The Brewery

It took a long time to draw and design what I ultimately wanted this brewery to be. I designed the piping structure and layout of the brewhouse along with designing and building the electronics and automation for the control system. It took a lot of creative thinking mixed with engineering and science resulting in an efficient and accurate brewery with reproducible results. Enjoy! 

The Brewhouse
3 x 1/2 BBL vessels. From right to left: Hot liquor tank, mash tun, and boil kettle. 

Automated temperature control on the hot liquor tank and mash tun. Controls of HLT gas valve, 2 pumps, and RIMS heater can be set to auto for control of manual. 

The bird's nest within the control box

I use the BCS-460 control system from brewer's hardware, formerly ECC Concept. This wirelessly controls from tablet. 


2 x 14 gallon SS Brewtech Chronical fermentors with temperature control 

Tap Room

Made from local beetle-kill pine. Oak stave taster trays and chalkboard tap handles

Etched with Lowell Brewing Co. logo

The Keezer

Glycol cooling system for taps

There is now 8 lines on the splitter

From American Homebrewers Association Pimp My System:

 I originally built this system so I could have good reproducibility and great control of my brews. I have to say, it has worked pretty well so far. The automated control of the brewery allows me to run under identical conditions every brew day if I need to. The single-tier system also limits the physical abuse on my body each brew day! With minimal lifting and shifting vessels around, my back thanks me. Not to mention, I think it is a little safer to have all of the tanks filled with scalding hot liquid stationary and set up below eye level in front of me!

lowell1I have a semi-automated, single-tier brewery.  All of the vessels on the brewery are converted ½ bbl kegs and I can produce up to about 11 gallons of wort from each run, maybe more if I’m feeling brave!  The stand is made of mild steel and has casters on it so it can be moved around quite easily. All plumbing on the brewery is ½” OD stainless steel tubing. The liquid is moved around the system by way of two pumps that are mounted on the stand and a series of valves that are opened and closed depending on the liquid route.  There is an in-line water filtration (charcoal filter) system that is hooked on to the back of the brewery as well. This allows me to feed the hot liquor tank with water by turning a valve and to run cold water through the plate chiller as well. I have propane burners under the hot liquor tank and the brew kettle, but not under the mash tun. The mash tun temperature is controlled through a RIMS (recirculating infusion mash system) system that uses a water heater element and a stainless steel tube. At the outlet of the brewery, I have a plate chiller and an in-line oxygenation system. I can also monitor the temperature of the wort coming out of the brewery with a temperature sensor and control the flow as needed. The cooled, oxygenated wort is then transferred into temperature controlled carboy fermentors, where yeast is pitched. I have set up the plumbing and valves so I can also run a complete recirculating cleaning process through all 3 tanks and all lines at the end of the brew day.

The brewery is controlled through a panel that is mounted on the stand. I have 3-way selector switches and indicator lights for most all of the components so I can run them manually or through the automated computer system. I have a BCS-460 control system (Embedded Control Concepts) for the brewery which is a web-based interface that runs off my laptop. In my setup, the 4 temperature sensors on the brewery feed into the controller and then the outputs (2 pumps, heater, gas lowell2valve, and igniter) can be controlled based off those inputs. The control system allows me to create programs for any step in the process.  For example, I can control the mash temperature at 150ºF by having the mash recirculation pump and heater element controlled by the mash tun temperature sensor, both turning on when the temperature drops below 150ºF and then turning off when the set point is reached. One of the added bonuses of the control system is that I installed a wireless bridge which allows the control box to be completely sealed.  Therefore, I can monitor/control temperatures and processes from the comfort of my warm living room while the brewery is running in the freezing garage!

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As you Can see Andrew has but some serious effort and love into his home brewery and he is receiving the reward of delicious brews every time he uses it. Brew on Andrew!

1 comment:

Renaissance Slacker said...

Awesome system. Looking to build one like this!