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Brew day is exhausting!

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Traftas

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I brew outside with a Blichmann Top Tier Stand. The top tier is stored in garage and all other equipment including a 20G Pot, 10G pot, 10G Mash Tun, grain mill, hoses, etc.... ingredients are stored in my basement. Essentially when I brew I am moving a complete brewery outside to my back yard patio and after cleanup moving it back into storage. A complete brew day including prep and cleanup and putting all equipment away can be 7 hours...I got to figure out an easier method.
 

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Coastalbrew

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I'm assuming you are using propane burners on your stand rather than electric? Have you ever considered switching to electric and brewing indoors? Or just keeping everything together in the garage so it's all in one place?

I brew smaller batches than you, 3-5G typically, and brew indoors in an all in one system. The system I use wouldn't work for you probably, but there are electric systems that would still allow you to do your larger batch size without all the hassle and cleanup of your 3 vessel system.

Cheers!
 

eric19312

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OP just saw your other thread trying to sell this system. This thread might not be so helpful for that sale lol. It's a good system but will be much easier to use if you can manage to store all the gear near where you brew. How about store it all in the garage (as suggested by @Coastalbrew) and brew in your driveway instead of backyard?
 

bobeer

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Homebrewing is definitely a labor of love.
I brew 5 gallon batches mostly in the kitchen, and all my stuff is in the basement (kettles mlt, mill, tools for brew day, mash paddle, etc..., so I get it. Been doing it for about a decade. I have to lug a few things at a time up and down stairs as I need them and it's a pain. I have gotten a few plastic bins to put the odds and ends in so it makes it a little easier but I'm still hauling stuff up and down. Until I can make a designated brew space its just the way I'm livin'.
 

twd000

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I got a rolling cart and store it in my garage. Just wheel it on on brew day and store after cleanup. I also simplified to single vessel BIAB. I'm done and dusted in under 3 hours
 

tracer bullet

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I brew in the garage and store in the garage. Only thing I need from a different location is water since I don't want to pull from a 50' rubber hose.

Is garage an option? Or just not as nice a space?
 

Jim R

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I agree with you that brew days are too long which adds some burden to the hobby. I have worked hard to figure out ways to shorten my brew days. I started timing everything and then considering ways to shorten each step. I have gotten my brew day down to 4 hours, 20 min. I wish I could shorten it a little more.

I do 5 gal batches with a simple cooler mash tun and boil kettle. I use a fast Blichmann Hellfire burner which really helped me shorten my heating times with a second cheap turkey fryer burner so I can simultaneously heat up sparge water, water to warm my mast tun, etc.. I do take a little time the night before to set up the burners and measure out the water, etc. so I am ready to just start the burners in the morning. I am still looking for more ways to shorten my times.
 

eric19312

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Here’s one strategy...

1602946526630.jpeg

(just having fun with you). Not sure if OP is new brewer who inherited a system built by and for someone with different brewing goals or just new to HBT. Welcome to the hobby you are probably onto something looking for smaller easier brew day while you figure out if you really enjoy the hobby. I also do a 7 hour brew day and am physically exhausted by the end but it’s a happy exhausted that I look forward too.
 

eric19312

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Here is an idea. Just use the 20 gallon pot and one of the hellfire burners. Get a BIAB bag and do full volume (no sparge) BIAB. Get a jaded hydra immersion chiller and the right drill for that grain mill. You have a perfect overhead structure for hooking up a pulley system for lifting the bag.

you can likely turn out 10 gallon batches in 4 hours.
 

RM-MN

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I am still looking for more ways to shorten my times.
Are you willing to spend some money to shorten your day?

1. Mash time is directly related to the milling of the grain. I bought a Corona style mill (about $30 currently) and a pair of paint strainer bags (5 gallon bags, 2 per pack, about $5). Set the mill tight as it will go. Now you can use the bag in the boil kettle and do a 30 minute mash. Now you have no mash tun to clean up. The downside of this is you will likely have to adjust the recipes to account for higher mash efficiency.
2. Since you have a high output burner, use cool water for sparge (if you do a sparge, not necessary with BIAB but it does increase the brewhouse efficiency). No more using the second burner and kettle, less to put away.
3. Unless you are using mostly Pilsener malt, shorten the boil time. I boil 30 minutes. The downside of this is you have to adjust the amount of water to account for the shorter boil and the hops for the lower extraction. You still get about 90% of the bittering at 30 minutes.
 

BrewZer

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Homebrewing is definitely a labor of love.
I brew 5 gallon batches mostly in the kitchen, and all my stuff is in the basement (kettles mlt, mill, tools for brew day, mash paddle, etc..., so I get it. Been doing it for about a decade. I have to lug a few things at a time up and down stairs as I need them and it's a pain. I have gotten a few plastic bins to put the odds and ends in so it makes it a little easier but I'm still hauling stuff up and down. Until I can make a designated brew space its just the way I'm livin'.
google "stair lift"
 

NitrogenWidget

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I Biab with a King cooker jet stand from HD.
It all stays outside under a tarp when not used and can brew 10g batches.
You could build a lean- to off the side of the house to store it outside.
 

OakIslandBrewery

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Having a dedicated spot to brew certainly does make brew day a little easier than hauling everything out then packing it away again. I have a spot in the basement to brew but I still do some tasks a day or two ahead to shorten the actual brew day. My recipe is printed out, grain is milled into the mash tun, the HLT (electric) is filled and the temp is dialed in, hops are measured out and the boil equipment is ready. I also check over all the tubing, clamps, pumps and all that to make sure they are secure and not damage or cracked. Everything that touches the wort/beer is sanitized beforehand too.

Just a few suggestions to do some things before the brew day.
 

Jtvann

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I brew outside with a Blichmann Top Tier Stand. The top tier is stored in garage and all other equipment including a 20G Pot, 10G pot, 10G Mash Tun, grain mill, hoses, etc.... ingredients are stored in my basement. Essentially when I brew I am moving a complete brewery outside to my back yard patio and after cleanup moving it back into storage. A complete brew day including prep and cleanup and putting all equipment away can be 7 hours...I got to figure out an easier method.
I’m going to reply without reading any other posts just to see how many people have said the same thing.

Get an electric biab all in 1 system. One pot and you can brew inside. You’ll be done brewing in 4ish hours including cleanup.
 

jrgtr42

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I wonder why he has to move everything around the house? I mean, there may be reasons like a severely sloped driveway or something, but why not brew in the garage or just outside? Keeping most items near the brew area keeps lugging down. I store in my basement, and I used to brew just outside that door, so it wasn't too bad. My burner lives near the door, kettles and equipment weren;'t far - it was just a case of bringing the propane tank down. Now that |I went electric - induction burner - Most everything is in arms reach, with a few exceptions that are shared with the kitchen, so I try to bring them down at once, usually while strike water is heating.
 

Spartan1979

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I was in a similar situation as the OP, everything except my burner was stored in the basement. I even hauled the brewing water from my RO system up the stairs. A brew day consisted of many, many trips up and down the stairs. I built an electric system in my basement and brewing is so much easier.
 

Dog House Brew

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I used to break my 3 vessel rig down every time. I ended up making my own waterproof cover and left it there. I put casters on my rig and roll it out of the way. Find a person that makes custom boat covers. Made my life easier since I don’t have a garage. During the winter I blow out my cfc and HERMS coil.
 

Brooothru

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Here’s one strategy...

View attachment 702828
(just having fun with you). Not sure if OP is new brewer who inherited a system built by and for someone with different brewing goals or just new to HBT. Welcome to the hobby you are probably onto something looking for smaller easier brew day while you figure out if you really enjoy the hobby. I also do a 7 hour brew day and am physically exhausted by the end but it’s a happy exhausted that I look forward too.
+1

I'm reluctant to weigh in since my brewdays are getting longer rather than shorter. Seven hours is pretty much the norm anymore, counting cleanup. Used to be 3-4, especially when I was doing BIAB and plastic fermenters.

Now it's planning, prepping, setting up the day before brewing. Brew Day starts 6:30-7:00 am with heating the strike water and crushing the grain. It ends when the last of the pumps, transfer lines and TC fittings are on the drying rack and the yeast is pitched into the conical, usually 3:30-4:00 pm.

The good news? I enjoy doing it. It's my hobby, I'm retired, and I'm improving my craft and learning every time by taking the time. I get to share. I get to show off. What could be better?

Plus, I save alot of money. (Yeah...not so much). But it does tend to keep me outta' bars, so there's that.

Brooo Brother
 

WESBREW

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You can also split your brew day mash-boil to make it seem shorter. If you are electric inside you could even do late night mash, collect wort. Set controller to turn on early am, knock out the boil and cleaning in the morning.
 

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It definitely adds up, but breaking it down is super important for me.

2 nights ahead - yeast starter. Probably 15 - 20 minutes because it includes getting some equipment unloaded. It helps that I store it all nearby.

Night before - getting the water ready and hauled to the garage. Weigh and add additives. Pull the burner and pots off the shelf. Set up the electric heater in the mash tun and associated temp controller and timer. This is an hour and a half.

Morning of - 15 minutes right after getting out of bed to check the strike water temp, add and stir grains, sanity check temps before walking away.

Finally after breakfast the brew day starts in earnest. From here it's about 4 hours start to finish including the chilling and yeast pitching, cleaning up, and so on. Much cleanup happens while things are boiling. More during chilling. I can start at 8Am and be done by noon (just barely), but repeatably.

My point being... I'm definitely 6 to 6.5 hours spent, but breaking it up helps a lot.
 

amber-ale

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If brew-day is exhausting then you are doing something wrong. this hobby is supposed to be fun, not a drag

my brew day is 4 hours, start to finish, including set up and clean up. You need to simplify (as suggested above) or go smaller. Bring back the fun and remember the KISS principle

You don't have to do 5 gallon batches every time. try smaller batches brewed more often. I used to do 5 gallon batches too, but found myself stressed, dripping wort all over the floor and not having fun...at all.

Now I do 2.5 gallon (BIAB, all grain) batches, brew more often, enjoy brew day, don't need a yeast starter (small enough that a dry packet works just fine), can lift the heavy equipment, can brew inside the house on my stove with equipment I already have, all my brewing equipment (including empty bottles) fits into a cupboard and a tiny closet, no more wort spills and my brew day is 4 hours including set up/clean up and a movie/shopping trip while it mashes. Grains cost me less than $25 and I can brew on a whim and still have a life. True, I produce fewer bottles each time, but more batches means more flavor choices.
 

Shaika-Dzari

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Small batch / BIAB on the stove is not so bad. Kitchen sink is right behind me so I'm doing the cleaning at the same time and usually end the brew day nearly as soon as I pitch the yeast.
 

Brooothru

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You can also split your brew day mash-boil to make it seem shorter. If you are electric inside you could even do late night mash, collect wort. Set controller to turn on early am, knock out the boil and cleaning in the morning.
I only wish I could brew inside. That was the primary reason I went all-electric and single vessel seven years ago. Used a 220V outlet where the dryer plugs in, easy access to my work space, deep laundry sink nearby, it was a brewer's Valhalla. I could even brew in the winter without freezing my wort off. But, Nooooo! SWMBO'd, who's not a beer drinker, said the smell of hops (imagine that) gave her a headache. I think she was just getting back at me for complaining when she'd steam kale or sauté cauliflower. Now that crap smells like death, amirite?

Anyhoo, I got banished to the great outdoors to mash and boil, and had to pay an electrician a couple of bill$ to wire me a 220V box near the patio. Not much brewing gets done after late October 'til April or May, so right now is my busy season squirreling brews away for the long winter months. The upside is that inadvertent spills are no longer a major catastrophe, and the remedy is only a hose spray away. That, plus the 'cigar bar' is always open while the boil is occurring.
 

shoreman

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I've downsized recently and totally enjoying the hobby! I just don't have a full day to brew anymore on the weekends. Now my brew day is 2 hours and I can do it anytime during the week.

2.5 gallon, BIAB on the stovetop, Short and Shoddy right into an SS Brewtech Fermentor for easy transfer into the keg - brew day is 2 hours tops from grinding grain to fermenter. So much more variety in styles as well. I've got a mini fridge that I rotate 2 naturally carb'd kegs in and out of.
 

Dland

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I brew 10 gallon batches w 3 vessel keg system, outdoors, even in winter. When raining I have one of those pop up vendor roof tents, a little snow is OK if dry, but admit I don't brew below 20F anymore. It takes me 5 hours from set up to break down on a good day, maybe 6 if I sanitize some kegs and a conical, clean a bit more. It is kind of exhusting I have to admit, and look forward to day when I move rig indoors to more permanent set up. The dueling 220V outlets and a controller have sped things up about an hour. These days, I remember to go in and get something to eat, sit down and maybe write snarky comments on HBT to give legs a rest. For me, it takes almost exactly the same time to make a 10 gallon batch as it did for a 5 gallon batch before I upsized rigs.

Here are a couple of time saving tips though;

Start boil during during sparge as soon as electric element is covered. When I was running propane, I 'd start w 2 or 3 gallons in so as not to scorch wort. This is biggest time saver.

Heat sanitation water (for plate chiller, any empty kegs, and sometimes fermetor) in HLT during boil. Clean during boil, put stuff away as you go when finished with it.

When boil is off, I drop wort temp in BK w immersion chiller down to 150-160F for hop step. This temp drop happens very quickly and you can have cooling water on low flow. It generally takes about 5 min and uses less than 5 gallons cooling water, take out immersion coil and whirlpool to get trub centered. Hop step is done in cleaned out mash tun, if you transfer right you can leave all the hot break and some of cold break in BK. Pump to fermentor by way of plate cooler. If needed, cool wort to pitch temp. Glycol chiller speeds this up. I don't mess w starters, either direct pitch dry, or there was already yeast cake in fermentor. Not waiting for cooling is next biggest time saver.

One last thing is to think though steps for efficiency. If going to get something from inside for instance, see if there is there something you are done with you can bring in on the way. I kind of try to think like I did when working in a restaurant line kitchen.

But yeah,,, it is kind of tiring, but like to I figure it as I got a decent work out.
 

BassElement

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I only wish I could brew inside. That was the primary reason I went all-electric and single vessel seven years ago. Used a 220V outlet where the dryer plugs in, easy access to my work space, deep laundry sink nearby, it was a brewer's Valhalla. I could even brew in the winter without freezing my wort off. But, Nooooo! SWMBO'd, who's not a beer drinker, said the smell of hops (imagine that) gave her a headache. I think she was just getting back at me for complaining when she'd steam kale or sauté cauliflower. Now that crap smells like death, amirite?

Anyhoo, I got banished to the great outdoors to mash and boil
I'm brewing outside for the same reason, except it was the smell of the boil that got her... being in New England I'm wondering how my Feb brew days will go.
 

WESBREW

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My brew days are about 5.5-6hrs. it is exhausting I do 5-10 gallon batches in 15g kettle. I've thought about going to a 20g pot and having a basket made by that company (forgot name) and doing brew in a basket. I think I could get brew day closer to 4hrs like that and do less overall work. -would need to setup a 120v sparge water kettle
 
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jddevinn

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I only wish I could brew inside. That was the primary reason I went all-electric and single vessel seven years ago. Used a 220V outlet where the dryer plugs in, easy access to my work space, deep laundry sink nearby, it was a brewer's Valhalla. I could even brew in the winter without freezing my wort off. But, Nooooo! SWMBO'd, who's not a beer drinker, said the smell of hops (imagine that) gave her a headache.
I'd work on a gas extraction/vent system then. Maybe I've been divorced too long but being told someone WANTS to majorly inconvenience something I like to do for a seemingly minor grip wouldn't fly/would make me upset about priorities........ anyway vent system. 🤷‍♂️ :bigmug:

I like to pre-fill my HLT Timer for mornings or someone to start the system when I'm leaving work for weekdays and have everything measured and ready to mill to reduce time. A process to clean as you go is also great.
 

wsmith1625

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I can't believe nobody has suggested this, but try doing a few extract batches for a quick brew day. Save the all grain batches for when you've got more time available.

I would still consider the suggestions already made to make your all grain brew days more efficient. I prep the day before so I can get right to brewing. Good luck and RDWHAHB.
:mug:
 

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