Tim Cichon’s Brewing System

Northland Brewing.   Tim Cichon Northland Brewing is a shot of my system functioning following with a couple different side angles.   The mash-tun sits on a shelve that will slide in and out.  Once I’m done mashing I can tear down the system and be left with just my boil kettle.  I use an immersion chiller and do not use a pump.  Results have been pretty good over the years.  I have only dumped 2 batches – one my temperature gauge broke and the other mistake was adding fresh Mango to a couple gallons of Helles.  I only lager two batches per year.  One O-fest for my annual poker party and one Helles for spring.Next pictures are (4) of my gravity fed system working.  Yes, I do climb the ladder to dump water for my HLT.Pictures 5 and 6 are of my fly sparging lid.   This is also homemade as my system was made on a very tight budget7 is a picture of my homemade hopstopper.  Works very well.  I purchased 2 stainless steel strainers from IKEA, deconstructed them, sewed them together with copper wire.The last picture is the outcome of the Northland Brewing Ghetto Gravity Stystem ~hmmmmmm BEER or wort at this time.

Randy Clay’s Brewing System

This is my 7.5G stainless brewpot in action. Good size for 5 gallon batches. It came as part of a turkey fry kit, along with the burner stand on the left. The small kettle is a 4G that I use for steeping.The 2-burner cart was built by a friend who does a lot of cooking/catering. It turned out to be perfect for brewing.He built it to fit 10G pots for frying. When I helped him cater once and told him how much I would like to brew with it he gave it to me! I keep him supplied with beer. I will certainly call on him if I ever get around to designing/building a big rig. The wheels are a convenient add-on.This is a close up view of the cart.I’ve used a homemade immersion chiller for years. I think it cost about $15 to build. I recently added the hose attachments. I had used 3′ sections of tubing clamped to the chiller with barbed hose attachments at the other end, but I got tired of clamps that would need to be retightened/ redone every few uses. These attachments were about $6 at Menards.I got a new washing machine recently. As soon as I saw the new hoses that came with it I knew I had the perfect upgrade from the old tubing/clamps I used to have! Using this sink I can get the wort to pitching temp in about 15 minutes. Another use for chiller water- thawing a turkey….

Kevin Cotter’s Brewing System

Here is my personal humble brewing setup. No fancy sculpture – just 2 Megapots and a Polarware mash-tun with a false bottom.

I do not have any pumps as of yet, so I have cobbled together anything I can find to achieve the correct heights to perform gravity fed witchcraft. Here I have a metal frame with a two-by-fours and header board stacked to get the proper height over the mash for sparging.
I have one working propane burner, so I have to move pots of hot liquid several times during the brew day to get the job done. “I’m just waiting for the day when I can scald myself silly.”

I do have some tools to make the jobs easier, like Phil’s Sparge Arm that works fine for smaller 5 gallon brewing jobs. KalenBorg left his chiller at my house, so I’ve been using it for about 3 years now. I live in the far south metro in Credit River Township, and as such, we hicks rely on well water. Mine is about 42 degrees out of the tap, which is great for rapid wort chilling. I have a temperature correcting light refractometer to take gravity readings. Last year I acquired a Thermolyne 7200 Stir Plate and I have a small PC fan taped to the side to keep the temperature down.
Kevin is in the process of building a Brutus 10 Clone – see progress here!

Jeremy Hodgson’s Brewing System

This is my set up. There aren’t any fancy pumps or stands just a couple kettles, immersion chiller, 10 gallon cooler mash tun, and a propane burner. I also have a 5 gallon megapot styled pot for decoctions. I use a 1 quart measuring cup and floating tupperware lid for sparging. After cleanup it all stacks nicely in the corner!

This was the first batch at the new apartment and I live on the second story. Not wanting to carry all this water down the stairs I hooked up an RV water hose to the sink and ran it out the window. To keep the hose from ripping off the faucet I used a copper pipe hanger and screwed it to the bottom of the counter.

Jeff Halvorson’s Brewing System

My system is housed in my “Brew House”, a detached workshop which while lacking running water does have natural gas heating, cable TV, and plenty of power (110V/220V). Water is either bucketed down or run through 50′ of food grade RV hose.It is a simple three vessel setup with ring burners (Superb) for the HLT and mash and a jet burner (King Kooker) for the boil. The SS pots are all 15 gallons; the mash and boil are Polarware pots with false bottoms while the HLT is a cheaper Italian model. Sparge water and recirculation is done using two March pumps which are connected using high-temp hosing and polysulfone quick-disconnects. Wort is chilled using a Blichmann plate chiller and pumped directly into a 12.2 gallon SS conical fermentor. The conical lives inside an upright freezer with Ranco thermostat which provides cooling in the summer and a heater for the winter.This system was designed as a single-tier setup however it currently is being used in a two-tier configuration for simplicity. Future improvements are to plumb the ring burners to natural gas, redesign the hood to better collect steam, and add additional temperature stable areas for beer storage (secondary, lagering, etc..).

James Henjum’s Brewing System

This is my set up. It’s a two tier rack to make use of gravity for the sparge and one pump for everything else. The top tier is a 10 gallon HLT that sparges into another 10 gallon MLT. The pump is used to recirculate the wort and to move it to the 15 gallon boil pot. The 2nd photo shows some of my accessories – pump, plate chiller and decoction pot.

Joe Gerteis’s Brewing System

The pictures show my garage brewery, which is still and always a work in progress.  For me, the brewing system had to be in the garage, and easy to move, disassemble, and store.  I only recently put in the heat resistant tile backer so that I can just keep it under the window (it opens up and I just hold it up there with a bungee cord — poor man’s ventilation!).  Maybe sometime I’ll be able to move everything into my basement and pipe it into natural gas, but that will require more major work than I can put in right now.  So it’s the garage for the near future at least.  The first picture is the burners/stands and kettles.  I got the burners and stands from a company in Louisiana that sells them as crawfish cookers.  The tanks are new — I used converted kegs with bazooka screens before.  You can see one of those kegs on the side.  The kegs work great but they are HEAVY and a bit of a pain to disassemble for cleaning.  So far these “Italian kettles” are great — heavier bottoms would be ideal, but I like the dimensions on these.
The other picture shows my pumps and chiller.  Since all my kettles are at the same height, one pump is a necessity.  Two just makes life a little easier.  (The heavy-duty one is a March model AC-3C-MD, the other is a March MDX model with a threaded head unit that I swapped on, so sort of custom.)  I screwed the pumps onto some bits of pine board and put little rubber pads under the boards to help keep them stable and dampen the vibration while they are running.  The chiller is the normal Shirron plate chiller with an added coupler and disconnect for the wort-in side.  I’ve upgraded elements over time as cash flow allowed.  Stainless valves from Northern Brewer on the kettles replaced cheapie brass ones.  I bought stainless reducers and valves for the pumps on sale online.  The other big upgrade besides the kettles themselves was the polysulfone disconnects.  For a couple of years I used a set of brass ones that I bought from McMaster-Carr.  They are really affordable and work fine but they get pretty hot.  The Polysulfone ones are great but I’ve managed to break a few, and they’re a bit pricey.  I have a secondary system (Rubbermaid cooler mashtun, smaller 8 gallon boiler) for kitchen brewing when it gets too cold for using the water supply hoses in the winter, but my stove is only just barely up to the task.  So I’m trying to figure a new way of running water lines out and back into my basement for the cold weather.

If I get ambitious I might try to use the extra welded coupler on the boil kettle to rig some kind of port for whirlpool…we’ll see.That’s it!

Joe GerteisPresident, St. Paul Homebrewers Club