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Moad

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So I talked myself out of building a 3v setup but I am looking to control mash temps better. I am about to build a rig for my BIAB setup.

Basically I plan on having a stand with an upright with a pulley at the top to pull the bag out. No problems there.

I have an immersion chiller to cool my wort using tap water to get it down to around 40 degrees. The hot water runs out to give the fermenter a clean and then into a tub to use later to clean. Then I put the outlet into another tub filled with iced water and swap the inlet over to a pump which is immersed in this icy water to drop down to pitching temps. Pretty standard setup I think.

This whole process works fine however as I mentioned before my mash temps are a little unstable.

So I was thinking...

What if I made a spot on the rig for a HLT and put the chiller in to the HLT and circulated the wort through the coil with one of these http://gryphonbrewing.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=77&products_id=502 like a HERMS setup. I have an stc so could turn the pump on/off around desired temp.

After the mash I would pull the grain out with the pulley and start the boil, I could top up from the HLT if my volumes are out otherwise I could use the water in the HLT for cleaning (run it out into another tub).

I would then refill the HLT and put ice in there, run the wort through again to cool after the boil. Once at pitching temps just drop the out hose into the fermenter...

It is certainly no more work then my current method but would give me control over mash temp and I imagine would improve efficiency.

Thoughts?
 

bum

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What are you using for insulation currently?
 

Moad

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Im gas, just use an old sleeping bag for insulation but I'd like to be able to do step mashes too.

Maybe a heating element with stc and just recirc to get even heat through the grain might be better?
 

Moad

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Beer God that gave me some ideas thanks mate.

I think I'll just throw a falsie or something ghetto in my kettle to protect the bag and then pump the wort from my outlet at the bottom back through the lid. I may put it on an angle to try and get some movement through the grain.

I'll just stick to gas for now and keep an eye on the temp, if I am feeling motivated later I could rig up some kind of controller on the gas to regulate the temperature.

Cheers.
 

QldKev

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My
may give you a few ideas. I run a fake false bottom over the element, then I can do step mashing etc as I please without worrying about the bag.
 
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Moad

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Looks good, I'll make up a false bottom like you have thanks Kev

A heating element would work quite well with the stc-1000 I have. Would something like this get a decent boil (only single batches on this setup) > http://www.craftbrewer.com.au/shop/details.asp?PID=3853

Edit: Or would I still need the burner for the boil and just use the element for the mash temps?

Cheers
 

QldKev

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That element is 10% more powerful than mine, and I use mine for the full boil. The main thing is insulate the pot heaps. I have three layers of insulation and can achieve a 14% boil off which is perfect. Before I insulated it I could not get a strong enough boil. On my 1V I also use a stc-1000.
 

Moad

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Thanks Kev, have you done the figures on gas vs electricity?

What do you use for insulation?

Looks like I'll have a burner for sale soon...
 

Judanero

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Mate I went to an air conditioner supplier, and got "air conditioner insulation",kind of like camping mat stuff but reflective on one side. Added air con gaffa tape-kind of is reflective too... and Robert's your mothers brother.
For a ~30L mash wouldn't lose a degree over 60 mins.. maybe a degree over 90 (if mashing lower) but probably not.

http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/70788-mash-tun-insulation/
 

QldKev

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Moad said:
Thanks Kev, have you done the figures on gas vs electricity?

What do you use for insulation?

Looks like I'll have a burner for sale soon...
Electricity is about $1 per 23L batch and LPG is about $3. To me whilst elec is $2 cheaper that alone would not make me change. I was however a full system LPG only user. I have slowly fully converted my system to elec only. I like elec because it's quite, it throws out less heat into the brew area, and you don't have to keep topping up bottles. But you can't beat big LPG burners for pure grunt, my 150,000btu NASA but as much heat as my current 6,000w of elec elements in my kettle.

If you go elec and want insulation these a few options. I've had good luck with both camping and yoga mats, and they are pretty cheap if you shop around. Also an old blanket works perfect as a second layer and can make a great difference. On a couple of mine over the top of the insulation I've also got a stretchy cotton material from spotlight (think boob tubes and tube dresses). If you have a look at my systems the dark blue mat is yoga mat, and the light blue is camping mat. On my 1V you will see I have three layers, the camping mat, then a brown blanket, then the white outer skin using the stretchy cotton tubes. I'm not sure how much that stuff judanero mentioned it sounds good too. A few people also use the rubber from the rubber/plastics stores. I know a couple of people have one that is rubbery and has a foil backing, and they say to put the foil inwards to prevent it from being damaged long term.

If you have a look for QldKev on youtube I have a few videos of both my systems, but if you have a close
you can see the 3 layers. While I didn't loose much heat without the extra layers, I find I got a couple more % boil off with it in place. I'm getting 14% with the 3 layers which is about perfect.



Cheers

QldKev
 
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Moad

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Thanks fellas

I've ordered that element and a little pump with some fittings. Looks like I have some work to do.

I'll track down some insulation too...
 

keifer33

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Clark Rubber have got some good insulation as well.
 

Moad

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Ok I have installed the element and she works a treat! I have a hole about a third of the way up the keggle from the bottom that used to have a thermometer (was a mates spirit still thing) so I was thinking about knocking up a ghetto thermowell. Basically some copper tube crimped with compression fittings.

I'm waiting on a little brown pump and my intention is to pull from the bottom tap and recirculate, would it be ok to attach a fitting to the side right up the top to drop the mash back through or am I best to put it back through the very top?

It is an old keg and I cut the top out but left about an inch (glass lid fits in) so I could potentially knock a bulkhead through the rim at the top for the return? That way it would flow back into the bag rather than the side, would it even matter?
 

Moad

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Sorry for double post. I just realised the first post doesn't make sense
I have to have the return either through the lid or into the side of the kettle

The lid is glass which makes it difficult
 

buxtronix

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Moad said:
Sorry for double post. I just realised the first post doesn't make sense
I have to have the return either through the lid or into the side of the kettle

The lid is glass which makes it difficult
I'm going through the same thing - designing a recirculation setup for my kettle.

I have decided to pump the return wort to the inside of the bag. that will ensure that the recirculated wort actually goes through the grain. Putting it into the side of the kettle will really limit flow through the grain as the bag will act as a flow barrier - most wort will just flow around it. Going to the inside of the bag should get me much more even temperatures. My plan is to put a s/s bulkhead in the lid with two barbs - one outside with hose to the pump, and the other inside hose down onto the grain bed to avoid HSA.
 

Moad

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yeah I have some "all thread" and fittings ready to go but not sure how to get that through glass. I might need to get a stainless lid instead which is a shame because I just got the top hole all nice and smooth!
 

buxtronix

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If you can punch a hole through the glass... As you don't need a hermetic seal, a loose fit should work fine.
 

Moad

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Well I took Kev's advice, ran two returns and can just tuck the bag underneath the top return pipe and secure it with the lid. I would have preferred to run it through the lid but that was the trade off to keep the top of the keg in tact and have a glass lid (couldn't drill it as it is tempered). The return arm is obviously removable so will be inserted after the bag and removed before the bag

I put the silicone over the copper between the two return inlets to stop a potential burn

I havent put a return arm on the bottom yet, I'm going to check others out to see what they have done, may or may not stick an arm on the bottom.

The other hole you can see is for the thermometer probe, it is a copper piece dropping down. This will just be until I get a proper thermowell or smooth bit of stainless/copper so as not to tear the bag. I'll just take the elbow out and run it straight in. I figure this was a good height even though I didn't have a choice for the positioning of this hole and should get a good read of the actual grain temp

I need some kind of on/off for the inlet to the T to stop it running back out if the pump is off...any ideas?

I picked up some metal today for a brew stand to hold the new keggle, I am going to set up a pulley to suspend the bag after the mash and will also have an option of using gas to get a boil quicker.





 

bum

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Your brewery's logo is oddly familiar...
 

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