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Single Vessel Recirculating Biabucket Trial Run

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mikec

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OK, in an effort to make brew day easier and avoid having to man-handle heavy, floppy, cumbersome nylon bags, I put together a "proof of concept" and did a wet run on Sunday (a simple American Ale, Fat Yak style). In a rental apartment, sky-hooks and pulleys are not an option, so I want something I can lift and then rest. Somewhat successful, with some work still to do.

I also got myself a super-dooper bling-blang Minimill, bolted it onto some timber and added the world's simplest hopper extension.
Here it is with my $30 Ozito hammer drill. This drill is no good - not enough torque low down - so I had to run the mill way too fast.
I've short-listed two Ozito replacements. A high-torque low-speed (0-550rpm) for $90 and a two-speed hammer (0-1000, 0-3000) for $80. In addition each one has a variable speed dial so I need to work out which one works best at around 200rpm. Preferably I can dial down the speed and lock the trigger on so I don't have to hold it!


The grain came out like so


The bucket. It's a bit dark but you can make out the legs. This is to raise the bucket in the pot so there is some liquid below, which will be heated first and pumped up to the top.


Inside shot of the bottom of the bucket. Big holes in the bucket, with a splatter guard sitting over them. Lined the splatter guard with silicon air hose, and it wedges quite nicely into the bottom of the bucket.


The rig - bucket sits in the 40L aluminium pot, atop a gas stove. Copper pickup tube, 1/2" all-thread, ball-valve, brown pump, silicon hose up to the top, second flow-control tap connected to some aquarium spray bars to distribute hot wort throughout the bucket.



Mash in at 52, protein rest, then turn on the the heat while recirculating.
Still need to work on this part. If I pump the liquid too quickly, the bucket fills up faster than it can drain out the bottom. If I pump too slowly, the liquid in the base of the pot gets too hot (I could turn down the heat, but it takes forever to heat up as it is). An ideal solution would be to have a second grain guard in the top of the bucket like the Braumeister does, then I could pump liquid quickly and let the liquid overflow without losing the grain.


Sacc rest at 65 for an hour. One of my problems is that there is a lot of space between the bucket and the walls of the pot. I increased my grain ratio from 3:1 to 4:1 to counter this, but I needed to go further. At the start of the sacc rest I had pumped plenty of liquid into the bucket, and left the level low in the pot. But of course by the end of the mash a lot of this had drained back into the pot, leaving me with too low a liquid:grain ratio. What I should have done is added some more 65 deg water and mashed a bit longer, but I didn't. Ultimately I think this led to lower efficiency.

Turned the heat back on an recirculated while stirring until temp reached 76.
Then lift the bucket, slide a couple of SS poles underneath for it to rest on while it drains.
Sparge by pouring 80 deg water over the top for the next 20-30 minutes. My kettle heats 1.5L to 80 deg, I did about 8 runs of this and it took about half an hour. Ima get myself a cheap little urn for this task.



Finally the sparging is complete. Meanwhile the gas stove had been on full ball, heating the wort (is it wort yet?).
Efficiency was a bit down and so my sparge water brought down the SG a bit too low (1.046 instead of 1.050). So I went for a longer boil to bring it back up.
No-chilling so the bittering hops went in at 40 mins.


Dumped a hopsack into the cube for the flavour additions, filled and squeezed out the air. Let it slowly cool a bit then put it into the ferment fridge at 18 deg ready for pitching later.
 

mikec

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I've also just built my stir plate so it had its maiden run. Building up a starter from 30ml of Wyeast 1272. Started with a 200ml starter and stepped up to 1.5L. Works a treat!



Next day the starter went into the fridge. Once the yeast have dropped out I'll decant and pitch!


SO... what have I learned and what can I do to improve it?

1. Need a better drill for the mill. Is anyone using the Ozito drills able to lock them on at an acceptable speed?

2. The brown pump died. Not sure if it's the pump or the power supply, need to check it out. There should be no issues running hot wort through it. Theoretically.

3. I'll do another run with more water for the mash, and if it all works out, I'll put some effort into the finished product. The metal bars will be replaced by a frame/bracket kind of thing, that will sit just inside the pot. I'll have two heights for the bucket to rest at, so that the liquid doesn't have to drain from so high and splash about. I'll do a better job of affixing the spray bars inside the bucket rather than having them just sitting loose.

4. Might be worth getting a thermometer attached to the pot.

5. Might be worth getting an element for the pot rather than using the stove. More heating power and I also won't be hogging the kitchen. There are so crazy cheap over the side elements on ebay (Like this). Could you drop one of these into the wort?
Edit: A couple of new threads on AHB are filled with options for cheap electric elements, maybe I could install one in the bottom as well / instead.
 

Cube

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1. Need a better drill for the mill. Is anyone using the Ozito drills able to lock them on at an acceptable speed?
[/quote]

When I was honing out blocks and other metal works I wired up a dimmer switch with a knob turn dial into a wood box and used that for variable speed on a drill to hone with. Worked for 10 years+ before I sold the business with drill and dimmer still working fine. The drill also drilled metal and woods and all other things as well.

I'd be tempted to do this as well if I was a BIAB'er and already had a drill.
 

mikec

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When I was honing out blocks and other metal works I wired up a dimmer switch with a knob turn dial into a wood box and used that for variable speed on a drill to hone with. Worked for 10 years+ before I sold the business with drill and dimmer still working fine. The drill also drilled metal and woods and all other things as well.

I'd be tempted to do this as well if I was a BIAB'er and already had a drill.
Interesting idea, could be a fall-back option.
The old drill is gutless at low speeds so I won't be able to use that. So hoping I can get a drill "off the shelf" that will just work.
 

bignath

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mike, you need one of these drills:

http://www.bunnings.com.au/products_produc...882.aspx?page=2

they are seriously good option for plug and play. I use one and am very impressed by it. Tons of other brewers use them too.

Will EASILY cold start a 8kg+ grain bill. You won't stop this drill, it has sooo much torque, and it's MAX speed is around 550rpm so it's not too hard to get it sitting at 200ish....
 

Malted

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mike, you need one of these drills:

http://www.bunnings.com.au/products_produc...882.aspx?page=2

they are seriously good option for plug and play. I use one and am very impressed by it. Tons of other brewers use them too.

Will EASILY cold start a 8kg+ grain bill. You won't stop this drill, it has sooo much torque, and it's MAX speed is around 550rpm so it's not too hard to get it sitting at 200ish....
Feck me! Look at the specifications, it can drill through 50 metres of timber! That would be one hell of a drill bit! Only 13mm of steel though, must be tough steel.
 

Truman42

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2. The brown pump died. Not sure if it's the pump or the power supply, need to check it out. There should be no issues running hot wort through it. Theoretically.
Read this, could be the problem, especially as your pump sits upright and wort can get into the magnet housing.

Brown pump problem
 

Maheel

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mike, you need one of these drills:

http://www.bunnings.com.au/products_produc...882.aspx?page=2

they are seriously good option for plug and play. I use one and am very impressed by it. Tons of other brewers use them too.

Will EASILY cold start a 8kg+ grain bill. You won't stop this drill, it has sooo much torque, and it's MAX speed is around 550rpm so it's not too hard to get it sitting at 200ish....
that drill in action on a mashmaster mini (click to play vid)

 

Bribie G

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Sorry about the pump, Mike.

You are fairly spot on with the splatter guard, I did an almost identical FB with a Woolies mesh strainer that I crunched down and wrapped in a CraftBrewer grain bag and then fitted with silicone hose just like you did.



However it provided very poor filtering and I ended up double wrapping the thing, that improved the performance immensely



Note my skillful and accurate usage of the drill :p

Love your mill, getting one in about a month. What's the clear acetate hopper?

Edit: off topic but does that $85 Ozito that others have posted, have variable speed option?
 

mikec

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Nath, Maheel, that is the $90 jobbie I'd shortlisted. Looks like the decision is made.

Bribie, I drew some of my inspiration from your build. So thanks!
The splatter guard seems to be about right for the filtering, holes are similar to my ESB BIAB bag. At end of boil there wasn't too much crap left in the pot - maybe a few mm deep and about 20mm diameter.
The hopper is made by Mashmaster and available from Craftbrewer. It only holds 1.5kg of grain, hence my stick-on upgrade.
That drill has a variable speed dial on the trigger, and based on Maheel's vid it can be dialled back to about the speed you'd want.

Truman - yeah, this could be the problem. Haven't had a chance to look at the pump properly yet.
 

QldKev

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If you don't want the drill to use for other jobs don't forget about the DC motors. The MY1018 is about the same cost if you can get an old computer power supply free, and it's a setup and forget arrangement. Otherwise if you have a setup to mount the drill they are excellent as you get a decent drill with it.

QldKev
 

nala

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Sorry about the pump, Mike.

You are fairly spot on with the splatter guard, I did an almost identical FB with a Woolies mesh strainer that I crunched down and wrapped in a CraftBrewer grain bag and then fitted with silicone hose just like you did.



However it provided very poor filtering and I ended up double wrapping the thing, that improved the performance immensely



Note my skillful and accurate usage of the drill :p

Love your mill, getting one in about a month. What's the clear acetate hopper?

Edit: off topic but does that $85 Ozito that others have posted, have variable speed option?
The clear plastic container is a 12 litre water bottle, got mine for $10 from office works, hacksawed the base off it.
 

mikec

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If you don't want the drill to use for other jobs don't forget about the DC motors. The MY1018 is about the same cost if you can get an old computer power supply free, and it's a setup and forget arrangement. Otherwise if you have a setup to mount the drill they are excellent as you get a decent drill with it.

QldKev
Cheers Kev, just did a quick search on egay and got a few hits. There are 250W and 450W, if you get the 450W and add international freight, the price goes up a bit. Not out of the ballpark though.
They list the torque as being only around 1Nm. Am I missing something here? It would need to be much more to run a mill, no? Or do you have to gear them down with pulleys and so on?
 

seamad

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I copied kevs set up. Look at his website in sig for details. Uses a 24 VDC pushbike motor. Can vouch for its ability,
 

mikec

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Yep, either I don't get it, or the specs have changed... which would be unusual.


From egay listing:

Model No: MY1018

Voltage/V 24V 36V 24V 36V
Rated Power/W 250W 250W 450W 450W
No-load Current/A ≤2.2 ≤2.0 ≤2.5 ≤2.2
No-load Speed/RPM 3150 3150 4000 4000
Rated Torque/Nm 0.87 0.87 1.43 1.43
Rated Speed/RPM 2750 2750 3000 3000
Rated Current/A ≤13.4 ≤9.0 ≤24.7 ≤16.5
Eff./% ≥78 ≥78 ≥78 ≥78
reduction ratio 7.18:1
Main Application Electric Bicycle

QLDKev's site rates the 24v/250W version at something like 7Nm, and 350rpm.
 

seamad

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Thats the one, run off an old psu @12 VDC drops the revs by half to just uncer 200 rpm, ideal for grain crush. Doesnt miss a beat even with raw wheat, rye etc,could turn rocks into gravel. Will see where i got it from if i can remember. Got a spider coupling from jaycar.
 

mikec

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Yee-ah.
OK this looks like a good option. Better to pay the $20 extra for the 450W for sure.
Damn I just threw out a bunch of old PC's....
 

seemax

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I'm using an old Ford wiper motor (thanks Warmbeer!) , powered by an old PC power suppply... plenty of torque but speed is prob 100rpm or bit less. Crushes well though.
 

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