My Brew System: Haydn Strauss, Publisher of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® | Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine
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My Brew System: Haydn Strauss, Publisher of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®

Everybody's brew setup is different, based on a number of factors. Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine's very own publisher Haydn Strauss shares his setup here!

Haydn Strauss February 15, 2017

My Brew System: Haydn Strauss, Publisher of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® Primary Image

After years working in enterprise technology, I hung it up to take a year off and travel across the country in an RV with my wife (pictured below). It was on this trip that I fell in love with beer. Since then, I started a company that built apps, which was acquired by Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine, and two years later, I’m now their publisher and chief content officer. A simple road trip resulted in a new passion and trajectory for my life!

Haydns RV

What I Like to Brew

I like to brew what I like to drink. Today, that’s New England Style–IPAs, saisons, and big stouts (15 percent and higher ABV).

How Often I Brew

I don’t brew as often as I’d like because I have a nine-week-old baby who’s been keeping me busy. But in general, I try to get a batch in at least once a month.

My Brewing System Evolution

I can admit that I’m a gear head. I enjoy working on my system almost as much as I enjoy brewing the beer. I also can’t stand the thought that there is a brewing technique out there that my system may hold me back from (step mash, whirlpool, parti-gyle, coolship, etc.). So, here is the evolution my brew system:

• Extract brewing with 3-gallon pot: 1 batch
• Partial-mash brewing with 10-gallon pot on a gas burner: 1 batch
• All-grain batch with 10-gallon pot and 5-gallon plastic bucket: 1 batch
• Converted three 7.5-gallon kegs into keggles for my first 3-tier system: 6 batches
The width-to-height ratio on this system was all wrong. I got stuck mashes every time I brewed, regardless of my use of oats, wheat, or anything else that might stick a mash.

HS02-2015-05-09 16.43.59

• Converted a keggle system to an all-electric system, controlled by a Brewpi: 3 batches
• Added RIMS tube to system: 1 batch
I made a homemade one out of copper (picture below). Terrible idea. Scorching was impossible to avoid. I know some people out there will disagree, but don’t do this! copper RIMS • Upgraded to Ss Brewtech Kettles and Mash Tun on gas: 11 batches I love this system, which is pictured below. The problem was that I didn't have the ability to step mash, and I was forced to move indoors with my brew system because of a move to an apartment, which brings me to my system today.

IMG 1043

My Brew System Today

HS08IMG 1284.jpgHaydn's Brew System I have a 20-gallon 3-tier electric system with:
• Two 20-gallon Ss Brewtech Kettles (HLT and boil kettle)
• Ss Brewtech 20-gallon mash tun
• Chugger pump
• HERMS coil built by hand (not recommended—bending this by hand was not fun)
• Blichmann 30-amp Tower of Power to control the elements (I can only fire one at a time, which is fine for me)
• Blichmann plate chiller
• Home Depot mobile scaffolding for the stand
• Shop vac. For anyone who doesn’t have a shop vac, get one. It's a beautiful tool for sucking up spent grain from the mash and hops from the kettle.

For a few reasons, I went for a 20-gallon system. One is grain capacity—when I brew a 5-gallon batch of 15 percent ABV stout, for example, I need every cubic inch of that 20-gallon mash tun. Another reason is splitting batches. I’ll often make a 15-gallon IPA batch and split it for different hopping/yeast. And a third reason is to brew a full keg of beer, because for gatherings of friends and special events, I sometimes want to spin up a full keg. This system lets me do that.

After building some of my own electric panels, I decided to go with a simple commercial option (Blichmann Tower of Power), just for the safety of my family. I’m an okay electrician, but I wouldn’t bet my kid’s life on it. The Tower of Power is easy to use, mobile, and has a nice built-in stand to hold the pump and chiller.

I should also mention, this is our office system which I use sometimes: Embedded content: https://www.instagram.com/p/zlT_GalX1I/?taken-by=craftbeerbrew

What I Will Add Next

A built-in stand and a fixed control panel. If my brewery is designed correctly, I should never have to move my pots or panel. I would like to build my system into the garage in such a way that makes it super easy to pop in, brew a batch, and pop out. No packing, unpacking, plugging in, and unplugging elements.

As a part of the panel, I’d also like to get more temperature probes in place. At the moment, I have one in the pump, but that’s it. I have to circulate my wort in order to get the reading to the panel.

On the flip side, I’ve also considered moving my system back to gas. I miss the roar of the flame and feel like I have more control over the temperature (even though I don’t) when I can feel the heat all around me.

My Dream System

Ruby Street Fusion 25 with temperature control and chilling package (Fusion 15 pictured below). No question about it!

fusion15

One Item I Can’t Live Without

I would probably go with a shop-vac, spray bottle, or maybe a small scale. Okay, so that’s three items.

Want to show us your setup? Click here to get started!

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®’s online class Hot Rod Your Kettles and Mash Tun is the perfect introduction to building out your bad-ass homebrew system

Beer Lover | Writer @ Haze | COO @ CB&B

Have you brewed this recipe? What did you think?