Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

More efficient process, less lifting

So trying to think of a more efficient way of doing things. This is my current m.o. and was hoping I can get some advice on to handle this better. I find myself lifting my 10 gal boilermaker, with 7 gallons of liquid onto my blichman burner (with leg extensions) which is not good for my crappy back.

strike and sparge water is heated in an 8 gallon aluminum pot so my burner has this pot on it the entire time before the boil. I drain the first runnings directly into the boilermaker and use the sightglass to check the volume. I then put the correct amount of sparge water from the pot on the burner into the mashtun and drain that into the boilermaker. I then lift some 90+ lbs up onto the burner.

I considered draining the sparge into a separate bucket and then pouring that into the boilermaker once I’ve lifted it (with just the first runnings) onto the burner but then I worried about hot side aeration (which I know some say is a myth but id rather not temp fate).

Outside of getting a second burner, or a pump, is there a way to make this easier on my back?

I drain the first runnings into bucket, dump into boil kettle, then repeat for second runnings. I have not noticed any oxidation issues or anything I would attribute to hot side aeration, but I’ve only done 4 all grain batches, so I’m no expert.

Heat the strike water in the Blichmann with your salt additions. While it is heating fill your aluminum pot with sparge water and add in your salts and acid. Transfer strike water to mash tun with a pitcher or set the tun beneath the burner and drain. Place tun on a stand above the burner and mash for allocated time.
Heat sparge water during the mash. Set aluminum pot aside at end of mash and drain first runnings from your mash tun into your Blichmann, which is now on your burner. Use a pitcher to transfer sparge water to your mash tun, stir then drain into the Blichmann.

HSA is something you worry about post boil not pre-boil. During the boil you will be driving off oxygen. Then when you cool your wort/wert you are allowed to add oxygen again.

So collect your separate sparge runnings in a bucket and dump into your kettle.

If you still are uncomfortable then invest the $160 in a pump.

I’ll just add that adding a pump to my system was the single most transformative brew-day equipment purchase I’ve made. I put it off for a while because of the cost. After getting one, I regretted not getting it sooner.

By the way, I still use a single burner.

I think a pump is the only real way around lifting and if you are having issues with your back, $200 for the pumps is well worth it and way less than doc and med copays in the long run.

On the other had, if your are just out of shape and don’t have medical problems with your back, consider working out. I find dead lifts a great exercise for brewing lift chores with fringe benefits of losing fat and feeling better. :lol:

Before I went nuts and had a single tier pump driven system built, this was as well as I could do to limit my lifting. Note the chair with the BK in it. I would move the burner down and lower the BK onto it after I drained the sparge water. Smaller amount of runnings in the BK at that point.

The tiered deck probably helped I suppose.

I have a bad back too so I’m limited in lifting. What I did was I built a three tier system where the hlt gravity drains to the mash tun and it drains to my bk. My bk is electric and sits on a lift table (lift table bought at harbor freight). After I chill the wort I raise the bk with a few foot pumps and drain into my fermenters. I then put the fermenters on the lift table and roll it over to my ferm chamber (chest freezer) raise the table to chest freezer height and hand lower the fermenters into the ferm chamber.

I really like this system without the lift table I’m not sure I could continue to brew. Those of us with bad backs got to come up with ways to cope. This is my system hope you find one that works for you.

edit: the advantage using a lift table is a pump is not needed. Pumps can fail, sometimes a pain to get primed, and needs to be cleaned, all things not necessary with the lift table. Plus I use the table to lift heavy objects up to tail gate height to load my truck so I get many uses from it.

There is no reason to keep the HLT on the burner the whole time. You can take it off just before you start collecting runnings and it will stay hot enough for long enough to run your sparge. If your sparge water is within 10 degrees of your target, that is plenty close enough for batch sparging.

So place your mash tun on a table or someplace high enough that you can drain it directly into your kettle while the kettle is on the burner (you might want to get rid of the leg extensions). You can use your glass measuring cup or whatever to put strike water or sparge water into it when you need. No back strains that way. Just before draining, remove the HLT from the burner and place the kettle on the burner, then start draining directly into the kettle.

As a bonus, you can start the burner as soon as wort covers the bottom of the brew kettle, which will allow you to start the boil sooner.

If I did this, then I would have to lift the kettle to drain it after the boil. I think I’m just gonna drain into a bucket and pour that into the kettle once its on the burner until I find a way to raise my mashtun high enough to drain into the kettle on the leg extensions…or get a tiered deck like DCBD :slight_smile:

I was thinking of getting one of those pumps that you put on your drill they are about $10. Anyone try this?

Smaller batches?

[quote=“Brew Cat”]I was thinking of getting one of those pumps that you put on your drill they are about $10. Anyone try this?[/quote]My guess is that they’re not made out of plastic that can tolorate the temperatures of the liquids we’re pumping.

I think spending the 100 bucks on a Chugger pump would be a better investment. You could look into these little dc pumps on Ebay

, You’d have to run it off of a battery charger or build a converter.

Also what I was thinking. Maybe cut your batch size down to 2.5 gallon batches? That or getting a pump seems to be the only way around it.

I saw someone had a block and tackle setup once. It looked cool but probably a pump would be easier.

What you propose above shouldn’t cause you any issues with HSA, just pour gently.

HSA can actually be a concern both pre-boil and post-boil, though it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue in homebrewing.

I worked backwards and placed my fermenter(s) on the ground and built a short stand to hold my boil burner and pot so the ball valve was just above it.

Then I made a stand to hold my mashtun cooler so the drain was just above my tallest pot on the boil burner stand.

Then I switched to batch sparging so I could lift/add water in increments of my choosing from my HLT. When I fly sparged (no pump) it had to be above my MT.
Now I just set my HLT on a burner, draw 2.5-3 gallons, dump into my MT and repeat as needed till I hit my mark. The heaviest thing I lift are end of brewday, the fermenters.

As it is, the water I add to my biggest cooler/MT is right about neck level on me, so I’m not lifting above my head either.

Ditto, for me the fermenter is the one that gets me. Moving it down the steps into the cool, dark basement is tough. Getting it back topside while trying not to slosh it around is even tougher. No utility sink so I have to bottle in the kitchen.

This is so simple… just don’t worry about getting all your wort into the pot BEFORE you get it back on the burner. You’re worrying about HSA when you have never actually had the problem, no? Get your first runnings collected and put the pot on the burner. Then add your second runnings. I do this with every batch. I BIAB, so it’s a little different, but still the same idea. Once I pull the grain sack from the main mash, I lift the pot onto the burner and get the heat going. Meanwhile, the grain sack is sitting in a second pot for a batch sparge. After 5-10 min I pull the grain from the sparge pot then add that wort to my main pot, which is on the burner and already coming up to temp.

You’re making it harder on yourself due to worrying about a problem that isn’t a problem. Pouring your sparge wort into your mash wort isn’t going to cause problems.

RDWHAHB :cheers:

[quote=“dobe12”]You’re making it harder on yourself due to worrying about a problem that isn’t a problem. Pouring your sparge wort into your mash wort isn’t going to cause problems.

RDWHAHB :cheers: [/quote]

Did this on my last batch and didn’t look back. Second runnings went into a bucket and I poured it into the kettle that was already on the burner. My back thanked me :cheers:

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com