Monday, September 17, 2012

R2-DBREW Update

R2-DBREW is coming along well.

Phase 1 - Frame - is obviously complete. It's been done a while now, and is still holding strong and looking great. We're getting close to the point where it's time for a sweet (black) paint job.

Phase 2 - Gas Train - is complete sans troubleshooting. Also been done for a while, and aside from some errant flame geysers, we're all good.

Phase 3 - Plumbing - has just been completed! Copper now runs to everywhere it needs to. All the solenoid valves have been installed, teflon'd, and are ready to be hooked up to my soon to be controller. I have a spot for future expansion to a wort chiller. Sweating the copper was as easy as I remembered it, but this was a much larger scale. Getting it to line up with the frame was a pain as well. But getting the pump to line up with the system was the biggest pain. It did not want to fit together. Things are all clamped down now, and the water side has been tested. I can't really test the keg side of things until the kegs are all ready to go and the control box is done. Again, complete sans troubleshooting.

Phase 4 - Kegs - will be next. The kegs need to be outfitted with all their fancy new equipment. I have some compression fittings ordered from Brewer's Hardware for my thermocouples. I also have some weld-less sight glasses from Brew Hardware (note the difference). But before all that goes in I have to strip the kegs as they are and get them polished.

Phase 5 - Control Box - should (again, sans troubleshooting) be the last phase of this project. I've gone and purchased a new box and a few components. I'm still laying out the wiring diagram to make sure I have everything accounted for. There's going to be a lot of wires running in this box, but I'm going to do things a little neater this time and have dedicated hot and neutral bars to make everything a little neater. I'm also planning on using the appropriate wire connectors so everything is really neat, and not covered with solder, electrical tape, and wire nuts.

There's still a lot of work to be done! Now I have a deadline as well. The next work competition is December 7th, which means I have to brew by the beginning of November (mid November I'm on vacation!). Which really means I have to be done, up, and operational by the end of October. I plan to be wiring the control box after next weekend, so I should have plenty of time for troubleshooting. I'm tired just thinking about it. 

Finally I will leave you with a picture of where I'm at today! No close ups yet, I plan to do a full write up after I'm done with the project.


  1. Thanks for sharing all of your work, I enjoy seeing what can be done at home. I'm in Oregon, beer and breweries are everywhere here in Eugene. I want to take a shot at brewing, so I will be visiting often for information. Thanks again!

  2. Jim, thanks for commenting! We love to hear responses from our readers. I wouldn't have ever imagined how deep I was going to get into brewing when I started. Feel free to shoot us an email or comment if you have any questions getting into brewing!