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Brewers of the Cave
  • djsethalldjsethall
    Posts: 4,013
    Howdy y'all. This is Justin. Well, let's see hmere. I started brewing by trying a batch of guiness via extract. I had absolutely no clue, but was able to
    bottle 5 gallons of guiness type beer in wax coated 40 oz bottles (noobs, never do this). To my surprise it carbonated and was somewhat drinkable until it got warm (hence the warning to noobs). After brewing a batch of beer, I felt like a pro. I investigated the art of distillation and built 2 different types of stills. One fraction reflux still and one simple pot still. I was off to the
    races then. I was fermenting 50 gallon batches of a corn sugar wash that ended up between 18% and 20%. I did this a few times before getting bored. Once I was thoroughly bored, I moved on to other hobbies (rc and paintball). As with other hobbies, I grew bored again, but always wanted to brew that perfect batch of beer. Well a few years had past, vows were spoken, vows were broken (just kidding, I love my wife) and someone introduced me to a guy named Luke. He shared another hobby that I was interested in which was mycology. After growing a few batches of some "specialty" mushrooms, we got to talking about beer. Luke told me that he had always wanted to try brewing beer. I told him about my experiences and this lit a fire under him. Luckily and unluckily for us, we had a space at our local eagles club in the basement. There is a kitchen and plenty of storage space. I had a keg cut and a bulkhead welded in. I purchased some 3/8 o.d. stainless tube and fashioned it into a siphon tube with a slotted ladel acting as a false bottom. This system proved to be very slow and tedious. After a few batches, we got a visit from the WSLCB goons and were told that the eagles liquor license did not cover home brewing in the basement. The sargeant gave us a bit of a break and gave us 1 hour to remove all traces of the homebrew club. We relocated the brewery to my basement and the "Brewers of the Cave" was formed. That was January 24, 2010. Luke and I vowed that if the fuzz was gonna try to shut us down that we would take homebrew to the absolute limit (we don't do anything halfway). We have pushed the limits of production to at least 200 gallons a year (depending on the calendar year, lol). As this hobby can get as expensive and as complicated as our wives will allow, I try to spend around $40-$80 a month on equipment and Luke purchases base malts for our endeavors. We have grown from a single keg system to a 3 keg system with plans for a 7 keg system (1 hlt, 2 mlt, 2 boilers and 2 fermenters). We have the kegs, but I am waiting to save up for the welding shop. The local eagles was cleaning out their basement and gifted us a nice stainless kitchen table/sink that was part of their dish pit. This table easily accommodates 3 kegs for the hlt and 2 mlt's. We weren't having the best efficiency ever, somewhere around 65%. We knew that temp control was our issue. I did some research and saw plans for a stainless heater tube. I built it and got the PID controller with a ssr. Instantly we are getting 78-80% efficiency with the addition of the heater tube (worthy investment). We have since built most of the brewing section of the brewery and we just need to build a couple of electric boilers. Our goal is to be a fully licensed brewery within the next year or so. Anyways, that is who we are and a brief history. If ever in Olympia, send me a pm and stop by the cave for a brew. Always something cold on tap. If anyone has a question that I can answer, I am more than willing to lend an idea or even a helping hand if you are in the Puget Sound area.

    Dr. Justy