We appear to be light years behind the USA when it comes to off the shelf home brewing equipment. If you want a new brewing vessel you have to make it yourself or get it fabricated to your own design. My ability with a TIG torch is limited to sticking things together and is miles away from sanitary grade welding.
So, I went to Elite Stainless Fabrications in Swindon with some drawings and a couple of months later I had all the vessel for the brewery. It was just then a case of knocking up a control panel and getting some brews on.
So what do I have – a 4 vessel system – HLT, Mashtun, Boiler and Whirlpool with a PID controlled RIMS to enable stepped mashes and tightly controlled single infusions mashes. The use of a Whirlpool enables the use of pellets for whirlpool additions like many commercial craft breweries.
HLT – 200L with 2x3kw elements bottom draining, controlled with a PID
Mashtun – 120L false bottom
Rims – 6kw element controlled by a PID
Boiler – 150L bottom draining with 2 x 3kw elements, controlled with a PID
Whirlpool – 150L, tangential inlet
I had a Blitchnmann Hop Rocket on my first 25L system which i had good results with, so for the bigger system i had the Hop Rocket upgraded, the large one can hold about 700g of hole hops. Both the Hop Rockets can also be used for Dry hopping Serria Nevada Torpedo style.
The panel controls up to 5 elements (2x3kw in HLT, 1x8kw Rims and 2x3kw in the Boiler), obviously not all at the same time, the elements are then all controlled by contactors which are energised from switches on the front panel. The power going to each of the elements is then controlled by PID’s. This setup enables tight temp control throughout the brewing process.
Currently in use are a mixture of vessels from a 50L Morebeer conical to a 170L custom built conical, all vessel are directly cooled using Maxi coolers and heated via soil heating cables.
Serving the Beer
All the effort gone into brewing the beer can be totally wasted if its not served right, with this in mind here is the kegerator.