Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My 'rig'...

All this time, and I just realized that I haven't really described my brewing system (which I refer to as the 'rig,' and my Lady Wife calls the 'monstrosity'--I actually like her term better). I'll give just a verbal description for now, and in various posts to come, I'll detail the individual pieces one at a time, the better to explain why I've got what I've got, and where I'm going with it.

I do almost entirely all-grain brewing at present. (I don't really count my wines into my brewing, as they're completely from kits; I'm moving more into doing fruit wines, but going very slowly with them, as I find that they're finicky.) I started my all-grain adventures fairly recently, back in 2004 (coincidentally, that's also when I really got into the SCA, after playing off-and-on for a number of years). The first batches were done on the stovetop, using plastic buckets for a mash tun and various things of that nature. My wife was quickly persuaded to allow me a turkey-fryer, the better to move me outside. One fryer became two, and about two years ago I finally built myself a three-tier brewstand (the original Monstrosity).

After a number of brews, and many minor upgrades (bigger burners, kettle upgrades, mash-tun tweaks), I finally (early this year) broke down and converted my three-tier stand to a two-tier. It will remain thus for as long as I own it... I much prefer not having to lift a kettle of water onto an 8-foot-high 'shelf' (where the HLT was originally situated).

The rest of my 'system' includes a 70-quart Ice Cube cooler for a mash-tun (detailed in an earlier post here)--it replaced a 40-quart Gott-style cooler. My kettle is a 10-gallon Stainless Steel pot purchased from a local restaurant supply warehouse. For a HLT, I use the 8-gallon aluminum pot that came with one of the original turkey fryers. For heat, I've got two LP-fired banjo burners, each at present plumbed to its own propane tank. A home-built immersion chiller and a March pump round out the important bits. Again, I'll detail the parts in later posts.

My brews are kegged (save the *very* rare exception); I've got eight 5-gallon 'Cornelius' kegs. I lager the occasional brew in a chest-freezer with a temp controller. I've got glass carboys enough for seven brews in various stages (eight, if one is getting kegged soon). Plus an assortment of other miscellaneous bits...

All in all, I'd guesstimate that my gear has run me upwards of $2000, probably not much more than $2500. But then, I like my beer just that much.

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