- Absolutely Everything! for making your own beer at home.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Waiting for one more part...

Well, I had a couple of issues with the gas valves. I had purchased a couple of ASCO valves a long time ago, and it turns out they weren't sufficient. They had a minimum pressure of 5 PSI, so they work fine with propane, but not natural gas. I should have realized that when I installed them. When I first bought them, I was brewing with propane, so I didn't think anything of it. So, I picked up two more of the valves that I had already installed under the boil kettle (from and as of tonight I'm back in business. Just waiting for a replacement burner to install underneath the mash tun as a section of burner tips broke off as I was trying to remove a busted tip with a screw extractor (that's what I get for not dealing with it when I originally received the burner, long, long ago).

It's getting closer. I'll post pics when everything has been wrapped up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1.5 BBL Brewery Details

I'll try to detail the specifics of the brewery here. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

The brewery consists of:
  • approximately 62 gallon boil kettle
  • 55 gallon Blichmann BoilerMaker kettle with false bottom Mash Tun
  • approximately 55 gallon Hot Liquor Tank
all on a single level frame that measures 7' w x 20" d x 16" h. This puts the kettles at a perfect standing height. The only time a step stool is needed is when you are cleaning out the kettle.

Underneath the boil kettle and mash tun is a 100K natural gas burner. Underneath the hot liquor tank is a 160K natural gas burner. Each burner has its own solenoid valve and gas ball valve for controlling the gas feed.

The brewing process is managed by a BCS-460.

The fermenters are 60 gallon cone bottom poly tanks that are temperature controlled via a glycol bath stored in a chest freezer and pumped through a stainless steel coil inside the fermenter. Temps are controlled by an external Johnson A419 thermostat (though that may be moved to the BCS-460)

More pictures will be posted one of these days.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost Ready

Need just a couple more pieces in order to hook the last burner back up and install the pilot light system. Looks like I'll be brewing again relatively soon!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's Alive (and so am I)!

The BCS-460 control panel is all wired up and working as planned! Now I just need to finish up the changes I am making to the gas lines.

Here is a list of part #'s for the components I have acquired so far:

1 x BCS-460
6 x Crydom D2425 SSR's from Brinker Controls
3 x 8-position Barrier Strip + jumper bar for the hot, neutral, and ground
1 x Rocker Switch (main power switch for panel)

For a basic description:

The BCS-460 is attached to constant power. For the panel, I wired the hot (black) from the main power line to the rocker switch. This gives me complete power over the panel (i.e., ensuring it is off). From the rocker switch, the hot runs to the hot barrier strip. This in turn feeds terminal one on each Crydom D2425 SSR. Terminal two on each SSR feeds the black (brass screw terminal) on a standard 110V receptacle with the middle tab removed to isolate each outlet. I chose a receptacle for a couple of reasons: 1) nothing is hard wired to the panel, and 2) most of the equipment I am controlling had a standard male power connector on it. The neutral (white) of each receptacle (silver screw terminal) feeds back up to a barrier strip which in turn is connected to the neutral of the main power line. All lines are connected to a barrier strip connected to the ground (green).

Port 3 (red wire) of the SSR is connected to the output (control port) on the BCS-460, and port 4 (green wire) are all wired together (the blue wire caps in the picture) and then connected to the ground on the BCS-460. In hindsight I would have added one more barrier strip and setup a BCS-460 ground bar.

I used salvaged PC power cords for wiring up the receptacles. The control wires (red and green) for the SSR's are a 20 AWG hookup wire I had laying around. Everything is mounted in a salvaged alarm panel box painted black with a $.99 can of spray paint. Not trying to be a complete tightwad, but it's just the way it turned out.

I am not an electrician, so please do your homework if you follow the steps I've written. If you are more experienced than I and I have missed something, please let me know! I did quite a bit of trial and error figuring it out before hooking it all up, so maybe it will help someone else out.

Edit: at the advice of a friend, I relocated the incoming power line to come in on the left side of the box to avoid any possible electrical interference with the temperature probes. Also missing from the picture is the hookup of two additional temperature probes and a couple of float switches that will be installed at a later date.