Steps to System

1. Frame
2. Burners and Gas Lines
3. Heat Shielding
4. HLB, Mash Tun,
and Kettle
5. Heating Chamber
6. Immersion Chiller
7. Counterflow Heat
8. Pumps
9. Plumbing for both
10. RIMS Control System
11. Electrical Plan
12. Controller


Brewery Construction Guide


Step-by-step guide on brewing beer with the brewery.
Prepare Recipe Plan
Calculate recipe ingredients for the amount of the batch plus the amount of Cold Break expected.
Example: Recipe Amount (5.5 gal) = Desired Batch (5.0 gal) plus Expected Cold Break (0.5 gal)
Cold Break – The spent hops, coagulated protiens, and other material left at the bottom of the Kettle after the boil and chilling has finished and the clear fluids have been removed.  My brewery design leaves 1⁄2 gallon of cold break.
If a yeast starter is to be used, prepare it a sufficient amount of time prior to brewing so that it is fermenting.
Day Before Brewing (or just before starting brewing)
Prepare Treated Water in the HLB
Fill the HLB with an amount of water equaling the batch amount plus 5 gallons.
The additional water will be used for Kettle evaporation and cleaning the system after brewing.
Aerate the water while filling the HLB to reduce Chlorine content.
Adjust the water's temperature to 65F and test pH.
The optimal range for pH is 5.2 - 5.6.
The pH will most likely be too high.
            Lager Beers - to lower pH, add 0.5 tsp of Lactic Acid or Calcium Chloride
            Ale Beers - to lower pH, add 0.5 tsp of Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
            All Beers - to RAISE pH, add 0.5 tsp of Calcium Carbonate
Stir the water thoroughly and retest pH.
If necessary, adjust and retest until pH is in the optimal range.
Cover the HLB and let it sit until the next day (start of brewing).
Day of Brewing
Prepare the Water in the Mash Tun
Add untreated water to the Mash Tun up to just above the Primary Mash Screen.
Don't use the treated water from the HLB.  Malt grains naturally lower the water's pH.
This amount of water is called Foundation Water.
Next, add an extra 0.33 to 0.50 gallons of untreated water to the Mash Tun for every pound of grain to be mashed.
Start the Controller and Pump (mash return valves fully open) and electrically heat Mash water to Strike Temperature.
Strike temp is 6 to 12 degrees above the initial Mash Temperature.  When malt grain is added to the heated water, it will lower the temperature to the desired initial Mash Temperature.
Verify that the controller's Setpoint is set to the desired Strike Temperature.
The Controller will activate the Heating Element until Setpoint temp is reached - then hold at that temp.
- while the water in the Mash Tun is heating:
Mill the Grain
Mill all malt and other grains which require mashing and store in a bucket.
 - when the mash water has reached Strike temp:

Mash-in the Grains
Stop the pump (the heater will not be activated when the pump is off).
Slowly sprinkle the grain onto the water in the mash tun.
Using a long, flat and knife-like utensil, throughly cut-in the grain to the water.
This is called the Mash-in or Infusion Mash.
The purpose of cutting-in the grains is to assure that none of it is clumped into balls.
Grain that is clumped remains dry and will not convert to malt sugar during the mashing stage.
Turn on the pump with valves CLOSED.
VERY SLOWLY open the mash return valve until the mash just starts to flow.
(If mash is started too quickly, it will get stuck and won't flow.)
After a few minutes of successful flow, keep opening the valve a little every minute or so until no more than 1/2 open.
Be certain that the mash is not splashing in the Mash Tun, this will cause Hot Side Aeration (bad taste).
The mash return flow must be smooth and without aerating ripples on the surface of the water.
If the recipe calls for a Stepped Infusion Mash:
Set the controller setpoint to the beginning (first) mash temperature. (Rest)
The controller should indicate that the mash has stabilized at the anticipated first mash temperature.
After a few minutes, test the mash water pH.  A range of 5.2 to 5.6 is required for optimal enzyme activity.
Most likely, the pH will be above the range of 5.2 to 5.6.
Adjust the pH the same way as the HLB water.
Cover and allow the mash to recirculate at this temperature for the time required by the recipe.
If the system is working properly, cloudy mash will soon become clear as it is filtered through the grain bed.
Re-set the controller setpoint to each new higher temperature, and hold for the required time.  (Steps)
The last step is called the conversion rest, 151-155 degrees (F) at which all starch will be converted to sugar.
Test for complete starch to sugar conversion as follows:
Add a drop of Tincture of Iodine to a white dish.  Place a drop of mash liquid next to it and view where the two drops meet.  If the result is dark blue/black, conversion is not complete - continue mash at last temperature.
If the result is no color change, conversion is complete.  The mash is finished. (Iodine sample is poison -throw out)
If the recipe calls for a Single Infusion Mash:
Use the same procedure as a stepped mash, except mash the entire time at the conversion temperature, 151-155.
Then test for conversion.
Mash Out
When the mash been converted into fermentable sugars:
Reset the controller setpoint to 170F.
Once the the temp reaches 170F, let mash rest at 170 for 10 minutes.
This is called the Mash out.
 - at the same time mash out starts:

Start the HLB burner and heat water to Runoff Temperature.
(MashOut and Runoff temperature is set sufficiently above all Mash temps in order to stop the enzymatic activity of Mashing and decrease the viscosity of the mash for better rinsing of sugars.)
Turn on the HLB burner, heat to 170 degrees (F), and hold until water is needed during the runoff.
 - when mash out has finished:

Remove the cover from the mash tun.  (Remember not to splash or aerate the hot liquid.)
With pump 1 still on, slowly open the HLB valve, open the Kettle valve and close the Mash valve.
Adjust the valves so that the flow of water from the HLB into the mash tun just matches the flow exiting the mash tun and into the kettle.  The liquid in the mash tun should remain between 1 and 2 inches above the grain.
Move the mash runoff into the kettle as slowly as possible.  This will maximize sugar extraction from the grain.
Turn on the kettle burner during the runoff to get the liquid to a boil as soon as possible after the kettle is filled.
Stop the runoff when the Recipe Amount of mash liquid has been transferred to the kettle.
(Recipe Amount (in gal) = Desired Batch (in gal) plus Expected Cold Break (my system has 0.5 gal)
Warning –  Running-off more fluid than is needed may risk that undesirable parts of the grain will be extracted.
Turn off pump 1 and close the valves.
Bring the kettle to a rolling boil and leave uncovered.
Boil for the time required by the recipe.  Usually 60 - 90 minutes.
Add adjunct ingredients such as rice syrup solids or malt and special extracts.
Stir the kettle bottom to dissolve any solids. Then stir periodically.
During the boil, dispose of spent mash grains and thoroughly clean the mash tun.
Add the bittering hops at the time specified by the recipe.
Add the aroma (finishing) hops at the time specified by the recipe
Add 1 teaspoon (per 5 gallons of brew) of Irish Moss 15 minutes before end of boil.  It settles undesirable solids.
If cooling with an immersion chiller:  Place immersion chiller into the kettle 10 minutes before the end of the boil.
When boiling time has ended, turn off kettle burner.
Replace water evaporated from the kettle to Recipe Amount with the HLB treated water supply.
Just before the boiling time has ended:
Prepare Immersion Chiller or Counterflow Heat Exchanger
Fill the mash tun at least half full with cool tap water (not the treated HLB water).
Adjust the valves so that the water will recirculate in the following path:
       From the mash tun, through the pump, chiller tubing, Immersion or Counterflow chiller and back to the mash tun.
Operate the chiller or counterflow with the kettle covered to avoid bacterial infection.
Replace chiller water in the mash tun when temperature rises to within 50 degrees of the kettle.
As the kettle fluid cools and the mash tun warms within 50 degrees, add ice to the mash tun to increase cooling speed.
When the entire batch of brew has been reduced to 75 degrees (F), disconnect and remove the chiller.
Stir the brew rapidly to form a whirlpool to collect the cold break material into the center of the kettle.
Wait 10 to 15 minutes for the whirlpool to stop. Keep kettle covered.
Open the Kettle valve and pour the brew into a clean bucket leaving the break material behind.
Primary Fermenter
Add the liquid yeast starter, ready-pitch yeast (or dry yeast) to the primary fermenter.
Thoroughly aerate the chilled brew when pouring into the primary fermenter.
Cover the fermenter with plastic sheeting and bind with elastics.
Ferment in accordance with the style of beer to be made.
Clean the System
Use the remaining water from the HLB to clean the system by pumping through all tubing.
Be certain to clean the HLB, mash tun and kettle periodically with a solution of chlorinated sanitizer approved for beer equipment and hot water and rinse well.  All copper and plastic/rubber tubing must be flushed with the solution and rinsed with hot water.  Bacteria will grow on the sticky mash residue and will infect your next batch.
Water remaining in the brewery plumbing during the winter will freeze and burst the tubing.  But if the system has been constructed to encourage drainage, this shouldn’t be a problem.  Drain as much water from the system as possible.
The temperature controller must be stored in a cool and dry place to protect its electronics.  Read the manual for ideal storage environment.
The pumps must be oiled with 2 to 3 drops of SAE 20 oil every 6 months.  Check the pump manual for proper procedures.
Enjoy your brewery!


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This page designed and produced by Donald S. Chrzan
Site last updated: 18-aug-06 11:49