Building a Brewery

Building R.Shea Brewing: Week 24, Jan 12-18, 2015

Jan 22, 2015

More work building the bar

My Dad spent this week facing the bar front and foot rests with 1/2" plywood.  I'm still figuring out the final look - which hasn't been easy.

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Dad doing the plywood facing on the bar.


More painting

My sons and I finished painting the main taproom/brewing area.  I repainted the blue to a much better blue.


Trevor doing some excellent painting.

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Learning to edge framing without tape.


Devin working on the ‘chillin room’.

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A little grouting and sealing

I will be brewing soon so I needed the tile walls ready to go.  Notice the new blue paint color...it looks lighter in the picture than it actually is.

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Finishing some miscellaneous grouting and sealing.

Hot water tests

I ran some heating curves with the Eemax on demand electric heater and my small homebrew burner under the hot water tank.  My calculations and sizing were perfect.  If I turn the water on through the Eemax at 0.8-0.9 gallons per minute, I can get about 120 degree water.  As it fills, the gas burner finishes it off to 170 degrees and I have 70 gallons ready in one hour and fifteen minutes.  During that time I am getting the grains weighed and ground.  Perfect.


Running hot water tests.

New Burners!

A lot or research went into these.  There are a lot of burners out there, all with pros and cons.  I needed very specific solutions.  Each of the three big kettles needed a different burner based on needed heat and placement of the kettle drain tubes.


The right burner is the one I will use on the mash-tun. I just need low heat to take the water from 150-170 and the ‘notch’ fits perfectly around the drain tube. I actually tested this with water and it worked perfectly, giving just enough low heat to raise the mash temperature 20-30 degrees in about an hour.

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This will be the burner for the boil kettle. I want a nice, even flame dispersal so as not to scorch the wort.

Moving day!

Moving the homebrewery pilot system, fermentors and mill to the new brewery.  I will still be using the 1/2 barrel pilot system for experimental brews.  Kinda sad to see that Florida room empty.  I spent a lot of time in it the last 3-4 years.


Pilot 1/2 barrel fermentors repackaged up to be taken to the brewery.


Moving the pilot brewery.

Brewer's License update

I'm running around 100 days since I submitted to the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.  The average processing time is about 112 days from when I submitted.  The agent said that there was nothing to report yet, but if I don't hear from them in two weeks, to call them back and possibly get reassigned.

At the moment, I'm not in a hurry to get this.  I still have plenty of work to finish up with inside - lot's of them, 'details'.  I WILL be starting to brew again on the pilot system as I need beer to test on the new glycol line draft system I will be installing the next few weeks.  I imagine I will be ready to brew on the real system mid February for a test batch - I would like to have a license by then so I don't have to consume the beer myself!

MY FOCUS IS ON GREAT BEER the moment I am open.  I'm not trying to rush getting open to put product out.  All too often, as brewers rush to open, they haven't perfected their system, especially if using new equipment, and end up  putting out flat or over-carbonated beer, at the wrong temperature, probably with flavor profile issues.  I also witness so much waste from foamy pours at taprooms - and it's worse for samples.  All that work to go down the drain?  I'm not going to do that.  I'm 100% patient.  Plus I have never installed or used a long-run draft system, so I need time to dial that in for the perfect pour every-time.  I want to be using the draft system at least a month before the doors are open.  I want to serve a high quality, CONSISTENT product, every-time.  It takes research, work and practice to serve the perfect pour.  There is a lot of math and calculations that goes into getting beer from keg to pint glass, whether from a kegerator or a long-line draft system, perfect all-the-time.

Currently I have narrowed down my glycol system to the more expensive, nylon inner-coated beer lines that has a lower resistance, thus allowing me to use the smaller diameter 1/4" beer line for the main trunk line - which means that less beer 'hangs out' in the lines.  I will be using a 'reverse' choker at 5/16"s in the cooler to balance the line.  Though really in this instance, the trunk line is the true choker line.  I've researched and run the math a few times and I think this will be perfect.

Next week

  • Take delivery of a new Micromatic line chiller for the big fermentors
  • Test the boil kettle burner.
  • Try to figure out the rest of the bar.
  • Finalize draft system and order it.


My Dad did a ton of work on the bar this week.  John helped move my pilot equipment - which most of the items aren't 'light'.  The kids did a lot of painting.  I thank everyone for this weeks help, a lot got done.

It's starting to look like a brewery...    

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