Date: July 11, 2020

Posted by Ryan Oxton

Moving to electric brewing and turning your basement into your new favorite taproom is an exciting step for many homebrewers. You get your system set up without a hitch, you get your electrician over to wire the proper outlet, you connect your hoses and mill your grain and get ready to brew. Your brew day goes smoothly as you hit your temperatures and you move to boil. Soon you have beautiful, rolling bubbles and plumes of steam and you’re on the road to making your next great beer!

Steam? That’s something you didn’t plan for when you designed your brewery and it will certainly lead to problems. Without proper ventilation, a few brew days a year can cause moisture buildup on your ceiling and walls, resulting in unwanted mold and mildew if you don’t address the issue.

For years I have advised our customers to consider a vent hood installation to remedy the problem. Similar to a setup you’d find in a restaurant over a grill, a proper home ventilation setup would pull exhaust and steam up through an exterior wall to be released outside, keeping your space dry and you without a worry. But after talking with Ryan from Old Standby Brewing in Salem, Oregon, I quickly learned that my recommendation could be an expensive one. Ryan had just finished a similar ventilation setup for his system and was kind enough to share his experiences and related fees in an effort to help others in the brewing community.

Here’s a quick look at Ryan’s vent hood installation costs (Note: some costs may vary, depending on the location of your brew space and the price of materials and labor in your area):

  • Canarm 12" light industrial 3-stage fan with weather hood: $220
  • Custom sheet-metal hood: $240
  • FRP paneling and adhesive: $170
  • Since Ryan completed the installation himself, he estimated the cost for labor would have been around $500
  • Grand Total: $1,130

Long story short, think ahead and plan accordingly. A great location for brewing beer isn’t great without proper ventilation. Some solutions can be expensive, but the cost to clean up a mold problem could be even more. If a professional install is cost-prohibitive, consider using a little DIY elbow grease to save some cash. If the idea of ventilation sounds good, but having another project to tackle doesn’t, there are cost-effective accessories like steam condenser lids that can do the job without all the hassle. Whichever solution you choose, just make sure you keep the moisture off your walls and in your beer.

 

Ryan Oxton is the Market Development Manager at Spike. When he’s not guiding aspiring homebrewers with their first systems or working with breweries as they upgrade their operations, he enjoys spending time with family and losing the occasional golf ball or two. Email: info@spikebrewing.com.

Special thanks to Ryan from Old Standby Brewing for sharing the costs, process and photos of his vent hood installation.