Still Cleaning…

It has been a while since I posted anything, but we certainly have been busy during the past week!  Here’s a picture of the underside of the kettle, all cleaned up, painted and ready to be installed.  What a difference!









That’s one done, and on to the next one…

Here’s a couple pictures of the Hot Liquor Tank, which will be the next thing we’ll clean.  The outside is pretty grimy, and you can see some mineral deposits on the inside that need to be removed.











A little food-grade phosphoric acid should remove the mineral deposits and get it nice and shiny again.

Also this week we’ve been continuing to work on the floors.  We pulled up the carpeting in the area where the tap-room will be, and found a ridiculous amount of carpet glue stuck to the concrete.  Removing this stuff is seriously hard work, and requires a LOT of scraping.  In the picture below you can see an example of the floors before and after the glue has been removed.  Not very exciting, I know, but since there is so much of this stuff on the floors, we’ll be working at this for quite awhile…










The other thing we’ve been busily working on is acquiring all of the proper permits from the City of Los Angeles.  Admittedly, this process is not as exciting as cleaning brewing kettles, but necessary nonetheless.  Yesterday I spent about four hours running around between the Planning Department and City Hall, trying to make sure I have all of the proper paperwork for our applications.  I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg though…

The floor plans and site plans have been completed, and next week I have an appointment with the Department of Building & Safety to do a preliminary review of our plans.  They will be checking that everything in the plans is compliant with building codes, that we have enough exits and parking spaces for the proposed number of occupants, etc…  Wish me luck!

Kettle Cleaning

This weekend we spent some time cleaning up our brew kettle.  After sitting in the same spot for 13 years in it’s former home, it developed a bit of grime and rust on the steel plate underneath the kettle.  This plate isn’t stainless, like the rest of the kettle, but it sits beneath the outer steam jacket and acts as a protective base-plate for the whole tank.

In the pictures below you’ll see that we lifted the kettle onto some concrete cinder blocks, so it would be easier to work underneath.  The first step is to get rid of the surface grime & rust with a wire brush, then treat it with a little phosphoric acid to remove the rust and mineral deposits, and re-condition the steel.


Steve working on the underside of the brew kettle

Steve working on the underside of the brew kettle






















Under kettle grime & rust

Under kettle grime & rust











I’ll post more pictures to show our progress on this later in the week.

A Slow Week…

Progress with the brewery has been a bit slow this past week, and will probably be slow until early next week.  I’ve taken a short project with my “day job” to help pay some bills, and to make sure we can keep paying the rent on our building.

It’s a bummer to have to slow things down a bit, but until we get all of our financing lined up, I’ll have to fall back to the day job from time to time to keep everything from coming to a complete stop.  And, to look on the bright side, I’m grateful to have the flexibility to be able to do that sort of thing.

Anyway, despite last week being slow, here is something that I was able to work on a bit.

Rough draft of our floor plan and layout (and roughly to scale)

Rough draft of our floor plan and layout (and roughly to scale)













This is the floor plan of our tap-room and brewery.  Although this isn’t the “official” floor plan from the architect, it is basically drawn to scale, and incorporates most of the design changes we made with the architects.  So, hopefully, it will ultimately look like this…

It’s kind of hard to tell in this drawing, but in the upper left corner of the tap-room, there is a big window that looks out onto the brewhouse floor.  In front of this window there will be a small wall-table (wall-bar?), so people can enjoy a beer while checking out the view of the brewhouse.

Some aspects of this layout will probably change, once we take it to the Department of Building & Safety, and the Health Department to get approvals, but this is our basic idea right now.  Also, the layout of the brewhouse may change, but so far this seems to be the best placement of the equipment for workflow and process piping, etc…

Well, that’s all for now.  Back to work for me…

Working on Permits

Today I had a meeting with our Expediter, and started to review the floor plan for our tap-room.  An Expediter is basically a person who is an expert at dealing with the red-tape of the city’s various permitting systems.  They make sure your applications are filled out correctly the first time, etc, and handle all of the other paperwork so you don’t have to go crazy running around the city all day.

We have to  apply for a Conditional Use Permit to serve alcohol to the public in the City of LA, and the application for that permit is quite literally an exercise in bureaucratic gymnastics.  Just as an example, you have to have a map drawn up showing a 500-foot radius of your building, as well as all of the occupants within that radius.  And then 15 copies of that map (I am not exaggerating) need to be sent out to various departments within the city.  And the maps have to be dated within 90 days of the date on the application.

This is just one of many steps on the application, so you get the idea…

I’m sure that sounds pretty boring though, so I won’t go on about it anymore.  It was however, very exciting to see the floor plan, and to start picturing how it will eventually look.  We had to change a few of my original floor plan ideas around, to make things comply with the building code, but it is definitely starting to look cool!  I’ll post the floor plan up here when I get a finished copy of it, so keep an eye out for that.

Hmmm…Maybe this wasn’t a very interesting post after all…

Oh well.  Just another part of the process…

Moving In, pt.2

Here’s some more pictures.  These are from June 18th, when we moved the second half of our equipment up from San Diego.  Again, I had intended on getting more pictures of us in action, but we had our hands very full, so I ended up with just a couple.

Truckload #2 in our brewery









My dad (Steve) celebrates after unloading truckload #2 of equipment into our brewery.  He’s standing next to the Mash Tun, and in the foreground is our forklift, which we bought with the package from Alesmith.  I don’t know why, but I think it’s kind of cool that we own our own forklift…there must be some sort of natural manly affinity for heavy machinery.  The big blue box in the back corner is the steam boiler, which will produce the heat source for our brewhouse.

The equipment is roughly in the location it will live in when the brewhouse is assembled, but we still have to cut into the floor to dig new drains, so we’ll have to move it out of the way when that construction takes place.  This picture definitely gives you a sense of scale and proportion though.

Jeremy on the Brew Kettle









Here’s me looking kinda goofy, but happy, standing on the Brew Kettle and Hot Liquor Tank.  The Brew Kettle is the cylindrical tank on my right, and the Hot Liquor Tank is the lower one on my left.  (In the brewing industry “Liquor” just refers to brewing water, so it’s basically a tank where water is heated for brewing purposes.)

On the Brew Kettle, just under my foot, you’ll see pipes sticking out from the side of the kettle.  These are where the steam enters the kettle, in three different zones (top, middle, bottom), which allows you to better control the temperature in the kettle, and to get a really good rolling boil.  The kettle is jacketed, so the steam circulates around inside the jacket, and heats the contents of the kettle, but never comes into contact with the wort in the kettle (same basic principle as a double-boiler on your kitchen stove).


That’s all the pictures I have for now, but I’ll try to post more soon.  This past week I’ve been working in the office/tap-room area, pulling up carpeting and trying to clean off the nasty carpet glue from the concrete floor.  Not very exciting I admit, but still a necessary part of the process.