Welcome to How I Brew

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This is "How I Brew" with the MAD Mountain Brewery (MMB).
I have been brewing off and on for 10 years. Something I love as much as brewing is designing and building things. I decided after looking at many web pages to build a "Herms" brewery that would be on casters and not have to be broken down after each brewing season. I have the luck of having friends in the trades (welders, electricians and the such) my brewery is never done and is always growing, I already have Phase III on the drawing board.
After hooking up the water and gas lines to the back, I open the 'water in' valve and start a slow flow into the hot liquor (HLT) at the same time I turn on the gas (MMB is powered by two 170,000 BTU Metal Fusion burners).
I heat the strike water in the kettle, because the HLT needs to stay full to be an efficient heat exchanger, by opening valves 1 & 3 which fills the kettle at the same time.
Once strike temp is achieved I pump up to the mash tun (MT) to preheat and stabilize it at mash-in temps. I use a March MDX pump and I am very happy with it.
After mash-in and the grain bed is set. I start to recirculate the mash, by opening valve 2 (which can be seen in the previous picture). Valve 9 (which can't be seen but is above the MT) is used as flow control so I don't compact the bed by drawing off the bottom faster than the liquor can flow through the grain. The MT was insulated by wrapping it in sheet metal and injecting expanding foam. Valves 4 and 5 are used as temp control, I keep the HLT at 180F so step mashing can be achieved by closing Valve 5 and opening Valve 4.
After conversion I close Valve 2, and begin a slow sparge to the kettle. I can go straight to the kettle because of the recirculation of the mash. By opening Valve 1 the rinsing of the grains begins. I mark the level on the sight glass to assure even flow and prevent a stuck sparge.
When 12.5 gals is collected I begin the boil and add hops as needed. I use the choreboy trick to prevent clogging the pick-up in the kettle.
> When the boil is finished, I throw an immersion chiller in as a pre-cooler. It helps with the hot break and I use the hot exit water to refill my HLT for cleaning. I then run the clear wort through the Counter-flow chiller, I have a thermometer before an exit valve so I can control the temp of the wort into the fermenter. Then I pitch my yeast. I clean the MT in place (that is the piping you see bending around the middle of the MT). I installed a bottom drain to drain out the excess grain husks. Everything is put together with unions so they can be dismantled and super cleaned every few brews.

Well that is a brief overview of how I brew. Feel free to contact me for anything. edixon@resortnet.com

Matt Dixon AKA MAD

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