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Single Vessel Electric Brew Rig Build

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bignath

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Thought i'd share my new single vessel electric BIAB recirculating mash rig build.

Finally got it finished last night. I brewed on it last weekend, but was waiting for another addition before i considered it completed to what i was trying to build. It's a 50lt (actually holds 56.5lt's), Stainless pot, with stainless colander element guard. The wort is drained through the bottom of the pot underneath the colander, and a little brown pump returns it via hose, out through my hugely expensive "stand", up the side and back in through the lid. It then flows through the grain bed, hopefully acting in a similar way to a mash stirrer (or close to it anyway). This wort return is 1-2inches away from the copper thermowell housing that is obviously measuring the temp of the mash. Controlled by a STC1000 with detachable probe for easy use and packdown.


So here it is, the "EZBrew V1.0"

Finished Rig
Single_Vessel_Completed.jpg



Temp Probe Installation and Wort Return:

Temp_Probe_Installation.jpg



Ghetto Control Box: Dont laugh, it's a good solution...

Ghetto_Inspired_Control_Box.jpg



More Ghetto inspiration. Thermowell, and Wort Return pipe.

Ghetto_Thermowell_and_Wort_Return.jpg



Interior shot of elements ($9 kmart kettle ones, 2200W each) and drain valve for the pump.

Elements_and_Pump_Valve.jpg



This strainer insert from a crabcooker will be lined with voille. I reckon it will be a good solution, as it will allow easy lifting with a pulley, and it will also allow me to sparge into as it's hanging above the wort. Found a local fishing shop that was prepared to sell it to me without the pot it comes with. Champion!

Malt_Pipe_BIAB_Bag_Support.jpg



Dial thermo measuring outgoing temp (drains from underneath a stainless colander) before hitting the pump and then returning through the lid.

Pump_Connection.jpg



I've done 1 brew which i deliberately took my time to document all stages and readings, and it took me almost 5 hours to knock out two cubes. I didn't start ramping to boil until i collected all my runnings after hoisting. Burnt myself several times getting used to the "logistics" of this new system. (next time i'll put the bag in at the start rather than trying to get it sorted after i hit strike temp etc...all of that sort of stuff that only happens the first time you brew on a new setup...)

After a wet run, i'm sure i can do a double batch in less than 3.5hrs.
After last weeks brewday, when i crunched all the figures, it looks like i've landed on 82% efficiency first go. Pretty happy with that.

At the moment, the only upgrades i have planned will be to change the return hose to silicone, and maybe get a brass or stainless inline tap for it too (to replace the plastic "gardena" style inline tap).

Apart from that, i'm happy with how it's turned out.

Anyway, feel free to comment or offer suggestions!

Cheers,

BN
 

Yob

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Very tidy mate..

Does the return pipe have holes in it to return 'throughout' the mash or does it just run out the bottom? How deep does it sit?

are you going to insulate the return hose? I used some of this stuff on a recent build.

1.JPG

compact and tidy, love it.

Yob
 

mxd

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looks great , on your next brew can ya take a vid of her in action.
 

bignath

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Cheers yob,

at the moment, the return pipe just delivers the wort to the bottom of the mash. I had given a lot of thought to drilling some holes in it to disperse, and i may still do it, but i was worried that the little pump's pressure may not disperse it well enough to bother with it sitting in the mash, so i just kept it as a tube, thinking it will stir up the bottom and then drain through the bag, through the colander, into the pump and that that would be okay.

I'll see how it goes for the next few brews though as i may still open it up. I had also thought of using a spray ball at the end of the return hose too, or a couple of copper t fittings to spread it all out....options...

Hose isn't insulated at the moment. Once again, i might look into this too. That's a good idea. Hadn't thought about that one!

EDIT: almost forgot, the wort return sits about an inch from the bottom of the insert. Measured it to do that deliberately so it would stir the mash up well, hopefully extracting most bang for my buck.

Cheers,

Nath
 

Dan Pratt

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A video of this puppy in action would be great to view. Well done on the build, well done!
 

hughman666

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Looks the goods mate! Yet another single vessel accomplishment on AHB :)
 

MaltyHops

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Anyway, feel free to comment or offer suggestions!
Cheers,
BN
Well done - great result.

I think if you mount the wort return and temp probe on the side and
near top of the pot, you could then make up some kind of rack for the
strainer to sit on a-la braumeister (brau what? :D)

Be interesting how quick the copper return tube and thermowell might
corrode due to galvanic reaction with with the steel pot.
 

bignath

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Well done - great result.

I think if you mount the wort return and temp probe on the side and
near top of the pot, you could then make up some kind of rack for the
strainer to sit on a-la braumeister (brau what? :D)

Be interesting how quick the copper return tube and thermowell might
corrode due to galvanic reaction with with the steel pot.
I have a pulley system under a patio. Job's done!

BIAB_Pulley_1.jpg

BIAB_Pulley_2.jpg

BIAB_Pulley_3.jpg

Hmmmm, galvanic reaction. Haven't heard of it. Is it a big problem?

I have some acrylic tube i was going to use for both the return and the thermowell, but went with the copper for heat transfer. I could definitely use acrylic for the return, as it's just a matter of swapping over the tubes. They both fit snug into the compression fitting, and i already have acrylic tubes cut to length leftover from a sightglass build...

Not sure about how to do the thermowell (outside of just going and buying one of course...)
 

keifer33

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How did u go sealing the elements? Was it was simple as using the silicon seal and reassembling through the whole in the pot. only asking as i have some of those elements im going to use albeit in a smaller vessel but for the same purpose.
 

bignath

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How did u go sealing the elements? Was it was simple as using the silicon seal and reassembling through the whole in the pot. only asking as i have some of those elements im going to use albeit in a smaller vessel but for the same purpose.
g'day keifer,

i drilled out the holes to get a rough guide using a carbide tip drill bit around 12/14mm in diameter. I drilled several holes to enlargen to create a diameter close (erring on the too small side), and then finished it off with a dremel tool with a sanding drum bit.

Literally, it's just the element and the silicone seal that it comes with in the kettle itself. No sealant, just a very neat and snug hole to allow the 3 prongs from the element screw in's to fit, and the silicone seal. no leaks so far.
 

MaltyHops

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Hmmmm, galvanic reaction. Haven't heard of it. Is it a big problem?
...
Probably not big enough to worry about. When different metals are in
electrical contact and surrounded by an electrolyte (as wort would be),
one of the metals will corrode more than the others.

Actually, looking at the WIKI ranking of metals, the (what looks like)
aluminium strainer might corrode preferentially than the pot or copper.
 

bignath

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cool, thanks for that.

but, are the metals in my system in "electrical contact" with each other? Not sure exactly what constitutes electrical contact. Yeah it's an electric rig, but how does the power source effect the corrosion of the metals when the electrical current isn't contacting the wort or the metals?

I would have thought that if electrical contact was a problem in our breweries, that corrosion would be the least of our problems wouldn't it?

genuinelynotsurewhati'mtalkingaboutBigNath.....
 

MaltyHops

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but, are the metals in my system in "electrical contact" with each other?
...
Not talking about it being an electric system. Unless you've
isolated the copper somehow with insulative washers or
something, the metals would be touching and in contact
- and the strainer is probaby also in contact with the pot?
The wort then provides a closed electrical path for galvanic
reaction to occur (chapter potato battery).
 

Feldon

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cool, thanks for that.

but, are the metals in my system in "electrical contact" with each other? Not sure exactly what constitutes electrical contact. Yeah it's an electric rig, but how does the power source effect the corrosion of the metals when the electrical current isn't contacting the wort or the metals?

I would have thought that if electrical contact was a problem in our breweries, that corrosion would be the least of our problems wouldn't it?

genuinelynotsurewhati'mtalkingaboutBigNath.....

Think of it like a car battery. The battery acid solution (wort) conducts metal ions to and from the battery plates (metal brewing objects). No need to supply electricity - nature does it for you.
 

bignath

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hmmm, right i understand it now.

Is this process typically a rapid one or one that may take years to become a problem?

The copper i can replace easy enough (buy a thermowell and do it properly, replace wort return with acrylic tube which i have on hand). But replacing the aluminium basket with a SS one will most likely be expensive.

Certainly, where i live, i won't be able to find one. It'll have to be an online purchase that may involve buying the pot and basket, only to have to do something with a big pot i don't need.
 

Aces High

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Nice use of the milk crate Nath.

I've gone down a similar route, although mine is gas fired. Fine control is via an STC and Herms unit, and I use gas to bring it up to temp quickly. Its all a bit messy at the moment as I have just been doing inital trials, but its awsome for holding mash tems spot on. The copper return actually sits under the liquid level when doing a run and seems to do a good job of recirculating.

IMG_0329.jpg
IMG_0337.jpg

I've had a copper pickup pushed into a stainless output on my pot for about the last 30 brews, i havent noticed any corrosion or galvanic problems, but i pull it out and the end of each brew and its always very shiny
 

Feldon

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Dunno for sure, but I expect the short time you have wort in the pot, and brew only every week or so, and that you are not using a strongly acidic solution, you need not worry too much.

Some (aluminium?) boats have sacrificial copper plates attached to their hulls. The idea is that the copper gets eaten away instead of the the aluminium.

Zinc plating is a sacrificial coating that protects the steel underneath through galvanic reaction. As long as there is some zinc present the oxygen in air and water will attack it and leave the steel alone. And I think a zincalume roof would last about 50 years.
 

adniels3n

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I've recently abandoned my 3V project to concentrate on a BIAB keggle setup. My question is why do the Braucloners want a grain bed, where this setup appears to disturb the bed, creating a mash stirring system? Is a grainbed purely to acheive wort clarity into the boil kettle?
 

MaltyHops

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Is this process typically a rapid one or one that may take years to become
a problem?
The copper i can replace easy enough (buy a thermowell and do it properly,
replace wort return with acrylic tube which i have on hand). But replacing the
aluminium basket with a SS one will most likely be expensive.
Wait and see I guess. I'm thinking the copper might not corrode (much)
since I think all 3 metals are in contact to each other - if the alu strainer
corrodes, there'll just be more holes in it :lol:
 

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