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Sight Glass

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vlbaby

Beer Budda
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Hi guys I keep meaning to fit a sight glass to my MLT and kettle, but I am not sure what to use. I think i read somewhere that acrylic tube can be purchased to do the job. Not sure if thats true.

What do you guys use?

vlbaby.
 

rob7

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Hi vlbaby,

Apparantly acrylic isn't so good at higher temperatures - I think it gets hazy or something. Polycarbonate is better. I got some 10mm polycarb tube for sight glasses recently, got one on my kettle so far, and it works brilliantly. Really useful addition.

Cheers,
Rob
 

sosman

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vlbaby said:
Hi guys I keep meaning to fit a sight glass to my MLT and kettle, but I am not sure what to use. I think i read somewhere that acrylic tube can be purchased to do the job. Not sure if thats true.

What do you guys use?
[post="55795"][/post]​
I use polycarbonate (some pics at http://brewiki.org/BrewPot). Don't go any smaller than about 6mm ID though else bubbles, hot break etc will clog it on the kettle.

One of the best low tech additions you can make to your brewery IMHO.
 

Darren

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I wouldn't put a sight glass on your kettle. Too difficult to clean/sanitise.
 

Batz

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Darren said:
I wouldn't put a sight glass on your kettle. Too difficult to clean/sanitise.
[post="55810"][/post]​

BS
I have one on my kettle , dead easy to clean , just hose it out along with the rest of the kettle

Sanitise? I use my kettle for boiling , I don't sanitise my kettle , 90 min boil will not allow anything to live

Batz
 

Darren

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Batz,
I can't actually find a logical reason to have a sight glass on a HB kettle!Do you recirculate boiling wort through your sight-glass? If not the wort in there does not make it to boiling. I suspect you will eventually get a build up of heat-resistant bacteria in there. If you start to get spoilage that would be the first place I would look.
Another reason to not put a sight glass on the kettle is if you break it you will lose all of your days work and possibly severely burn yourself too.
vlbaby, do away with the sight glass in your kettle and use a calibrated stainless steel "dip-tube" to measure your volumes.
cheers
Darren
 

Batz

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I have been using a sight glass for over 3 years now , yet to get a bacteria that lives in boiling wort , and the sight glass is polycarbonate , so to break it I would have to smash it very hard with a hammer , something I do not do to my kettle during the boil or after.
It up to you if you fit a sight glass or not , some guys find it to difficult to do anyway , but if you do you will be very pleased with the result.

I have used both sight glass and dip stick

Batz
 

Darren

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I have a polycarbonate sight glass on my HLT. On the boiler would IMHO be asking for trouble
BTW pediocoocus can survive 90+ C and a full wort boil. The most common place for it to contaminate your brewery is from the mash-tun (hiding under the false bottom or in some fittings.
Makes sense it could hide in the crud build-up in I assume the elbow you have on your sight-glass.
As with anything, what works for you may or maynot work for others.
My motto is: Minimise any chance of infection and you will have cleaner beer.
cheers
Darren
 

vlbaby

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Thanks guys for your help. I think i like the idea of a sight glass on the kettle myself. I like to be able to see how much wort i have collected from the mash. Secondly I like to monitor the amount of evaporation in the boil.

I'm a little suprised that any bacteria could survive a full boil Darren. Isnt boiling considered a method of sterilisation, as oposed to just sanitisation?


vlbaby.
 

Batz

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Darren said:
BTW pediocoocus can survive 90+ C and a full wort boil. The most common place for it to contaminate your brewery is from the mash-tun (hiding under the false bottom or in some fittings.
Darren
[post="55834"][/post]​

And I believe the most common place for an infection is in the fermenter , tap thread etc. not the mash tun , I know lots of brewers , me included who do not sanitize the tun but just hose it clean.

And when I boil my wort it is over 90c , 100c in fact.

Having said all this Darren is very knowledgeable on the bacteria front and would be able to quote heaps of scarey stuff that I am sure that would be fact.

Batz
 

Batz

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vlbaby

PM me your email and I'll send you some pics

Batz
 

sosman

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vlbaby said:
I'm a little suprised that any bacteria could survive a full boil Darren. Isnt boiling considered a method of sterilisation, as oposed to just sanitisation?
[post="55911"][/post]​
No - not at atmospheric pressure. Boiling at 15PSI apparently is. I think Darren was also making the point that the liquid in the sight glass is not likely to be boiling.

It comes down to risk vs benefit. I reckon a sight glass on my boiler is a significant benefit whereas I don't see the risk of infection to be very high. Others may see it differently.
 

PeterS

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Darren said:
BTW pediocoocus can survive 90+ C and a full wort boil. The most common place for it to contaminate your brewery is from the mash-tun (hiding under the false bottom or in some fittings.
Makes sense it could hide in the crud build-up in I assume the elbow you have on your sight-glass.
As with anything, what works for you may or maynot work for others.
My motto is: Minimise any chance of infection and you will have cleaner beer.
cheers
Darren
[post="55834"][/post]​
Darren.
I do agree that your assumptions are feasable, however,
Until your statement regarding Pediococcus (I presume you meant this bacteria species ? spelling) I was also interested in building a sight glass in my system. Since according to you this species can survive 90+C I did a bit of research and I could not find any reference to this. What I did find applicable to our Home Brewing Environment was from an article from www.byo.com. This is what they are saying in their How to homebrew beer magazine on this bacteria.
Quote: "Pediococcus is commonly found in the environment and is often carried into beer through yeast or other ingredients added after the boil. Pediococcus is a common spoilage organism in beer and grows best under anaerobic conditions like those found in a bottle." Unquote. The article goes on to say to watch your sanitation etc and with regards to temperature it says this: Quote: "If you are using hot water, make sure the water is hotter than 180F (82c) and that you allow at least 20 minutes at this temperature before considering your tools sanitized." Unquote.

In view of the above, could you advise us where you got your information from and any references that would suggest that spoilage caused by Pediococcus could have been from the boiling kettle would be appreciated.

Please do not misunderstand me, I am not having a go at you as I am a relatively New Brewer who takes notice of advise given by this group and magazines are not necessarily factual. :chug:
 

PeterS

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homebrewworld.com said:
So if this bacteria can live through a boil, i'll drink it !
[post="55917"][/post]​
In deed. You would be drinking it if you liked lambics. Apparently this bacteria is more prevalent in some parts of Belgium and is a necessity to produce lambics.

Cheers. :beer:
 

Darren

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Batz,
Many bugs can survive near boiling temps. Any spore forming bug will easily survive. That is why an autoclave is used to sterilise most laboratory equipment
Peter, I read it in "Brewing" by Lewis and Young. I recall (maybe incorrectly) that Pediococcus and other spoilage organisms are commonly found under plates, false bottoms and other inacessable areas of mash tuns.
I just had a quick look but the book is too long to search through.
As you correctly pointed out they are heat-resistent.
As Sos wrote, the temps in your plastic sight glass will not ever reach boiling.
There is certainly potential for contamination there.
That was the reason I did not add a sight glass to my boiler.
cheers
Darren
 

Tim

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pediocoocus can survive 90+ C and
These bacteria are known as 'extremophiles', in that they can suvive in extreme conditions.
As a non-beer related side note, bacteria like this could prove as a novel source of drugs. These bacteria must produce chemicals (whether they are small molecules or macromolecules like proteins) which allow them to survive at these temps.
These chemicals may afford similar protection to us.

Just a sidetrack, but something I deal with at work which i think is interesting.
 

dicko

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Solution is simple,
I only use a sight glass tube on my HLT.

I will use a fixed dip stick in the HLT when I rebuild the brewery so as to ensure accurate water additions to maintain predicted efficiencies with my brews.

Boil_Kettle_volume_guage.JPG


HLT_with_site_glass_and_temp_guage.JPG
 

warrenlw63

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Man. If any newbies were reading this they'd be virtually shitting their pants thinking that packaged beer would be a better alternative than all-grain. :eek:

If anybody is bugged by bugs... Best solution is to clean your gear and dry it properly.

Best brewday investment I've made is a Karcher pressure cleaner (actually mine's a GMC being a tightarse, however gets the job done).

Allows the bacteria-paranoid brewer a good avenue of water-driven catharsis on the mashing and boiling equipment. B)

In other words you can blast most nooks and crannies, particularly ball-valves, false bottoms etc.

I always point the tip at the ball-valve, hold close and blast as hard as I can. You'll be surprised at how much shit can actually be pushed through.

Hint... Try and avoid putting equipment away wet. You'll find a few nasty, green surprises await you by doing this.

Warren -
(Waiting for a way to turn my whole garage into an autoclave) :lol:
 

Darren

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Looks the goods Dicko!
Warren, a sight glass on the boiler would only be one more thing to ensure you have cleaned.
A pressure cleaner would e good though. Now how to get it past the treasurer
 

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