5 Weekend Homebrewing DIY Projects

Winter is wrapping up, so for those of us who hibernate brewing wise (or just in general), it's almost time to dust off the kettle and fill our propane tanks. If you got a fat refund from the IRS, you may be thinking about an upgrade in the brewing department. Here are five great DIY projects you can start working on during the weekends. If you manage to complete them all, you're destined to have a great brewing year.

As you know, spring is the time of growth. And the first homebrewing DIY project is related to growing things.

1. Set Up a Hop Garden

Columbus Hops

It's almost time to start planting rhizomes. This setup can be built for under $100, just a small portion of your fat tax return from Uncle Sam. Sure, you wrote off the Jacuzzi as a business expense but who's looking?

The trellis in Nate Hoekstra's design is made to be 10 feet tall and 18 feet long. It will hold 5 plants if you don't mind squeezing them in a bit.

There has also been improvements made to this project, so you may want to think about mounting the 2x4s on the outside of the posts. If growing hops isn't your thing, maybe a lager or two will float your boat?

2. Make a Temperature Controlled Fermentation Chamber

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Guess what. As we speak, the Earth's position in relationship with the Sun is hurling us towards Summer. That means it's gonna get hot, and unless you want to make saisons for the next 4 months, you better think about temperature control.

It's actually pretty easy to convert a chest freezer or mini fridge into the perfect temperature controlled fermenting chamber. In fact, you can probably finish this homebrewing DIY project while taking a break from mowing the lawn. Just plug this puppy into the wall, and plug your fridge or freezer into it. Maybe that's not enough for you. Maybe your wife wants to host a cookout this year. It's time to take it a step further and make a Keezer.

3. Build a Keezer

It's time to get your mini 2.5 gallon keg out of the kitchen fridge, and into a keezer. While you're doing that. Bring it to McDonalds to fatten up into a 5 gallon keg, then it's off to adopt some 5 gallon brothers and sisters. You'll need them to fill Ken "Manfish" Lee's keezer, which is documented here.

The greatest part about having multiple kegs, is that you have an excuse to keep them filled with multiple beers. Maybe you're a man of action though, and like to live life on the run. This next homebrewing DIY project is for you.

4. Build a Jockey Box

"Let's go on a picnic 45 minutes away" Your girlfriend says. Well crap, your brand new Keezer won't fit in the car and besides I doubt the trees have any three prong outlets. It's time for the the ultra versatile, mega mobile Jockey Box to make its entrance.

This jockey box by Mike Hannah may be a bit out of the normal requirements for a jockey box, but this approach is a lot less hassle in my opinion. Everything is contained inside the cooler! If you're feeling frugal you can leave out mounting the tap and just use a picnic tap instead. But in the spirit of DIY and power tools, you should go the extra mile.

5. The Final Homebrewing DIY Project: Canning your own Starter Wort

wortcanning-11-2610You covered all the bases. You have your hops growing like mad, your Oktoberfest lager is fermenting away in the fermentation chamber, The kegs are full and pouring for the cookout, and you have a half-keg jockey box ready to go for next weekends camping bonanza with the in-laws. The only thing you didn't account for is you need to make a bunch of starters for all the beer you'll be making this year.

Making a big batch of starter wort, then canning it for later use will save you a lot of time. With pre-made wort, All you have to do now is pop the top on a mason jar and your starter is ready to go on the stir plate (with yeast of course).  Here is a handy guide on the subject by Kevin Swan.

written by David Doucette

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