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Old 08-27-2008, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default Setting up a "brew house"

LONG POST WARNING... SORRY.

So I am looking for ideas.

I have not been able to brew at all this year, due to equipment failures and what not, and I am now getting everything back up and running. I am in the process of going to all grain, I have 2 kegs that can be converted, and I have 2 ten gallon rubbermaid coolers, and 1 five gallon rubbermaid cooler. I have a hinged 15" SS false bottom and an unhinged 12" SS false bottom, both with a center hole, got those from Jaybird (thanks again man... they look incredible). I am looking at putting together a HERMS, more than likely using the two kegs for the boil kettle and the hlt, and a cooler for the mlt, with the hinged false bottom in the boil kettle, and the 12" in the mlt.

I have put some thought into how I want to build this part, looking back and forth between gas and electric for the hlt, how I want to set up automated temp control on the HERMS, things like that. At this point, after doing a lot of reading and listening to the Upgrade shows from The Brewing Network Sunday Sessions, etc, I have pretty much decided to go with high pressure gas for the boil kettle, and PID controlled electric for the HLT, with a pump doing a constant recirculation on the mash tun.

SO... now that you know the background, we get to why I am actually posting, and what I want some ideas about. The wife is tired of me brewing in the kitchen, so I convinced her to let me move the brewery to a block house that we have on the back of our property. I am going to move the lawnmower and everything out of the block house, and then remodel it as I see fit.

The building is 18' wide, 12' deep, 7' tall inside. There are currently two windows and a set of double doors. I am going to wall off the windows and replace the current doors with ones that are more secure and private. I am also thinking about removing the "ceiling" and moving the insulation between the studs, then redoing the wall board onto the studs, to open the space up a little. There is currently no power, water or gas running out to the building, so I will need to have that done. It is about 100' from the closest place to connect in for those things.

I have collected an oven, a dishwasher, two refridgerators, an upright freezer, a chest freezer, and stainless double sink. All these have come from different kitchen remodels, etc.

My question to you guys who have set up a dedicated space is, what kind of issues did you run into? What did you do that you love, and would not change? What did you do that you would like to go back and redo a different way?

I have listened to the Sunday Session episode on Building Your Brewhouse, now I want to pick your brains, so that I can try to minimize things that I am going to end up redoing because I end up not liking how something works.

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Old 08-28-2008, 04:46 AM   #2
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Default I too am building my "brewhaus"....

I am interested in the responses and will post any words of wisdom that I may stumble upon, as well. I have to build a new home for the mower before I can get too into the brew house, but I'm eekin' in some things.
Rabid- where in Seattle are you? I'm in Everett...just curious.
Good luck on the replies!

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Old 08-28-2008, 04:48 AM   #3
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ronjer - I am down in the south end, near Renton...

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Old 08-28-2008, 01:56 PM   #4
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I'm not nearly to the point where I can build mine yet. But I know that when I do, the most important thing, to me, is that I want a "clean" room somewhere in it. I'm picturing about 3' x 5', the white washable kitchen-board wall paneling (Edit: FRP! Thanks GilaMinum. Couldn't remember name.) for the walls and ceiling, poured epoxy floor with a drain, and steel countertop. I want to be able to, literally, take a garden sprayer full of StarSan, and spray the entire room down, top to bottom. I want a hotplate, a stirplate, and a sink in this room. I'll use it for two purposes, 1: preparing starter wort, and 2: working with yeast washing, and eventually, yeast slants for the freezer.

Beyond that, I'm not picky about my brew space. Anything is better than the porch I'm using right now. Poor ventilation/circulation with a propane burner indoors. I'm asking for trouble. I have to constantly evaluate the environment, and run around propping fans and opening windows and crap. Also very little access to water where I'm at right now.

Best advice I've heard is to think through the things you do in a brewday, or a racking day, or a bottling day, or a yeast starter day.... Make a seperate list for each activity. For example, "To make yeast starters, I need x, y, z, and I use a, b, and c". Then try to layout your floor plan in the most logical cluster that represents those activities.

Will you be boiling stovetop or propane cooker?

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Old 08-28-2008, 02:15 PM   #5
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I have been planning my Brew house for sometime and here is what I have been considering as design points;

1. Water washable floor and walls throughout. Most likely FRP panels and ceramic tile.

2. Heavily insulated walls, for winter brewing.

3. A grain closet. For storage and crushing. Air tight to protect from bugs and separate from the space where my fermenters will reside.

4. Mechanically ventilated to assist in removing propane generated heat quickly.

5. Cooler closet. A nice touch for bulk storage but, not necessary.

6. "loft" storage. In the roof rafters for empty kegs.

7. A stock pot faucet over the kettle area.

8. Internet access for quick lookups. Prefereably wireless.

9. A bed. Cause when the money has been spent. This is where I will be sleeping.

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Old 08-28-2008, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
I have been planning my Brew house for sometime and here is what I have been considering as design points;

1. Water washable floor and walls throughout. Most likely FRP panels and ceramic tile.

2. Heavily insulated walls, for winter brewing.

3. A grain closet. For storage and crushing. Air tight to protect from bugs and separate from the space where my fermenters will reside.

4. Mechanically ventilated to assist in removing propane generated heat quickly.

5. Cooler closet. A nice touch for bulk storage but, not necessary.

6. "loft" storage. In the roof rafters for empty kegs.

7. A stock pot faucet over the kettle area.

8. Internet access for quick lookups. Prefereably wireless.

9. A bed. Cause when the money has been spent. This is where I will be sleeping.
This sounds like it has been well thought out, especially #9! I would be in the same boat as you I am afraid.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:24 PM   #7
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Default One thing that I'm considering...

is the quick washout ability. I'm going to go with sheet metal up about 5' on the walls and floor, and add a floor drain so I can do a quick hose out. A friend can get galvinized sheet metal cheap, and if not that than linoleum (sp) perhaps.

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Old 08-28-2008, 05:26 PM   #8
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rabidgerbil, I would lay everything out in Sketchup 6 if I were you. That way you can get a feel for the space and hopefully work out most of your problems before you actually spend the money.

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Old 08-29-2008, 12:57 AM   #9
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rabidgerbil, I would lay everything out in Sketchup 6 if I were you. That way you can get a feel for the space and hopefully work out most of your problems before you actually spend the money.
I have been doing it in Visio. I have the dimensions for my sankey kegs, my rubbermaid coolers, my fridges, freezers, stove, sinks, etc. Doing this has helped me figure out that I do have room for putting in a walk-in cooler.

As to the winter brewing, I don't plan on heavily insulating the walls, but I do have a wood stove waiting to go into the brewhouse, and a steady supply of free hardwood for burning.
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