I found a new bonus from brewing. I have began maple sap collecting, it looks funny cause I went to all my nabours houses asking permission to tap there trees. Now my nebourhood has buckets hanging from all the maple trees.
I am using my brew kettle to evaporate water out of the sap. I have a 100,000 btu burner that works well and the kettle has a spigot on the bottom to drain the finished surup. This works well ,I do'nt have to lift any heavy buckets of surup. I plan on making 2 or 3 gallons of surup. The rest of the sap I collect WILL be made into maple ale beer!
scottie we do the same here in Eagle, with the cub scouts help tap all the maples
You can brew anywhere and don't actually need the big burners or much space if you brew the usual 5 gal size batches most homebrewers do- any you can do partyglyle to make twice as much with minimal extra effort.
It is really necessary to learn all grain though- many styles are near impossible or truly impossible to do or do well from extracts and homebrewers can easily get all needed ingredients, same as any pro. Personally, I find all grain as easy as using extracts and easier in some respects.
My apt setup does mash and sparge using 2, 10 gal coolers from the local Home Depot.
(You need the 10 gal size mash tun to brew 5 gal batches of higher alcohol beers like triples). All heating is done on my apt electric stove which requires splitting the boil into two pots due to lower output of stove burners but it works fine. And fermenting is done either in 6 gal glass (beware breakage!!) or my fancy stainless Blichman fermenter (which makes harvesting and reuse of yeast easy). I cool wort with a copper coil chiller hooked to my sink faucet. I crush my own grain with a mill and electric drill but you can get it crushed when you buy it for free or almost free.
Too lazy to bottle- I keg mine and serve from a modified kegerator in my living room. 3 on tap there- styles rotate with seasons and consumption. Get my CO2 from the same suppliers we bought lab gases from for our instruments.
Highly recommend going to see a couple different folks do it different ways before you buy any gear- you can then get a setup that suits you and your place. There are as many ways to do this as there are brewers, almost....At it heart, brewing is basically a type of controlled cooking and a whole lot of cleaning/sanitation. Most of the labor is cleaning stuff well enough...
FWIW, I don't like any of the exisiting do it yourself books. All are arranged for folks who alredy know how to do it or fail to answer key questions beginners have or fail to provides reasons for various choices presented. If I ever took the time to write one I would arrange the key parts by brewing steps and show the equipment and reasons for various ways to do each step. Anyone who understands each step can design their own rigs and do their own thing easily...
You seem to be describing something similar to my brewery set-up shown here.
Yup- the sparge tank goes on top of my fridge, the mash tun on the counter and the two stainless pots I use go on the floor, all right next to the electric stove used for cooking.
Do my starters in a flask on a stir plate. Oxygen from a bottle plus a teeny drop of olive oil to help fermentation. The Blichman sits near the kitchen. I keep a freezer rigged as a fridge for lagering. Save yeast next to my orange juice....
All pretty std stuff. Would be nice to have place for a dedicated stand, etc but making do with what I have really isn't a hardship.
All folks who really like beer should learn to brew- as you know the homebrewer has several huge advantages over commercial guys- including freshness and the lack of any need to stabilize for shipping and long term storage. I'm not aware of any pro techniques one can't emulate or do as well with a home version or alternative though most of us prefer to keep it as simple as possible for whatever style we're making at the moment. Not being an extreme hophead, I don't make stuff needing hopbacks, etc etc.
Have grown some hops at a friends place to get green ones. Cascade is a weed here in NC- you can get a crop off a first year plant and by year 3 it will take over your yard...
anyone interested ,i'm brewing Friday and Saturday for the upcoming tech session at the end of February.Friday i'm brewing a smoked porter ale and sat. it will be my great nut brown ale.Winter bla's? come and brew beer at my house.pm me if interested.
One day I'm gonna make this!:banghead