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False Bottoms Lifting -or- How I Learned To Love The Bazooka

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Inge

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Hi ladies and gents,

The story so far...

I've been 2 years out of the brewing game and have just gotten back into it - I cut my teeth a month ago on a fairly forgiving style, an extract APA, and all smell and taste indicators are pointing towards a good result.

Naturally, I almost immediately got the itch to bang out an all grain hefeweizen, so I spend a bit of money and time replacing some of my old ghetto gear which was still kicking around in the garage. I'm running a bazooka in the mash tun instead of a braid, and a false bottom in the kettle in lieu of the equally functional and ugly pickup tube + tea ball monstrosity I made about 4 years ago. All fittings have been converted to stainless, and I'm although I do have an immersion chiller, I prefer to no-chill. Brew day was yesterday and everything went beautifully, the fly sparge ran well at an efficiency of just over 70 percent. The boil was rollicking, the hops were added and everything was falling into place - I hadn't even burnt myself yet.

I felt invincible.

After flameout and whirlpool, it came time to transfer the hot wort into the cube; I turned the valve and... nothing. Not a drop. The boil had been too damn vigorous and had lifted the false bottom off the base of the kettle, allowing hop plugs to creep under and do what hops do best - jam themselves into places they shouldn't (interestingly, this wouldn't have happened with pellets!). After scratching my head for 10 minutes, I popped the lid on and left to go see a film, doing everything I could not to lose my shit in the process.

When I came back it had cooled enough to allow me to reach in and disconnect the false bottom. I fitted out my HLT with the bazooka screen from the mash tun and transferred the wort from the kettle to the HLT. Then, I put the HLT back on the burner to pasteurise the wort (had been sitting there for a few hours and had my arm in it). Once it hit 90 I held it there for a 5 minutes and racked immediately to the cube. The bazooka was a dream, filtering out bucket loads of hop debris and trub and leaving very little wort in the HLT.

I went to bed, chalking the day up to a win.

Discussion

Righto, I've obviously done something wrong. The false bottom isn't secured down to the floor of the kettle, it runs to the barb to the tap via 3/8 ID thick silicon tubing. I prefer my boils to be relatively vigorous - I think that this is causing the FB to flap about at the bottom. Now, I had a few ideas to remedy this.

a) Permanently swap out the bazooka from the tun to kettle and the FB from kettle to tun.
b) Stainless or otherwise inert weights to hold the FB down.
c) Hard plumb the false bottom with copper and allow the tension of the metal to push the FB flush.

I'm leaning towards A. What do you guys do currently? What would you recommend?
 

Wolfy

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I'm leaning towards A. What do you guys do currently? What would you recommend?
What about:
d) Solder/weld a bolt or socket to the base of the kettle and screw the false bottom into place.
 

tarmael

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In the case of option d) I'd recommend welding. I personally don't know about solder (being often lead based) + 100c.

I personally am also going to say option a)
Maybe you could just buy a second bazooka. They're fairly inexpensive and always useful.

Option A seems like the option that is most efficient, especially if you found it did well in your setup.
 

pk.sax

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Option c) here.
Material- 1 copper elbow, 2X 1/2"bsp to 1/2"OD pipe comp fittings, drill one out from inside. Bits of copper tube and a 1/2" bsp nut to secure comp fitting through fb centre hole.

From copper elbow down to the bottom of the keggle it is one piece, the drilled out comp fitting just grips it tight and holds it to the fb, holding it all down. To disassemble, knock the vertical copper pipe back from the centre and it's loose, I use a vertical piece slightly longer than the height the outlet in the wall is to create downward pressur son the fb and make sure it doesn't move, ever.
 

BigDaddy

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The other option is to weld 2 SS nuts together using SS rod as a spacer tower - u can then use a 1/2" BSP plug thru the hole in the top of the false bottom into the little tower to hold it down. The tower is then held to the bottom of the keg with your outlet plumbing. Works a treat. I did my MT this way on advice from Raven19 & Malted. This way u get no dead space.

On checking thru my build pics, I didn't take a picture of it. - I recall Raven had a pic of the nuts welded up on AHB. Might be worth doing a search.
 

TidalPete

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Hi ladies and gents,

The story so far...

I've been 2 years out of the brewing game and have just gotten back into it - I cut my teeth a month ago on a fairly forgiving style, an extract APA, and all smell and taste indicators are pointing towards a good result.

Naturally, I almost immediately got the itch to bang out an all grain hefeweizen, so I spend a bit of money and time replacing some of my old ghetto gear which was still kicking around in the garage. I'm running a bazooka in the mash tun instead of a braid, and a false bottom in the kettle in lieu of the equally functional and ugly pickup tube + tea ball monstrosity I made about 4 years ago. All fittings have been converted to stainless, and I'm although I do have an immersion chiller, I prefer to no-chill. Brew day was yesterday and everything went beautifully, the fly sparge ran well at an efficiency of just over 70 percent. The boil was rollicking, the hops were added and everything was falling into place - I hadn't even burnt myself yet.

I felt invincible.

After flameout and whirlpool, it came time to transfer the hot wort into the cube; I turned the valve and... nothing. Not a drop. The boil had been too damn vigorous and had lifted the false bottom off the base of the kettle, allowing hop plugs to creep under and do what hops do best - jam themselves into places they shouldn't (interestingly, this wouldn't have happened with pellets!). After scratching my head for 10 minutes, I popped the lid on and left to go see a film, doing everything I could not to lose my shit in the process.

When I came back it had cooled enough to allow me to reach in and disconnect the false bottom. I fitted out my HLT with the bazooka screen from the mash tun and transferred the wort from the kettle to the HLT. Then, I put the HLT back on the burner to pasteurise the wort (had been sitting there for a few hours and had my arm in it). Once it hit 90 I held it there for a 5 minutes and racked immediately to the cube. The bazooka was a dream, filtering out bucket loads of hop debris and trub and leaving very little wort in the HLT.

I went to bed, chalking the day up to a win.

Discussion

Righto, I've obviously done something wrong. The false bottom isn't secured down to the floor of the kettle, it runs to the barb to the tap via 3/8 ID thick silicon tubing. I prefer my boils to be relatively vigorous - I think that this is causing the FB to flap about at the bottom. Now, I had a few ideas to remedy this.

a) Permanently swap out the bazooka from the tun to kettle and the FB from kettle to tun.
B) Stainless or otherwise inert weights to hold the FB down.
c) Hard plumb the false bottom with copper and allow the tension of the metal to push the FB flush.

I'm leaning towards A. What do you guys do currently? What would you recommend?
Currently have a (ss plumbed) false bottom in MT with a pickup tube in the kettle & gravity drain through a hopsock to fermenter. This works well but if I was to do it again I would ss plumb a falsie to my kettle outlet just like I've done to my MT.
My 2 cents.
 

Inge

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The other option is to weld 2 SS nuts together using SS rod as a spacer tower - u can then use a 1/2" BSP plug thru the hole in the top of the false bottom into the little tower to hold it down. The tower is then held to the bottom of the keg with your outlet plumbing. Works a treat. I did my MT this way on advice from Raven19 & Malted. This way u get no dead space.

On checking thru my build pics, I didn't take a picture of it. - I recall Raven had a pic of the nuts welded up on AHB. Might be worth doing a search.
I don't have access to welding gear, but I'll get a longer nipple and a few nuts (that sounds a bit rude actually) to simulate the tower. Saves having bends in the copper, which makes it easy to set up and dismantle for cleaning.

So, have some copper coming out basically horizontal from the kettle wall, with a compression + elbow fitting dead centre of the keg, tower, FB, secured by nut.

Sounds good, just hate that SS compression fittings are so expensive!
 

pk.sax

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I just got the chrome plated brass fittings from that place, easy to work on, undo to disassemble, replace if fuc***, I put it in that vinegar/bleach solution, nothing was leached so no lead worries in my case.

Problem with 100% SS fittings is that they lock up with all the heating and cooling and make life very hard to get inside and clean. If I had my rig design 110% sorted and a clean in place system going, maybe I will spend on SS comp fittings, until then, brass it is. TP is being very generous there :)

PS: in action. Best used with plugs and/or whole hops.
 

BigDaddy

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I don't have access to welding gear, but I'll get a longer nipple and a few nuts (that sounds a bit rude actually) to simulate the tower. Saves having bends in the copper, which makes it easy to set up and dismantle for cleaning.

So, have some copper coming out basically horizontal from the kettle wall, with a compression + elbow fitting dead centre of the keg, tower, FB, secured by nut.

Sounds good, just hate that SS compression fittings are so expensive!
That is cool - to minimise loss, u can slot or drill holes in the threaded section
 

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