Wood Brew Stand Plans
I debated for years about what would make my ideal brew stand. There are a million variables including substrate, size, automation, etc. Ultimately, I decided to go with a fairly simple wood stand as I think they are sexy and, more importantly, I could build it myself (I find that those things I can do myself in the home brewery are more rewarding than those I outsource). I do not have strong woodworking skills, but patience and care will go a long ways.
I also decided on an unusual tier set-up. My stand, aptly called the Bad Larry, is essentially a two tier with the middle tier sunk. I did this very intentionally when I built it, and have loved the results. Ultimately, I wanted a stand that was relatively low to the ground so that I did not have to lift liquid above my shoulders when pouring my liquor into the HLT, and I wanted to be able to easily see into all vessels, especially the MLT. Additionally, I like the simple elegance of letting gravity do its work rather than relying entirely on pumps, so a 2 tier suited my needs (with one pump I can accomplish all that 2 pump single tiers can). Because I do not direct fire my MLT, but I do use burners for my HLT and BK, it made the most sense to gravity feed my MLT. In theory you could use this set-up with a direct-fired MLT though. Having my MLT as the low point also gives the added bonuses of making it the easiest vessel to work with (i.e. for stirring) and allows it to benefit from the heat of a burner on each side. I’ve brewed a handful of batches using this wooden brew stand and haven’t looked back.
One other note: I considered either building the burners into the platforms or creating a wood-framed wind shields like Robert Haskell’s brilliant stand, but ultimately decided that my burners work great as is (I’ve added a collar to my SQ14). Those alternatives would only create more work, more weight, or more likelihood of fire.
Without further ado, here are the Bad Larry wood brew stand plans.
- Two 6’ 4x4 (to create 8 18” 4x4 posts)
- Four 6’ 2x4
- Two 8’ 2x4 (to create cross platform)
- 4x8’ ¾” plywood; best to have this ripped in two 22” wide strips before leaving the hardware store; I used cabinet grade
- Forty ¼”, 5.5” carriage bolts and associated nuts/washers
- Four caster wheels. I used 3.5” locking casters. Important thing is that they can support >750 lbs. together
- Box of 2” screws
- Box of 3” screws
- Stain, Poly
- Two 12x12” ceramic tiles for under-burner protection
- Circle saw
- Drill (powerful is better!)
- Sandpaper (orbital sander even better)
- Square (triangle)
- Cut the 4x4s to length. If you don’t have a chop saw or some other saw which can chop more than 3.5” deep, you’ll need to do one side then the other and hope they meet squarely. The cuts may not be perfect but it’s not a big deal. Just put the less perfect side facing down.
- Cut the 2x4s to length. Remember to measure twice, cut once!
- Bolt the 4x4 uprights to the 66” base 2x4 at the appropriate distances using your lag bolts. We found it’s best to measure distance from the end, lay the 2x4 over the top of the 4x4, get the 4x4 flush with the bottom (remember: crappy side down), then use a square to make sure the angle is exactly 90*. It may be easiest to drill through the 2x4 into the 4x4 at both holes, then remove the 2x4 and drill the rest of the way through the 4x4 at the spot of the pilot holes. Thread the bolts through and attach the nuts and washers. Leave semi-loose.
- Cut the plywood sheet into the appropriate sizes.
- Next you’ll need to cut the 66” x 22” plywood sheet to accommodate the 4x4s at the base. It’s easiest to measure the distance from the inner part of the 4x4s to the outer part of the 2x4 base and mark the appropriate measurements on the plywood. Use a square/straight edge to mark the locations of the 4x4 cut outs. Use the jigsaw to cut along your lines. You may wish to make tight cuts…you can always cut more if needed. Just remember that this sheet is on the bottom and won’t be as visible as the top sheets.
- Fit the 2 sides of the base into the newly cut plywood sheet. Make adjustments to the cut-outs if needed.
- Screw the 19” side pieces into the base using 3” screws. Use 2” screws to screw the plywood into the base 2x4s.
- Next, following the procedure outlined in step 3 bolt the 35” 2x4 cross slats to the mid tier. Ensure they are exactly 4” above the top of the base on both sides. Hand tighten. Next, screw the 19” 2x4 side pieces at the same height using 3” screws. Tighten the bolts down using a wrench.
- Just like in step 5, measure the dimensions of the cut-outs you’ll need to make to fit the plywood top to the middle tier. Cut the corners out using a jigsaw and screw down using 2” screws. We made this one fit a little tighter.
- Screw the 19” side pieces to the top tiers using 3” screws. Make sure they are flush with the top of the 4x4s.
- Bolt the 22” 2x4 cross slats to the top tiers. Ensure they are flush with the top of the 4x4s as well as the ends of the side-piece 2x4s. You may need to push the 4x4s into place to make them flush. Tighten the bolts with a wrench.
- Screw the 22x22” plywood pieces into the top tiers using 2” screws. It will look best if you make sure the grain on both goes left to right when looking at the front of the stand.
- Flip upside down and tighten all bolts using a wrench.
- Attach the casters using 4 lag bolts each. We found it best to attach to both 2x4s and the 4x4 that make up each corner.
- Flip back over and take it for a spin! Stain & polyurethane as desired. (IMO, the more poly the better as it allows spills on the stand to wipe clean; of course, you may encounter a Meet the Parents-style lacquer explosion!).
From there, it was simply a matter of wiring it up and adding pumps/chillers/etc. Check out our post on electrical for the stand, the perfect chiller, as well as our recommendation for some great labels for your control box.
Finally, it probably goes without saying, but if you build the Bad Larry, be careful with your tools and get help if you don't know what you are doing. Also, remember that wood brew stands are not fireproof, so take precautions in your brewery so you don't burn your house down. That would definitely ruin your beer.