The light at the end of the tunnel…
Posted by Four Quarters Brewing on Friday, January 17, 2014
In lue of a lengthy absence of updates, take a quick video tour of the Four Quarters Brewery. We’re still under construction a bit, so pardon the dust, messiness, and spontaneous nature of the video. If you’d rather read about the nitty gritty… read on.
Between working, having two young ones at home, and getting the brewery off the ground, it’s been hard to keep up with everything. Here’s some of the stuff that’s been happening…
October and November were spent in heavy construction phases, followed by a month of construction finishes and process troubleshooting. Floors were cut, drain placed, a hefty amount of plumbing that needed to happen happened… and after a long wait for a state inspection, we got the green light and filled the floors late that night (October 30th!) with the help of a handful of friends. After a week of curing, we fit the grates in, and only need to epoxy the fresh concrete sometime in order to finish it up.
We’ve had significant updates to the brewhouse and fermenters – mash tun had manway installed, a false bottom fabricated, a grist hydrator put together, and we some fancy spray foam insulation plus hot water heater wrap. Hey, it holds temp like you wouldn’t belive, so what it its a little homey? The boil kettle had an extension added that will now make it a big 7bbl boil kettle, capable of handling 340 gallons, or maybe a big old imperial stout or barleywine. Whirlpool port and CIP was added to the boil kettle as well, and we put together a nice little firebox for the ring burner. I did some serious consideration of making the boil kettle electric… but had to pull the plug on that (did you see what I did there?) when considering everything that had to happen to make it work: 200 amp circuit into the space, run a 150A wire from the box to the brewhouse, 45,000W of heating elements, and a non-UL listed control panel that may never have been approved. After all of that, natural gas direct-fire was the only option. That comes with its own set of headaches and expenses, but would be a little easier to make work. So, we added a 400,000 BTU ring burner, a 20″ firebox, some serious ventilation and gas controls, and we were up and running soon. It was kind of the last piece of the puzzle, preventing us from starting to brew.
During October and November we had the bulk of our equipment show up: heat exchanger, pump, glycol unit, tankless water heater, water filters, kegs, bottle filler, and a handful of other stuff, most of which was just aching to get used. The hot water heater is awesome, but what a project. We now will have 185F water on-demand whenever we want, and we can increment that temp by 5 degrees. The plumbing around the water heater was somewhat of a work of art… mixing valve for a hose station and sink, a split for a hot liquor tank, a hot utility split, and then the main mash split.
We also picked up a 4th 4bbl fermenter identical to the three we already had. It was previously owned by Trout River, but being used up at Hill Farmstead. The other three fermenters all got a tasting port, thermowell for a temp gauge, and a CIP port on top. The new one received these fabrications as well. In addition to the new fermenter, we also a small glycol system to chill the pills in each fermenter (a small hallow stainless disc that allows cold glycol to run through it, temperature controlling the fermenters from the inside). We have a send and return for each fermenter, and leaving an additional space for another fermenter or for use with the heat exchanger. The plumbing for the glycol was fairly simple and kind of fun to get installed.
Another big piece was the bathroom, walk-in, and bar area – we finally got the door switched for the bathroom, which allowed us to build the cold room that will store all of our filled kegs. We fit the front of it up with a blackboard, and built a beautiful bar, which is now housing a two tower kegerator, giving us six taps ti fufill your every craft beer wish.
There are a few more odds and ends that need to happen before we open. But we are just about fully operational at this point. We’re really excited to have you all in soon.