My Own FrankenBrewery
By Matthew Wirtz
■ My first brewing experience came via a
Next, I needed some heat. With my old system, I’d
used propane to boil the wort (unfermented beer).
I wanted my “FrankenBrewery” to run on electricity,
Mr. Beer kit. The result, something akin to brownish
vinegar, left much to be desired. I knew I needed
better equipment, so I started with a few plastic
buckets and a turkey fryer. My results improved, and
I was hooked, but not satisfied. I wanted a system
that allowed me to make beer from scratch — no
more extracts, no more Mr. Beer.
I spent a few weeks formulating ideas and sketching out the mad science it would take to give life to
my newfound passion. I developed a parts list as
I went along, and scoured thrift stores and badgered
friends for the necessary components: essentially,
two pots or kettles to brew the beer in; a frame or
stand to hold the kettles; a way to heat the beer;
and a pump to circulate the contents through the
system. An old steel table became the base for the
stand, and abandoned kegs from a local liquor store
served as my kettles. The table formerly had a glass
top, so I had to fill in the gaps with scrap metal and
use more scraps to complete the basic framework.
With some amateur welding and a fresh coat of
paint, I soon had the infrastructure in place.
Photograph by Matthew Wirtz
Matthew Wirtz of Eagle, Colo., is soon to be co-owner of
Bonfire Brewing Company.
176 Make: Volume