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MajorWoody 06-09-2009 11:12 PM

Yet another 3 tier rig--dialup warning large pix
Hello all. First of all I'd like to thank the users of this forum for taking the time to share the details of their creations. My three tier, tree-style brewstand is really an integration of everything I have seen and like from several months of lurking and asking questions.

So here it is!


Basically it's 2" thinwall square tube steel, welded in the typical way but with caps welded on the ends of all the open tubes. I also rigged up a circular bracket and clamp to hold the propane tank, just as it would be mounted on a barbecue grill. There is a small shelf made of expanded metal which comes in very handy for holding my hydrometer, sparge manifold, pyrex measuring cup for recirculating, hose nozzle, sanitizer and other chemicals etc. Footprint is 26X40; height to top of HLT is about 6'.

I found an electronic ignitor for cheap on ebay, and mounted it under the middle shelf. It is connected to a little square pushbutton at the top of the central vertical tube, and this ignites the burners. All the wiring is concealed inside the frame's tubing.


Fabbed a bracket to mount 25' CFC directly beneath the MLT shelf with a dedicated water faucet. It is capable of chilling a five gallon batch to room temperature in just a few minutes using very little water. I actually have to throttle it way back or the wort would come out very very cold. CFC has its own dedicated valve (bottom hose bib in picture). Thanks to those who showed me how to make this CFC...it does have the length of copper wire soldered concentrically down its entire length and I think perhaps this plays a part in why it is so effective. Our water is very cold year round so I think this could have been made shorter--15' instead of 25' would still do the job but there is no reason to change it now.

Stand also has its own dedicated wash/fill hose and valve which I find very handy (top valve in picture). Easy to rinse things off, fill things up, etc. If I were to do this again, I would use a slightly more expensive quarter-turn ball valve instead of the sillcock valve. Small annoyance.

Found a $5 steel hose hanger at Wal-Mart, cut the wall bracket off and welded it to the back side for storage of the fill hose, CFC drain, and supply hose when not in use.


Used mega-cheap casters from Harbor Freight, welded on.

Burners are connected via flare fittings (had to learn how to do a double flare joint) which both connect to separate needle valves on a tee. A couple HVAC duct reducers are riveted on to serve as wind deflectors for the burners. Spacing 4" to bottom of put. Work perfectly.



BK is a 12 gallon light duty SS pot which I found for $30 on CList. Some guy bought it to cook crabs in originally. I added a Bazooka Screen which works okay but I find it difficult to get all the wort out of the pot because of the height of the screen. I think these screens would be fine in a MLT but in a boil kettle they are a pain in the ass. I intend to replace the screen with a false bottom in the future, or just install an unscreened siphon and use a big hop bag.

HLT is an 8 gallon aluminum pot that was part of a used turkey cooker that I also scored off C-List. Along with the turkey cooker kit came the propane tank (full!), regulator/hose and one of the burners. Added a weldless bulkhead fitting and a sightglass that I made out of a short piece of polycarbonate tubing. After this picture was taken, I also added a bulkhead thermometer.

At flame-out, I do have to move the BK up to the middle shelf to use the CFC, but it is an easy lift and the simplicity/economy of a gravity setup makes it well worth it. If I was doing larger than 5 gallon batches, I would use a pump but then that defeats the purpose of a "tree" design where gravity works for you.

Sparge ring is removable, bent to fit snugly into one of the cooler handles and to be out of the way when not in use. I like that it is easy to quickly hose off and put away when done being used. I get a very gentle sprinkle from the 24 holes drilled in its bottom. Love the ring and its simplicity.

Update 12/09: I have used this thing now for about two dozen batches.
My likes:
1. small footprint. Fully self contained. No hauling stuff out to get set up. Just roll out of the corner, uncoil/hook up the garden hose, run CFC drain hose out to the driveway, turn on gas, hit ignitor and go. Setup takes one minute. Cleanup takes two minutes.
2. onboard wash/fill hose. Could not live without it.
3. Super easy cleanup. No pumps, hoses, fittings, connectors etc. Just push-on barbed tubing that can be tossed in the sanitizer bucket. Rinsing BK and MLT is simple, just pull off tube, dump in trash, spray out on lawn, put back. No tools and no monkeying around with fancy-pants fittings.
4. Plenty of power for heating up HLT/BK.
5. Large, wide BK makes boil-overs a thing of the past.
6. Storage shelf.
7. Fly sparging is bonehead-easy, can be done mostly unattended.
8. Huge diameter, 24" long SS braid in the MLT works wonderfully. What is a stuck mash? Cannot imagine it with this setup. Very good extraction.
9. Head deflector/wind shields allow for use of very little gas to maintain a boil. Cheap too.

No automation. Mash temp control requires experimentation and experience using the rig. Cannot raise mash temp, but easy to lower it using a quick blast of cold water so I usually shoot a few degrees high, wait 5 min to see where it looks like it is going to stabilize, and then dropping the temp a bit with cold water if necessary. Also requires preheating the MLT which to me seems like a waste of propane.

I used a couple gate valves on the water supply to save money. They suck. Ball valves are better. Maybe I will change them someday.


BlindLemonLars 06-09-2009 11:40 PM

Very nice! I like that you opted for needle valves...that's what I've got on my HLT burner, and it really helps dial the flame in just right to maintain a temperature. The shelf and hose-hanger are nice touches as well.

Personally, I'd add a March pump and eliminate the "lifting the scalding hot BK" step. My back is so much happier with me since I got a pump!

Beautiful work! :mug:

Benthic 06-10-2009 12:33 AM

Looks great. You've made me re-evaluate the idea of this style of three tiered stand. I had been set on a one level stand in the past, but given my space constraints I don't know where I'd store it. But something like this is much more feasible. I like it.

Can you tell me how big the foot print of the stand is?


trey.allen 06-10-2009 02:29 AM

ahhh! Volkswagen!

Nice setup too.

android 06-10-2009 02:35 AM

ha, that is a sweet looking bus.

and stellar 3 tier, color me jealous, nice work!

Lil' Sparky 06-10-2009 02:48 AM

Looks great - very similar to my first 3-tier. I love the push-button ignitors!

jcdillin 06-10-2009 11:02 AM

Great job!

MajorWoody 06-10-2009 04:00 PM


Originally Posted by Benthic (Post 1372607)
Looks great. You've made me re-evaluate the idea of this style of three tiered stand. I had been set on a one level stand in the past, but given my space constraints I don't know where I'd store it. But something like this is much more feasible. I like it.

Can you tell me how big the foot print of the stand is?


Thanks for the compliments.

Footprint is 26X48

I tried to make it as short as possible. I did not want to be standing on a stool or a ladder to do anything, and did not want the middle shelf to be any higher than it had to be. If there was a better place for the CFC, then the MLT shelf could have been even lower--but there is not. I can use gravity straight from the BK to the CFC to the bucket on he ground where I whirlpool it and let the hot break settle out before draining into the primary.

A lot of the three tier designs I have seen are tall simply because keggles were used for everything. I make five gallon batches so I don't need keggles.

Blindlemonlars, I thought about a pump but honestly I don't need it. It's only about six gallons and I'm only lifting to waist level. When I get old and feeble or mess up my back, or if I become interested in a HERMS/RIMS setup because of difficulties in maintaining mash temps, then I would add the pump and all the plumbing that goes along with it and still keep the small footprint.

Bernie Brewer 06-10-2009 04:12 PM

Nice work! The only part that scares me is your use of copper water pipes for your gas run. I would've used black pipe, but that's me.

MajorWoody 06-10-2009 04:28 PM

Ruh-roh! Why? It hits maybe 20 PSI and is leak tested. Domestic water is 50-80 psi. There is no copper upstream of the shutoff. What is the risk? Is there some chemical interaction between copper and propane that I didn't know about?

Thanks! :)

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