Brewery Ops Room

Finally finished the destroyer of a married man’s free time: home renovation.

Actually this project might have been my idea. When we bought our house a couple years ago, the laundry room was completely unfinished, save for the studs that were painted fire engine red. Yeah, no idea what would compel a person to do that. Anyways, between having to chill wort in my basement bathroom in the winter and not having a dedicated area to wash carboys, buckets, and kettles and leave them to drain, I figured we could turn our dungeon-esque laundry room into a really functional space, and I think we accomplished just that.

Laundry Room Renovation

The plubing was roughed-in the week I got back from Railsconf in Austin, TX, and we bought two 30″ wall cabinets, a 36″ sink base, and an 18″ floor-to-ceilingish cabinet, all unfinished. In between coats of poly, I added and moved several outlets and wired in a new phone jack so I could relocate my DSL modem. In the middle of this project, I also pulled CAT6 to every room in the house, and multiple runs to several rooms. If you’ve ever pulled cable in existing construction, you know how much of a pain in the ass that can be. I spent 3 hours one saturday literally crawling around in the floor joist space to make this possible.

In addition to the added storage space, I also gained an 8′ countertop and a huge drop-in laundry tub, which isn’t quite large enough to let my Bayou Classic pot sit in the bottom, but it’s much more suited to washing out large vessels, and it dwarfs 7.9 gallon plastic fermenter.

Drop-in Laundry Tub

I’m beyond happy with how this turned out, even if did take almost 3 months start to finish. I still need to figure out what would work best for closing up the ceiling, but that can wait until this winter when I have less going on.

SP-10 Keggle Supports

When I started putting gear together to make the leap to all-grain brewing back in early Spring 2010, I was able to snag a Bayou Classic SP-10 on sale for a cool $35 (free shipping) from Amazon. There are countless threads on debating the SP-10 vs SQ-14. The usual tradeoff is that the SP-10 offers a higher BTU rating (185K vs 55K), but the SQ-14 has a square stand, so you could use it to direct-fire a keggle.

Since my acquiring a keg shell seemed like an impossibility, the round stand on the SP-10 didn’t seem like an issue, and I knew it was large enough to boil a 10-gallon batch. However, when I found a keg shell destined for a scrap heap for only $30, I couldn’t pass that up, and so I needed to find a solution to the round stand without buying a second burner. There are a few variations of this, but I thought it worthwhile to offer up my $15 solution.

SP-10 Keggle Supports

For $12 worth of 1.5″ angle iron, some time with a hacksaw and a drill, and a few dollars worth of bolts, I ended up with a damn sturdy base. While it’s not the most well-crafted metalwork I’ve ever done, the angle iron transfers all of the weight to the load-bearing parts of the existing stand, rather than putting torque on the circular steel that forms the outer ring, as I’ve seen on some other mods. The whole setup might put this toward the overkill end of the spectrum, but when there’s 12 gallons of boiling wort perched on top of an 8″ flame, I’m inclined to eliminate as many instabilities as possible.

Bayou Classic SP-10 mod

By far, the worst part of this project was the fact that the stand isn’t perfectly round. I ended up tracing the top on a piece of cardboard, and using that to measure and lay out my cuts, but as you can see, it wasn’t perfect. It took a lot of cursing and fighting with c-clamps to keep the 4 pieces together enough to get holes drilled in the corners for the bolts. It fit almost snug enough to hold itself to the stock stand, I decided to put bolts thru 2 of the sides to lock it together as one solid piece for a little extra piece of mind.


Chalkboard Paint Kegerator

FrigidaireEarly last winter, I had a friend whose parents were dismantling a 1960s era trailer home, and he was kind enough to offer me the fridge for free sans a  half tank of gas to go pick it up. As thrilled as I was, the wife was quick to point out that the 60’s era mud brown did not match the decor in our basement, so before moving the fridge to its’ home behind my bar, I went after the outside with some 60 grit sandpaper to prep the outside for painting, which I’m promptly getting to one year later.

Since I’m completely out of homebrew at the moment (I had a busy fall), it seems like a great time to unplug the ancient Frigidaire, let it have a much-needed defrosting, and class this thing up. Here’s a before shot of the outside:

Kegerator Door Before

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