Right now Adventures in Homebrewing / Homebrewing.org is offering a Brustus stainless steel homebrewing stand for $1299, with the burners included. This is a beautiful home brewing rig done in stainless steel. It sits a bit higher than the one that I built and has a few other structural differences but pretty darn similar, best of all, you don’t need to weld it yourself!
This stand is a great base to build off of and the frame allow you to easily add on items like home brewing pumps, a RIMS controller and just about anything you can dream up. One of the best things about it is that it does not come with a bunch of extras that you may not need such as kettles and wort chillers, like other home brewing stands do. This way you can use your existing equipment to save money and only pay for what you need.
Great news homebrewers, MoreBeer just released a follow up to their popular line of Homebrewing Brew Sculptures and HomeBrew Rigs! They are bringing homebrewing into the future and to a whole new level with a digital touch screen interface for they Low Rider homebrewing stand that lets you control almost every aspect of your brew session.
They are calling this new digital, stainless steel homebrewing system the Low Rider! The Low Rider is their new top of the line Single Tier Brew Sculpture. Since this brew system is low to the ground with all of the brew kettles at the same height, it allows you to access each kettle without the need for a step stool. That is one of the reasons why these stainless steel homebrewing systems are popular pilot systems for breweries like Russian River and Sierra Nevada.
So what makes this new homebrewing rig better than the other brew rigs out there? Quite simply, they are loaded with features and are super reliable! Also, these home brew systems are built in the USA by MoreBeer and include free shipping. Free shipping is a big deal when it comes to a homebrewing setup like this because it can cost several hundred dollars in freight charges to ship a setup like this! Following is a list of features included with this new MoreBeer.com homebrewing rig:
304 Food Grade Stainless Steel Stand
304 stainless steel brew kettles with welded fittings, notched lids included
High temp march pumps, heat resistant food grade silicone tubing and specially designed stainless steel quick disconnects all come standard
Includes a More Beer Ultimate Sparge Arm, which is one of the best sparge systems available in home brewing. The mash tun has a perforated stainless mash screen that is reinforced for use with pump recirculation. Internally etched volume markers on the kettles makes for simple mash water additions.
Top of the line homebrew burners that are fast, efficient, reliable and have precision flame control.
The included boil kettle features an innovative whirlpool maker! This allows the home brewer to leave the hops and trub behind when transferring your wort to your fermentor! The bottom of the boil kettle is tri-clad with a 4mm aluminum core sandwiched between two layers of 304 stainless which helps to eliminate scorching!
Digital Brew Rig
This new digital homebrewing system comes in two different versions. The “low rider” format featured at the top of the article and this tippy dump version that is shown above. The two formats are priced similarly, so depending on which design works best for you, that can drive your choice.
What makes this new MoreBeer homebrewing system so incredible is the innovative new digital touch screen brewing control system. This new digital brew rig control system is built around a 7 inch touch screen that lets you control everything from times and temperature to setting reminders for additions throughout the entire home brewing process. They have really brought home brewing into the future with this new digital brewing system. The touch screen control panel allows the home brewer to choose from 3 preset mash schedules and even design their own schedule with up to 5 steps. Best of all, the digital control module maintains the hot liquor tank temperature for you by automatically turning the burner off and on and monitoring the temp with a digital probe. If you are old school or afraid of Sky Net taking over, there is also a manual mode that allows you to over ride the system.
For those of you who are not familiar with RIMS, it stands for Recirculating Infusion Mash System. Basically it is a method for regulating the temperature of your mash tun during the mashing process when the grain starches are converted to sugars. The mash temperature is critical when brewing a beer and a swing of just a few degrees can have a dramatic impact on your finished beer. For instance, a mash temperature of 146F to 150F will create very simple sugars that are easy for yeast strains to convert into alcohol, providing you with a beer that has a dry finish. While a mash temperature of 154F to 158F will create a good deal of complex sugars that the yeast can not digest which makes for a very full bodied beer that will be lower in alcohol.
If you conduct your mash in metal kettles such as the stainless steel Blichmann 20 gallon kettles that I use, you will find that your kettles will shed a good deal of heat during the mash process. In order to maintain a proper mash conversion you will need to either heat the kettle or the fluid inside of it. The problem with adding direct heat to your mash tun kettle is that you risk scorching your grain bed or wort and may also have a large temperature variance at the bottle of the mash tun and the top of it. If you are going to apply direct heat, it is important that you are recirculating your wort with a pump to help minimize those issues. Another potential problem with direct heat is that it can be difficult to monitor and control with out the use of a temperature controller and means for regulating the heat source; if you are not careful your temperature can swing by 5 degrees very quickly.
For the reasons I stated above, I recently started work on a RIMS (Recirculating Infusion Mash System) to help me properly maintain my mash temperature. I am still conducting tests with it but plan on brewing my first test batch of beer this weekend and am optimistic that it will work out well and help me brew the best beer possible. The system is rather simple. I am constantly recirculating the wort in my mash tun via a march pump. The wort flows into a stainless steel chamber where I have an electric stainless steel heating element at the point of entry. At the opposite end of the chamber is a thermowell that is connected to a Ranco digital temperature controller. If the Ranco temperature controller detects that the temperature of the wort has fallen below my target temperature, then it activates the low watt electric heating element until the target temperature is once again reached and then shuts the element off. The wort flows out of the chamber and back into my mash tun via my MoreBeer Ultimate Sparge Arm. Instead of obsessing over my mash temp and constantly fiddling with my burner and pumps, I can kick back, toss the football around with a friend and enjoy a cold beer until my timer goes off! It should make for a more controlled mash and less stressful brew day if all goes well. Once the design is fully tested I will submit another blog entry with more details on how to build one of your own. In the meantime, you can find Ranch temperature controllers and the MoreBeer Ultimate Sparge Arm here.
About a year ago I upgraded from my previous low output propane burners to these larger 210,000 BTU Banjo Burners. These new burners were literally about 4 times larger, heavier and produced about 4 times the BTU’s as my previous propane home brewing burners and I had high expectations of them. When it finally came time to test them out on a batch of beer I was left somewhat disappointed. Did they heat my kettles more quickly? Yes they did. Were they terribly inefficient and double by propane expenses? Yes, they did that too.
I was please with how much time they were saving, but was very let down by how much propane I was blowing through. In the past I was able to get about 4, 10 gallon batches from each propane tank. With these new banjo burners I was getting less than 2. Based on what I could tell from observation, much of the heat was being reflected off of the bottom of the kettles and pushed out of the sides burner housing. My plan was to create 2 metal baffles to help better direct the heat where I wanted it to go. I bolted the first baffle around the internal burner housing about 1 1/2 inches bellow where the kettle sits. I welded the second baffle near the outside of the burner housing, just slightly larger then the approximate diameter of my kettles. The top of the second baffle was approximately 1/2 inch beneath the kettle. I left a small area of space for me to pass through my igniter.
Improving Banjo Burner Fuel Efficiency
After testing these baffles I was very pleased with the efficiency gains to my home brewing banjo burners. I was back to getting about 3 1/2, 10 gallon batches per propane tank and was heating my kettles about twice as fast as I was with my previous burners. If anyone else has been experiencing similar issues with their propane burner efficiency, hopefully this will help you out.
How to build a Home Brewery \ Beer Brewing Stand \ Brewing Rack \ Single Tier Brewing Sculpture
I can not speak for everyone, but for me, once I had made the change from extract to all grain home brewing I began having visions of what I wanted my home brewery to look like. In a way, a big part of the allure of home beer brewing for me was making the best beer possible. For me that included building my own home brewing rack, doing my best to perfect the process and being as efficient as possible. I am not going to lie, there were a few times along the way that I questioned what the hell I was thinking and why I did not just buy a home brewing stand, but now that all is said and done I am a bit proud of what I was able to accomplish with my own hands. In hopes of helping some of my fellow home brewers out I am going to supply some general information on how I put mine together. If you need any specifics on something I do not list here, please feel free to drop me a line with what details you are looking for.
Home Beer Brewery
The dimensions of my brewery are 61″ Wide, 20.5″ Deep and 20.5″ tall excluding the wheels. The following is a list of parts that I used to create my home brewing sculpture, but many of the items such as the kettles, sparge arm and pumps can be traded out for other items of your preference. I am assuming that you have some basic welding experience (it is not that hard) and the required tools including a welder, cut saw, drill and grinder.
For the frame of my single tier home brewing stand I used 2″ x 2″ steel fence post that I cut into the appropriate sizes. I made two large 61″ x 20.5″ rectangles for the top and the bottom, with a supporting vertical bar on each corner of the brewing stand. In between each of the 3 burners, I placed 2 bars for spacing and support. Even with all 3 kettles full of liquid, the beer rack is incredibly stable. Here is a link to the fence post available at home depot:
The burners are really an item of personal preference. I started with 54,000 BTU burners, but then later upgraded to a 210,000 BTU Bayou Cooker Burners. The smaller burners were more efficient as far as propane usage goes, but the larger bayou cooker burners certainly get the job done much quicker. I welded brackets onto the bottom of the top level of my home brewing stand to hold the burners in place. Initially I had a flexible line with a regulator running from each burner to a master regulator that was hooked up to the propane tank, but then later ran pipe with separate valves for each burner. The bayou cooker banjo burners are available here:
For the home brewing kettles I opted for the Blichmann 20 gallon kettles. They include a site gauge so you can easily see the volume in your kettle, a 3 piece stainless steel ball valve and adjustable thermometer. These stainless steel brewing kettles are one of the best buys that I have ever made and have no regrets about them. They have a variety of options including a false bottom for your mash tun, hop blocker for your boil kettle, and sparge arm. I opted for the false bottom and hop blocker and have been very happy with them. I do mostly 10 gallon batches, but could go as high as 15 gallons with these 20 gallon kettles. You will want to buy kettles that are appropriate for the batch size that you intend to brew. Blichmann currently offers 10 gallon, 15 gallon, 20 gallon, 30 gallon and 55 gallon kettles. You can find the kettles and optional items available here:
You will need to get 2 high temperature food grade pumps for your single tier home brewing rack. I placed my pumps in between the hot liquor tank \ mash tun and the other between the mash tun and boil kettle. With two pumps you will be able to conduct your sparge while also transferring wort from your mash tun to your boil kettle. I use high temperature rated march pumps with stainless steel quick disconnects. The pumps and disconnects can be found here:
As far as sparge arms go I have tried several. The best one that I have ever come across is the morebeer ultimate sparge arm. It is made of stainless steel, has a ball valve built into it to easily control the flow rate and can be used to recirculate or lauter your wort in addition to sparging. The ultimate sparge arm can be purchased here:
Lastly for my wort chiller I use a convoluted counter flow chiller. Much like the sparge arm, I have tried just about every chiller from immersion chillers to plate chillers and I have found the convoluted counter flow chiller to be the best. What I like most about it is that it is just about impossible to clog, it is compact, it cools wort incredibly quickly and it is easy to clean and sanitize. These convoluted counter flow chillers are also sometimes referred to as chillzillas. They can be found here:
Those are the basics on my home brewing stand \ single tier brewing sculpture. If you have any specific questions or comments, please leave a comment or shoot me an email and I will do my best to assist you. Best of luck to you on building your own all grain home beer brewing stand. If it seems like a little more work then you are up for, there are also some really fantastic pre-manufactured stainless steel home brewing racks and brewing sculptures available here:
Pre-built beer stands, turnkey home breweries, pre-made brew sculptures, single tier brewing stands, multi tier home breweries… call them what you will. Before your only option was to build your own brewing stand, but now, if you have the money; there are several pre-built home brewery options available. So which is the best option for your money?
If I had not already gone through the blood, sweat, tears and frankly burns of welding and constructing my own single level home brewing stand; I would opt for one of MoreBeers brewing sculptures. Over the last 5 years they seem to have perfected the pre-manufactured beer rack. They have 3 styles of brewing sculptures available for you to choose from; a stainless steel single tier brewing rack, a 3 tier tippy-dump brewing sculpture and a 3 level gravity based home brewery. I would personally go with their single tier home brewing stand, but if you have space limitations or can not afford the hefty price tag of the single level brewing stand, the stainless steel multi tier brewing stands are a great option as well.
Multi-level home brewing stand – MoreBeer Tippy-Dump Stainless Steel Brewing Stand
What I like most about MoreBeer’s stainless steel brewing stands, over the other pre-constructed brewing stands on the market is that they seem to have thought of everything in their design and did not skimp on any of the features. Their brewing racks are all made out of stainless steel and many of their versions include the following features:
Stainless Steel Maximizers and Diverter
High Temperature March Pumps
The MoreBeer Stainless Steel Ultimate Sparge Arm
Digital Temperature Controls
Convoluted Heat Exchanger for RIMS and HERMS support
Boil Kettle Whirlpool Arm
Fantastic Customer Support
Hard propane lines
The only downside that I can see is the price. One of these stainless steel home brewing stands will run you anywhere from $1099 to over $6000 depending on the style, capacity and features that you want in your brewing sculpture. In all reality that is not too bad of a deal when you consider that it comes with the kettles and almost all of the items that you will need to have an out of the box, ready to go, top of the line all grain home brewery constructed from stainless steel.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these all grain home brewing stands, you can view their full lineup here: