Lou's Brewery
Home Up

This page talks about my brewery, with a little information about the all grain process used to make beer.  For more information on how to make excellent beer, there are a lot of great sources on the internet, as well as many great books.

A good start would be at John Palmer's How to Brew web site.  This will give you a good idea of what is involved in home brewing.  An even simpler explanation of what happens when beer is brewed can be found in How Beer Works.

Of course it is a lot easier to work with a hard copy book.  Many people start with Charlie Papazian's The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing, or with Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide.  John Palmer also has a book called How to Brew, which I found to be pretty good, and more up to date than the Papazian or Miller books.  You can find any of these books in the Association of Brewers (Beertown) Catalog, John Palmer's web site, or Amazon.com.

Before you look at my brewery and think, "this will definitely cost too much money for me", please understand that I have gone way beyond what is necessary to have fun with brewing.  Most homebrewers take pride in brewing for very little money.  You can get started easily for under $100.  Some example starter kits can be found at Beer, Beer and More Beer's Beginner Equipment Kits.  As you can see, you can spend as little or as much as you want on this.  While I do like BB&MB as a vendor, please try to find a local homebrew store and buy this kind of equipment and ingredients from there.  Generally they will be happy to give you advice and help you get started.

Most of this equipment came from Beer, Beer and More Beer (not affiliated, yada yada yada).  Here you see a three tier gravity feed system, which has ten gallon Rubbermaid coolers for the hot liquor tank on top, and the mash/lauter tun in the middle.  The 14 gallon kettle is heated with natural gas, which was piped in to the basement when the house was built.  Luckily the basement has nine foot ceilings, as the brew stand barely fits.

On the left is a 12.2 gallon conical fermenter, similar to More Beer's current product, where all the good stuff happens.  Behind the step ladder is a laundry tub for cleaning.

This setup is used to make ten gallon batches.

There's a work table on which is kept the magnetic stir plate for yeast starters, refractometer, thermometers, drain, sanitizers, etc.

The computer is used to run ProMash, and for web browsing, reading email, etc., during brew sessions.

Brew day starts with sanitation of hoses, connecting pieces, ball valves, etc., and grinding of the malt.  The water is heated in the kettle while the grain is ground.  After hot water is mixed with the grain, the ensuing "mash" has to be stirred thoroughly to break up any dough balls.

While the mash sits, water is heated to about 190, and pumped up to the hot liquor tank.  The temperature drops quite a bit during the pumping process, down to about 170-180.

After the mash sits for 60 minutes or so, the sweet wort is drained to the kettle, while the hot sparge water settles on top.  Here is the sparge manifold which is used to settle the hot water gently on top, while the kettle fills.

The lab clamp which holds the manifold to the manifold stand came from Cynmar Corporation.  You can't find something like this at Lowes or Home Depot.

Hops are added to the sweet wort, and the mixture is boiled for 60-75 minutes.

A good hot break can be seen in the kettle, about 60 minutes or so into the 75 minute boil.  The immersion chiller can be seen at the bottom right.  The bags containing the hops are in the middle.

After the wort is cooled, it is pumped into the fermenter, leaving the proteins of the hot break behind.  It is aerated with an aquarium pump to ensure good yeast growth, and the yeast is pitched into the wort.

The beer is fermented for about two weeks, then put into cornelius kegs.

My wife said "yuck" when she saw this picture, but
all of the floaty stuff gets removed before you drink it.

 

Hit Counter hits since November 10, 2002

Last updated March 12, 2005
Send suggestions or comments to lou@lousbrews.info.