Posts Tagged ‘Brewery Construction’

Previous Brewery Construction Posts

Evolution of an EBC Kegwasher

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Keg Washer #1: Commander Matt

matt keg washer
This model required someone (Matt) to hold a keg upside down on their lap while someone else worked the valves. This keg washer leaked, required two brewers, involved a chair, and took forever. We only used this to rinse our new kegs before filling them with our first batch – which is a good thing because we didn’t have to use any caustic chemicals to clean. Trust us, 185 degree water leaking on you is better than 120 degree caustic solution.

Keg Washer #2: NSF Approved Rack

ghetto v2 washer
Our second keg washer model (designed only a week after our first keg washer) was a HUGE improvement. This keg washer was rigged together with a spare NSF approved rack, scrap grain shelving pieces, nuts, bolts and a few prayers. It didn’t leak. It didn’t require two brewers. It required hook up to the brewery mash-kettle. It fell over and nearly crushed people. But it cleaned kegs!

Keg Washer #3: Manual Keg Washer

premier washer manual
After 5 months using the NSF Approved Rack – for the first time, our keg washer was actually a keg washer. Something actually designed, built and tested for keg washing. It washes two kegs at a time (halving our cleaning time), doesn’t tip over, doesn’t have to hook up to the brewery, and all around just looks awesome.

Keg Washer #4: ???

No one knows what the next keg washer will be – but here’s an artist’s rendering.
keg washer of the future

Float Sensors

Monday, December 19th, 2011

With the brewery up and running all ahead full, we’re continually working to improve efficiency before expanding capacity.

One of the biggest time vampires (process that takes a lot of time) in the brewery was the sparging process. We had to monitor water level in the lauter tun, flow rate and water level in the lauter grant, and flow rate out of the lautering grant. We also to monitor fill volumes on the HLT and holding tank. This prevented us from focusing on more important brewing operations.

To fix this problem, we installed float sensors on four tanks – lauter tun, lauter grant, HLT and our holding tank.

Lauter Tun

lauter tun float sensor top

view from the top of the lauter tun

lauter tun float sensor

Float sensors in the lauter tun

There are two float sensors in the lauter tun – a high level and a low level. At the start of the sparging process, we set both to the desired height. When the sparge level in the lauter tun goes below the low point float sensor, the HLT pump is automatically activated to start filling the lauter tun. When the high point flow sensor is triggered, the pump is shut off. This ensures a consistent and accurate level in the tank.

Lauter Grant

lauter grant float sensor

High and low point sensors in the lauter grant

The lauter grant float sensors work the same way as the lauter tun, except they aren’t adjustable. When the lauter grant fills up to the top sensor, the wort pump is activated, pumping the wort to the collection tank. The pump automatically shuts off when the low sensor is triggered.

HLT & Holding Tank

hlt float sensor

Top of HLT float sensor

holding tank float sensor

Float sensor on top of holding tank

Both of these tanks have one float sensor. We set it to the desired fill volume and then start filling the tank. When the float sensor is triggered – the tanks stop filling. On the HLT this is important because we have to make sparge water adjustments based on water volume. On the holding tank, this is important because we don’t want to lauter off too much wort.

Floats in Action

float sensor in action

Lauter tun float sensor during sparge

While we still have to monitor the tank levels to double check the sensors, they have greatly freed up time during the brew day for us to focus on other brewing operations – and even allows us to take some short breaks.

Operation Purse Hooks

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

There have been demands requests for purse hooks under our bar. Little did we know, purses can get heavy for women.

Installing them is no simple task. Purse hooks must be hung with precision and durability. A hook must not drop a purse. A hook must not fail.

And so we began, the great install of the purse hooks.

Installing purse hooks on bar

Installing the first purse hook on the bar

Installed Purse Hook

First purse hook installed

testing hooks for durability

Next the hooks went through rigorous testing to ensure durability

hook testing pass

Test passed! These hooks are rated to 10,000 purse hangs before replacement

girl walks into bar

The final test - girl walks into bar with a purse. A purse that looks heavy.

girl has beer at bar

Said girl at bar with purse has a beer

purse starts to get heavy

As expected, while enjoying a beer, the purse starts to get heavy

purse is carefully hooked under bar

Girl looks for and finds a hook under bar for heavy purse

purse is now hands free

Purse is now hands free. The hook worked!

cheers to a hands free purse

And cheers to a hands free purse!


Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Last week the last two smokestacks were installed in the brewery. There is one attached to the burner to remove all carbon monoxide (very important), and one attached to the top of the mash-kettle to remove all steam from the boil.


One day we hope to have big brick ones, but for now these do just nicely.

Tank Mounting and Welding

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

In case of earthquake, and to prevent general tank falling and moving, we had to bolt our tanks to the ground.

After we made triple sure our tanks were in the right locations, we marked each mounting pad and removed the tanks.

forklift brewing tanks for mounting

The first tanks we mounted were the fermentors. We had Patrick, a friend of a friend, come in and drill the holes for the two tanks using a roto hammer. Never had we seen concrete drilled with such ease.

patrick using roto hammer

We then anchored the mounting plates to the ground and lowered the fermentors back onto the plates.

brewery mounting plate with anchor

That night Captain Chris had sweet dreams about the awesomeness of the roto hammer. He bought one the next day and went to work mounting the rest of the brewery.

chris using roto hammer

Turns out it wasn’t as easy as Patrick made it look. We managed to smoke two drill bits and drive to the hardware store 3 or 4 times while mounting the tanks, but in the end we were successful.

Next up was to weld the tanks to the now secured mounting plates. Local homebrewer and craft beer fan Brian Oliver, is an underwater welder for the Navy. We were going to flood the brewery so he could weld the tanks for us, but we were unable to do so thanks to a well placed floor drain.

Instead, he asked around the Point Mugu Naval Base, the task was passed through command, and Tait Sorlie Sw1 volunteered to help – he’s a Navy welding instructor and inspector for the Seabees, they’re trained to fight and build. They also have an awesome logo:

seabees insignia

He was able to easily weld all of our tanks securely to the mounting pads.

tait welding

SeaBees Sorlie beer growler

And now our brewery won’t fall over during earthquakes.

The Great Wall of the TTB

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Back on March 10th, we posted about our TTB wall plans. The goal was to separate our tasting area from our brewing area.

Needless to say, we were a little disappointed we had to separate the two. We had envisioned a more open brewery. However, we soon came to realize the added benefits of the TTB wall. We had counter space where people can rest their tasting glass, the brewery would be separated so we could work in peace and, most importantly, it would keep the brewery and beer safe during the Zombie Apocalypse.

Yep, scientists confirmed earlier this year that zombies are indeed attracted to beer. And the building of this wall greatly increased our brewery zombie defense capability.

So to begin, we went to Home Depot and bought their zombie treated wood. Similar to pressure treated wood, it repels zombies instead of water. We built the frame with this.

building ttb wall frame

Next up we secured the frame to the cement floor with zombie proof bolts. These are rated up to 10 wall pushing zombies each.

securing wall frame with zombie proof bolts

Then we used some zombie proof drywall to cover the frame. We’re not yet sure what makes the drywall zombie proof – we figure it’s one of those things we’ll know when it happens.

zombie resistant drywall

Lastly, we spackled up the wall to make it smooth. It wasn’t zombie rated spackle, but it worked.

spackling the wall

And with that, it was ready for a test zombie.

zombie tested brewer approved


It worked. The main part of the TTB wall was zombie tested, brewer approved.

first part ttb wall complete

Next up we had to create the sliding wall portion of the zombie defense system. The primary function of this door is to prevent zombies from entering the brew deck. Secondarily, it needed to look awesome.

To do this we had to secure wooden rails to the side of the walk in cooler that could withstand the shear force of a zombie attack, and hold the sliding wood door.

sliding ttb wall

After the rails were installed, all that was left was to paint the zombie door and add a locking mechanism. We originally were going to spring for a biometric combination lock for added protection. However, after watching a few zombie movies to study their tactics, we realized that zombies have issues opening unlocked doors. So we opted for a simple locking mechanism instead.

Oh, and we also added caution tape and a “Restricted Area” sign just in case zombies learned basic cautionary patterns and how to read.

restricted area ttb wall

And now the brewery is zombie proof. Oh, and I suppose, we’re also TTB compliant.

Memorial Day Work Weekend

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

The Memorial day work weekend was a productive one for the brewery. Three day weekend = one extra day of work.

Early in the morning Chris and Matt drove down to San Diego while Joe tended his hop plants. Chris and Matt buffed out the last of the brewery piping welds and drove them back up to the brewery. Then, with the last of the brewery pipes at the brewhouse, we assembled the brewery. It was an awesome sight to behold.

We also sold our first growler to one Mark Sternberg. Sadly, we have no beer yet to fill it with. So we’re holding onto it at the brewery until beer flows freely.

first growler sale

Awake at 8am sharp, the brewery crew headed to Lowe’s for some supplies and a new charcoal BBQ and then the local coffee shop/bakery, Kate’s. Then it was off to the brewery for work. We quickly realized we didn’t have all the right supplies and headed back to the hardware store.

Throughout the day we finished painting and tiling the TTB wall, began piping the water filter to the brewery, went to the hardware store 3 more times, built a small shelf above the bar, sanded a table for our grain mill mount and grilled up some burgers and sausages.

Happy Memorial Day! First thing in the morning we hoisted the flag on a makeshift pole in front of the brewery.

ebc brewery american flag

The rest of the day was spent hooking the water up to the brewery, going to the hardware store 5 times, securing our brewery to the floor (going through 5 cement drill bits in the process) and puttying the table for our mash mill. We did however manage to take a lunch break that involved grilling up some carne asada and playing a quick game of wiffle ball.

enegren brewing company wiffle ball

All in all it was a very productive weekend. IF all goes according to plan, we’ll be brewing our first batch in 2-4 weeks.


Operation U-Haul

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

The objective of Operation U-Haul was to bring the completed brewery tanks in San Diego up to the brewhouse in Moorpark. This involved strategic planning and a few complex maneuvers.

First, the brewery had to be safely loaded into the U-Haul truck for delivery. This required forklift skill and ability that none of the brewery personnel possess. Luckily, Dale had such skill. In fact, we’re pretty sure forklift operation ability is genetic, because Dale’s daughter was a way better forklift operator than any of us.

lauter tun on fork lift

hlt into uhall

dale and daughter operating fork lift

The next incredibly complex maneuver involved driving the U-Haul up to Moorpark. Kathy Enegren took point in her Buick while Chris ran blocker in the Ford Ranger. This was to make sure no pirates tried to steal the brewery en route. Matt (pilot) and Brad (copilot) took up the rear in the U-Haul. The three vehicles apparently were too much for the pirates and the brewery arrived safely.

The last step was to unload the brewery and put it in the brewhouse. Without the help of Dale and his daughter, this was the most challenging step. But Captain Chris channeled his inner forklift driver and deftly unloaded the tanks into position. It might not have been pretty, and it might have taken 8 times longer than it should have, but the brewery was safely unloaded.

chris unloading brewery

moving mash kettle

forklift in action

And with that, the brewery was in the brewhouse. There was much rejoicing.

brewery hug

Build-A-Brewery Day

Friday, May 27th, 2011

No brewery personnel has ever been to a Build-A-Bear workshop. However, we imagine it would be very similar to our build a brewery day, except the Build-A-Bear workshop has stuffing and sewing instead of 2.5 inch stainless steel pipes, welding and buffing.

The brewery crew, minus Chief Joe Nascenzi who was back East attending his brother’s graduation from Boston College, finished building the brewery over this past weekend (minus a few last piping welds).

We arrived at Premier Stainless in the morning where we met with Rob, President of Premier Stainless. He gave us the keys to the shop, showed us the welder and said something along the lines of “Well, I’m outta here. You know what to do.”

And so we got to work, only somewhat knowing what to do. The main goal of the day was to connect our 2.5 inch mash pipe from the mash/kettle to the lauter tun. Chris got to work setting this up and tack welding the pipe together.

Meanwhile, Matthew worked on buffing out the pipe welds completed during the week. These were mostly the ones Chris tack welded together back on Brewery Welding Day.

Together they assembled the brewery.

Rob checked in periodically to make sure everything was going smoothly and that no one had burned down the warehouse. Eventually he took off for the day. Luckily Dale, the brewery welder, came in the late afternoon to help finish things off. He then helped load the finished brewery parts onto the U-Haul for transport to Moorpark.

Stay tuned for Operation U-Haul, coming to a brewery blog near you.

Installing the Glycol System

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

With the fermenters and the glycol chiller in place and our glycol system design approved, we went to work installing the glycol pipes. You may remember, back when we designed the glycol system there was some discussion on what pipe to use. We decided Schedule 80 PVC.

First up was installing the unistrut wall mounts. Joined by the Chief’s brother, Peter Nascenzi, we got to work cutting them to the right size to mount on the wall.

cutting the wall struts

Next up, after laying all the pipe out, we began mounting it on the wall. This would have been seamless except we mounted one of the struts too close to a pipe already on the wall. So we had to remove it, remount it and try again. There may or may not be three extra holes in our wall that we need to fill.

mounting the glycol pipe

With all the piping installed, we decided to go ahead and hook it up to the chiller.

At this point, let’s take a break from this install story. We hadn’t made a large mistake in along time. In fact not since we accidentally turned the water on while installing the bathroom sink and water sprayed everywhere. We were due.

Though not a water pipe caliber mistake, it was a good one. We glued all the PVC pipes into the glycol system, and just when we thought we were ready to go to bed, we realized we connected the chiller supply line to the return line port. We could have gone to bed and fixed in the morning, but we were afraid of piping nightmares. So we sawed off the offending pipes and re-glued everything together then and there.

sawing pipe

With the pipe correctly installed, we pressure tested the system by hooking up our CO2 tank and pressurizing the line. No leaks and we were good to put on the insulation.

brewery glycol piping insulation

And so completed the glycol system installation.