Do the Brew, part 1

From Chris

I figure it might be a good to tell you all (y’all) some things about our brewing setup. Quite simply, it all started with a keg of beer. We drank the keg. Then, it sat for a long time, and after a long time, we took a good look at it one day. It seemed like a perfect container to not only store beer, but to make beer as well. So, we cut a big hole in the top of it. How? Painfully slowly. Most kegs are made of stainless steel, a material that when heated (as it is when cutting) gets “sticky” and resists further intrusion. We went through 3 jigsaw blades and 5 recip blades before we made it all the way around. It looks like this now, after much filing, sanding, and polishing:

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This keg became, at least for our first batch (and I believe you can see above part of our first batch), our combination hot liquor tank/mashtun/boiler. We used (and still do at this point) a turkey fryer-style burner and an LP tank as a heat source. Being as that first one was an extract batch, this setup served us adequately, but as we quickly shifted gears to all-grain brewing, we realized that this simple creation just couldn’t do the job. So, we grabbed two more kegs (for some reason we have a bit of a stockpile) and made the VERY wise decision to hire out the cutting work. For $20, we got a guy from Lewallen Construction, a friend’s concrete company, to knock the tops out of the kegs with a plasma cutter. After grinding the cuts and doing some sanding, we had three (identical) vessels: a hot liquor tank, a mashtun, and a brew kettle:

2008-01-13-at-13-39-06.jpg

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3 thoughts on “Do the Brew, part 1

  1. I am Peter Courtny’s roommate in DC and I have been brewing for around 4 months now with extract kits. You guys have an awesome setup and your commitment is a hell more inspiring than the platic pales I have in our hallway. Nice recomendation on the Yeti. If your looking for anotehr good dark and complex brew, try Stone’s Runiation (sp?) Ale. It is awesome.

  2. Ahh yes, the keg that has the two blue stripes around it: that keg held the last Sam Adams I drank before I shat my pants off for 4 days beginning in Roper’s ceramic haven at the Hundred/2006 and ending with a 5 foot stretch of my bathroom carpet. Memories…

  3. Davis – great to hear we’ve got a readership growing! Are you doing straight extract or some mini-mashing? Any favorite recipes? I’ve been thinking about cranking out a mini batch in between all-grain sessions just to get some recipe diversity…btw, I’m not sure if Stone’s is available here…any others to recommend?

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