A little over a year ago I decided to get back into homebrewing after a seven year layoff. I used to brew professionally and I guess I just got tired of having to please everyone with my brews.
I borrowed a burner from jds and made an extract brew last year. It was good and got me anxious to have my own rig.
Bobby M was very kind and shared some plans he had of his brewstand. I modified the layout slightly. My cousin was able to locate the Unistrut used for the frame as surplus. The stainless steel floor and front panels were also surplus. He had a friend of his cut them to size.
I had one keggle left over from my old rig. I purchased another from my LHBS. I found a welder who installed four fitting for a 6-pack of Bud Light. That hurt.
The MLT is my old Gott 10 gallon cooler. All the valves and close nipples are stainless steel. I wanted to use stainless for everything, but I really couldn't afford all stainless disconnects.
Here is a picture of the rig earlier today during the first brew.
I followed Bobby's instructions for keg polishing and I also purchased the fittings for the sightglasses from him. I did change out the glass for polycarbonate.
I have two banjo burners under the kegs. On the top front panel and piezo push switches to cause a spark to the burner to ignite the propane. I used needle valves to control the propane to the burners. The two switches in the middle control the two March pumps mounted behind the bottom panel.
I chose to use disconnects mounted to a panel to replicate the diverter panels I used in the brewpubs I worked in. I made up silicone hoses to use. I can connect the hoses from the different valves and pumps inlets and outlets to move the liquids anywhere I want.
The valve in the middle of the front panel is connected to a cold water line. I use a sanitary grade water hose into a filter. Then that is hard piped with copper to the valve.
I have my CFC heat exchanger connected to disconnects on the front panel. It makes brewing and cleaning very easy.
In the picture above, I was heating up water more mash-in. I have a valve on the top of the HLT so I can recirculate the water while I am heating. It will ensure no stratification.
This shot shows water being transferred from the HLT prior to mash-in and at the same time I am using the other pump to recirculate SaniClean through the fermenter and the heat exchanger to sanitize it.
Here is the wort being recirculated in the MLT prior to transfer to the kettle and sparging.
Here is the set up for transferring the water from the HLT to the MLT for sparging and then runnig the sweet wort to the kettle while the burner is heating it up.
Everything went very smoothly with the brew today. All the different elements came together and worked just the way I hoped they would.
It did take me over a year to gather all the parts and put it all in one system. I tried to get it to work last weekend, but my original TEEL pump died. A quick order from AHS and all was fine.
I brewed an American Pale Ale today. I based the recipe around the taste profile of Dale's Pale Ale. That is one of my favorite beers. This version is more of a session sipper. I planned on OG of 1.045. It came in at 1.044.
I used a new base malt from Colorado Malting Company. It is a new "Craft" malting company in southern Colorado. All the hops used are pellets.
My brew kettle is set up to use the pump to whirlpool. The final picture is the trub pile in the bottom of the kettle after the brew was transferred to the fermenter. I also used Five Star's Super Moss and defoamer in the kettle. Very little trub went into the fermenter. There was NO hop residue in the heat exchanger when I cleaned it out.
I have had a lot of fun putting this system together. I couldn't have done it without HBT. I learned a lot about how homebrewing has changed since I started 20 odd years ago. Hopefully some of you will pick up a thing or two from this build.
Happy National Homebrew Day!