Time for a brew sculpture – suggestions??

Pipes and fittings made of stainless steel.Image via Wikipedia
Right now I brew (ok not very often) in what appears to be a series of buckets, eskies and keg cut down into a boiler. It mostly runs by gravity using benches in the woolshed kitchen and an esky, and I cart wort from the mash tun to the boil kettle in a plastic bucket. It is pretty ghetto but it does the job more than adequately, enough so that I have brewed some beers that received awards using this bustard arse system. This is more or less how I have been brewing for the past 4 years, bodgey balancing stuff, mainly using gravity.

Time to change I think and get something that I can refer to as a sculpture rather than the stuff I make beer with. This new system will also see me up the brew length, from about 30 to about 50 litres. This may get me to a higher level of brewing zen.

I have a march pump, a couple of stainless false bottoms, a plate chiller and a bunch of taps and fittings. Recently I purchased 3 60l stainless steel kegs from the Bridge Rd Brewers in Beechworth (cheers for picking them up Stu). These were on eBay and more or less a “shit I should buy them” type thing that has led to me thinking more about a brew sculpture. Now I have 3 60l vessels and 1 50l one. Three of these in some type of setup will be my new brew sculpture, the other will become a fermentor for buggy beers. Question is I can’t figure out what the best way to configure them is.

I don’t want to have to buy to much new stuff (within reason) and I’m not wanting to go all gravity as that will make the thing about 10 feet tall and not all that friendly to move. This leaves me thinking that it will be a 2 level system using the march pump to either move the sparge water or the wort out of the mash tun. Listening to a guy from Great Northern Brewing Co on the Brewing Network Sunday Session about his 3 story tallest building in town brewery has me still thinking that I would love a gravity system if not just for the simplicity.

There are a bunch of different configurations have a look at the sabco or morebeer websites. I like the look of the more beer tippy dumpy systems from more beer but the whole thing looks to get a touch tall. The sabco system is about the right height but I’m not sure I like the idea of pumping the wort out of the mash tun. I still like gravity and since its free and constant I figure its worth using.

Going single would level would need another pump, not sure I want to spend that cash. I think there will be $ spent on a digital temp controller for the hot liquor tank. Digital is much nicer than analogue. This will also test my welding skills that have been unused for a long time. That will be interesting.

Some of the planning will be no doubt happening tomorrow night at Biero where I will be drinking biero with Nik and Dan. There may well be a plan on a napkin. Actually there may well be a really shitty plan with a rather large spoiler and a chrome petrol cap drawn on a napkin.

So anyway ideas or suggestions are welcomed. This may be a long planning phase and a relatively simple build. Or not still I can’t figure out what I want as I’ve only ever brewed on my ghetto contraption that has moved from shelf to cupboard to esky to woolshed. Time for some brew sculpture bling.

Cheers D

PS – I’m having a pint of saison right now, done with the Grain and Grape pale ale fresh work kit, the Belgian saison yeast and 40g of Striesalspalt hops. Not bad, not excellent, but good for this hot weather and for a beer that was mainly made to grow yeast. Need to go now Californication is on soon, lets see what Hank can fuck up (or who he can fuck) tonight.

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6 thoughts on “Time for a brew sculpture – suggestions??

  1. Daino says:

    Not that my system is much better, but as long as you can control what you do to the same degree everytime, that's the key. Look at some better control systems

  2. Darren says:

    I want awesome bling not control Dan! plans man plans!

  3. Daino says:

    Shiiiiit man. Digital control for your mash powered by a HERMS system with your march pump. Why not a glycol system to pump through your plate chiller? O2 cylinder with filter and air stone. Magnetic stir plate. Threadless valves for your new shiny stainless setup?

  4. Darren says:

    no HERMS for me, too lazy, just a single infusion rig with a digital control for the HLT and a gas fired kettle. Want it to be simple so a mug like me can work it. Only a farm boy. Threadless valves?? WTF, stir plate, maybe for starters but I can shake it, and )2 cylinders are a little tricky to make work on the $ front, there is a oxy accetalyne setup at the farm I can pinch o2 from? Overcomplication Grasshopper!

  5. Anonymous says:

    A series of rops/chains on a pulley system to start forming one level. Then when each step of the brewing prosess (sorry all double dutch to me) is finished the complex but very arty system of chain/ropes lifts up the new kegs to turn it into a gravity system. Wholla – a single level system, no pumps just gravity at the desired moments, thanks to the genious of Archimedes!!!

  6. Darren says:

    Cheers anonymous (all these people hiding and not putting their name I dont know)but as I have a pump I'll be using it. Also lifting 60litre vessels full of hot liquids up and down has a few health and saftey issues. As I often like to drink when I brew the pulley system is not in my prefered options.So I'm guessing your into bondage, what with all the reference to ropes and chains. Always good to have a hobby.Oh and I'm pretty sure Archimedes didnt invent/discover gravity, he just liked taking baths

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