Posts Tagged ‘Brewery Construction’

Previous Brewery Construction Posts

Operation Frosty Box IV – Double Fridge Move

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

You’ve read about Operation Frosty Box I & II from back before we even opened.

You’ve seen Operation Frosty Box III from our big 3-bbl brewery expansion almost two year ago.

Now we bring to you, Operation Frosty Box IV – Double Fridge Move.

The Problem

Our new brewery tasting room will use the same fridge as our current brewery tasting room. At the new brewery, we need to install a fire sprinkler in the fridge before we open. It’s impossible to install a fire sprinkler in a fridge that isn’t there.

The Solution

Move our current tasting room fridge to the new brewery and move our old tasting room fridge back to the current brewery without interrupting the flow of beer to customers and without letting our beer get warm.

The Action

Step 1
The first problem is that the old fridge is way bigger than the small serving fridge at the tasting room. To accommodate the bigger fridge, we had to de-bolt Anita and Hedi from the ground and transport them over to our new brewery.

Step 2
Move the tasting room fridge over to the new brewery. We had to remove all serving equipment (taps, CO2 regulators, etc.), dissemble the fridge at the current brewery, and re-assemble the fridge at the new brewery.

Step 3
Break down the cold-storage fridge at the new brewery and re-install it in the current tasting room. Transport all kegs that were at the new brewery to the fridge at the current tasting room. Re-install the tap system – all while making sure the beer stays cold.

The Result

We now have our old fridge from Operation Frosty Box II in our current brewery and our serving fridge behind our new bar with a sprinkler in it.

Operation Dirty Green – November Construction Update

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

For the last few months we’ve been saying “the brewery is finally coming together” – but for the first time ever, it’s now actually coming together.

The bar is finally finished. Fireman Dave poured 9 gallons of epoxy over this thing and it’s now ready to commence vigorous testing – hence the kegerator behind it. You may also notice that while modeling the bar, Brie had to put her purse on top of the bar. Don’t worry, we have a solution for that coming.


As some of you may remember from the build-out blog from our current brewery, there is a requirement that we separate the brewery from the tasting room with a wall. This time we decided to get fancy with it – and at the same time doubled its zombie defense rating from 10 zombies per minute to 20.


Brewery Programming / Testing
The brewhouse control system is debugged and ready to go. It’s waiting for a completed steam system before we can do a full hot water test.

Steam System

And don’t worry. The most important part of ANY steam system has also been installed.

Compressed Air System
We installed a big air compressor to power the brewhouse horns. One might ask why one would need horns when one also has a whistle, but that’s just a stupid question.

The air compressor will also be used to power our keg washer and air operated valves on our brewhouse and fermentors.

Tasting Room Lighting and Fans
We finally ripped out the gross florescent lights that come with pretty much all warehouses and put some nice barn-style lights and fans in.

Glycol System Complete
The glycol system has been one of the most labor intensive jobs. The chiller unit had been sitting in our tasting room for nearly 6 months while we figured out where to put it – it’s now on the roof.

After we mounted the plumbing, each elbow and tee needed to be covered with an insulation casing and then filled with expanding liquid foam. This might sound hard, but it turned out to be really easy – thanks to the fact that Chris married a girl that has a really handy father who did all the work (thanks Fireman Dave).

We’re within weeks of our first brew and pretty soon you’ll start to see some of the tanks pulled out of our existing brewery and put into commission at the new facility. As soon as we get our final building and safety sign-offs we’ll start planning our grand opening.

We’re almost there!

Operation Dirty Green – Construction Update

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

A lot has been going on at our new brewery and we’re busy as bees finishing up the last of the work. Stay tuned for more info on our opening – but until then enjoy these pictures of the work in progress!

Bar Frame

The frame for our new bar is built in the brewery, and will be completed in a few days!

Tap Handles

Nicknamed Mission Impossible – after several months Fireman Dave finished creating over 600 new tap handles for our expansion. A build-your-own pizza party was held in celebration.

Random Improvements

Building a new brewery isn’t just stainless steel and sweet bars – there’s a lot of nitty-gritty work that needs to be done: tiling bathrooms, installing boat horns, etc.

The New Brewery Arrives

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

There have been many exciting milestones along the way in this brewery building adventure – from smashing walls down to watching concrete being poured. However, nothing was as exciting as seeing our brand new 15BBL brew system being delivered last Friday. None of us are fathers, yet, but this has to be EXACTLY what it’s like seeing ones first born.

The truck arrived at around 2pm, and as with every other new piece of equipment in our expansion process, the brewery was too big for Helga The Forklift to handle. Luckily larger forklifts are available for rent, and we happen to know a guy who can operate heavy machinery.

So once again, our friend Scott helped us unload the tanks and platform from the truck and into the facility. As everything was already standing up, this process proved much easier than the fermentors.

After getting the tanks and platform into the building, we began the leveling and positioning process which is not unlike a dog trying to chase its own tail (but not as cute). If it wasn’t for us being so pumped up at the moment, the mood would have definitely resulted in frustration and yelling.

Each tank has about 3-4 connections to the main system manifold and each connection must fit perfectly into place without bending. The toughest part was moving, leveling, raising and twisting each tank so every fitting lined up.


Then next day consisted of screwing the mounting plates for the brewery as well as our fermentors and water tanks to the ground using big screw anchors and our favorite tool: the rotohammer.

The brew system is a Premier Stainless 15BBL 3-vessel system. This was completely designed by Chris, who conveniently also works at Premier Stainless. This of course resulted in a wicked sweet system with a lot of fancy things.

From left to right, we have a Lauter tun with rakes and an automatic grain-out plow, Steam Jacketed Mash Tun with a mixer in the middle and a Kettle / Whirlpool on the right side.

The system will be controlled by a PLC in the center cabinet with the interface mounted on top.

On the brew deck there is a sink that’s plumbed into the hot and cold water tanks in our back room as well as a sample chiller for cooling wort samples.

The most important part is that we made the deck big enough for brew tours, but mainly to hold a cot for overnight brews.

If you’re coming out to our Oktoberfest this weekend, you’re welcome to come see the new system at 2 pm, she is yours as much as she is ours, so climb the platform, look in the tanks, or just simply give her a hug… For those of you who are wondering, her name is Lagertha.

Tank Tipping Day

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

three-30-bbl-fermentors-in-breweryFor the first time since we started Operation Dirty Green – our new brewery is finally starting to look like a brewery. But it didn’t come without harrow, suspense and determination.

It all started the day before the tanks arrived – we needed to rent a boom lift with a boom extender to stand up the tanks. We had it all planned out, but the company didn’t have the exact boom-extender we wanted. They had one close enough, so we ordered it. No problem.

Later that night, Chris was having trouble going to sleep – excited like a kid the night before Christmas. He finally managed to doze off, and that’s when the nightmares started.

Twice he woke up worried the replacement boom-lift wouldn’t work and the tanks would be stuck on their side. At 3am in the morning he almost got out of bed and pulled it up on Solid Works to draw the boom to make sure it would fit. And finally, he had a terrible dream he was stuck in traffic and missed the tank delivery.

Restless night of sleep finished, first thing in the morning Chris drew up the boom to double check everything would work. The model said it would – by a couple inches.

Later That Day
The tanks arrived in two shipments at 2pm and 3pm. The first truck had the new grist case and our hot and cold liquor tanks. The second our three fermentors. The timing was perfect, as soon as we finished unloading the first truck, the second arrived.

The tank tipping up process was set into three difficulty levels:

  • Level 1(easy): Unload the Tanks
  • Level 2(medium): Stand up the Fermentors
  • Level 3(hard – aka the boss level): Stand up the Cold and Hot Liquor Tanks

Level 1
To pull the tanks out of the delivery trucks – we pulled them out part-way with Helga The Forklift. Once partially out, our rented boom lift grabbed them from the side and drove them down to the brewery.

You might notice a handsome young man driving the boom lift – his name is Scott Doubleday. We were talking to him in the tasting room about our expansion and when we mentioned we were renting the boom lift, he casually mentioned: “Hey, I’m a trained heavy equipment operator. Do you need my help?”
Needless to say, we took advantage of this good fortune and said yes.

With the tanks all unloaded, we started to bring them into the brewery and stand them up.

Level 2
Unloading the tanks was nervous, but standing up the tanks was downright terrifying. Our hearts were racing for the next 4 hours as we stood-up the tanks.

With baited breath we drove them into the brewery and lifted them up. The boom-lift came close to the ceiling, but luckily it fit in the room and we stood the tanks up no problem. The first tank was the scariest, and the other two stood into place with ease.

Level 3
The final boss – standing up the two 30 BBL liquor tanks. These were markedly harder than the fermentors because they have shorter legs, we were standing them up in a confined space, and an expensive boiler was right next to them.

The first tank proved quite the challenge. We got it to about 45 degrees and realized the legs weren’t long enough to tip up onto without damaging the port at the bottom. So, we had to cut off part of the transport rack to pull it away.

Then, while lifting the tank up the strap got caught on the manway door and almost bent the whole thing out of shape.

And finally, when the tank was almost up, Chris’s dream nearly came true. There was an electrical conduit running across the ceiling – too low for us to stand up the tank. Luckily we were able to grab a pole and push it up, just enough to let the boom through.

And like the fermentors, the second tank was a piece of cake.

All-in-all the entire process took 8 hours – and finally our new brewery is starting to look like a brewery. Be sure to check it out next brewery tour on September 14th.

Concrete Installation – Part II

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Part I of our concrete install, if you missed it, had demolition, wicked awesome construction machinery and loud noises. If you’re into that sort of thing (we are) – be sure to check it out.

If you’re more the type who loves sloped surfaces and latticed-rebar (we are ) – this blog post is for you.

Step 1: Vapor Barrier
The first step in pouring concrete is to place a plastic sheet over the dirt to prevent soil moisture from ruining the concrete.

Step 2: Rebar
With the vapor barrier in place, rebar dowels were drilled into the sides of the old concrete and epoxied in place. These ensure the new concrete slab adheres to the surrounding old slab. With the dowels in place, workers laid additional rebar across the opening in a lattice pattern (a pattern seldom used outside of pie and gardening circles) and tied it together.
rebar sloped floor drain new brewery

Step 3: Concrete Pouring
At 6am on a Thursday the cement mixer, pumping apparatus, and about 15 concrete workers showed up and immediately began working. These guys were organized & efficient – this was by far the most exciting part to see.

matt in front of cement mixer-annotated

Cement Mixer

cement pumping apparatus

pumping apparatus

All of the concrete work was performed by Dennis Mesick from Ideal Concrete Worx.

dennis infront of concrete - annotated

Step 4: FRP
Since we needed to wait 2 weeks for the concrete to completely dry, we decided to knock out some tiling and FRP wall paneling. This was our second time doing both tile and FRP so it was a little less of a circus.

Step 5: U-Crete
After spending lots of money on a fancy new slopes slab, the last thing we wanted to see was a bunch of cracks, mold and erosion start to set in as soon as we started brewing. Therefore, we got one of the best coatings money can buy: U-Crete. U-Crete is a cementitious urethane coating that’s designed to take lots of abuse. Unlike epoxies, it won’t crack when the concrete expands and contracts. Applying U-Crete consisted of the following procedures:

  1. Shot blast the concrete to open up the pores for better adhesion.
  2. shot blasting concrete

  3. Apply a base coat and cover it with sand.
  4. prepping for u-crete

  5. Vacuum up all the sand that didn’t stick to the coating after it dried.
  6. sucking up the leftover sand

  7. Apply a final coat
  8. applying final u-crete coating

The final sloped floor drain coated in U-Crete is sure to be the highlight of the next brewery tour. You won’t want to miss it.

And once again we leave you with a time lapse video of the construction being done. The Benny Hill Soundtrack really captures the essence of our build out.

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Brewery Expansion – Part II

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Part two of our brewery expansion blog post series. If you missed out on Part I, you can catch up here.

Phase VI
Expand glycol lines and install new fermentor

The first part of this phase involved Captain Chris driving the BT1 (Brewery Truck 1) down to San Marcos to pick up the new fermentor. This, of course, also involved staying down there for an extra night hobnobbing it with other breweries and having a few beers. Market research.

After we unloaded it at the brewery, it was time to use our good friend the rotohammer again and anchor the fermentor to the ground.

Then, we began Operation Frosty Pipes II and extended our glycol line down the wall with ports for several fermentors to come.

After we hooked our new fermentor up to the glycol lines, it was time to christen the new ferementor “Resi” right before we pumped our first batch over to her.

(pretty sure we’re still cleaning up glass after that)

Phase VII
Expand Brewery Barrel Program

With the increased storage over at the other location, we have the ability to store more barrels and expand our barrel aged beer program.


To start off we got 6 Jim Beam bourbon barrels, thanks to The Bruery ordering extra for us. We have four of these filled with Daniel Irons Oatmeal Stout, and one filled with Black Valkyrie.

What will we fill in the remaining barrel? At this point, only time will tell – but rumor has it, it could be an IPA.

Phase VIII
Acquire New Brite Tank from Ladyface


This was a surprise expansion phase for us. While some phrases are banned from the brewery like “accidental validation” or “unmarked chemicals” (safety first!), “surprise expansion” is not – and is in fact welcomed. Ladyface Brewery is currently upgrading the size of their tanks, and we were fortunate enough to be offered one of the 7bbl tanks they are replacing. So we stopped by one afternoon, picked it up and delivered it to the brewery.

picking up tank from ladyface

It is currently named “Tax Determination Tank #2” – however we do have a planned renaming and christening ceremony like all new tanks at Enegren Brewing. Stay tuned…

It should also be noted that Fireman Dave purchased a new and improved roto hammer which cut our cement drilling time down from 5 hours to 10 minutes. May we never speak of the old roto hammer again.

Phase IX
Embiggen Tasting Room Area

In an effort to provide even more seating than previously imagined in Phase IV of our expansion plan – the brewery crew got creative and smashed down the wall separating the office and the tasting room.

We had several options of how to tear down the wall. The first was the classic move from The Shining – only problem is it didn’t tear down the wall completely and was just a little creepy.


Our second option was to tear down the wall X-Men Juggernaut style – but we were afraid that we wouldn’t be able to stop before crashing into our brewery.


Our third and final option was to relive our childhood and attempt the classic Kool-Aid “OOOOHHH YEAAAAAHHH” wall breakdown.


After some debating, we decided to go for the Kool Aid wall breakdown – but it didn’t go quite according to plan. You can see for yourself in the video, but it turned out to be more of a cross between The Shining and Kool Aid.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment of our Brewery Expansion!

Brewery Expansion – Part I

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

If you’ve stopped by the brewery over the past three months, you might have noticed some changes. And, as you might have surmised, we are expanding. While normally we post our upgrades as they happen – with all the time and effort we’ve put into the big brewery expansion we’ve found it hard to spare the few hours to write them all up. So, over our next few posts, we’ll catalog what’s happened at the brewery, and what is still to come.

The big brewery expansion plan’s goals are fourfold:
1) To increase current brewing capacity & barrel aging program
2) Lay the foundation for future brewing capacity expansion
3) Increase brewing efficiency
4) Expand tasting room

The project was broken into several phases spread over several months. Most of our expansion is complete, but there are still some upcoming changes.

Phase I
Secure a new unit close to the brewery for increased dry and cold storage.

After months of searching, and trying hard to get the unit directly across the alley, we found a new place about a block away from the brewery off Zachery Street. The building, roughly the same size and shape as our brewery & tasting room, is a perfect size and shape for our storage needs.

Our lease started December 2012, and we quickly moved to utilize our new-found space and implemented phase II of our expansion.

Phase II
Move Dry storage to new unit to free up space in brewery and tasting room

As soon as the new unit was ready (nicknamed The Grainery), we started moving over all of our dry storage. This included our grain and grain racks that were sitting in the tasting room. We also moved over our keg washer and all empty kegs – all of which are now cleaned over at the new unit. Lastly, we moved over our workbench and all of our brewery odds-and-ends (spare parts, extra tools, etc.).


The Grainery – Post Move In

Combined, this opened up a lot of space in our tasting room which allowed us to expand seating (see Phase IV).

Phase III
Buy and install a second kettle to decrease brewing time.

One of the big limiters in how much beer we are able to produce is time. The less time it takes us to brew a batch of beer, the more we can make.

Every batch we brew, we double brew (two mashes, two lauters, two boils). After we finished the first lauter, the wort would sit in a holding tank until our mash-kettle was clear. This holding tank was insulated, but did not heat our wort.

With the second kettle, we no longer have to go into a holding tank. Instead we lauter into the new kettle and it heats our wort as we fill it. Believe it or not, this extra heating cuts our brew day by 5-6 hours. This saved time enables us to brew two batches on weekends instead of just one without killing ourselves.

Like a new ship, all new tanks in the brewery must be properly christened. It would be bad luck to brew in an un-christened tank, so right before we pumped our first wort into our new kettle we did it proper:

Phase IV
Expand brewery tasting room with tables, chairs & fancy lighting

One of the main goals of this expansion was to expand the tasting room with more tables and seating. We wanted people to be able to come in, sit down and relax while they have a brew. The increased table space would also allow customers to easily bring in some outside food – whether a sandwich from Custom Melt, some chips and salsa from home, or some pastries from Carrara’s.


So we asked Fireman Dave, who you may remember from such construction projects as Bathroom Upgrade II, Build a Brewery Bar and Super Work Day to build us up some tables for the tasting room in a style similar to tables Chris and Matt saw on their trip to Germany in Dusseldorf, home of the altbier. Stop on by the brewery to check them out if you haven’t seen them yet. Also, keep an eye out for Dave’s hidden Easter Eggs in his construction.


If you’ve stopped by during the evening after sunset – you also might have noticed that we’ve moved away from standard warehouse florescent light. The primary reason for this change is because florescent lighting makes Captain Chris depressed and angry. Not wanting him moping around the brewery, and because we wanted to provide a more enjoyable experience to our customers, we replaced these lights with soft lighting on dimmer switches over the bar – and accent lighting over the brewery.

new brewery lights

New lights above the bar

Phase V
Operation Frosty Box III – Move and expand fridge, buy and install new fridge

More difficult than Operation Frosty Box I & II combined, this was the most daunting task for the EBC. In one weekend we had to disassemble the entire fridge in the brewery, move it and all of our kegs to our new unit, rebuild the fridge at twice the size, hook it up and load with all of our kegs. Simultaneously, we had to build up a new, smaller, fridge in the brewery while still being able to serve beer to customers.

It was a long weekend with little sleep, but thanks to the help of some friends, the Brew Chief’s brother Mike, and a few patient customers who didn’t mind waiting a few minutes for us to finish installing the taps Sunday morning, the plan went smoothly.

The new fridge we installed in the brewery is just big enough to hold kegs, gaining us a lot of extra space – extra space for things like more fermentors.


The new, smaller, fridge in the brewery

Stay tuned for part II of this exciting brewery expansion review!

Brewery Laboratory

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Sick of the drab gray speckled carpet office room – we decided to tear it up and turn our office into a lab where we can count yeast and create various scientific concoctions.

First Matt started by angrily ripping up the carpet – after spending countless hours in the office doing brewery accounting, he had developed a special hatred toward it.

matt angrily ripping lab carpet up

more angry matt

After the carpet was removed, we had the enjoyable experience of scraping up all the left over carpet glue. This was a fun task that involved some sort of solvent (we tried several, all with varying degrees of success), a scraper, shop vac and lots of elbow grease.

carpet glue

Next up was to use our good ol’ friend the degreaser from episodes “Sealing The Brewery Floor Part 1 & Part 2“. For kicks, we donned our safety equipment to bring back memories.

degreasing the floor

Then we really did have to use our safety equipment as we acid etched the floor. Having done this three times before (one was a mulligan) we were now basically pros.

acid etching lab

We then painted the floor, careful not to paint ourselves into a corner.
painting the lab floor

Once the paint dried we called upon the brewery magi who magically installed rubber coving, a lab table and caution tape (aka we forgot to take pictures), but we imagine it looked something like this:

completed brewery lab

We then thoroughly tested the brewery lab

lab testing the beer

Lab testing the beer - for ghosts

Brewery Lab Test

Testing the beer in the lab


Science For The Win & A Job Well Done

Grain Pulley

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Since we don’t have an auger, our mash-in procedure requires filling buckets with crushed grain and dumping them into the mash. These buckets can get heavy (50+ lbs), making dumping difficult.

The old way of adding grain into the mash involved lifting the buckets above our head and dumping the grain into the mash tun. This was bad on our backs as illustrated below:

old school grain dumping

Concerned with the overwhelming possibility of hurting our backs, we installed a pulley system to do all the lifting for us. This saves our backs as seen in the below diagram while testing our system.

new grain dumping

And so our backs were saved, thanks to the miracle of the pulley. Here’s the pulley in action on brew day:

Grain Pulley from Joe Nascenzi on Vimeo.