So You Want To Build A Brew Stand

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Ah the brew stand, or affectionately known as a “rig”, is a symbol of your dedication, passion, and soon to be borderline obsession with the art that is homebrewing. This sculpture of love will become the new
centralized hub of your homebrewing hobby. But what exactly is it, and how do you design and build a brew stand of your own?
Like many homebrewers, you will have a drive to improve your product, but you will also strive to perfect your process. It's important to build a brew stand that fits your brewing lifestyle and budget is one of the easiest ways to take your hobby to that next level. The brew stand will become home to your brewing equipment, adjunct supplies, and become as a gathering place for friends and family during the brew day. I have built a number of brew stands, and will outline the process I have used in the past to help you get it right the first time.
I love it when a plan comes together.

Three Things To Consider When You Build A Brew Stand

1. Budget
2. Space
3. Brewing Goals
Determining your budget is an important first step. If your budget wasn’t an issue you would simply buy a custom stand, but hey, that’s not our style! Your stand should serve as much purpose as it can without breaking the bank. I have built all my stands mostly out of common board and aluminum from my local hardware store.
Secondly, you must also take your space into consideration when you build a brew stand. I have a two car garage that must house both mine and my wife’s vehicles in the winter, so my brew stand cannot be permanent. Thus casters and knowledge of where the stand will be stored is needed. This has led to some unique designs elements I added to my current “rig” that gives it even more DIY design.
The last thing you should take into consideration are your personal brewing goals. Always plan for growth and expansion. On my current rig, I was brewing 5 gallon all grain batches, however my system can handle brewing up to 15 gallons without any changes or upgrades. Always aim a little higher in your build. If you are willing to build a custom brew stand in your home, then you already have the “brewing bug” and expansion is on the horizon.

My Brew Stand

The finished 3 tier brew stand in all its glory
I utilize a 3 tiered gravity feed system with dual burners to get flow from my Hot Liquor tank, down to my Mash Tun, down to the Boil kettle. I use a wort pump to whirlpool and transfer from the BK to my fermenter at the end of the boil. This rig, while a 3 tiered gravity fed rig, does not follow the traditional linear stepped build you are accustomed to seeing in a wooden brew stand. This design, because of the storage space issues, had to be built with the smallest footprint possible. I designed the rig to cantilever out from the base. This allowed me to increase surface area on the second tier. I also used more of a “spiral” staircase step system to keep the rig compact.
Another issue I had was using a top tiered burner. The burner I had on the boil kettle level had its own stand (Dark Star Burner), but the top burner for the hot liquor Tank was an old turkey fryer burner I have used since day one of homebrewing. A few bucks worth of aluminum tubing and self-tapping screws allowed me to build a safe stand for my top tier burner, and yes I did catch my old all wood brew stand on fire once if anyone is wondering. All in all, my rig works great, and the casters make it easy to move. I love having everything housed in one easy location.
Remember to do some measurements, make some sketches, and only buy what you need. A nice sturdy brew stand shouldn’t break the budget, so do a little research. Cheers.

Cost it Out For Your Needs

Cost of items I had to buy to build a brew stand:
8 qty - 1x6x96in common board $3.95 ea. Total $31.60
1 qty - 1x96in Aluminum square tubing Total $16.27
500 qty - Box Self tapping screws Total $4.95
4 qty - Swivel casters $2.95 ea. Total $11.80
Project Total $64.62
Cost of items I already owned but you may need to purchase:
2 qty - Propane Tanks (filled) Total $100.00
2 qty - Burners (1 Dark Star) (1 turkey fryer) Total $80.00
500 qty – Box wood screws Total $4.95
Cost of luxury items:
1 qty – Chugger Pump Total $109.00
1 qty – Hanging basket Total $4.99
I wanted a few extras for my brew stand. Pumps are pricey, but great if you can swing it, and a hanging basket is great to have no matter what.
Hi Dustin,
I am completing my first true rig made out of Unistrut. It's single tier because I was concerned a bit about safety.
While it was a pain for get the strut cut to size, bolting it together was a ton of fun.
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That's awesome should look pretty slick out of all steel but you won't need to replace it for a very long time. Make sure to post forum pics about your process. Cheers
If you want an easy brewstand that will last longer then you... look for a heavy duty costco rack. then get one of those 4X8 stall mats from tractor supply and cut it in half to fit on two shelves if doing electric. If you are doing gas then put down something on the bottom shelf that will hold your burners and cut hols in the rack for the burners to work. casters work wonders also... and then run water if you want... here is mine... http://tinyurl.com/zj2svj8
Where did you find the caster's? I have three of those tracks from Costco. Someday when the kids moved out, I'll have enough shelf space back to consider using one of them.
Looks great. I'm just starting out on a rack. Could I get the details on your controller box; what's on there and the connections? In the learning process !! Thanks.