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Bean's BrewBench
Posted May 24, 2007 at 04:04:15 PM by Bean in the Beer category
About 18 months ago, I built a bench to use for brewing. A BrewBench! I built it with 3 things in mind
  • Durability
  • Convenience while brewing
  • Easy storage
  • ...oh yeah, and mobility
Yeah, that's four. The wheels on the left side were an afterthought, an aftermarket modification as suggested (and performed) by my dad. It's great, and it makes the whole shebang a snap to move.

Anyway, The HLT up on top is a 35 gallon cooler fitted with 3 things. The spigot and 1500W heating element on the bottom, and a homemade copper dip tube for my temp sensor. I fill this thing with 30 gallons of water the night before I brew and dial it in to 175F. No more heating up sparge water!

The small grey vessel under the HLT spigot is a mini heat exchanger. It's a 1-gallon enamle pot fitted with, you guessed it, a 1500W heating element. I pump liquids through a copper coil immersed in the pot when I need to heat them. This is usually during recirculation, but sometimes during sparge or even mash in if the water from the HLT needs a boost. I usually turn the HLT off once I start brewing and leave more volts for my mini heat exchanger and pump which are used throughout the brewing process.

The blue cooler is of the "Ice Cube" variety, and is used as my mash/lauter tun. It hold enough grain for heavy 10 gallon batches, and can pull off 15 gallons of a lighter beer. The bottom is fitted with my homemade slotted copper manifold to hold the grain back from the drain. I keep my adjustable return manifold and temp controller in the mlt as well. The manifold had interchangable arms, one for recirculation (large, slow pour) and one for sparge (small, fast pour, more evenly distributed).

Then there's the pump. It's a magnetically coupled, high-temp, food grade summbitch that I got from morebeer.com. It's great. You'll notice that it, along with all other vessels in my system, is fitted with quick-connects (or quick-disconnects, whatever they are called). These fittings, along with the hoses you see hanging along the side of bench, allow me to move liquids around very easily. The quick-connects are great for gradual equipment upgrades. There's room for other stuff too. And the bottom shelf holds all of the big things (propane, burner, kettle, pots). I store my grain and grain processing equipment in these Rubbermaid totes, which fit conveniently under the right hand overhang of the bench.

The bench provides a very convenient brewing environment. Every vessel has it's place, and there brewing process flows very nicely. I'll document that process in a little more detail in a later blog. When brewing is done and the equipment is clean, it goes right back into position for storage, and the whole things can either be wheeled off behind a curtian (litterlay), or left on display. It's easy to describe the brewing process to visitors when they ask questions like "So, how exactly do you MAKE the beer?".

I plan to document different parts in more detail, and as I do, I put them in the Beer category. Also, a note to you rss fans, you can now subscribe to category feeds like this: Beer (rss).
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7 comments
rushing (May 25, 2007 at 07:12:38 AM):
wow, that is the ugliest thing I have ever scene. Looks like one of my contraptions
bean (May 25, 2007 at 10:59:44 AM):
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Stef (May 25, 2007 at 12:27:02 PM):
...or beer holder; as is the case here
fooie (May 26, 2007 at 04:32:50 PM):
what a delicous pun
fooie (May 29, 2007 at 07:01:22 AM):
After reading this again, I thought I would tell you that I really admire this blog. AS you said you would, please to detail the entire process so maybe I can try to brew some beer that doesn't taste like feet. (like my last batch did)

As you know, I am moving far away from Sportstimes and babysitters so I will have to find another way to drink good beer.


bean (May 29, 2007 at 08:50:20 AM):
Foo:
I documented the process in pretty good detail a few years back. Some of the vessels have been swapped out for larger ones, but the gist is the same. I will be redoing this eventually, but here's some food for thought:
http://beanblog.com/?b=170
bigD (May 29, 2007 at 09:55:00 AM):
wet carpet beer for everyone!

feet beer is teh trach
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