Uanitus - Two Tier Single Pump Half Barrel System Build

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Below is a brew stand I designed. I call it, "Uanitus". The reason for this name is partly due to my belief in home brewing and partly on how it came together. Well that, and it sounds good. My belief, or mission statement, for my dream brewing company is, "To create lasting memories through the socialization of great craft beer." You can check out the website I created for my future dream brewery at www.redwagonbrewing.com
I have made many great connections and friendships throughout my years of brewing. As you will see below, I used different online brew stores, local brew stores, and friends. I figure that the more we all support each other, the more affordable things will get.

"Uanitus"
Showing Versatility: Uanitus staged down for a 5 gallon system.

It's also possible to use kegs for the boil kettle and the hot-liquor tank.
Here are a few reasons why I wanted to build this stand:
1 - I wanted to build my pilot house brewery (for a future dream); a test batch system that could fill 1 half barrel Sankey keg per batch. It was also a bonus when brewing with friends; it's nice to split a batch three ways.
2 - I wanted it to be acceptable by commercial standards, so it had to be all food grade stainless steel. It needed to be a system that is recipe repeatable to a high degree and have minimal automation. I wanted it to have as few components as possible that could fail and it had to be capable of brewing back to back batches. Last, but not least, it needed to be able to be cleaned in place and to run efficiently.
3 - I wanted a system that was portable and compact. This means it needed to be able to run off of only a single 110 volt outlet. It also needed to be moved easily and have a compact footprint.
4 - Finally, I wanted one last thing: universal use. Let me explain: if I wanted to run a 5 gallon batch, I could. If I wanted to run a 15 gallon batch, I could. If I decided to use Sankey kegs instead of my kettles, I could. The reason for this is that it's less to move when brewing at a friend's house.
And now, an interview with myself:
Q: Why did you choose a 2 tier stand?
A: It allows the use of only one pump. It allows the hot liquor tank and the boil kettle to be located underneath the mash tun, which helps minimize the footprint. It allows for shelving. If the pump fails, a gravity feed can still be used. It means one less pump to clean. It allows for clean in place while brewing.
Q: What's your efficiency?
A: I use a Monster Mill MM2 Pro, set to credit card thickness, spinning at 200 rpm. When running HERMs, my typical efficiency ranges from 87.8% on a great day, to 81.5% on a bad day. Those are my highest and lowest calculations on this system since its first brew. I currently average 84%.
Q: What are all of its different features?
A: It is a HERMs system. It is placed in a way to allow sparge water to pass through it, cleaning the HERMs lines and the pump while sparging. The versatility of brewing with different types of equipment or differing volumes from batch to batch is a big plus.
The one extra I splurged on was a remote to control the pump. They are only $15, but the feeling you get hitting the button is priceless. It is basically a power strip with a remote to it. They are affordable enough that I can have two on hand. If they all stop working, I can still just plug the pump into a GFI outlet.
One huge benefit is that it doesn't require 220 volts, or an electrician's degree to operate it. The burners I selected heat water very quickly, and with the needle valve, allow for very precise settings. This makes the manual HERMs control a piece of cake. Oh, and they are quite pretty!
The temperature controller from Thermoworks is very accurate and has an NIST certification for commercial use. You can also set a high and low-temperature alarm to warn you to adjust it for the HERMs. The probes are also food grade and water proof.
One nice thing, that was unplanned for, was the use of rare earth magnets to hold equipment onto the steel stand.
Q: After building the stand and using it for a while, what are the cons?
A: Well, I would like to say it's perfect, but... Using a step ladder for the mash can be a pain sometimes. It was worth it for the space savings, and the way I use the system, though. Height can be a factor for some if they are thinking about building this system. Ventilation is still required, because it is propane. I would say, however, that even electric systems need some ventilation. Lastly, it is not fully automated; you can't just hit a button and leave. It does require user input; although it is minimal, and alarms go off to let you know to wake up. It does require turning a couple of valves once in a while, and moving a couple of hose connections.
Q: Would you do anything differently if you could rebuild it?
A: Honestly, no, I wouldn't. I suppose that's sad for the tinkerer in me though.
Q: How do you clean the system after brewing a half barrel batch?
A: Cleaning starts as soon as sparging starts. The 170F sparge water runs backwards through the HERMs lines and pump. After sparging, the spent grains in the mash tun are scooped out and put into a bucket sitting on the step ladder shelf. I shovel out as much of the spent grains as I can and dump them in the fertilizer pile. Then I pull out the false bottom and spray it off. I then scrub and rinse the mash tun in place. The rest of the mash and soapy water flow out through the ball valve that is now hooked up to a garden hose headed to the nearest drain area.
This avoids any heavy lifting or scratching of the outside of kettle. The last piece left to clean is the boil kettle. The hops are in a bag so they are pulled out and the bag is cleaned in the sink after the hops are dumped. The kettle is hooked up to the same garden hose as the mash tun and is also cleaned in place. The wort chiller is removed and cleaned in the sink. So it's pretty simple! Occasionally fill the hot liquor tank with a PBW solution, heat to the desired temperature, then pump it through the system. Lastly, I polish and wax the outside of each piece, of course....
Q: How long does it take to make a 1 barrel batch on this system?
A: The fastest time I have done it was just over 6 hours. That is fully cleaned and put away for the day. One nice thing is that my strike water is already heated up from my sparge water from the previous batch. Also, as I start sparging my first batch, the burner for the boil kettle is on, so that I am reaching a boil right when I am done sparging the first batch. After a quick clean of the mash tun, I can begin to pump water in and begin mashing. Immediately after my first batch is cool and ready to be placed in the fermentor I can clean the boil kettle quickly and begin sparging the second batch. By the time the second boil is done everything is cleaned except for the boil kettle.
The burners heat the water and wort quickly. Preheated water is always on demand because of the water used for HERMs. A 50' stainless wort chiller with a whirlpool cools the wort quickly. Also, I have a fermentation chamber capable of reaching freezing temperatures. I ferment in stainless steel sankey kegs, so I can put warm wort in them and let the chamber bring them down to pitching temperatures under an airtight and sanitary setting. The highest temperature I have put in the fermentor is 98F although I normally put it in at around 82F. It's always higher in the summer and lower in the winter.
Now, I'm sure you're just dying for more pictures!

The powder coating gave it a very smooth surface.


Laying out to finish the base.

Finished!!!

Kettle acid etched with gallon markers.

Stainless steel coil

The HERMS Build
Lastly, why not end it with some lists for those who are curious about what was used, and where I purchased them?
From Brewers Hardware:
6 - Custom CNC bulkheads - $25.00 each
3 - 1/2" full port ball valves - $12.00 each
7 - Custom CNC High Flow 1/2" fpt (female) x 1/2" hose barb - $9.95 each
3 - Custom CNC High Flow 1/2" mpt (male) x 1/2" hose barb - $7.95 each
From Ebay or Amazon:
3 - 80qt Concord Kettles - $77.38 each
1 - Heavy-duty Power Hub With Remote - $15.99
4 - Shepherds 00 series 2" diameter Polyolefin swivel castors with locks - $7.36 each
1 - Stainless steel Float Ball 53mm - $10.68
From Various Brew Stores:
2 - Edalmental Burners w/leg extensions - $179.98 each - Northern Brewer
2 - Stainless Wort Chillers 50 feet - $71.99 each - NY brew supply
1 - Stainless Steel Chugger Pump Inline style - $139.99 - Adventures in Home Brewing
1 - 20 gallon Premium false Bottom - $140.00 - Spike Brewing
2 - 90-degree elbow 1/2 mpt (male) x 3/8" hose barb - $9.99 each - Phoenix Brewing Supply
1 - 10' of 1/2" ID X 3/4" OD High temp food grade silicone tubing - $32.84 -LHBS
1 - 10' of 3/8" ID x 5/8" OD High temp food grade silicone tubing - $27.45 - LHBS
From Other Various Stores:
2 - Propane tanks - $64.99 each/filled
1 - ThermaQ - $139.00 - Thermoworks
2 - K-Type Wire thermocouple PFTE tip 113-372/373 - $29.00 each
2 - Weldless bulk heads - $8.99 each - Bargain Fittings
2 - 90 elbow 1/2" mpt (male) x 3/8" compression - $19.99 each - Bargain Fittings
2 - 24' stick of 1" square tub - $24.99 each - Local Steel or Scrap Yard
1 - 4' x 4' expanded metal steel sheet - $54.98 - Local Steel or Scrap Yard
4 - 3/8" x UNC16 union nuts - $1.10 each (not stainless) - Home depot
6 - Square nuts 1/2" - $0.90 each (not stainless)
Tools Required for Building:
Brew Stand
Welder
Grinder
Hot saw
Drill, with drill bits
Black marker
Right angle
Tape measure
Paint, or take to get powder coated. If you bought stainless instead of regular steel, no need for color.
Kettles
Drill
Step drill bit
Black marker
Written By Cody Jones
Special mention to my friend Corey, who helped me weld everything.

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It looks nice! Do you have plans drawn and willing to share.
I have the perfect spot for this. I'm a horrible welder but willing to try.
 
Very well done. I currently have a single tier two pump RIMS system that I am wanting to redo. This looks very similar to what I have it mind. Would love to use your plans as the basis of design, if you wouldn't mind sharing.
Nice Job!
 
Looks amazing! I don't think it would be easily portable by my standards. It looks to sturdy to be lightweight. Looks like fun to play with regardless.
 
Is there anyway you could post a video (or pictures) of your hose / tubes and how you swap them during the brew? I think I understand but an explanation would be great. Thanks for sharing the article.
 
Yes I am going to be taking some measurements and make some blueprints for a follow up article - I also plan to make a video of a brew day to show tubing. and how it works as clean in place.
 
Great job! I'm also following this thread with great interest for a possible future build with some minor modifications in mind. I have a couple of questions first though. I was wondering about the little nubs welded on to keep the burner stands in place. Can you explain what you did there please and do they keep the burner stands stable? I'm also wondering if those burner stands are somewhere stackable when not in use. I'm thinking of putting hinges on those middle two shelves to be able to store the burner stands in the middle and allow the bottom part fold up where the burner stands are placed to reduce the storage footprint a bit. I think I would then put the casters on the middle section then weld some sort of stumpy legs for the foldable outer part when in use.
I would also appreciate a drawing, so that I don't have to figure it all it myself.
 
Thanks Mutter - yes the nubbs are square nutsjust welded on - yes I am working on specs and drawings - just need time to complete- and we brewers no how hard it is to find time.
I have not tried stackig the burners - i will need to get back to u on that
 
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