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First Run Of New 3v System..problems?

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Truman42

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Morning Gents,

Had my first run of my new 3v herms system last night and it wasn't without its problems.

First up, those 1/2 inch camlock fittings are useless. The barb on the female was too restrictive and I had to switch over to standard tail barbs to allow my mash to recirculate. Then my herm it pump stopped working right at mash out so I had to put my urn on the floor and drain by gravity then lift it back up to my brew stand. Then Fcuk me if the pump didnt start working again...Do they have some sort of temp overload cut out?

Anyway, I had a batch size of 18 litres put into brew mate. In the brew day section it told me to strike with 12 litres of water, which I did. I recirculated during the stepped mash and everything was fine. At mash out I pumped into the kettle but only ended up with 2-3 litres. (It was just over the outlet).

Then I added 14.5 litres from my HLT to the mash and recirculated that for a 15 min batch sparge then added that to my kettle. This took the kettle volume up to 18 litres which was well short of what I expected it to be. So I had to heat up some more water in my HLT and do a second spage just to get the volumes up to around 24 litres.

Any ideas what I might be doing wrong here?

Heres a screen shot of brew day notes.

brewmate.png
 

Muscovy_333

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Morning Gents,

Had my first run of my new 3v herms system last night and it wasn't without its problems.

First up, those 1/2 inch camlock fittings are useless. The barb on the female was too restrictive and I had to switch over to standard tail barbs to allow my mash to recirculate. Then my herm it pump stopped working right at mash out so I had to put my urn on the floor and drain by gravity then lift it back up to my brew stand. Then Fcuk me if the pump didnt start working again...Do they have some sort of temp overload cut out?

Anyway, I had a batch size of 18 litres put into brew mate. In the brew day section it told me to strike with 12 litres of water, which I did. I recirculated during the stepped mash and everything was fine. At mash out I pumped into the kettle but only ended up with 2-3 litres. (It was just over the outlet).

Then I added 14.5 litres from my HLT to the mash and recirculated that for a 15 min batch sparge then added that to my kettle. This took the kettle volume up to 18 litres which was well short of what I expected it to be. So I had to heat up some more water in my HLT and do a second spage just to get the volumes up to around 24 litres.

Any ideas what I might be doing wrong here?

Heres a screen shot of brew day notes.

View attachment 54432
What gravity did you end up with after your second batch sparge Truman?
 

Truman42

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I cant remember. I was too busy trying to clean up spillages etc, it may have been around 1.030.

EOB gravity was 1.045 so I was happy with that.
 

fcmcg

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In my opinion , you should be fly sparging , not batch sparging with a pump...
 

fraser_john

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<snip>
First up, those 1/2 inch camlock fittings are useless. The barb on the female was too restrictive and I had to switch over to standard tail barbs to allow my mash to recirculate. Then my herm it pump stopped working right at mash out so I had to put my urn on the floor and drain by gravity then lift it back up to my brew stand. Then Fcuk me if the pump didnt start working again...Do they have some sort of temp overload cut out?
<snip>
Which camlocks? I have the beer belly ones PLUS the new ones through the bulk buy. My beer belly ones are much smaller and the do not restrict the flow on my 3V at all, so not sure what your problem might be there? Could be stuck mash that freed itself whilst you were mucking around changing tails?

What pump do you use? The march model I have does not have thermal cut out? If it is the brown pump, I'd doubt they would have it for the price that people were paying. Could have jammed on a grain of malt or something, was it still humming or spinning and just not pumping?

Lots of questions and of course too late to get them answered properly :(

Oh, and Ferg, why fly rather than batch with a pump? I batch simply to cut back on brew day length, rather than wait for an hour for the fly sparge to finish off, plus with a single batch, no need to monitor wort pH to avoid tannin extraction. Single batch sparge for me and still hitting 84% efficiency with a coarse crush.

<edited for question to Ferg>
 

Truman42

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I got the camlocks from a local hose supplier in Hallam. It wasnt a stuck sparge because it flowed fine if I disconnected the cam lock. The internal diameter of the tail is only 5-6mm so it just wasnt flowing enough to keep up with the pump. As soon as I switched to standard tails it flowed great.

Yes it is the herm it pump. It wasnt buzzing at all. It was dead. It may have been a loose connection but it worked fine for the rest of the brew and I moved it around a fair bit. Its got me stuffed.

So would only getting 2-3 litres in the kettle from mash out sound about right? Brew mate had my grain absorption at .90 l/kg. Perhaps I need to increase this to allow for more absorption??
 

QldKev

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I got the camlocks from a local hose supplier in Hallam. It wasnt a stuck sparge because it flowed fine if I disconnected the cam lock. The internal diameter of the tail is only 5-6mm so it just wasnt flowing enough to keep up with the pump. As soon as I switched to standard tails it flowed great.

Yes it is the herm it pump. It wasnt buzzing at all. It was dead. It may have been a loose connection but it worked fine for the rest of the brew and I moved it around a fair bit. Its got me stuffed.

So would only getting 2-3 litres in the kettle from mash out sound about right? Brew mate had my grain absorption at .90 l/kg. Perhaps I need to increase this to allow for more absorption??
This is where I would start looking. 2-3 is way too low. 0.9L is an ok number for grain absorption.

12L - ( 3.93 * 0.9) = 8.463 L Allow some wort in the pump and lines etc, you should still have almost 8L maybe a bit less if you have a HERMS hooked up

Where is the pickup in the mash tun?


QldKev
 

Muscovy_333

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This is where I would start looking. 2-3 is way too low. 0.9L is an ok number for grain absorption.

12L - ( 3.93 * 0.9) = 8.463 L Allow some wort in the pump and lines etc, you should still have almost 8L maybe a bit less if you have a HERMS hooked up

Where is the pickup in the mash tun?


QldKev
I'm thinking like Kev Truman.

On another note; Sometimes the brown pumps need a little priming to get going. I have set mine up to prime with gravity to help it along. If you disturb your grain bed it can be a slow start again. I drain toward the pump (with the pump power turned off, but with the outlet valve open) with gravity until i can see the inlet hose is well filled with wort.

Flick on the pump and adjust the ball valve to slow flow until it is primed and pumping. If it wont prime i lift the hose or jiggle it until the pump is primed and then she is off and running.

I sometimes have to repeat the process if i disturb the mash.
With regard power cutting on the pump, i'd check your wiring to your switch...(sure you have looked already)??
 

Truman42

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This is where I would start looking. 2-3 is way too low. 0.9L is an ok number for grain absorption.

12L - ( 3.93 * 0.9) = 8.463 L Allow some wort in the pump and lines etc, you should still have almost 8L maybe a bit less if you have a HERMS hooked up

Where is the pickup in the mash tun?


QldKev
The pick up is about an inch off the bottom, but it drains out to just below the height of the copper manifold. When I lifted the bag out of the MLT once done I had a good 5.5 litres of wort drain out of the bag.

At first I suspected a stuck sparge as the wort volume decreased, but when I seperated the grain with my spoon there was very litle wort still in the MLT.
 

mfeighan

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do you really need the bag if you have a manifold? the bag may have restricted where the wort flows. i remember when i biab'd the wort liked coming faster from the zones with no grain and got really slow from the bottom.
i reckon you will recover those losses with just a manifold.
 

QldKev

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do you really need the bag if you have a manifold? the bag may have restricted where the wort flows. i remember when i biab'd the wort liked coming faster from the zones with no grain and got really slow from the bottom.
i reckon you will recover those losses with just a manifold.

Thats what I'm thinking. either having the bag and manifold is causing it to fail to drain fast enough, or you have a compact grain bed. How fine was the crush?
 

Muscovy_333

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Thats what I'm thinking. either having the bag and manifold is causing it to fail to drain fast enough, or you have a compact grain bed. How fine was the crush?

I have a bag and a manifold and i have found the bag a godsend. Increases the rate of flow by about 3 times in my system, no stuck sparges, and a pleasure to clean up. I run my brown pump on full speed and allows my HERMS to work very efficiently
It was my advice to Truman to use a bag for the first run in case he ran into trouble so that he could move his mash if he needed too.

I guess the only way to solve that problem is to try without the bag and see if things improve.

Ahh...teething problems...love em!
 

Truman42

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I liked the idea of using the bag for the ease of clean up, but as muscovy says the only way im going to find out is trying it without the bag. I was working on the theory that if I can recirculate for 90 mins no probs then I shouldnt get a stuck sparge when transfering to the kettle.

I didnt throw my grains out last night so might put them in the MLT without the bag and have a practice run to see how it goes.
 

bignath

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I liked the idea of using the bag for the ease of clean up, but as muscovy says the only way im going to find out is trying it without the bag. I was working on the theory that if I can recirculate for 90 mins no probs then I shouldnt get a stuck sparge when transfering to the kettle.

I didnt throw my grains out last night so might put them in the MLT without the bag and have a practice run to see how it goes.

I like the idea of using a bag in my 3v mash tun too.

The purists will no doubt chime in and say if your system is working properly then you shouldn't need one, but i can't see the problem with doing it this way. It takes a whole 5 seconds to throw the bag in your mash tun, but it takes a whole lot of time to try to get rid of a sparge that want's to stick...

At least with a bag as an insurance policy/last resort, if your sparge does stick, hoist the bag and let it drain. Heaps easier i reckon.

FWIW, i've not done this before, but have been tempted to try it out. To me it's the best of both worlds....Simplicity, Failsafe of BIAB, but with the potential benenfits of clarity from a dedicated mash tun that you can properly lauter.
Bag in the tun, open tap and proceed as normal, but if it sticks, you can either try to unstick it using the usual methods, or simply cut your losses and hoist the bag and let it drain by itself.

Anyone who's had to deal with a stuck sparge would appreciate this simplicity as a backup option i think.
 

Muscovy_333

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I like the idea of using a bag in my 3v mash tun too.

The purists will no doubt chime in and say if your system is working properly then you shouldn't need one, but i can't see the problem with doing it this way. It takes a whole 5 seconds to throw the bag in your mash tun, but it takes a whole lot of time to try to get rid of a sparge that want's to stick...

At least with a bag as an insurance policy/last resort, if your sparge does stick, hoist the bag and let it drain. Heaps easier i reckon.

FWIW, i've not done this before, but have been tempted to try it out. To me it's the best of both worlds....Simplicity, Failsafe of BIAB, but with the potential benenfits of clarity from a dedicated mash tun that you can properly lauter.
Bag in the tun, open tap and proceed as normal, but if it sticks, you can either try to unstick it using the usual methods, or simply cut your losses and hoist the bag and let it drain by itself.

Anyone who's had to deal with a stuck sparge would appreciate this simplicity as a backup option i think.
Since i added the bag to my 3V it has been an absolute treat on brew day.

I have absolutely no reason to take it out.

As far as the purists go...i have an eski with home made everything attached to it. While it works in my favour, i subscribe to the KISS theory.

I strongly urge others to give it a go. I actually think it is a process improvement IMHO.
 

Truman42

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I have to agree with Nathan and Muscovy and really want to keep using the bag.
I might experiment with the spent grains tonight both with and without the bag and see what I end up with. At least because Im not actually trying to make beer I can afford to stuff around and take measurements etc.
 

Feldon

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Yes it is the herm it pump. It wasnt buzzing at all. It was dead. It may have been a loose connection but it worked fine for the rest of the brew and I moved it around a fair bit. Its got me stuffed.

I read on a thread somewhere (can't find) that these brown pumps are designed to slow as they approach critical cut-off temp, then shut down. The pump 'thinks' its a overload situation but the heat transferred into the pump body from the hot liquid perhaps combined with hard working seems to be the problem.

The pumps are apparently submersible (although I haven't found a vendor that will declare them as such on their website). So some people who have experienced overheating cutout when pumping very hot liquid have put them in an small ice bath. And as a precaution have first put a few dobs of silicone where the two wires enter the pump (which is the only entrance point into the electrical internals of the pump), just to make sure water doesn't get in.

Edit: sp
 

Kingbrownbrewing

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Buy some QDs from craftbrewer, I can't recommend them enough. Makes brewday a dream...
March pumps, whilst a little pricey, are always reliable as well.
 

Yob

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Never had that issue with the pumps, i also have a spare one,

Ive spent the last 2 weeks not brewing but tweaking equipment and seeing how it all runs, teething problems with a new system are to be expected mate, spend a bit of time getting to know it before expecting quality beer from it.

No frikkin way id be letting day old spent grain anywhere near my system.

Looking forward to using mine this weekend.

Yob
 

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