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Old 03-16-2012, 09:48 PM   #1
Jun 2009
Parker, CO, Colorado
Posts: 341
Liked 8 Times on 5 Posts

Think I posted some pics before of my uncles brew set up.. well just got back from a 5 day trip to Denver over spring break, and Sunday was brew day for my uncle and me, first time I've ever seen him in action. I had a huge surplus of hops here in Houston, so I overnighted some to him the week before and he formulated a recipe using them. We ended up donig a Pliny the Elder clone. He's been a homebrewer for about 12 years, and has won many homebrew awards for his brews. So while I did help a bit here and there, I mostly sat back and watched the pro do his thing. The entire setup is in their basement, which is a walk out, so that's nice. His setup is pretty much a homebrewer's dream. It's adjacent to their bar. This basement pretty much just kicks the ass of any one you've ever been in. The pictures do the talking.

Here's a quick recap of brew day, semi in order with some pics.

First of all.. some pics of brewery.. here is walking in the only door, looking left, then straight on. Every possible thing you'd need during brew day, he not only has it, but he has a specific place to store it. Also, stainless steel racks are great for drying. In second pic, you see he has several little jars for adjuncts and such.

Here's the brew sculpture we're working with. A "more beer" tippy sculpture, and the brain of the unit.

Another view of brew room, from the bar area, through the interior window.

Anyway, 7am, fire up the burner on his HLT and mash tun, which were prefilled the night before. While that's heating up, time to measure out and mill the grain. (recipe below). In the bed room next door he has his mill.

Here is the grain storage, with a nice desk to work on. Above desk is cabinets full of more stuff.. cleaning, adjuncts, oxygen tanks, etc..

And here's the almost 30 lbs. of crushed grain

This is during the mash. There is a copper coil inside the bottom pot, (the HLT) which the wort recirculates through so the mash remains a constant temp. He did a 3 step mash. Acid rest, 30 min. at 90 deg., protein rest, 30 min. at 120 deg., and sacc rest, 90 min at 152 deg. Then mash out, 10 min. at 168. This is all automated, when the digital temp probe drops below 150, it fires up the pump to recirculate it through HLT copper coil and bring it up to temp.

Now the mash is over, sparge it, and time to boil..

While that heats up to boiling, cleaning mash tun is a breeze.. first tip it to remove grain (which goes outside in the flower beds)

Then, take off mash tun, and plop it in the sink to rinse and clean

Close up of sink.. he has water supply, perfect for filling pots and for wort chiller, used later. Again, a place for everything.

It's a long boil. We sort out the hops by addition, so just set a timer.. in the meantime, it's about noon, so time to pour a beer. Just around the corner, his taps.

Most of these are some expermiental brews he did. The golden bee was half honey, half wheat. The braggot was very strange.. it had pepper and spices in it.. and it came through strong. The herb beer had some stuff I never heard of, I forgot what he told me. Hop monster was typical ipa, as was the bavarian hef, and doppelbock is one of his award winning brews he always has on tap.

On the other side of the tap wall, all the kegs are stored in the walk in, accessible from the brew room. (You see the door to the walk in in my very first pic). His buddy made the keg racks. 6 regulators so each brew can be dialed in to whatever PSI you want.

After boil, time to chill the wort, and oxygenate. Easy as pie, just hook up a myriad of hoses, all cut to length, and let the pump do the work. First though, assemble the oxygenator

Of course, the hoses have their spot:

Now hook it all up

Close up of oxygenator at work

That's all the pics I got of brew day, once it was in the fermentor, he pitched the yeast starter which he did that tuesday, close it up, attached blow off tube, and set the temp at 68 deg. His fermentor is thermoelectrically cooled. It can go 30 below ambient. During winter (and for this brew), he has a small radiator to keep the room warm, so then the fermentor can in turn cool to the right temp. Otherwise, it would get too cold down there. His fermentor only cools, no heat.

Recipe, 10 gal. batch:
25 lbs. of 2-row, 1 lb of C-40, 2.25 lbs. cara pils, 2.25 lbs. of corn sugar.
chinook, 2.5oz, mash tun
nugget, 4oz, 90 min
chinook, 1.5oz, 90 min
strisselspalt, 2oz, 45 min
columbus, 2oz, 30 min
centennial, 3oz, 0 min
cascade, 2oz, 0 min
strisselspalt, 2oz
columbus, 5oz, dry hop
cascade, 4oz, dry hop
strisselspalt, 3oz, dry hop

Yep, 31 oz. for a 10 gal. batch. 200+ ibus. 1.075 OG. Should come in around 85abv.

cont'd in next post

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Old 03-16-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
Jun 2009
Parker, CO, Colorado
Posts: 341
Liked 8 Times on 5 Posts

Don't like beer? No prob. Here's their bar. You see it's proximity to the tap wall. You may also notice the handful of tvs in each upper corner. (these pics are from a previous trip out there, so tap labels don't match)

And the walk out. That door stays open when they're home probably 8 months out of the year.

And the party table.. flip the top for poker, or remove the top for bumper pool

Or perhaps you like foosball.

Or a movie

Nah.. back to the bar. Let's have a closer look.. here is the 'scotch' shelf. All single malts. To the left is vodka, to the right is rum/whisky/bourbon (all 3 sections are the same length as the scotch shelf). And the top shelf, filling all 3 sections, is 100% anejo tequilas. No cheap stuff. (tidbit, when they built this bar ~5 years ago, they stocked it in two trips)

Now, for my commercial beer tastings in the Denver area.
First night, had a family gathering at Bar Louie in southglenn. Had odells drafts for $3. So I started with the pale ale, then 90 shilling, then moved on to Great divide hercules on tap. (no pic.. whoops)
Second day was brew day, so drank homebrews all day. Third day, lunch at Rock Bottom bar and grill. The view of their tanks. It was happy hour, wife and I split a generously sized pizza and a beer a piece, only $13. Half price pizza and $3 drafts every day until like 7. On the way out, the head brewer from lone tree brewing was on patio giving out samples, I tried the german hef and the chocolate cherry stout.

And to the liquor store for some beers to have at home. Here is the 'bomb shelter'

And the end all of big beers:

I did a 'create your own 6 pack', only $9.99. They had about 4 fridge sections full of singles. I had heard of only about 20% of em ha.

They were all tasty of course.

The next day, quick bite to eat at CB and Potts, another chain brewery. I did the flight. Only $4. Happy hour that day as well, wife's beer was only $3 for 20 oz draft.

Last full day, after the relatives got off work, we met at the lone tree tasting room. Deja vu from a few days before. I had an altbier (not listed on board) and the double IPA. Weird, the chalkboard on the other wall I was ordering from didn't list black ipa, otherwise I would have gotten it.. oh well.

Then headed to landsdown arms for some dinner, and of course, more beers. I went with Breckendridge 471 IPA on tap. Stuck with just 1, had to wake up at 4am.

Finally, at the denver airport the next day.. they have a 'new belgium hub'. Damn, I wish our flight wasn't 7am.. Could of had some lips of faith on tap.

As many already know, it's beer nirvana in Denver. Every little place we went in had craft beer on tap. Even at the avalanche game we went to monday night, I was drinking dale's pale ale and an amber ale from colorado mountain brewery, out of Co. Springs. And since the grocery stores can't sell anything but 3.2 beer (well.. with exceptions.. weird laws kind of), the liquor stores are chock full of brews. Even a seemingly small shopping center store gives most specs in houston a run for their money.

Now I hardly scratched the surface of all the micro breweries in denver, but, looks like i'll have plenty more time to get to them all, cause wife and I just put a deposit down for a 7 month lease on a 1 bedroom apt. We'll live there until we find a home to buy, likely in highlands ranch. Been a dream of mine to move there for a decade, and it's finally coming to fruition. I have 4 aunts/3 with spouses, 5 cousins/4 with spouses, and about 6 little ones between all my cousins.. and they all live in littleton/highlands ranch/centennial, southside.. so it's gonna be an easy adjustment.
Lease starts May 15, and my cousin (the youngest from that side) is graduating high school, so we're planning a big family gathering where we'll tap the pliny we just brewed and start off our move with a bang.

Hope you enjoyed the pics!

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Old 03-16-2012, 10:06 PM   #3
dutchoven's Avatar
Mar 2011
SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 636
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts

Holy crap ... I need to up my game! Fantastic setup.

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Old 03-16-2012, 10:09 PM   #4
usfmikeb's Avatar
Jan 2011
Leesburg, Virginia
Posts: 3,148
Liked 239 Times on 201 Posts

Wow. Seriously, wow is all I can say.

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Old 03-16-2012, 10:09 PM   #5
Dec 2011
St. Louis Area, MO
Posts: 359
Liked 28 Times on 17 Posts

Wow! That puts my homebrewery to shame. I have decent equipment for making AG batches but compared to this it looks more like I am using a Mr. Beer kit!

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