May 25, 2012

Brewery

So, the title might be a little misleading, but the point remains.  I bought a system in which to brew beer - or as a normal person would call it: a brewery.

I have sung Craigslist's praises in the past and I will do so again here.  That place - if you're lucky - can be a treasure trove of cool stuff.  I was lucky enough to find this system on there several months ago but the price was out of my range.  So, I held off from calling.  Over the months, I did research on building a system from scratch found out that what this guy was offering was actually a pretty good deal. So, I called.  I talked him down a little bit on price and when I went to pick up the system, I was more than pleasantly surprised.  Overjoyed?  Ecstatic?  Happy?  This was more than a frame and some kegs; this guy built the brewery to be an efficient, compact, easy to use piece of beer brewing wonder.  He had a horrible ad on Craigslist, which turned out to be awesome for me.  Let's break it down a little bit, shall we?

 The brew stand is heavy, durable, and strong.  The wheels are large and easy to roll.  There is a pump, a counter-flow chiller, and three burners and kegs.  But the kegs (hot tank, mash tun, boil kettle) aren't just kegs.  They are customized for their purpose with multiple ball valves, Blichmann thermometers, and top of the line false bottoms.  Plus, two of the kegs are old Yuengling kegs - a nice homage to PA beer.

But it isn't just the quality of the basic equipment that makes the brewery great.  What really makes this a nice system is the little touches that are added.  For example, filling up the HLT would be a pain way up on the top tier.  But, there is a copper pipe installed to make it easy.  A faucet is installed up above the HLT to turn water on or off to fill as needed.  That same pipe also runs down to the chiller area so water can be used there, too.  No disconnecting or moving of hoses.  Water is right where you need it.

This thing was well thought out.

The burners are like jet engines.  I am sure there won't be any problems getting kegs up to temperature with these.  The burners are easy to light and the kegs fit snugly and securely in place.  I did have to play with the propane a little bit to get nice, blue flames.  You can really pump up the gas and get a little bonfire going if you want to.

There is an installed switch for the pump.  The height of the brew stand perfectly fits a carboy.  There is no need to turn kettles or lift heavy things.  Everything is there.  Ready to go.

So, I am pretty excited about brewing.  I hope to get many brews under my belt this summer.  I'm starting off this Memorial Day with a pale ale.  As always, I'll be sure to keep you posted.

There are a few more pictures over at my Google+ album.  Be sure to check it out.

Cheers.