55 Gallon AE Kettle system

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

sohara

Active Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
36
Reaction score
2
Location
Montreal
Curious. Which model did you get and where did you get. I haven't had much luck tracking down prices on the Thomsens on-line.
 

barryfine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
143
Reaction score
6
Location
Harrisburg
Thanks for the update! Did you need to get approved by the Feds before you could even apply for the state license? I'm hoping to go through that process in a couple years. What have been the biggest challenges so far to getting approved by PA?
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
Thanks for the update! Did you need to get approved by the Feds before you could even apply for the state license? I'm hoping to go through that process in a couple years. What have been the biggest challenges so far to getting approved by PA?
You do the TTB first, the PLCB will need your TTB "Brewers Notice" number. But there is a way with PLCB to do a pre approval. This I did not originally know.

The biggest problem I am having is that I am trying to share an industrial building I already rent. They have issues with the Lease and with me sectioning off 'part' of a building. I can have no doors that lead to any other part of the building. I tried to get an exemption for the doors that are in the rooms but they wont let me. The doors must open to the outside, or-so-they-say. I know they can give exemptions, it even states 'unless exempted by the board'. But we are dealing with PLCB one of the worse PA government bodies for being reasonable.
 

barryfine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
143
Reaction score
6
Location
Harrisburg
You do the TTB first, the PLCB will need your TTB "Brewers Notice" number. But there is a way with PLCB to do a pre approval. This I did not originally know.

The biggest problem I am having is that I am trying to share an industrial building I already rent. They have issues with the Lease and with me sectioning off 'part' of a building. I can have no doors that lead to any other part of the building. I tried to get an exemption for the doors that are in the rooms but they wont let me. The doors must open to the outside, or-so-they-say. I know they can give exemptions, it even states 'unless exempted by the board'. But we are dealing with PLCB one of the worse PA government bodies for being reasonable.
Thanks for the info! Good luck getting your license! I'd love to visit your brewery once you're up and running. Are you going to have a tasting room?
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
Sorry for such a delay, We recieved our final state license and health department inspection.

This is a shot of me on my first brew day. Already have 2 bars lined up to do promotions when we launch our brew on August 16th :)

first Brew day.jpg
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
I've filled two 3 barrel conicals so far. Getting ready to move the first one over to the bright tank soon.
I made a Blonde Ale and a Wiezen. Two of my favorite recipes for picnics. So I think they will go well in a bar setting.

This picture shows the pump and heat exchanger and the oxygenation.

Pumping equipment 1.jpg
 

barryfine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
143
Reaction score
6
Location
Harrisburg
Congrats man! When I find a little time, I'd love to stop by and check out your setup! I'm about 2 hours away from you.
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
I've not posted too much here lately but you can follow my nano brewing adventures on FaceBook/DrunkMonkeyBrewWerks yes that is the German word for Works
My beer is being well received everywhere. I'm still learning my system. I've already made plans for more bigger fermenters and BK.

My Brand is "Captain Jack's" 'Fine ales and lagers' you can see the T's we are wearing.
In the photo we are at State College Beer Expo. I was checking this out to be in it next year. It is only 35 minutes from my brewery.

SC Beer Expo 4.jpg
 

Windsors

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 16, 2008
Messages
102
Reaction score
3
Wadefisher - great job. You are doing what most of us just dream about.

I just noticed that you were in Lewistown, PA. My wife still has alot of relatives in Lewistown. I never suggested that we go visit, but now I will. Are you ever brewing on weekends ?

Also, I remember some great hotdogs in town with Texas chile sauce, mustard and onions. Are they still there ?

Bill
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
Wadefisher - great job. You are doing what most of us just dream about.

I just noticed that you were in Lewistow, PA. My wife's still has alot of relatives in Lewistown. I never suggested that we go visit, but now I will. Are you ever brewing on weekends ?

Also, I remember some great hotdogs in town with Texas chile saw, mustard and onions. Are they still there ?

Bill
Many times I am active in the brewery on weekends. And yes to the dogs at Laskaris's on the square, they are famous.
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
The system itself is working as intended. The controllers I built with the help of these forums and members do their job very well. People are impressed when I show them my little brewery and tell them I built the controllers and that Mickey in the shop built my kettles. I want to thank everyone on the board, because they share information so willingly and take time to answer questions.

Thanks again everyone :tank:
 

Veritas

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 13, 2010
Messages
145
Reaction score
28
Location
State College
In the photo we are at State College Beer Expo. I was checking this out to be in it next year. It is only 35 minutes from my brewery.
Hey Wadefisher. I live in State College and was also at the beer expo. Sorry we didn't meet! If I had seen your crew in their matching gear I would have introduced myself.

Are your beers on the market? I'd even make the run to Lewistown to give it a go.

Cheers.
 

Veritas

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 13, 2010
Messages
145
Reaction score
28
Location
State College
To all of you who might be in the Lewistown, PA area, you must stop by and try one Captain Jack's ales! My lady and I rode the Harley to Lewistown from State College, and had a nice meal at the Waterfront Tavern, where they currently have Captain Jack's Wit beer and blond ale on tap. I admit to having tried both. The wit was a wonderfully fresh; the phenols and esters gave it a nice gentle banana with very subtle clove character. If I wasn't on the Harley, I would have had a few more. The blond was nicely hopped, crisp, very drinkable.

Great to see one of us "living the dream," and producing great beer for local population. If you're in central PA, you gotta try this. Well done!
 

DrPhilGood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
138
Reaction score
2
Location
Staten island
I love this thread and wish you were closer to NYC. What kind of hoses are you using? Did you consider a tankless heater instead of the two tanks?

P.s. I agree with the KISS approach for the controls and makes things much easier to upgrade/alternate equipment.
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
DrPhilGood:
I am using 3/4" Silicone. Its a good price quality ration. True 'brewers' hoses are quite expensive per foot. The clear reinforced ones don't take temperature very well. We pump boiling water through all fittings and hoses right before brewing to sanitize so I had to have something that could take the heat. Don't trust chemical sanitizing when you have a lot of fittings and pumps. I get mine from McMaster Carr.
A tank-less water heater is in our planning. It can be use to preheat water before it gets to the HLT. But I don't believe they are accurate enough to use in place of a HLT. I would like to get one to find out. I've heard of nano's using tank-less even as thier HLT.

Our little nano is cranking beer out as fast as we can. Need to buy more fermenters.
 

DrPhilGood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
138
Reaction score
2
Location
Staten island
Have you hit a point where you are regretting not going bigger from the start? Has this become your full time job?

Bottling looks like a long day
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
Have you hit a point where you are regretting not going bigger from the start? Has this become your full time job?

Bottling looks like a long day
Small production means small mistakes. I know from other business ventures it's better to learn the hard-way with small numbers. I have no regrets starting with this system. But I am already planning something bigger.
We have refined a lot of process since starting this. When I go bigger I will be much more confident in what I need out of a system.

Bottling by hand with any product is time consuming. 3 guys can knock out a 90 gallon batch in 3 - 4 hours.

If you would put this in the right setting a guy might be able to make a living, at best.
Many variables.
 

DrPhilGood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
138
Reaction score
2
Location
Staten island
Oh 3-4 hours isn't bad at all. I know what you mean about small mistakes. We made so many blunders on a 10 gallon this year that if it were a nano we would be bankrupt.

Have you considered retailing as an option to make up profits? A tap room, or just selling cases of beer out of your shop? Distributing wholesale has to be tough at that level.
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
Have you considered retailing as an option to make up profits? A tap room, or just selling cases of beer out of your shop? Distributing wholesale has to be tough at that level.
We have been doing direct sales of Growlers and bottles because of public demand. Where I am I can not do Tap Room sales, just take out. It has been extra $$ and we really like connecting with the customers. I originally was not going to but it is a good thing that we are doing it now.
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
Well, it was a very short time but we are retiring the all electric 1.5 BBL and moving to a 3 BBL steam. All kettles and controls are being re purposed for other applications at first, but I may end up selling them. This was an awesome system and a great project. We made well over 100 barrels of beer. Our facebook is fb/DrunkMonkeyBrewWerks if you want to see what is happening.
BTW, true to our HB background we have built our own 3 BBL system. We have installed a 7 BBL fermenting tank and we are taking delivery of a 10 BBL tank. This should 'catch us up' for a short while. I am making plans on moving the brewery to its own building in the next few months.
It's like we have a Drunk Monkey by-the-tail! I'm just holding on for the ride!:mug:
 

DrPhilGood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
138
Reaction score
2
Location
Staten island
Sounds like good news, Congrats! Going to be brewing triple batches for the 10 bbl tank I see. Is it difficult keeping up with demand?
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
Yes to the multiple batches. We have filled our 7 BBL tank several times with the 1.5 BBL BK....... That is a long day!

Here is a picture of the 3 BBL. You can see the 1.5 BBL brew house along the back wall. We are using the old BK to heat water for mashing.

3 BBL DMBW.jpg
 

nvr2low

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
396
Reaction score
0
Location
Liverpool
just read through this entire post, great job!

working on a nano setup now so this is true inspiration!
 
OP
wadefisher
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
284
Reaction score
10
Location
Lewistown / Dade City
What kind of pump are you running in that shot under the kettle?
I can't think of the brand name, but Grainger sells it. Look for their 'Sanitary' pumps. It cost like $1200. It's a big brand name for pumps. It has true sanitary connections, 1 1/2" TC. No threads anywhere. Threads are the devil when trying to keep sanitary.
 

DrivewayBeer

Active Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Hi. Just read though the whole thread and I have to say, way to go!

I was wondering how you liked your tippy dump setup for your 55 gallon mash tun. I liked your design and plan to do something similar. could you perhaps post a few more pics of it. Did you like how it worked? Thanks much
 

Latest posts

Top