As you gain experience in the world of home brewing, you'll eventually find yourself outgrowing your old brewing equipment. It's even possible you're still making your wort on the kitchen stove and leaving your brew on the kitchen counter to ferment. While there's nothing wrong with either of these (most home brewers start that way) there are benefits to having equipment designed specifically for your brewing needs. When you decide to take the step from brewing in your kitchen to turning a corner of your home or garage into your very own micro brewery, you'll want to begin by looking at brewing stands. Brewing stands are the perfect start because they give you a place to put everything and will usually support the equipment you're already using so you can get set up right away with what you already have, then add new elements as you need them.
Quality brewing stands come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from simple one tier shelves to beautiful three tier models like Blichman's Top Tier. These brewing stands hold the pots and kegs you already have or can be purchased with all new ones for even more of an upgrade.
When looking at brewing stands, make sure to check out the different sizes and styles of mash tuns, liquor tanks, brew kettles and heating elements. While you may think you only want a simple two tier stand, you may find that one of the three tier brewing systems is really more your style. It's better to choose a 3 tier brew system that you can grow into than to buy something you'll end up outgrowing and having to replace. Sometimes, spending a little more money can help you save in the long run and that rule holds as true with brewing stands as it does with anything else.
A few tips before you begin building your microbrewery:
Look at the options before you make your final decision. What looks like a great deal at first might limit you in the long run. It's better to look at quality brewing stands first and add elements as you can afford them than to buy a cheap kit that you'll want to replace in less than a year.
Make sure you purchase one of the brewing stands with adjustable posts so that you can adjust your shelves if and when you need to. Blichman's brewing stands are a perfect example of this.
Don't forget the burners! You're looking at brewing stands because you want to move away from having to do everything in the kitchen. Make sure to include the burners that will make that possible in your upgrade plans.
And finally: Have fun with it! Home brewing is a fun and rewarding hobby. It isn't just about making the perfect beer to suit your taste or creating a prize winning brew for your neighborhood brewing contest. It's about making something that is uniquely yours, something you can feel proud of but also have fun doing. Brewing time is your time. Enjoy it.
The author of this article, Peter Waterman, writes on his website HomeBeerMakers .com about his greatest hobby, making his own beer. Read his articles about his favorite all grain brewing systems like the blichmann top tier.