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Brew Shed Plans The Obsession Continues

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Home brewing is a fun hobby with many aspects. There is always something to do – a new batch, a do it yourself (DIY) build, or a brew shed.

The progression starts with a $150 kit from a friend and a 5 gallon batch of ale. This can lead to spending hundreds of dollars on equipment, including refrigeration systems, large boil kettles, and even computer controlled brewing sculptures. All this stuff needs a place to be kept. Closets, garages, basements, or a spare bedroom is where it beings to collect. Eventually, the brewer realizes a dedicated space is required. Separation of space is a good thing for the brewer, and for the rest of the brewer’s family.

You know you are seriously addicted to home brewing when you start making plans for a brew shed!

Here is a sketch of what I plan to build in the back yard:

brew shed tudorbethan

The style is called timber framing or Tudorbethan and echos architecture in Germany/Austria from centuries past. I love the old world look and so does my wife, but it is not for everybody. I wanted room to store all my equipment, space for a computer desk, and lots of natural light. I plan to go with a monastery feel inside. I am thinking of a tile floor that looks like stone. Exposed beams will be faced in walnut. The stained glass window will shine on the brew sculpture in the morning!  A real place to meditate on brewing and get away from everything.

brew shed exposed beams

Design Considerations:

Some brew sheds double as a bar and hangout area (aka bloke shack). Many feature a man cave theme, hot babe posters, a big screen TV for watching the game, track lighting, and seating. Electrical and plumbing are good to consider, but they increase the cost. I found insulation is expensive, but essential since I want to store my wine out there too. It will have A/C and a heater to keep it between 50F-65F.

The brewing area will have an exhaust fan since I will be using propane initially. Never brew with propane in a non-ventilated area!

This shed doesn’t require permits here in Portland Oregon because of its size and height. It will be within the required property line setbacks. Check with your local building/zoning office to make sure your project conforms to the rules.

Google SketchUp was what I used to draw the plans. Their 3D warehouse is amazing. Someone had already taken the time to design brewing sculptures, kegs, freezers, etc. Look in the ‘components’ section of SketchUp to find that stuff. Very helpful and all free!

Here are the best pages I could find on others who built brew sheds:

You can also go with a pre-made option, such as these:
I personally wanted to design and construct my own brew shed, but some pre-built sheds are pretty nice too.

Cost and Time Line:

The materials estimate is around $8,000 for the complete 12’x16′ shed. That does not count labor I hire out. Keep in mind the $8,000 includes heavy duty concrete piers, electrical work, energy star doors and windows, insulation, a metal roof, gutters, etc. Hopefully we start getting the foundation in place this Spring. More to come on this topic!

  1. 6 Responses to “Brew Shed Plans The Obsession Continues”

  2. No matter the fuel source, you need an exhaust hood for the water vapor.

    You might not need structure permits for the shed, but you certainly will for the electrical.

    By Nic on Jan 18, 2011

  3. I’d love a brewshed but my modest Los Angeles lot doesn’t really have any room.

    If you’re into modern designs these sheds have a good look. I’d never buy one but I’d definitely base mine on their plan.

    By D-Form on Jan 18, 2011

  4. I love the brewshead! My wife would love me so much if I could get all the brewing stuff out of the garage (and family / billards room). Maybe eventually.. (Must start saving my pennies! )

    I noticed the brew sculpture model you put in there. I actually am using that exact same sketchups model as a starting point to build a 3-tier setup myself! (The list of cut lengths / qty. in the model is helpful in estimating material)

    By Jason on Jan 28, 2011

  5. A friend of mine linked me to this post. I think its a great design! I love the idea for a monastery feeling inside. I am a fellow Portland homebrewer as well as a carpenter. I have extensive experience in everything from framing to tiling to welding. If you need help on this project, get in contact with me.

    By Kyle Neumann on Feb 7, 2011

  6. It turns out I will be scaling this back quite a bit. After several calls and popping the direct question about the definition of ‘habitable’ to the permit office I got the bad news. If I put water or a heater out there, that changes everything in the eyes of the permit office. It then becomes an accessory structure, which has to be 100% to code. My taxes would increase. The construction costs would soar, up over $20k at least. So, in order to avoid that headache it will be a modest brew shed inside with a nice exterior.

    I decided to reduce the floor size to 12×12. The slab will cost a fraction of what the bids were coming in at for a stamped 16×12 pour ($1200 vs $3400). In total I think the cost will be just under $6k now. I’m pretty excited to move forward.

    Thanks for the offer of help Kyle. I have had help with the planning, already have a framer lined up, and will be buying a nail gun soon!

    By Larry on Feb 7, 2011

  7. If I had the space for a brewshed it would be up in the blink of an eye. I live in an apartment though so space is really tight for me anyway.

    When the summer comes round I will be brewing outside again, at the moment here in England it’s non stop wind and rain.

    By Neil on Feb 9, 2011

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