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Building a Brewery

Building R.Shea Brewing: Week 25, Jan 19-25, 2015

Jan 30, 2015

More fermenter chilling power!

260362 (1) My little Micromatic MMPP4301-EP line chiller (1/3 horsepower/ 2,300 btu/hr cooling) has been great for my two 1/2 barrel fermenters, and possibly ONE of the new 3.5 barrel fermenters...but not all five together.  Granted, I'm not going to be cold crashing all five at once...but I needed another glycol system to run the draft lines anyways.

I've been scouring probrewer.com for months and months to find another used one.  I didn't act fast enough for one that I found at one of the Lake Erie Island breweries.  I had to buy new.  I ideally wanted a bigger chiller to handle all of the fermenters and use my current one as the line chiller for the draft system. MMPP4302-PKG_MG_8173_V_600

But then I came across Micromatic's MMPP4302-PKG with 1/2 horsepower and 3,400 btu/hour in cooling capacity with a 11.5 gallon reservoir...AND TWO PUMPS!  This is exactly what I want.  I will use my existing glycol system to lager and also provide heating (with an aquarium heater) to my ale fermentations (I pressure ferment ales at higher temps, 80-85 degrees, for quicker turnaround, fully carbonated beer with no off flavors).  For this new glycol system, one pump will handle the fermenters for cold crashing and the other for the draft lines.  The only uncertainty I have is if the 45 degrees that I will use for the draft serving temp will be good enough, and quick enough, for cold crashing the fermenters.  We'll see.


The new glycol system arrives to handle the bigger 3.5 barrel fermenters and draft system.

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I have to stack the little one on top of the big one. The little one is still heavy as it contains 5 gallons of glycol, besides the weight of the compressor.

I wanted as small a footprint as I could, so I want to stack these glycol units.  I needed to make a stand, but I don’t have many spare inches to the left or right so 2×4’s are out – plus I wanted an elegant, pretty-looking solution.  I like pretty things.  I decided on using aluminum as it won’t rust and will withstand the weight, if made correctly.


Aluminum tube, angles and flats for this next project.


My son Devin helping during the construction of this…learning about the utility of C-clamps when drilling metal and wood.

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It’s coming together. I have to make sure that every leg is locked in with cross supports – thanks again to my Akron U statics class. Though this stand turned out a lot more ‘arty’ than I imagined – which was fun…I like blending art with an engineering solution.


It’s done!

Burner blues

The burner that came in for the boil kettle ended up being cracked when I turned it on (yellow flames).  I took a picture and emailed glaciertanks.com - they immediately sent a new one out for me - and I didn't have to return the other one.  Great customer service!  I may see about welding the broken one - I hear nickel will do the trick.


Bum burner. See the crack in the cast-iron?

Pulled chicken and BBQ sauce experimentation

My wife is working on pulled chicken now and she is continuing to develop a homemade BBQ sauce.  We even tried a mustard sauce and it's yum!


Experimenting more with homemade BBQ sauce and spices like ancho chilis and chipotle.


Draft system order

I actually placed the order on the draft system components from beveragefactory.com.  OUCH!  But this is one of the most important parts of the brewery as it is delivering beer at a set temperature and carbonation level to you.  It needs to pour perfectly.  Special thanks to Erika D'Eugenio - she put up with all of my changes and such for this order as it got really complicated.   I went with Micromatic's 12 product trunk line - the expensive one with the smoother nylon core so I can get away with a smaller diameter and less beer hangs out in the lines.

I went with Perlick taps with the 'growler filler' side valves - I'm hoping these will be a good solution for low-foam growler refills without an actual counter-pressure filler - which would be complicated with 12 beers!

I'm having a regulator for every tap inside the cooler.  Though at home with six beers on tap, all governed by one regulator got me by, it wasn't optimal as a few times I screwed up and sucked beer from one keg into all the other lines as each keg wasn't isolated.  I'm going to do it right this time.

I should have all this stuff next week and then it will be time for the install - which should be fun!

Next week:

  • Finish the bathrooms
  • Face the front of the bar with steel.


Thanks to Devin and my wife this week.

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