Firepitbrewing - 2011 - Knoxville, MD

Welcome! explains how to brew 20 gallons of beer over a simple backyard firepit utilizing only four kegs converted to pots, one drain valve and a thermometer-thats it! You can make a very tasty beer with a happy buzz for less than $10.00 a case!  Firepitbrewing applies the simplest of techniques believing that brewing is a very robust and flexible process. Humans have been brewing for ten thousands years-it does not have to be complicated or expensive.
Disclaimer! If you want to target a very specific flavor and specific gravity you will need more equipment. Additionally, there are many standard brewing recommendations this process disregards since experience has shown me the consequences of foregoing the additional steps is not detectable (or my nose and taste buds are derelict). Again, let me stress that humans have been brewing for ten thousand years with beautiful results. My inspiration is Stephen Buhner's Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers (can be purchased at the Flying Barrel in Frederick, MD). 
The short version.
  1. Fill each of two kegs with 8 gallons of water. Build a fire, heat water to 165, which takes about half an hour. These will be your two "mash" kegs.
  2. When water reaches 165, pull mash kegs off the fire, or move the fire/wood. Add 25 pounds of milled malted two row barley to each keg, stir well while doing this. The temperature will drop about 12 degrees, you want about 153 or so. Let this "mash/mush" sit for an hour next to the fire. Meanwhile, during this hour, heat 15 gallons of water to 170 in a third "rinse/sparge" keg for later use to rinse the grain in your two mash kegs.
  3. After an hour, drain the mash keg with the drain valve into a fouth "boil" keg. Add half of your 170 rinse water to the first mash keg, let sit a bit, and drain again into your boil keg. You should end up with about 12 gallons of sweet barley water in your boil keg.
  4. Put the boil keg on the fire and heat to a roiling boil (only takes about 20 minutes, or less if you pile on the firewood). Add herbs (don't limit your choice to only hops) and boil for an hour.
  5. Repeat the two step draining and rinsing process with your 2nd mash keg. If you only have one keg with a valve, simply pour your 2nd keg contents into your first keg with the drain valve. The empty 2nd mash keg becomes your 2nd boil keg.
  6. After you have your two boil kegs boiling for an hour you should have about 10 gallons of "wort" in each keg.
  7. Cover and let cool overnight.
  8. Next day, siphon your 20 gallons of wort into four 5 gallon carboys. Add yeast of your choice (lots of choices and flavors to choose from).
  9. Wait a week and bottle.
  10. Wait a week, if you can, and imbibe with joy and thankfulness!
Here are a few pics of my rig.

Two mash kegs keeping warm next to the fire with 15 gallons of rinse heating up to 170.

Two boil kegs getting up to steam to boil off excess wort and infuse the herbs.

Siphoning 20 gallons of cooled wort into four five gallon carboys. Just let them cool overnight, there is no critical need for cooling fast with special equipment.

More to come later! 

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Please consider the Disclaimer before you ask your questions. My intention is to show that you can inexpensively brew lots of great tasting beer/ale with simple techniques and a belief in the natural, robust, flexible and bountiful fermenting process. It does not need to be "man handled" at every step of the process.