It’s been a long time since I’ve mentioned brewing so here’s an update showing some of the improvements Martin and I have made to our garage brewery (Pacific Way Brewery).
After taking our previous brew in a bag setup (BIAB) to the next level by designing and commissioning a gravity fed brew tree we moved from Pacific Way (Martin’s house) and into my garage. We’ve been adjusting and upgrading our equipment to get a faster brew day (into a brew morning) and have concentrated our efforts on efficiency, ease of use and cleaning.
We’re still experimenting. I’m researching styles and creating recipes with help from the wisdom of the online collective. After the success of my Black IPA (recipe) we went on to research and brew an 8.4% Braggot and dumped 2.5 KG of honey into the fermenter. Researching the history and designing recipes for a Roggenbier and a Dubbel was just as rewarding as the actual brewing – of course, all research requires careful taste analysis.
The brewing bug is still strong. We’ve calculated that with the money we’ve spent we could of sat in a pub drinking beer for 5 years, but that’s not the point – we’re learning, building, developing and tasting our way into a skill that’s as old as the Egyptians. When society collapses, we’ll still be able to make and trade beer ;).
Here are some photos of the key bits of our current brewing kit, subject to change – probably by next month.
The Garage Brewery Kit
Hot Liquor Tank
I found a Buffalo 40 litre stainless steel tea urn on offer at Nisbets and fitted a ball valve. It’s easy to setup on a standard electronic timer, and while I’m in bed in the morning the 2.6Kw element can get the mash water to 70°C in under an hour.
We still use the 45 litre Igloo cool box fitted with a ball valve and bazooka filter. A stainless steel rotating sparge arm sits nicely on the top. Both items bought from The Home Brew Shop.
We now use a 56 litre stainless steel boiler with 2 x 2.4Kw electric elements. It came with pre drilled holes for a thermowell dial thermometer, sight glass, bazooka filter and ball valve. This was also from The Home Brew shop.
A Grainfather hop spider was recently purchased from BrewUK and on our last brew we managed a lot less waste through hop debris. Our copper pipe immersion chiller is still a DIY job from a roll of copper, but works really well.
We fell in love with the looks and features of the shiny 26 litre SS Brewtech Brewmaster bucket. It’s got a rotating racking arm, ball valve and thermowell. Long lasting, easy to clean and the conical base keeps the trub firmly in its place. We got it from BrewUK.
I built a fermentation chamber from our old kitchen fridge and a 45w tube heater. An Inkbird ITC-08 digital temperature controller from Amazon keeps the fermentation at a stable set temperature and also protects the fridge compressor from being turned on and off too frequently.
Packaging and Dispensing
I was recently gifted a 19 litre AEB ‘corny’ keg with ball lock posts and set about trying to obtain a CO2 cylinder. I’m now the proud owner of an industrial account with Energas Derby and I’m ‘renting’ a 20 litre cylinder fitted with a dual dial regulator. I built a ‘Kegerator’ by drilling into the fermentation fridge for the gas line and installed a shank into the fridge door for a beer tap. Our first experiment with force carbonation went well, we brewed, fermented, force carbonated and served all within 3 weeks. The fridge is still also used for fermenting so I think another second hand fridge or fridge extension is on the cards.
Building your own brewing setup is addictive – unfortunately it doesn’t seem to end – but the produce is certainly worth it. There’s a ton more stuff to learn (and build) and I’m looking forward to it. Just don’t tell the wife.
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If you liked this post, you’ll probably love these:
- Design a Beer – My Brewday at Nutbrook – you can brew here too!
- Testing The Grainfather – All Grain Brewing System
- How I made a BrewTree – Gravity Fed Homebrew Stand