Building an All-Grain Brew System Part 2

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Timber for the Brew Stand
Timber for the Brew Stand
In my post Building an All-Grain Brew System Part 1, I come to the conclusion that I was going to design a (SIMS) brew rig. As I have mentioned before SIMS an acronym for Single Infusion Mash System which I made up myself. In this post I will talk about coming up with a design and building the brew sculpture otherwise know has a brew stand.

Design Outline

I will make this brew stand from salvaged timber, the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) and boil kettle will be converted from retired 50-litre stainless steel kegs. For the Mash Tun, I will convert a brand new Esky from Bunnings. I would like to point out something for our international subscribers. In Australia, Bunnings is a large warehouse style hardware store like Home Depot in the US or B&Q in the UK.

Let’s Start the Design of the Brew Stand

I needed to work out the height of each tier which is pretty simple, I just have to work backwards. First I measured the height of my fermenter, this would be the height of the first tier for the boil kettle. Next, I measured the height of the boil kettle and added the tier 1 dimension, this would be the tier 2 height for the mash tun. From that, I’m sure you knew what I did for the HLT.

For the length and width of each tier and the remaining dimensions of the brew stand. I measured the diameters of each keg along with the length and width of the Esky. I then added about 50mm (2 inches) to each of these dimensions to add a little bit of wiggle room.

Once I worked out all my required dimensions I sketched up a rough concept and double checked all my dimensions were correct.

Getting Fancy

This is where things got a little bit extreme. In my day job I’m a piping designer, no I don’t design pipes, I design piping systems in the oil and gas industry. As a part of my job I spend most of my day in a 3D model or a 2D drawing package, so it made sense to me that I would do this design in 3D and produce drawings from that. Just in case any of my bosses are reading, I did this all from home of course. (-;

If you’re keen to do this yourself there is a free AutoCAD student version or SketchUp available to download for non-commercial use.

Brew Stand Drawing
Brew Stand Drawing

Let the construction begin.

Now that I had produced a drawing from the 3D model, I compiled a cut list for all the timber. This will make things so much easier when it comes time to assemble everything together.

The tools I required for this job was the following:
Square
Timber Saw
Cordless Drill
Measuring tape
Spirit level
Pencil
Timber Screws.

Tools Required for the Brew Stand
Tools Required for the Brew Stand

Now that I have all the tools I need for the job and the timber gathered, I got to work cutting everything to size as per the cut list.
Time for a beer

Because I started this project on Friday after I got home from work it got to the point where it was well past beer o’clock. I decided to down tools and knock off for the night and have a well-deserved Ale.

Stand Assembly

Now that I have all the pieces of timber cut to size, I commenced construction by screwing the timber together. I did this by building each individual tier and the base using 8 gauge 60mm long timber screws. After assembling all the tiers I then brought it all together by screwing the uprights to each tier. It was then a matter of screwing down the plywood on the top of each tier and I was done. I used standard 8mm thick plywood, but in hindsight, I should have used marine grade as there is a good chance I’ll have some spillage. Anyway if I have any problems from the plywood getting wet it’s easy to change our down the line.

Timber Brew Stand
Timber Brew Stand

Final Thoughts

I’m definitely not an experienced builder, but building this stand is really quite easy. Anyone with basic building skills and the right tools could throw something like this together in no time. It’s a great excuse to get a mate around and do some man stuff, followed by some beers.

In my next instalment, I’ll be showing you what parts I used and how I converted and Esky into the Mash tun.

Any Questions?

If so leave them in the comments below.

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