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I've always brewed with my brewster girlfriend around to help but even then I still find that I do the majority of the lifting. Moving into this time of year I know she's going to be less available to help, so I need some tips to save my back.

I brew full boils of wort, as much as 7 gallons, outside on a propane burner. My main problem areas are:

  • Transporting a full pot from my kitchen (mashing) area to the burner outside.
  • Moving from the burner into my cooling bath after the boil.
  • Dumping the finished and cooled wort into primary through my strainer.

How do you 'lighten the load' on brew days? Any suggestions as to how I might lighten those three tasks?

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3 Answers

Get a wort chiller, immersion are really easy to make and pretty cheap to buy. That way you don't have to move the pot in order to chill. Then get a pot with a spigot so that you can simply use gravity to move the chilled wort from the boiling pot into your fermenter.

Also you could mash on your propane burner. Just need to be a bit more attentive and stir a lot more. Which if you are BIAB is a good idea anyway as it increases efficiency.

That way your brew day becomes:

  1. Mash on propane burner
  2. Remove grains
  3. Boil
  4. Chill with immersion chiller
  5. Transfer using spigot on pot to fermenter
  6. Pitch yeast
  7. Aerate (Swirl fermenter)
  8. Place fermenter in stable location

The only heavy lifting you would have to do is moving the fermenter. I do this for my brew day and it is well worth it. If you want a suggestion for a pot check out: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/brewing-equipment/brew-kettles/megapot-with-ball-valve-brewmometer.html It will be the last brewpot you will ever buy. And for an immersion wort chiller: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/standard-chiller-3-8-x25-with-vinyl-tubing.html

A little bit of money will streamline your process and save you in the long run.

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I love the idea of all of this, but have a couple roadblocks. –  Michael Mus Apr 26 '13 at 18:39
    
(timed out editing my comment) Thanks! I would go the immersion chiller route, but there is no outside water at my apartment (the spigot is locked by mgmt). Also, I've got a nice HLT, Mash Tun, Kettle setup going - So while switching to BIAB is an option, I'm finally feeling dialed in with my gear and I really like the efficiency I'm getting. All good advice though, certainly gets me thinking. –  Michael Mus Apr 26 '13 at 18:47
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@MichaelMus Get a long hose and you are good to go with the immersion chiller! Also, you can mash on the burner without having to switch to BIAB. –  Cleber Goncalves Apr 26 '13 at 20:24
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Yeah don't have to switch to BIAB in order to use this setup. Just what I have experience with. The key for you would be getting as much setup in one location. –  Chris Plaisier Apr 26 '13 at 21:19
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The benefit of the internet is you can get find just about anything. If the faucet is really 13/16 this adapter from Lowes should do the trick: lowes.com/pd_144148-72906-SF0036_0__?productId=3147017 –  Chris Plaisier Apr 27 '13 at 15:42
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I use a two vessel system with pumps, like the brutus system, this makes it a lot easier for mashing and boiling

I would recommend not straining, using a siphon would be a lot easier, also, get a chiller (immersion or plate) to prevent yourself from moving to the cooling bath.

You'll still need to move the bucket/fermenter with the beer in it, but that's probably easier.

PS: Make sure you lift with your knees ;)

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Hey Thanks. Never thought of using a syphon to transfer my wort. Can I really use a standard syphon to do that? And what about the trub / hops? –  Michael Mus Apr 26 '13 at 18:30
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I used it fine for a while, if you follow the wort down the kettle with the siphon (I use an autosiphon), i.e. start from the top of the kettle and follow it down, most of the trub should be easily avoidable. Using hop bags helps to reduce the trub, but I like having some of the cold break for proteins for the yeast. Not sure if there's any science behind it, but I have found it produces nice vigorous fermentations :) –  DougEdey Apr 27 '13 at 14:18
    
Cheers. I will try it next brew day. –  Michael Mus Apr 29 '13 at 16:56
    
Find a Chore Boy scrubbing pad (no soap) and tie it to the end of your racking cane. It won't clog up like a hop bag. –  jalynn2 May 1 '13 at 15:08
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Why do you mash inside and boil outside? I brew in keggles - 13-15 gallon boils, 10-12 gallon fermentations. Fermentation is in two 6.5 gallon buckets which aren't too difficult to move (6.5 gallons weigh 52 pounds). I brew in the garage and ferment in the house, about 100' away and up 8 steps. I would like to switch to one 15 gallon fermentor, but I don't know how I would move it up the stairs. I'll probably build a temp-controlled fermentation chamber in the garage which will kill two birds.

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I mash inside to save costs on propane mainly, in my city it's ~20 a fill and I have a nice gas stove inside that heats less than 5 gallons pretty quickly. That and it's just easier and more comfortable for me. My cooler mash tun fits in a perfect spot on the kitchen counter. As far as build goes I'm more of a runner than a weight lifter - So that ~55 lbs of water or wort is awkward to move around. I use a little caster dolly to push things around in my hardwood floored apartment, but like I said moving onto and off from the burner and cooling is tough. Thanks for the advice nonetheless! –  Michael Mus Apr 26 '13 at 18:37
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