handle all grain!

Thanks!



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Old 01-10-2012, 02:14 AM   #3
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Should be ok... My process is -Heat water in HLT -> dough in -> While mash is on heat sparge water in HLT -> Sparge -> Switch controller to Kettle and boil!

Will need two elements, Thinking I only need 3500W... Hoping tax return can cover the rest of the bits I need

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Old 01-10-2012, 02:46 AM   #4
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Wow, nice build up but ebc is pricey, im wondering if its really necessary in your design. For HLT you could probably just use the cheapest 1500-2000W heating element and for BK low density version, im guessing 1500W again but maybe lower just to make sure you dont scorch the wort when boiling with plug in/out thing. Anyway i think for 5gal batches you should be fine with using 120V circuit with 20amp breakers
And welcome to Chicago

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Old 01-10-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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Agree! But I do like the control the EBC offers, I also like that everything comes nicely sealed and tested (in theory)..

Tax return may end up dictating which I go with

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Old 01-10-2012, 01:58 PM   #6
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Greeting fellow displaced Aussie, what dragged you across the Pacific? I married a US Navy girl and the rest is history.

Anyway I Like the build, I thinking of doing the same thing to organise my brewery a bit more than chairs and card tables etc. Eventually I will save up my beer budget for a pump then I will do a E-HERMS.

I'm in a rented house and so I will have limit myself with 120 volts and I was worried about the time to get to a boil. Also how do you plan to deal with the moisture when boiling inside?

Clem

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Old 01-10-2012, 02:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clementine View Post
Greeting fellow displaced Aussie, what dragged you across the Pacific? I married a US Navy girl and the rest is history.

Anyway I Like the build, I thinking of doing the same thing to organise my brewery a bit more than chairs and card tables etc. Eventually I will save up my beer budget for a pump then I will do a E-HERMS.

I'm in a rented house and so I will have limit myself with 120 volts and I was worried about the time to get to a boil. Also how do you plan to deal with the moisture when boiling inside?

Clem
Back in Australia I was funded by a US agency (working for the Australia Bureau of Meteorology)... They offered me the chance to come and work directly for them here... Sounded like an adventure and here I am

I plan to build a hood and use a fan to vent out a nearby window, still deciding if I need to hood the whole stand or just the BK... tempted to do just the BK...
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:05 PM   #8
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Looks good mate, in a strikingly familiar way.



I eventually removed the third tier, as I found it easier and faster to just move sparge water with a pitcher rather than gravity draing the HLT.



As for ventilation, I have not bothered with a hood, the basement might get a little humid during the boil with just the window fan running, but clears quickly with the fan running for an additional 10 - 20 minutes post boil. It is also interesting that the upstairs portions of the house do not smell hoppy at all during brewing, but outside the house smells lovely IMO.

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Old 01-10-2012, 08:45 PM   #9
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That is awesome!

Great minds my friend

So what are you using for heat?

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Old 05-07-2012, 09:09 AM   #10
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You really did a nice job. You created a new thing from scrap. It looks so nice. you can also use a waterproof varnish so it would reduce it’s corrosion.



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