Gremlyn's Brew Stand and Fermentation Chamber Build
Back story: We moved from an apartment into our first house in April 2010. I had a nice little 5 gal setup with a 5 gal drink cooler for an MLT, a couple of decent sized pots and a heat stick aid in stove top boils.
Upon moving to my new house, I set up to brew in my kitchen on my nice new gas stove (no more crappy apartment stove!). This went OK, the boil I achieved was just shy of a full rolling boil, so I decided it was time I get a propane burner and move outside. I picked up a KAB4 and quickly discovered my 8 gal was not cut out for the violence of the boil that burner can produce. I spent two brew sessions riding the gas the whole boil and it was not fun. On top of that, it was much harder to maintain fermentation temps with the plastic tub full of ice water in the house - who knew how much extra insulation surrounding apartments gave!
The decision was made about May 2010 that I would build a brew stand and fermentation chamber, and that I wouldn't brew again until I had those done. Fast forward to now and I've almost finished my brew stand! I have the mini fridge I will be using to build the chamber and that should be only a week or so out from being started as of the time I write this.
The Brew Stand:
So I present to you my brew stand so far. The equipment use to put it all together is as follows:
I picked up this March Pump on e-bay a while back, and at the time didn't realise there was a difference in the pump heads. Turns out I got lucky as the centre inlet head is supposed to be much easier to prime. The one slight downside is that the center inlet is a 3/4" MPT instead of 1/2" MPT, but that's nothing a SS 3/4" to 1/2" adapter from Bargain Fittings couldn't fix :)
I picked up a couple of kegs from a source that is connected to the brewery displayed on the kegs, not 100% sure this person was supposed to give them to me, but after the kegs were offered I explained to the person what I would to them and was assured it wouldn't be a problem for me to take the kegs... so I did.
I am using two KAB4 burners, picked up from Amazon for ~$80 each. I was originally planning on plumbing in black iron pipe and running one propane tank for both burners, but with as hungry as these burners can be I'm going to go for a while using one tank per burner (I already have 3 tanks anyway) and no hard plumbing.
I am using a Coleman Xtreme 70 qt cooler. As you can see in the pics, I built a copper manifold running to the the 2-piece stainless steel ball valve. This will be soldered into three pieces; I will make two longer sides, one of which will have 3 of the 4 short tubes soldered in. The short tube with the tee in it that connects to the ball valve will be soldered together and kept separate from the other two longer pieces, which will allow easier installation and removal of the manifold as a whole (there will be pics when I have that done soon).
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I needed a way to mount my 40 plate Duda Diesel plate chiller to my stand, so I decided I would JB Weld some bolts on the side of it. I used a piece of leftover flat slotted steel as a guide for spacing. I think 3 bolts JB Welded on should be strong enough to hold this on. I plan on adding a little more JB Weld to the base of the bolts after they have dried from this round.
The Fermentation Chamber:
The plan for the fermentation chamber is to take apart an older style mini fridge (coils on the back) and keep the cooling system only. I will build a box of plywood and foam insulation that will be able to fit two sanke kegs to ferment in. I have a Ranco single stage controller, and bought a computer power supply to run the fans to draw air over a heatsink bonded to the the cooling tray. This will also power some cold cathode lights I have and am going to rig up inside with a light switch and whatever other 12V DC goodies I decide to throw in there.
The Chamber Build
Mini Fridge Tear Down
Sanke Fermentor with Brewers Hardware Conversion Cap:
Looks good! Im thinking of building some kind of fermentation chamber as well so ill be interested to see how you go about it. Cheers!
I have the same cooler, and from what I understand you may want to modify your manifold to prevent channeling. If you sparge in any method other than batch, with your manifold up against the sides of the cooler like that, you will create channeling and miss out on a lot of sugars.
The goal is to have the manifold equidistant from the walls and itself, in order to pick up sugars as evenly as possible.
Here is a picture of my manifold:
Looks great man!
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