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Old 09-10-2012, 06:53 PM   #1
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Default Unveiling my brewery & garage build

It's been nearly a year since i first drew up the plans for my new detached garage and brewery. After several design revisions and a good bit of dragging of the feet, construction started this spring. I hired a contractor for a lot of the work, but have been doing as much of it as I can along side him, or on my own. I was especially particular about detail things like plumbing and electrical. After a few months of working evenings and weekends, writing checks, countless runs to the hardware store, lumber yard, rental shop, plumbing supply store, hardware store, electrical supply.. did I say hardware store.. the building and brew space are, well, not done yet. They hare however done enough to introduce to you. The first post will be the building process. Stay tuned for the fun part in subsequent posts.

As many others have said, I've learned so much and gotten so many great ideas from the members of this forum. I hope you enjoy seeing what I have been putting together. Heres to many years of happy brewing. Cheers from Seattle to wherever you are.



About the building. It is 19'x26'. 9ft walls with a ridge pole open ceiling design. I'm building it on top of an old slab that we tested for structural integrity, which once hosted a carport - torn down long before we bought the place. This space was just begging for a brewery.

Want to skip the conversation and just see the updates in pictures? See Thread Updates: Update 1 Update 2 Update 3 Update 4 Update 5 Update 6 Update 7 (first real brew day) Update 8 Update 9 Update 10 Update 11 Update 12 Update 13 - Officially done. (enough)



Click here to see a timelapse of the build

I did not get a proper before picture showing the space as it existed, but this is close. The existing slab is solid, though not level or square to the property lines.


The trench to the house to supply water, sewer, natural gas, electrical, and low voltage (data) wiring.


We chipped and removed sections of the existing slab to run utilities into the building, and to create one of my favorite features, the floor drain.


After several weeks of work, it's finally slab pouring day. A little drama as we ordered about 1/2 yard too little concrete. Thankfully we live close by to the supplier and were able to get some more very quickly.


Once the slab is cured, the walls go up quickly.


A quick change to my drawings to lower the roof line, and up went the beam. The building sits up above our yard, and my original design was just too tall. The nice thing about being 'the architect' (hah!) is making a change on the fly is easy.


A benefit of doing a lot of the work myself, and hiring a contractor who is a friend of a friend. I called on my friends for cheap(er) labor. Is it beer time yet?


Taking shape:


Skylights on the South facing roof. Important for our gray Seattle days.


The contractor went home for a few days and let me handle the electrical work. So many decisions. Never too many outlets! It was tedious, but I really enjoyed this part of the project.


The brewing area is starting to take shape. Plumbing, gas, and electrical. I don't do electric brewing, but I put in 60a worth of 220 in case I change my mind.


It's a garage, honest.


Hardy plank siding, going on


I found an custom made exhaust hood that was torn out of a high end home in the area at a local re-used building supply store. It is the *perfect* size for my brew area. The 400cfm fan keeps up pretty well. I couldn't believe my luck.


Fitting the hood before drywall to determine the best height, and do a boil test. This is about the point where I wanted to stop building and start doing the fun work!

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Old 09-10-2012, 06:53 PM   #2
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Default The Brewery

Fast forward a few weeks, and the insulation and drywall are 1/2 done. Plumbing is in and operational, and the funcional spaces of the brewery are starting to take shape.


The 5' wide enamled cast iron sink was scored for $40 at the same 2nd hand building supply store as the hood (and hot water heater, and R.O. water filter). I had hoped to find a good deal on a commercial 3 vessel sink, but I'm very happy with this.


Nowhere NEAR done with the building, or the brew setup, but you know it's all about the beer. I had to take a break from the real work on a Saturday afternoon and brew the ceremonial first batch. I wanted something easy that I had brewed many times before, so it's EdWorts's (Garage) Haus Pale Ale


Order #1 (of 4 total) from bargainfittings and brewhardware.com


Pump #1 taking shape.


Brew space really starting to look usable. Stainless steel backing. I had planned to use cheap whiteboard material, but heat was definitely going to be an issue. Stainless sheets were $250 (as opposed to $100 for the white board), and protect the wall from heat, as well as looking infinitely cooler.


Cutting the first keg. This jig was a joy to use.


Boil kettle taking shape. I owe you an update picture. It's since been cleaned up a bit and has a sight glass, return port and thermometer.


Meanwhile, real work continues on the building. It's painting day.

And via the magic of television.. after. We couldn't decide on the color, but had to get it painted. We don't like the blue color of our house very much, but didn't want the garage too clash to badly. In the end we went neutral and boring, but it looks nice enough. The blue door ties in the house color.


Ok that was no fun, back to the good part.


Building the gas manifold. Here we can see the first real signs of influence by JonW's outstanding build. Big props to him, there will be more.


Fire! Natural gas is really easy to work with, and I have been plesantly surprised by these 10-tip jet burners. They can be unruly at full blast, but are easier to control than I expected in the mid range.


I'v been putting this off for a while now, telling myself I don't really need to paint my stand yet. Well, I do. Mild steel is really easy to work with and much cheaper than stainless, but don't skimp or slack on the paint. I enjoyed learning to weld on this stand, though the majority of welds were done by a good friend (who was teaching me at the time) with his cheap wire feed welder. A MIG welder is in my future.



EDIT: January 2012 - After several months of use, I have confirmed my suspicion that pained mild steel diamond plate is not a good idea. I've been unable to keep it from rusting through the paint due to continued exposure to liquid. Go with aluminum, even it it means you have to bolt it on rather than weld it. I will be cutting off the steel plate and replacing it with aluminum soon.

Using an 80 and then 120 grit flapper wheel I sanded down the surface (and removed all the rust that had developed after a couple of 'test brews'. The diamond plate below is also mild steel (I'd suggest aluminum if your welder can handle it - EDIT: See above), and had to be sanded by hand with a sanding block for painting. For the frame I used this paint, thanks to BobbyM and others for the info. Available for $8.99 a can at the local auto parts store, very nice paint to work with.

Painting is complete. 4 coats of the high temp stuff on the frame, and 3 coats of a 'steel base layer' paint for the diamond plate. It looks really nice in person, as it does (I think) in the picture. I borrowed a friends heat gun (basically an industrial strength hair dryer) to help cure the high temp paint. It says to cure in steps at 250ºF, 400ºF, and 600ºF. This heat gun might have gotten me to the 250ºF step, but won't get anywhere close to the higher temps. The next step is to put some pots on the stand and fire up the burners to 'cure' the rest.

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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I don't know if I should be happy for you, or angry out of complete jealousy... I'll go with the first one.

Cheers, good sir, on a fabulous beer shelter!

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:39 PM   #4
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Plus 1 , great job. Keep the pictures coming.

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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Awesome job

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for your comments! I'll definitely keep the photos coming. We're caught up to present day now, and i'll be updating this thread like a more traditional 'build thread' over the coming weeks. Your thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:49 PM   #7
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Beautiful. Thank you for pictures. /dreaming

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:57 PM   #8
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Here is a drawing that shows a rough 'final goal' of the project. Of course, everything is open to change as the project progresses. The outdoor kitchen space is something I'm really excited about. It is plumed for natural gas (grill) and hot/cold/drain for a sink. It's also just through the wall from the spot reserved for a keezer, so there may be a hidden outdoor tap in my future.

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Old 09-10-2012, 08:02 PM   #9
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:14 PM   #10
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Awesome build!!! Btw, as one who has spent numerous years in the concrete field, you probably ordered the right amount, the readymix plant probably just shorted you.... it happens ALOT!

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