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Brew Shed Complete and Brewing

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

The brew shed is looking good in time for the rains to return. It is a relief to have it done (at least on the outside). All it needs is interior trim. Slowly but surely all the equipment is migrating out there.

brew shed

The best part is the brewery is now operational. The first brew was an American Hefeweizen and it went great! The beer was drinkable in a week. It is already on draft and quenching my thirst. It’s true – a cool glass of hefe comes in real handy after painting all afternoon.

home brewery

My brew rig is presently a gravity fed electric setup. The main reason I made the push to go electric is the hazard of using propane indoors. It wasn’t cheap to go electric, nor was it without a few minor headaches. However, the team at HighGravityBrew.com is just awesome. They have all the parts you need worked out in advance. I highly recommend their products.

electric brewery

In the next few posts I will cover how to ‘go eletric’ and what it involved. I have to say I love it. Electric brewing is so quiet. It heats up fast (+4 degrees Farenheight per minute with about 8 gallons). Scorching is a myth – at least with the low density stainless steel element I got.  That light batch of Hefe was done in part to test for scroching – there was none whatsoever. I did have to modify my immersion chiller so it didn’t crush the element.

brew shed

I hope this inspires you to do your shed too. Total cost $8200.

Plans for the future:

  • RELAX!!!!
  • Finish up brew stand, add trim to front.
  • Fermentation chamber. I can build one of these for about $225. Next year…
  • Hops trellis on the front. Next year…

My advice to fellow brewers:

  1. Make at least two batches of thirst quenching beer BEFORE you start a shed. That way you have something to enjoy after working all day.
  2. Take the time to make the brewery functional and look cool. A brew shed is a once in a lifetime project for most people. The galvanized panels in my shed were hard to work with but the results were well worth it. I love the reflective look. It should last a long time. I wish I would have thought ahead about the wiring layout though. I had to work around where the electrician put one of the switches. It worked out fine but it would have made life easier had I drawn out everything.
  3. Invest in ventilation. Commercial vent hoods are really expensive ($600+). You will need a good one in order to vent all the steam out of the brewery during the boil. A kitchen hood is not powerful enough. Thankfully, my loft doubles as a vent hood. The intake is a dust collector attachment from a wood working catalog. The fan I went with is the Can Max Fan Mixed Flow Inline Fan (6-Inch 334 Cubic Feet Per Minute). It is quiter than the poplar 6″ Vortex fan, and has a built in 3 speed switch.
  4. Go electric for indoor brewing. Don’t even think about it, just do it. Yes it is a luxury, but it is night and day over propane. It is more energy efficient and safer (if wired correctly). HighGravityBrew.com is the place to go for parts. Porpane + indoors = recipe for Darwin award. I used to do it in my garage with the bay door open. Reading up about propane accidents scared the crap out of me and my wife (this helped justify the purchase too).
  1. 12 Responses to “Brew Shed Complete and Brewing”

  2. I’ve been following along with this project since you started it and it’s great to see it completed. Congrats! It looks awesome. I really like the track lights above the rig and having the sink right there makes it really convenient.

    By Billy Broas on Aug 15, 2011

  3. Congrats!!! Nice job.

    Could you provide a few more pics? The roof looks like it has a skylight? Good idea there.

    By Carmon on Aug 16, 2011

  4. I’ve been following along, too. Congrats and thanks for the ride, it’s been fun. I remodeled a garage as part of a home renovation and had the contractor run a large 2 inch gas line out to the new structure. I brew with a Brutus-10 (Flatus-10) type setup with the garage door always open.

    Good luck and happy brewing!

    By commander flatus on Aug 19, 2011

  5. I will post more pics when I get a chance.

    By Larry on Aug 20, 2011

  6. Looking good! Question on the highgravity.com controller you have: Does it allow you to “dim” the element? If so, that seeems like a great alternative to the PID/SSR setup I see so much of on the internet. Thanks for the great pics!

    By Jeremy on Aug 22, 2011

  7. The HighGravityBrew.com controller allows full temperature control in two ways. First it has a dimmer so you can set it to full, then dial it back to get a smooth boil. It has some built in electronics to avoid scorching problems as well. Secondly, you can hook it up to a digital temperature controller, such as a Ranco ETC (http://www.highgravitybrew.com/ProductCart/pc/Temperature-Controller-Digital-Ranco-269p2333.htm), and maintain a specific temperature. Trust me the guy at HighGravityBrew, by the name of Dave, knows what the hell he is doing. I’ll be doing a detailed post on electric brewing, stay tuned!

    By Larry on Aug 22, 2011

  8. We looked at possible off the shelf solutions for years as we did our research and development of electric brewing systems. Since PIDs and SSRs are cheap and readily available these days, they would seem to be the obvious choice for automatic temp control of the brewing vessels.

    We took a different tack, and purpose built our Electric Brewery Controller (EBC II) from scratch using discrete analog components. It is a compact unit designed to be the heart of your electric brewery. It provides manual control of all functions, and supports automatic controls.

    When you are boiling your wort and need fine power control, you don’t really want to futz with up/down buttons when adjusting the intensity of your boil. You want to twist power knob and dial in the power level you need right now.

    Looking good Larry!
    Cheers

    By Dave on Aug 23, 2011

  9. What a beautiful bit of beer heaven. If I’m ever in the area I would love to stop by for a look and a beer!

    By Trevor on Aug 26, 2011

  10. Hey Larry – Nice Brew Shed! Very cool. Like others I’d love to see it sometime. Did I read someplace that you’re on the SW side of Portland, OR or am I imagining that? I’m in that area as well. Cheers!

    By Keith on Oct 4, 2011

  11. love it but why the heck is it pink!!!

    By Paul on Feb 10, 2012

  12. Hahah! It is supposed to be a light brown cream color, but yeah some people do see pink. When it needs a repaint it will be darkened slightly to correct for this. In the sunlight it is not pink at all.

    By Larry on Feb 10, 2012

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