The Boiler

This is where the beer is brewed. A 2KW extra insulated electric boiler. I have a mash mesh of nylon (bottom is cloth), that can be hoisted up from the boilder during sparging. The temperature is controlled by a PI-regulator. The heater is turned on/off in over a 15 secs period creating a very slow pulse width modulation. This means that the relay contactors doing this switching are getting pretty black. In the near future this will be replaced by a varialbe power controller (using a triac).

Cool Stuff

For cooling the beer after carbonation and in some cases during fermenting I have a pair of refrigerators. Inside each there is easily room for one fermantation vessel and/or bottles. In the background I have a stove for heating the sparging water. One one of the fridges I have a bunch of bottles containg cider. Dunno if it is drinkable yet.
Edit : It wasn't. Down the drain it went...

Keeping track of things

What is a brewery without a whiteboard ? This piece of equipment has proven extremely useful on servereal (or more) occasions. Another important item (in this room there are only important items) is the leather sofa. Unbelievable handy when a rest and a homebrew is needed. On the whiteboard to the far right is a table that shows fluid level in cm versus fluid volume. Nifty when amount of carbonation sugar is to be calculated.

Warm on the inside

This is the newest addition to the brewery. A temperature cabinet. Before this I had to heat up another room using an electrical heater for the sole purpose of giving the beer the correct temperature. Even though it was beer (anyway) it was still an overkill and energy-wise unwise. The walls and door of this cabinet are approx 10cm thick and (obviously) insulated. A PI-regulator is also here controlling the temperature. When I set the setpoint to 18C the temperature varies between 17.95C and 18.06C. Pretty nice.

Warm on the inside inside

This picture was taken to show how it looks inside. 4 Flensburger crates on the top shelf, 2 odd-shaped on the middle shelf and room for 2 fermentaion vessels at the bottom. On the left hand side of the cabinet you can see the ventialation pipe containing the heater and a blower for circulating the warm air. To the right you can see the music thing that plays the metal I need when brewing.

The Information Super Highway and Pitstop

A Brewery without a computer is like a cheese without a beaver. This one is a state of the art Pentium III @ 400 MHz and 512 MB Ram. More than plenty for playing brewing music and logging mash data during the process. The monitor is old but usefull for this application : It hangs on the wall and is not in the way. Nor is the wireless access point but that's ok too.

The Mill

On a trip to Allenton, MI I bought a Barley Crusher. First of all: What else would you do there and second: I needed something to crush my barley and what could possibly be more handy than a Barley Crusher ?
I guess sooner or later I might need some barley to crush...

The Cooler

It's always cool when you have a cooler. Found this plate heat exchanger, which really does the job. First I connected it :

and then I calibrated it (!). In order to find out how well it works I decided to give et a whirl using normal heated water. And a good idea that was. It turned out the hoses was connected wronly so it didn't function as a counter flow thingy. Testing is good :-)

The electric kettle has been modified a little. First I got rid of the toy tap and replaced it with a real ball type valve.

This resulted in the inside being different - now I can attach a hop strainer on the inside when such fancyness is needed.


The last modification to the kettle is the adjustment of the thermostat. I removed the knob and behind there you see something that looks like a screw with the axle coming right through it. Enter a screw driver and turn it. This adjusts the thermostat so it does not turn off the heating element at boiling temperature...

What's missing

I guess this is my un-prioritized todo list:
- A water supply that does not freeze when weather decides to do just that. Every 14th year or so I cannot brew for several weeks. I'll get over it some day.
- A water faucet instead of a loose hose. It is really not that bad and I can live with it.
- A water drain for the sink. Right now there is just a bucket under the sink. This really does work as long as you don't forget to empty the thing in time ;-)
- A ventilation system for getting rid of the steam produced when boiling the wort. This is most likely going to be the next improvement.
- Unlimited power.